JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Milestones seem to be a common occurrence for Jacksonville University women's basketball this season as ASUN Conference Defensive Player of the Year Kayla Gordon became the only Dolphin in program history to cross the 1,000-career rebound threshold. Gordon helped the #2 Dolphins roll past #7 Kennesaw State in the ASUN Tournament quarterfinals, 79-52, Friday evening at Swisher Gym.
Along with teammate Brandi Buie, Gordon previously hit 1,000 career points earlier in the season. The Meridian, Miss. native also becomes the only Dolphin in program history to reach both 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career.
"I'm just super proud of our team. Once they got settled, we came out and stuck to our identity, which is playing defense. I'm glad Kayla was able to meet the 1,000-rebound milestone; I was pleased that I was able to get everybody in the game – it was a solid performance," stated head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin.
A trio of Dolphins (23-7) posted double figures as Gordon led the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds – her 11th double-double of the season. Senior Naqaiyyah Teague added 12 points and eight rebounds, while junior Shakayla Nevitt chipped in 11 points and five boards.
The Dolphins and Owls (7-19) exchanged points early on in the game, but Jacksonville easily erased a three-point deficit with six-straight points to close out the first quarter with a 20-14 lead.
It was all Jacksonville in the second as a 21-0 run, coupled with the Dolphins' trademark stingy defense, extended JU's lead to 47-20 at halftime. The Dolphins held the Owls to just six points in the quarter, Gordon flushed eight of her 19 points, while Nevitt added seven of her 11 during that run.
"Defense is the engine to our offense, so whenever we can get stops, it allows us to generate points in transition, which is our strength," added McCuin. "That's something we want to focus on for the remainder of the tournament and that's who we are – playing defense at a high level."
The Dolphins never let up in the second half en route to a 79-52 victory.
"We want to continue to stay focused on our identity, on the standards of the program, and on what we set out to do."
Kennesaw State was led by Carlotta Gianolla's double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Kamiyah Street and Alexis Poole added 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Jacksonville takes on #6 North Florida in the ASUN Tournament semifinals on Wednesday, March 7. Game time is yet to be determined.