Jacksonville Sports Day

FULL COURT: Dolphins Unable to Overcome Slow Start Against Ospreys

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University women’s basketball team was unable to overcome a slow start shooting the ball in the first quarter of Sunday’s River City Rumble matchup with North Florida.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this group. This was a gutsy win that took a lot of toughness and resilience. We competed and found a way to win with key contributions from everyone on our sideline,” said UNF head coach Darrick Gibbs

UNF’s Jazz Bond once again led the way with 17 points and was one of four North Florida players who scored in double-figures. Ally Knights, a recent international arrival from Australia, posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Despite another career day by Erin Wilson, the Dolphins (2-5, 0-2) fell to the Ospreys (5-6, 2-2) 67-56.

“We started off slow in the first quarter today and again a little bit in the third quarter. This new format of playing back-to-back days is something different and we just didn’t come out ready to go to start today,” said head coach Darnell Haney. “We did have some good stretches where we played well and our defense allowed us take advantage of some mistakes and we were able to turn those into points at the other end. Moving ahead, we have to find ways to get production from more people and make improvements in our post play. That will be something we will address moving ahead in conference play.”

Jacksonville started slow from the field in the first quarter, going just 2-16 in the opening frame, which ultimately ended up being the difference in the game. Erin Wilson scored all five Dolphin points while UNF saw five different players score in the period.

The Dolphins came alive in the second quarter, outscoring UNF 19-13 in the period as Alexis Pierce and DeShari Graham got in on the action.

The pair were a part of a 6-0 run the opening moments of the second quarter that got JU back within eight. After the two teams went back-and-forth through the middle phases of the period, Jacksonville went on another run, this one of the 5-0 variety, to end the quarter, capped by great steal and outlet pass by Graham to Pierce who finished on the other end with layup from the left side to bring JU within 10 at 34-24.

In the third quarter North Florida would open things back up, going on a 10-2 run over the first five minutes of the period to stretch their advantage and lead by as much as 17 points.

Once again, the Dolphins would look to rally in the fourth quarter. After a layup and jumper by Graham, Wilson would score the next seven JU points to get back within eight at 57-49, but that would be the closest Jacksonville would get, as a mid-range jumper and three from Rhetta Moore pushed the deficit back to 13.

A corner three from Pierce with 1:34 left made it a 10-point game but the Ospreys would connect on some late free throws and play keep away to wrap up the afternoon.

Wilson finished the game in double-figures once more, scoring a career-best 26 points for the second straight game and is the first JU player to score 20 or more points in back-to-back games since Destiny Marshall accomplished the feat three games in a row last season.

Pierce finished the day with 13 points and Graham rebounded from being shutout of the scoring column Saturday with an 11-point effort.

Currently the Ospreys are scheduled to host Liberty on Saturday-Sunday, January 23-24. Jacksonville will open play at Swisher Gymnasium in 2021 next weekend January 23-24, as the University of North Alabama (3-10, 2-2) makes the trip south from Florence.

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