Dolphins Rally but Were Unable to get Key Stops

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - With two teams with similar playing styles much was to be expected of Saturday’s matchup between the Jacksonville University women’s basketball team and Northern Kentucky. Unfortunately for JU, the Norse had just a little bit more oomph in their game and the Fins fell by a score of 69-61. Four finished in double-figures and sophomore guard Queen Alford charged the Dolphins with a double-double on 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior guard Stephanie Edwards finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists and freshman guard Sherranda Reddick and sophomore forward Briona Brown each collected 10 points. Brown also grabbed six boards.

The Norse controlled the tempo in the early goings of the contest as they knocked down each of their attempts to take a 12-1 lead three minutes in. Capitalizing on an NKU mistake, Edwards swiped the ball for a steal and rushed down the court to hit an and-one layin (16:38) for JU’s first shot from the field, 12-4.

Midway through the frame, the Dolphins trailed the Norse, 19-8. Though both teams had taken the same amount of shots, the difference maker was NKU hitting seven of their 11 which included three makes from downtown.

JU drew within single-digits, 26-19, on a needed trey from Reddick with 5:36 on the clock. Free-throws were crucial in the last five minutes. With neither team connecting from the floor, JU took three different trips to the line for four points, 29-23.

Literally snatching the ball out of the hands of Kayla Thacker in the backcourt, Alford traveled a few steps towards the basket for an over the shoulder layup to shorten NKU’s lead at 29-25 (1:41). Thacker made up for the turnover with a layup on the next possession before Alford closed the half with another fast break bucket. At the break, JU trailed NKU 31-27.

Similar to JU’s previous game, the squad showed great tenacity but was unable to close the gap down the stretch. Reddick crowned the second half with long two-pointer and suddenly the Dolphins were only down by two, 31-29, with 18:58 remaining. After pulling within an arm’s reach, NKU knocked down two three-pointers and hit a layup to push their lead to 39-31 at 15:49. Over the next 12 minutes, the Norse hovered around an 11-point tip and the Dolphins didn’t make a sincere run until the final five minutes of the game.

After splitting a pair of free throws, Alford hustled to grab her own rebound and forced a jump ball. With the arrow in favor of JU, possession stayed with the Fins and the guard from Decatur, Ga. hit a runner down the middle to close the gap to five, 56-51, with 3:59 to go. The basket capped a 6-0 run which included five points from Alford.

The teams traded scores over the next possessions until Reddick found senior forward Jade Cargill for a quick bucket to bump the score to 63-59 with 1:47 left. From then on JU needed defensive stops but instead picked up a few fouls. Over the limit, NKU closed the game a perfect 6-for-6 at the line to seal their victory.

Melody Doss led the way for Northern Kentucky with 18 points, Kelly Weigman added 19 and Thacker chipped in with 12.

Jacksonville (10-13, 7-5) returns home next week to take on Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m.