Women’s basketball fights back, defeats Kennesaw State on senior day

Jacob Justice, Sports Reporter

The University of North Florida women’s basketball team faced off against the Kennesaw State University Owls on Saturday, with the Ospreys taking the match 84-76.

This game was played at UNF Arena, with the Ospreys only having one home contest remaining on the season after Saturday’s game. 

This contest was also North Florida’s senior day, where the veteran players were recognized and honored for their contributions before their final home match began.

The Ospreys came out aggressive in the first quarter, putting up 29 points on the board to take an early nine-point lead. This was thanks in no small part to Jaelyn Swann, who scored five consecutive points in the quarter. 

The North Florida lead was only extended after the second, with the Ospreys continuing to make it rain from beyond the arc with four three-pointers in what was a double-digit lead for UNF. Thanks to this string first half, the Ospreys led 56-38 going into the break.

The Ospreys celebrate a win
Now with momentum, the Ospreys will look to close out the regular season with a strong week. (Justin Nedrow)

After halftime, Kennesaw State started to fight back against the North Florida onslaught, managing an impressive 21 points in the third. However, the Ospreys were able to maintain their double-digit lead heading into the fourth and final quarter with a 12-point cushion.

The Ospreys seemed to slow down in the fourth quarter, only scoring 17 points in the period after scoring more than 20 points in all of the previous quarters. However, it wasn’t enough, as the North Florida defense was able to hold Kennesaw State to only 13 points in the fourth and secure an 84-76 win.

This win moves the Ospreys up to a 4-11 ASUN record, moving past Queens and Central Arkansas to reach the No. 12 ranking. This is a  good sign for UNF students, players and fans, as the No. 10 seed and final spot in the tournament, currently held by Jacksonville University, is only one win away.

North Florida gave it their all in this contest, with many players having some of their best outings of the season in this game.

One such performance was caused by graduate student guard Brianna Livingston, who set a new career high in points with an impressive 19 in Saturday’s game.

Junior guard Jaelyn Swann was the star of the show, leading the game with 23 points while dominating from three with seven of her buckets coming from beyond the arc.

With only three games left on the season, UNF will need to win most of, if not all, of these games in the final stretch in order to reach the No. 10 spot and qualify for the looming ASUN tournament.

North Florida will be on the road in the upcoming week, with in-conference matchups against Central Arkansas on Thursday and North Alabama on Saturday being a true test of how this Osprey unit can perform in the final stretch.


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