ASUN Semifinal: Women’s basketball loses a nail biter to JU in overtime

DeAndre Pearson

Photo Gallery by Joslyn Simmons 

It was an epic River City Rumble matchup with the winner punching a ticket to the ASUN Championship for a right to play in the NCAA Tournament.

The upset-minded Ospreys (13-18 Overall, 5-9 ASUN) continued their ASUN Tournament run with third installment of the rumble against crosstown rival number two-seed Jacksonville (24-7 Overall, 12-2 ASUN).

Days earlier, North Florida upsetted three-seeded Stetson Hatters days to advance to the semifinals.

The semifinals was a matchup North Florida would be seeking revenge after a blowout in their final season game to Jacksonville at Swisher Gym. In the end, the Ospreys could not get it done in overtime to put away the Dolphins to move on to the final round in Fort Myers.

North Florida’s season officially ended with Wednesday’s loss, 83-77 at the Historic Swisher Gym.

In the opening quarter, North Florida got off to a rough start with early turnovers. The Ospreys gave away the ball seven times in the opening quarter and quickly found themselves in an early deficit.  Jacksonville was able to feed off of the turnovers and get their offense going following baskets, including a three-pointer from guard Jasmyn Brown.

North Florida battled back with a scoring streak from Keonna Farmer, who scored 10 points in the opening quarter. The Ospreys finished the first quarter only being down by three points after a last second basket from Tesh Hanson which brought the score to 15-12.  

Jacksonville started the second quarter knocking down threes in an effort to separate themselves from the Ospreys, but the visiting team would not go away. Three pointers from Tiffany Tolbert and Arianna Emmanuel-Wright keep North Florida within striking distance.

In the final minutes of the first half, Emanuel-Wright was whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct foul following a small skirmish for the ball. Plays later Hanson was able to draw a foul while going up for a shot in the final seconds of the half. After making both free throws, the half ended with North Florida only being down three with a 32-29 score.

Coming out of halftime, North Florida powered ahead to take the lead. Tolbert knocked down two quick baskets to bring the deficit within one before Jacksonville answered back.  Emmanuel-Wright converted a four point play to put the Ospreys up by six points, forcing Jacksonville to take a timeout.

North Florida could not catch a break as Jacksonville quickly brought the lead with four points following consistent trips to the free throw line. The Ospreys held on to a slim lead following two free throws made from guard Ty Purifoy to end the quarter and be ahead 55-49 over Jacksonville.

In the final period of regulation, the Dolphins came out guns blazing following six points in the opening minutes of the quarter. Jacksonville continued to will their way back into the game outscoring the Ospreys in the final ten minutes.

Tolbert and Farmer combined for 14 points in the period. Careless turnovers helped Jacksonville tie up the game and send to overtime, 72-72.

In overtime, Jacksonville took control with senior Brandi Buie leading the charge. Buie scored four straight crucial points for the Dolphins, including making a pair of free throws to put the game out of reach for the Ospreys.  

Farmer scored 23 points along with 10 rebounds to complete her double-double for UNF. Tolbert, Hanson and Rumph ended their night scoring in double figures as well.

Kayla Gordon and Naqaiyyah Teague both scored 17 points for Jacksonville in the win. Buie and Brown both finished with 15 points each.

Jacksonville will now head to Fort Myers to challenge Florida Gulf Coast for the ASUN Conference Title.

As for North Florida, tonight’s loss not only ended the Ospreys season but it also ended the careers for an outstanding senior class of Farmer, Hanson and Rumph. North Florida will now head into the offseason with promising new talent and another chance to challenge for the ASUN title next season.

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