SPARTENBURG, S.C. – The effort and will to win was there but ultimately Jacksonville University women’s basketball fell on the road to USC Upstate by a score of 68-59.
It was a slow starting game at the Hodge Center. Despite several attempts, all either team could muster was three points by 16:45. Following the deadlock, the squads found the bottom of the net, trading baskets through the midpoint of the period.
Freshman guard Sherranda Reddick landed JU (11-16, 8-8) its first lead, 10-9, on a three pointer but it wouldn’t stick for long as Brittany Starling and Toni Romiti combined for five unanswered points with 10:25 remaining. The Spartans then used a 6-0 run to pull further ahead, 21-12, at 7:18.
Junior guard April Carson ended the Dolphins’ scoreless stretch with a baseline runner to avoid trailing by double-digits and back-to-back scores from senior forward Jade Cargill pulled the team within five, 25-20, at 2:49. That would be JU’s last shot from the field.
Grabbing 15 offensive boards in the frame, the Dolphins weren’t able to convert for many second chance opportunities and relied on free throws to close the half. Rattling in 5-of-6 in the last minute, the squad entered intermission down 34-25.
JU came out the locker room with more energy and drove a 9-2 run to keep the Spartans honest. The hosts went three minutes with just one score while Reddick hit a trey, Carson finished on an old fashioned three point play and sophomore guard Queen Alford connected on a fast break layup to bring JU within 36-33 with 17:48 to play.
However, a few minutes later, Upstate had a 10-point advantage, 43-33, with 16:08 remaining. Even with the shift in momentum, the Dolphins refused to allow the game to slip away.
The Spartans were up 51-39 at 12:14 until Reddick banked it in from downtown and eventually closed within seven (8:04). Another trey from the freshman and suddenly the Fins were only down by four, 55-51 at 7:43.
Upstate again pieced together a slight run before Alford knocked in a midrange jumper, 59-57, to force a Spartan timeout (3:57).
Free-throws lifted the Spartans 64-57 and by that point the Dolphins had just one more minute to come back. With 46 seconds on the clock, senior guard Stephanie Edwards narrowly missed a layup down the middle and the team was then forced to foul to save time on the clock. Working the board allowed the Fins to attempt four consecutive baskets but unfortunately none of them sank in.
Hitting 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, Reddick led the Dolphins with 12 points to go alongside five boards. Cargill added 10 points and eight rebound s while Brown scored nine points with five rebounds.
Next week, Jacksonville returns to Swisher Gym for their final home stand. The team will take on Kennesaw on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. before meeting Mercer on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 1 p.m.