Women’s hoops falls to Florida A&M in home opener, 78-59
Sophomore Abril Peeples scored 22 points in the home opener
Sophomore Abril Peeples scored 22 points in the home opener
Three players in double figures wasn’t enough for the JU women’s basketball team as they suffered a 78-59 loss to Florida A&M in the home opener at Swisher Gymnasium on Monday night.

Antonia Bennett had 27 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks to lead the Lady Rattlers (1-0) to their first win, while Qiana Donald chipped in with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Florida A&M made its living in the paint, scoring 48 points and pulling down 57 rebounds.

“We didn’t do enough to get the win,” JU head coach Jill Dunn said. “I thought we played well in spurts, but couldn’t do what we needed in the long run. We need to work on being more consistent as we go through the early part of the schedule.”

Sophomore Abril Peeples totaled a career-best 22 points and four assists for the Dolphins (0-2), who dropped their first home opener in nine seasons. JU’s last lost in an opener was to Navy in 2001.

The Dolphins recorded a 34.2 field goal percentage (26-76), but only made three free throws in nine attempts. The Lady Rattlers went 42.9 percent from the floor and were held to 1 for 15 from beyond the arc.

Less than two minutes in the second half, junior Tracie Sneed broke the sixth tie of the contest with a three-pointer to give the Dolphins a 39-36 advantage. The Lady Rattlers broke free with a 17-4 run, capped on a Kimberly Sparkman three-pointer (13:21). Senior Crystal Bell cut the deficit six, 53-47, on a coast-to-coast layup with 10:04 left. The Dolphins made it a 59-51 deficit on a sophomore Jane’l Osborne layup (8:47), but Florida A&M ended the game on an 18-9 stretch to secure the win.

Sneed finished with 12 points on 5 of 11 attempts and two perfect attempts from beyond the arc. Bell added 10 points, nine rebounds and three assists in the loss.

In the first half, Bell gave the Dolphins a 21-17 advantage on a jumper at 8:47. Osborne pushed the lead to five twice on a free throw and layup. The Lady Rattlers regained the lead, 27-26, at 4:16 on a Carrington Caise layup. Peeples hit consecutive layups to help JU take back the lead before two Sparkman free throws cut the Florida A&M deficit to 33-32 at half time.

The Dolphins continue the home stand on Saturday against Hampton at Swisher Gymnasium. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.