WILMINGTON, N.C. - The Jacksonville University women's basketball team overcame an 18-point deficit Saturday to force its first overtime contest of the season. Briona Brown tied the game at 60-60 in the final seconds of regulation but the Dolphins eventually fell, 72-69, to Bowling Green State.
Brandi Buie recorded 15 points, 14 in the second half, to direct the Dolphins. She also added three rebounds, two steals and two assists. Kayla Gordon tallied 12 points with nine rebounds while Sherranda Reddick chipped in 13 points.
"Wins and losses are not going to define this team," said Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. "In my pregame speech, I talked about losing and failure; there's a difference. Sometimes you can give all you got and still lose, and that's what happened tonight. We had an opportunity to end it but the ball just didn't fall our way."
BGSU committed four turnovers to close the game and the last two allowed the Dolphins to tie at 60-all. With 29 seconds remaining, Briona Brown grabbed an offensive rebound and completed an old fashioned three-point play to pull Jacksonville within two, 60-58. On the next Falcon possession, a full court press put Reddick in position to come up with a steal and Briona Brown tallied the game-tying basket with 16 seconds left.
On the next play, again, JU's press forced a BGSU turnover -- a steal credited to Briona Brown. Coach McCuin called a timeout to set JU up for the final shot and the layup ricocheted off the backboard as time ran out.
Loliya Briggs scored the Dolphins' first points of the contest with a floater over BGSU's post players but it was Bowling Green's guards working early. Three pointers around the upper corners of the arc lifted BGSU to an early 9-2 edge (5:37) before a Dolphin trip to the free throw line sealed the opening frame, 13-5.
After converting 2-of-12 shots in the first quarter, Gordon ended JU's five-minute scoring drought, a stretch that lasted through the 8:03 mark of the second stanza, with a layup. She powered her way to back-to-back baskets to direct Jacksonville to an improved shooting clip from the floor. Unfortunately, the effort was overshadowed by the Falcons' performance with the three-ball.
BGSU went 6-for-11 from beyond the arc to record a 27-16 advantage at halftime and rattled in four more before the conclusion of the game.
In search of a spark, Coach McCuin found it in Buie. Sickness forced the sophomore guard to sit out yesterday's contest against UNC Wilmington but she immediately made an impact versus the Falcons.
"I was thinking about coach's speech," said Buie. "I was ready to play my game. I feel like I haven't been doing that lately. Today, I just wanted to give it all I have. I knew we could battle back."
Buie started the second half and dazzled on both ends of the court. Recording eight points and a steal, she pulled the Dolphins within seven, 46-39, with 1:48 left in the third. The Falcons led by as much as 18 in the quarter.
The Dolphins remained at an arm's length through the final horns. JU held a slight 62-61 advantage, its first of the game, a minute into the extra period, but couldn't limit Bowling Green's 6-4 center Lauren Tibbs who had her way at the rim for six points.
The outing concluded the Dolphins' play in the UNC Wilmington Thanksgiving Classic.
Jacksonville returns to Swisher Gymnasium Tuesday for a 7 p.m. matchup with Edward Waters.
"Failing would be not responding to our loss yesterday," continued McCuin. "We fought back. It's all about trusting the process. We're going to continue to build on this."