LYNCHBURG, Va. - Jacksonville women's basketball (9-7, 2-1) earned their second conference win Saturday evening, taking down the Liberty Flames (4-12, 0-3) 64-52 in Lynchburg, Va. It was the first ever meeting between the two programs, and the first home conference game for the Flames since joining the ASUN this season. Jacksonville never looked back after grabbing a lead in the first quarter, and led by as many as 19.
It was a tight first quarter as both teams traded buckets and the lead. In the final minutes of the first, freshman Johné Stewart hit a 3-pointer that sparked a 7-0 run for the Dolphins, giving them a 17-12 lead before heading to the second. Jacksonville went 7-of-15 from the floor in the quarter, with much of the work coming from in the paint.
Jacksonville maintained their lead throughout the second, but it turned to a defensive battle as each team shot just 5-of-13. It was Jacksonville's two made free throws that helped them outscore Liberty 12-11 in the quarter, and carry a 29-23 lead into the locker rooms.
It was in the third that Jacksonville began to gain separation from the Flames. The 'Phins knocked down just six shots, but converted 10-of-12 from the charity stripe and grew their lead to double-digits. The third quarter also saw Jasmyn Brown come alive, as the senior went 3-of-5 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free throw line to add nine points to her total. Meanwhile, the Flames struggled to get anything going in the quarter, and shot just 23.5 percent. A 12-0 Jacksonville run put them up 52-36 before heading to the fourth.
The Dolphins grew their lead to as much as 19 in the final quarter before the Flames made a late push to get back in the game. They outscored Jacksonville 16-12, but were unable to get within 10 points before the final buzzer.
Brown led all Dolphins with 15 points and three steals. Rolanda Hayes grabbed 12 points, three rebounds, and an assist. Trudy Walker ended her night one rebound away from notching a sixth double-double on the season. As a group, the Dolphins made 18 free throws, and led in the rebounding department for an eighth time this season.
"I told our team it was about getting knocked down, and when you're going to stand up. We had a big dialogue. We had to talk about who we were, and what were about, and how we were going to go about winning this game. They did that, and I'm proud of them," said Head Coach Darnell Haney.
Next, Jacksonville returns home to host North Alabama (11-2, 2-1). Like Liberty, the Lions are new to the ASUN conference, and are another first-time opponent for the 'Phins. The game is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 7 PM.