Dolphins Lock Up Third-Straight 20-Win Season

Naqaiyyah Teague
Naqaiyyah Teague

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Powered by a defensively sound effort that resulted in the Dolphins having a 20-rebound differential, Jacksonville University women's basketball team moved one step closer to a program milestone its 65-49 victory against USC Upstate on Saturday afternoon at Historic Swisher Gym. With the victory, the Dolphins (20-7, 10-2 ASun) secured their third consecutive 20-win season and are now just one away from the program's 250th triumph.

"I'm thankful for our 20th win. It's been a long journey, but it shows that we are a consistent group," said head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin.

JU completely overpowered USC Upstate on the glass, pulling down 44 rebounds compared to the Spartans' 24. Of the Dolphins' boards, 26 were defensive as the Spartans were only held to six offensive rebounds.

"Like always, we want to defend on a high level. We feel that if we do that, we can get good things on the offensive end," added McPhee-McCuin. "That's what we want to focus on as we continue to finish out the season."  

Kayla Gordon (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Naqaiyyah Teague (13 points, 10 rebounds) each tallied a double-double to lead JU. Jasmyn Brown scored a game-high 14 points, and Brandi Buie added in 11 points.

After a slow start by both teams, Jacksonville's dominant second quarter set the tone as the Dolphins convincingly outscored the Spartans 21-7 in that period alone. Up by six, Shalonda Neely's layup at 6:03 was the start of a 12-2 run the powered JU to a 32-16 lead. After a USC Upstate jumper, a pair of Gordon free throws with 31 seconds remaining in the half put the Dolphins up by 16 again. JU ultimately carried that 16-point, 34-18 advantage into halftime.

JU took its largest lead of the game – 21 points – in the third quarter. Brown's three-pointer with 6:07 on the clock lifted the Dolphins to a 43-22 lead. However, the Spartans attempted to chip away at the Dolphins' lead late in the quarter and came to within 12 as A'Lexxus Davis' layup at 1:31 made it 47-35.

Taking a 17-point lead midway through the final quarter, JU went on to score seven of the game's final nine points.

Riley Popplewell led the Spartans with 21 points.

JU returns to action on Monday against NJIT at Swisher Gym for a 7 p.m. tipoff.