JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Kayla Gordon posted another double-double and Kimberly Dawkins dominated on the glass to assist the Jacksonville University women's basketball team to back-to-back, season-opening victories after a thrilling 69-63 decision over Bethune-Cookman Sunday.
Gordon finished the evening with 10 points and 13 rebounds while Dawkins added 14 boards and three steals. Both captured big blocks in the final stretch of a close ballgame.
Sherranda Reddick added a game-high 21 points.
"I'm excited about the play from Kayla and Kim," said Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. "They have just been impressive on the boards, and I don't think we win the game without their presence. Kim showed exactly why she's the ASUN Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
"As a team, we obviously wanted to give more on the defensive end for an entire 40 minutes, but today, our toughness was tested and we prevailed."
Jacksonville held a 19-point advantage in the third quarter, until a Wildcat rally – sparked by the play of Angel Golden – tied things at 61-all with 2:22 remaining. Brandi Buie's 5-for-6 performance at the free-throw line allowed the Dolphins to gain separation while Dawkins and Gordon rejected B-CU three-pointers to close the door.
Free throws proved to be the difference as Jacksonville went 18-for-22 at the line, and Bethune-Cookman finished 12-for-21.
JU jumped out to a 5-1 advantage early in the first quarter, but B-CU came back with a jumper and two baskets from beyond the arc to steal the lead, 11-7. Despite Gordon hitting both her free throws with 1:06 remaining in the quarter, the Wildcats led 14-9 at the end of the first.
In a span of six minutes, Reddick opened the second quarter with 10 of the Dolphins' 16 points to send the lead back to the hosts, 25-20. The Wildcats chipped away at the deficit to swing the momentum back in their favor, 29-25, but it was Jasmyn Brown who swished a three with 10 seconds before the buzzer to bring JU back within one, 29-28, at halftime.
The Dolphins return to action Thursday, November 17 when they head to Tallahassee to take on No. 12 Florida State. Opening tip is scheduled for 6 p.m.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to play these type of teams," continued McCuin. "We are going to see where we measure up, the decision will not define us. We're going to go out and give our best effort."