NEWARK, N.J. - Jacksonville women's basketball (10-8, 3-2 ASUN) maintained their undefeated record against NJIT (5-12, 2-2 ASUN) Saturday afternoon, defeating the Highlanders 61-56 at their house. Despite being outscored in two quarters, Jacksonville held off a late Highlander push to come away with their third conference win of the year.
After a scoreless first two minutes, the Highlanders opened things up with a 9-2 scoring run to build their largest lead of the day. Meanwhile, the Dolphins had trouble getting buckets and knocked down just one of their first 12 shots. Things began to pickup after that as Jacksonville hit 3-of-7 to narrow the deficit and enter the second trailing 13-9.
Jacksonville's momentum carried over into the second quarter where they shot 50 percent and outscored NJIT 18-9. Sophomore Alexis Pierce came off the bench early in the period and hit 3-of-4 to get Jacksonville back on track. The quarter was highlighted by a 6-0 scoring run that gave the Dolphins the lead for the first time in the contest. The 'Phins also did their part on the defensive end, allowing the Highlanders to convert just 3-of-15 for the quarter. By halftime, Jacksonville led 27-22.
The Highlanders looked to make a splash coming out of the locker room in the third quarter, attempting six threes in the first five minutes. Fortunately for the 'Phins, just three of the Highlanders' 16 attempts were good in the third quarter. Jacksonville faced scoring struggles of their own during the third, and only put up 10 points. Jacksonville did manage to grow the lead to double-digits, but a Highlander jumper just before the buzzer cut it back to eight.
In the fourth, Jacksonville pulled away with their largest lead of the day, up 17 with 5:41 to play. The separation wouldn't last long, however, as NJIT began to sink shots when it counted most. Six of NJIT's seven made 3-pointers came during the final 10 minutes, including three in the last 33 seconds that brought them within four points of tying the game. In the face of an NJIT comeback, Jacksonville was able to convert on their last four free throws and come away with the victory.
Jasmyn Brown's 13 points led all Dolphins, and were accompanied by eight rebounds and a block. Kiara Meeks also reached double-figures, notching 11 points with eight rebounds and five assists. Trudy Walker hauled in double-digit rebounds for a 10th time this season, and Shalonda Neely ended her day with nine points and nine rebounds. As a team, Jacksonville out-rebounded NJIT 55-31.
Next, Jacksonville goes across town to play North Florida in the River City Rumble. That game is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan 22 at 7 PM.