JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If fans were searching for a high-action women's basketball game between Jacksonville University and Iona Monday night, they certainly got their money's worth.
In the last two seasons, the Dolphins have lost just two games at Historic Swisher Gymnasium. The visiting Gaels (0-2) made things interesting in JU's home-opener with a three-point gap in the final minute, but Jacksonville (1-1) held on in the end, winning by a score of 71-62.
"We're a new team, and with newness, it takes time to build chemistry," said Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. "I was proud of my team because they found a way to win. That's what it's about. It's early. We can fix a lot of this stuff. But, we found a way to win."
While limiting the Gaels to just one field goal through the first seven minutes of action, Jacksonville padded a 9-2 edge on the opposite end of the floor.
The Dolphins never trailed on the day, but were in search of a burst of energy to gain separation. Iona threatened at 10-8 (2:51) before the first quarter's end, and JU found its extra wind at the closing of the second.
With three minutes left until halftime, Brandi Buie danced her way to back-to-back layups. The scores ignited an 8-0 run as Jacksonville entered the break with a 34-21 advantage.
The Dolphins led by as many as 22 in the third quarter, 45-23, at the 6:20-mark but turnovers allowed the Gaels to creep back into the competition. The visitors mounted an 11-2 run in the third period, and continued to pressure to pull within 10 at 54-44 with 8:18 left in the game.
Jacksonville committed 16 turnovers in the second half, and Iona scored 22 points off the miscues. In the third quarter, Alexis Lewis paced the Gaels' scoring efforts with 10 points on 3-for-4 shooting from beyond the arc, and Treyanna Clay picked things up in the final frame with 11 points on a 5-for-9 performance from the floor.
With 50 seconds remaining, the scoreboard read: Jacksonville 65, Iona 62.
The squads had previously traded bucket-for-bucket before the mark, until the Dolphins closed the door with a 6-0 run. Kayla Gordon nailed a jumper with 27 seconds on the clock while Buie and Jasmyn Brown each sank a pair of free throws.
Naqaiyyah Teague, Jasmyn Brown and Shakayla Nevitt each scored in double-figures with 16, 13, and 10, respectively. Gordon added nine points and eight rebounds while Buie added eight points, eight assists and six rebounds.
The scoring efforts marked career-highs for Dolphin newcomers Teague and Nevitt.
In its first road swing of the year, Jacksonville visits Alabama Thursday at 12:30 p.m. before meeting Nicholls State Saturday at 2 p.m.