TAMPA, Fla. – Jacksonville University's women's basketball team met No. 19/20 South Florida in the first round of the Preseason Women's National Invitational Tournament Friday afternoon where it fell, 74-52. It marked the Dolphins' first appearance in the prestigious tournament as well as their season opener.
"South Florida is 19th in the country for a reason," Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said. "They have a WNBA player in Courtney Williams and she's tough to beat. With that being said, I was disappointed in how we started the game. I think that had a lot to do with nerves but in the end, we fought back and had two successful quarters."
"This is going to be a process. I saw a lot of bright spots, especially in our freshman Jasmyn. There's a lot that we can build on from here and I'm excited to see what's next. We battled and gave ourselves chances to be in the game. We just have to put a few things together and it's going to take a little more time."
Courtney Williams paced all players with 34 points and 18 boards.
Committing four offensive fouls in the first five minutes of the contest, Jacksonville struggled to find its rhythm early and the Bulls jumped out to a 12-0 edge.
With back-to-back three-pointers, Reddick provided her team with a much needed push (3:19). She went on to record JU's first nine points, and once trailing, 15-0, Jacksonville closed the gap to 17-9 with 2:58 remaining in the first quarter.
Energy boosted from the 9-2 Dolphin run carried over to the next frame as JU climbed out of a 25-14 deficit by outscoring the Bulls early in the second quarter. Christin Mercer charged JU's efforts with a made free throw and followed it with a spinning layup before Brown pulled the Dolphins within seven, 29-22, with her second three–pointer (7:23).
It would be the closest Jacksonville inched within as the Bulls held a 41-25 advantage at halftime.
At the start of the third quarter, the Dolphins worked a 10-4 run and were led by Jasmyn Brown. Fouled on a missed three-pointer, the freshman converted all three of her free throws and later swished a trey at the top of the key to settle the score at 45-35 (4:06). The 10-point differential remained through the conclusion of the stanza, 53-43.
JU outscored the Bulls, 18-12, in the third but was unable to maintain its steam in the final 10 minutes. Within eight, 55-47, at the 6:31 mark, USF went on to post a 19-5 run to close the game.
In the decision, Jacksonville moves to the consolation bracket of the Preseason WNIT. Saturday's results around the tournament will determine its next opponent.