Senior Tracie Sneed led the Dolphins (5-7, 1-0 A-Sun) with 18 points, including a key three-pointer down the stretch to set up the win. She also added nine boards, while junior Jade Cargill scored 12 points and freshman Queen Alford finished with 11 points off the bench.
“It’s nice to come away with the win,” JU head coach Jill Dunn said. “Northern Kentucky gave us a good run in its first-ever A-Sun contest, but I am very proud with the way our girls stepped up in the end. Hopefully, a win like this create some momentum through our early conference slate.”
Tiara Hooper and Kayla Thacker each scored 16 points for the Norse (3-7, 0-1), who finished shooting 35.9 percent (23-64) from the floor. The Dolphins hit 22 of 25 at the free throw line and scored 17 points from 12 Norse turnovers in the win.
In the second half, the Dolphins stretched a one-point lead to 52-42 as Sneed capped 9-2 run on a three-pointer with 8:03 left. Hopper trimmed the NKU deficit to three, 56-53, on consecutive buckets with less than four minutes left. Sneed followed with a three-pointer in the corner less than a minute later to give JU a 59-53 advantage. Rianna Gayheart made a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 61-58 (00:58), but made a costly turnover two possessions later which allowed JU to use free throws to ice the game for the win.
Ellen Holten and Christine Roush each finished with six points as the Norse registered 28 points in the paint. Roush also had a game-best six assists.
The Norse opened with a 13-7 first-half lead on a layup by Kaitlyn Gerrety (14:46). JU tied the contest two minutes later at 13 on three straight scores by Cargill. The Dolphins took their largest lead of the half, 31-24, on free throws by Sneed with 3:45 left. The Norse tied at 31, but Sneed added more free throws in the final minute to give JU a 33-31 halftime advantage.
The Dolphins continue their A-Sun opening stretch with Lipscomb Wednesday at 5 p.m., in the Veterans Memorial Area.