Jacksonville Sports Day

ASUN: JU Slips by Stetson for Conference Win, 57-52

Photo by Jamal Adjamah/JU

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hot shooting from beyond the arc and a solid defensive effort near the end proved key as the Jacksonville University women’s basketball team slipped past ASUN Conference foe Stetson, 57-52, Saturday afternoon at Swisher Gymnasium.

“We knew this was a game that we had to roll our sleeves up and get to work defensively and grind it out. It was a big win for this team; we grinded it out on the defensive end and I’m proud of that,” stated head coach Darnell Haney following the team’s win. “We have to do a better job of getting to the free throw line but at the same time, the hunger was there to get stops and get the ball to the right people so we could be productive. All in all, we were determined to get this win and we took care of business and got it.”

Ranked seventh in the nation in forced turnovers, the Dolphins (10-7, 2-2 ASUN) poured in 24 points off the Hatters’ 25 turnovers. Also finding success from beyond the arc, Jacksonville made 11 three-pointers – the second-most in a single game in program history.

Noting his team’s success from three-point range, Haney added, “We knew Stetson was going to come out in zone – it’s been history that they play zone. We had to be prepared to hit some shots. We weren’t going to dominate them inside; they have some big kids. We had to be prepared mentally and physically to hit shots, and I think we were.”

Leading by eight heading into the fourth quarter, the Dolphins saw their grip on the game waver as the Hatters took the lead twice in the final five minutes. Thanks in part to a 9-2 run that opened the quarter, Stetson (7-10, 1-3 ASUN) managed to take the lead at the 4:27 mark and with 2:17 showing.

On the next trip down the floor, redshirt-senior Shakayla Nevitt buried a three-pointer – her fourth on the day – to once again put JU on top, 52-50. A pair of steals from freshman Da’Nasia Shaw highlighted the swing in momentum despite a jumper from Stetson’s Day’Neshia Banks that tied things with 50 seconds remaining. Sophomore Destiny Marshall scored on a fast break (0:37) and senior Kiara Meeks went 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the final 16 seconds to put the game away, 57-52.

Added Haney, “Da’Nasia Shaw was amazing today and it wasn’t on the offensive end. Defensively, she took pride in getting stops. She told me this morning she wanted to play man to man [defense]. At the end of the game, she came up with a big play – got a steal, turned it over, then got another steal. That was the play of the game and it helped us seal it. She was phenomenal today.”

Opening the game, Jacksonville jumped out to a 15-11 lead with a trio of three-pointers early from Meeks (7:51) and Shaw (6:49, 5:36). It was Stetson, however, who posted seven of the last 10 points of the quarter to deadlock things at 18 at the first break.

Both teams were held to single digits in the second, as the Dolphins used a 9-6 advantage to lead 27-24 at halftime. Coming out of the intermission, Jacksonville used a 7-2 run to surge ahead, 34-26 with 6:18 showing. Back-to-back three pointers from Shaw (2:25) and Marshall (1:56) extended JU’s lead to 10 and the Dolphins took a 42-34 lead into the final quarter.

Marshall (16 points), Nevitt (14 points), and Shaw (11 points) all recorded double figures in the win, while both Nevitt and junior Jada Perry pulled out a team-high six rebounds. Meeks added nine points, four rebounds, and six assists in the win. For her efforts, Shaw was named Hodges Mazda Player of the Game.

Kennedi Colclough led the Hatters with a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Tonysha Curry (13 points) and Banks (10 points) both scored in double figures.

The Dolphins return to action Monday evening when they welcome crosstown rival North Florida for part one of the River City Rumble at 7 p.m.

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