Jacksonville Sports Day

JU Outlasts Owls in 88-81 Victory on Senior Day

Photo by Jamal Adjamah/JU Dolphins

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Senior Day 2020 was a shining moment for the Jacksonville University women’s basketball team, as the Dolphins mounted a comeback overtime win against Kennesaw State, 88-81, Saturday afternoon at Historic Swisher Gymnasium.”

While Jacksonville (16-10, 8-5 ASUN) trailed 53-51 heading into the final quarter, the Dolphins turned up the intensity. Freshman Da’Nasia Shaw knocked down a pair of clutch three-pointers down the stretch – one with 42 seconds on the clock to deadlock the game at 69 and the second with 5.1 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

From there, the Dolphins were quick to put the game away. An 8-0 run solidified Jacksonville’s lead to help the hosts double-up the Owls, 14-7, in the final stanza for the win.

Redshirt-seniors Shakayla Nevitt and Shalonda Neely recorded career performances: Nevitt notched nine of her career-high 28 points in overtime, while Neely battled back from a midseason injury to record a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Trailing 10-2 early in the game, the Dolphins used a timely layup from Nevitt (6:56) and three-pointer from Shaw (5:37) to cut JU’s deficit to six, 13-7. Both teams continued to push the pace, and it was a jumper from Nevitt to end the quarter that kept the Dolphins within striking distance, 25-19.

Sparked by a layup from freshman Shekinah Rachel and capped with a beautiful pass through traffic from senior Mariah Batz to senior Alexis Burns, the Dolphins used a 9-0 run in the opening minutes of the second to gain a 28-27 lead with 6:40 on the clock. Jacksonville then closed the half with an 8-1 run to extend its lead to 38-32 at the break.

With six of the first eight points out of the break, Kennesaw State (12-13, 5-8 ASUN) pressured back within one, 43-42 at 7:32 in the third. The teams traded baskets and the lead on five separate occasions, but once things settled, the Dolphins trailed 53-51 heading into the fourth.

Baskets from junior Jada Perry (9:45) and Batz (8:52) deadlocked the game early in the final period, and the Dolphins continued that momentum. With back to back three-pointers from Nevitt (1:39) and Shaw (0:42) to tie the game at 69 apiece, the Owls answered on a trey of their own from Breanna Hoover (0:29) to preserve the lead.

A layup from Rachel with 17 seconds brought the Dolphins back within one, 72-71. KSU extended their lead on a pair of made free throws from Amani Johnson, but it was Shaw’s heroic three-pointer that sent the game into overtime. Shaw finished the day with 13 points and five rebounds.

“In the third quarter, we allowed KSU to go on a run because we were stagnant offensively. Once we started to run our stuff and get into it, we started to do well. Kennesaw did a good job of switching up the defenses and showing different things, but when we get into our flow offensively, it’s tough to guard us. We have some weapons that can put the ball in the basket,” added JU head coach Darrell Haney.

“Being able to have players that come in ready to play was key. In that fourth quarter, we finally locked in offensively. I’m just so proud of them, of my coaches, and the support staff – doing what it takes to win ball games. It’s starting to click, and we have to continue to roll and keep punching.”

Burns finished the day with 11 points, while Batz dished out five assists. Winning the battle at the boards, Perry (8 points, 8 rebounds) and Rachel (5 points, 7 rebounds) combined for 15 rebounds in the win.

Kennesaw State was led by a double-double effort from Alexis Poole (14 points, 10 rebounds), while Johnson added a team-high 28 points.

The Dolphins return to action on Monday, Feb. 24 for their final regular season home game when they welcome Lipscomb to Historic Swisher Gymnasium at 7 p.m.

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