JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a game that featured five lead changes and six ties, Jacksonville University's women's basketball team battled South Alabama to the wire Saturday afternoon en route to a 62-55 victory.
The final stalemate, 54-54, occurred with 1:36 remaining. Candice Williams split a trip at the free-throw line to earn the Jaguars a one-point edge, before Brandi Buie countered with a fast break layup on the other end of the floor.
The Dolphins closed the affair shooting 6-for-8 at the line.
In the decision, Jacksonville captures a tournament sweep with victories over South Alabama and Nicholls State in the two-day JU Thanksgiving Classic.
"I was excited about the way we came out and defended, especially in the second half," said Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. "We were very locked in and really focused on getting stops, and usually when we do that, we're able to convert defense into offense.
"I was pleased by the play of Christin Mercer, Kayla Gordon and Kimberly Dawkins. They set the tone and gave us the advantage of going inside. Sherranda didn't have to feel like she needed to win the game for us because they did their part."
Guiding the home side to a seven-point advantage at the start of the contest, Dawkins poured in six of JU's first 10 points.
The Dolphins' early lead, however, was short lived as South Alabama finished the frame with an 18-14 edge after limiting the Dolphins to a pair of field goals in seven minutes.
Both sides recorded six field goals in the first quarter, but the difference was a 4-for-5 clip from beyond the arc for USA. Neither side shot particularly well in the second stanza where they combined for six makes, nonetheless, Mercer was a spark off the bench with a quarter-high seven points.
She spun her way through the lane to pull the Dolphins within one, 25-24, in the final two minutes, and regained the team's advantage at the line with a pair of free-throws.
Jacksonville entered the break with a 27-26 lead.
Back-and-forth scoring ensued in the third, with no major separation. Seven seconds remained in the quarter when Jillah Moede ran from coast-to-coast for a game-tying layup, 44-all.
Jacksonville takes to the road for its next contest, a 7 p.m. tip at Savannah State next Tuesday.