Ospreys invade the Lions’ den and move onto ASUN Conference Semifinals

Bruce Hope, Sports Reporter

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All ASUN Conference Second-Teamer Redshirt-Sophomore Jazz Bond led the UNF Women’s Basketball team to their fourth straight win, 55-53, surviving in the closing seconds against the UNA Lions in the ASUN Quarterfinals.

Khorri Newton
Freshman Lauren Gross attempts a jumper.

UNA’s star Junior Brittany Panetti almost singlehandedly kept her team in the game.  The Ospreys had no answer for her in the post; she went a perfect 6-6 field goals for 15 points in the first half.  The rest of the Lions didn’t fare nearly as well, going a combined 5-29 from the floor.

Bond wasted no time making her mark on the game as she got touches early and often in the game, scoring 12 points in the first half to almost match Panetti in a battle of low post players. At the end of the first quarter, the Ospreys led, 17-11. 

UNF went on an 11-3 run during the second quarter, to lead by as many as seven, but UNA fought their way back into the game to keep it close.

The Ospreys led by one, 29-28 at halftime.

UNF went on an 8-0 run early in the third quarter to take a 39-31 lead.

All season long, the third quarter was the highest scoring for the Lions.  The Ospreys locked in defensively and took that away, holding the Lions to only eight points in the quarter.

As well as the Ospreys defended, with every lead they built, the Lions fought back.

While Panetti was nearly unstoppable, the rest of the Lions continued to shoot poorly.

The Ospreys opened the fourth quarter leading 41-37, and were 9-0 on the season when holding their opponents to under 60 points.

Junior Kenysha Coulson opened the fourth with two quick baskets to cut the Osprey lead again to one point.

After a dominant first half, Bond scored only one point in the second half.

UNF got into the bonus with six minutes remaining in the fourth after Coulson picked her fifth personal to foul out of the game.

Again, the Ospreys were unable to put the game away, and the Lions pushed ahead on a big three by the first team All-Conference Junior Ivy Wallen.

The back and forth action continued, leading to a tie game at 53 with less than one minute left.

It seemed like every time the Ospreys needed an offensive rebound, they got one. 14 on the night was key to the win for UNF.

With 25 seconds left, Bond showed one of the reasons she was named Second Team All-Conference by getting a huge block on Junior Emma Wallen in the lane to save what would have been an easy score.

10 seconds later, with Panetti driving for a possibly tying score, Bond was there again for her team with another huge block to save a basket.

UNF missed several critical free throws down the stretch, making this game closer than it should have been, but their defensive tenacity prevailed in their 55-53 win. 

Bond finished with 13 points and seven rebounds and Junior Janesha Green chipped in with 11 points. Senior Ty Purifoy scored 10 while dishing out six assists.

The Ospreys will fight on, reaching the ASUN Conference Tournament Semifinals for the second consecutive season.

UNF has now won four straight games and are 15-13 overall (10-7 ASUN).  They will play next on Wednesday, March 13 at Liberty.

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