JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Five players recorded double figures for Jacksonville University women's basketball as the Dolphins battled back from a pair of nine-point deficits in the fourth quarter, but were ultimately unable to get a game-winning shot off in the waning seconds and fell to No. 25 Florida Gulf Coast, 65-63, Saturday afternoon at Swisher Gym.
"We didn't defend, and if we want to win games we're going to have to defend at a high level, period," stated Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. "We are a defensive-minded team and for some reason, we lost sight of that. Because of that, we ended up not winning the game."
Senior Kayla Gordon made a clutch defensive rebound with time winding down and, following a Dolphin timeout with 13.2 seconds to go, Jacksonville was set up at midcourt to take the final shot of the game. Jacksonville's chances, however, were stifled by a stingy defensive effort by the Eagles.
Gordon finished the day with 11 points and 14 rebounds for her seventh double-double this season.
Jacksonville (16-7, 6-2 ASUN) used a hot start to the game – including 10 first-quarter points from Naqaiyyah Teague – to spark 11-2 run and outrebound the Eagles 12-4 to head into the first break with a 20-16 advantage.
Although both teams shot nearly identical in the first half – with Jacksonville at 48.4 percent and FGCU at 48.3 percent – FGCU (21-4, 7-1 ASUN) managed a seven-point differential in the second quarter, 25-17, as the Dolphins faced a 40-37 deficit at the half.
Added McCuin, "The fact that Florida Gulf Coast scored 24 points in a quarter is uncharacteristic and unbecoming of who we are and who we want to be as a team. We're going to focus on getting back to defending at a high level in order to prepare ourselves to win games the way we want to win, period."
A 9-0 run coming out of halftime swung the momentum back in the Dolphins' favor, as Jasmyn Brown knocked down the quarter's first five points on a three to tie the game just 12 seconds in and a jumper on the next trip down the floor.
Jacksonville extended its lead to as many as six with 7:53 to go before an 11-2 surge by the visitors put the Eagles ahead for the final time with 3:00 to go in the third.
"Credit to Florida Gulf Coast, I thought that they came out and played hard and took the opportunity away from us. Now we have to regroup and move on to the next game against Stetson," stated McCuin.
Teague finished the day with a team-leading 15 points, while Shakayla Nevitt and Brandi Buie neared double-doubles as the pair recorded 10 points each and seven and nine rebounds, respectively. Jasmyn Brown also tallied double figures with 13 points.
China Dow led all scorers with 24 points, while Rosemarie Julien added a team-high seven boards.
The Dolphins return to action Wednesday, Feb. 7 when they visit Stetson for a 7 p.m. tipoff.