Preston Odam, Correspondent
Jacksonville State Women’s Basketball team scored over 90 points in a game for the first time since the 2017 season as they dominated the Young Harris Mountain Lions in a 91-58 win at home Tuesday, Nov. 30. The victory pushed the Gamecocks to a 5-2 record. The win was also the third win in a row for JSU. Young Harris suffered their first loss of the season after the game.
JSU had four players score in double figures as junior point guard Nekiyah Thompson led the way with 16 points. Kennedy Gavin followed Thompson with 14 points. Keira Griffin tallied 12 points and Imari Martin added 11 points for JSU. Thompson also led the Gamecocks with a career high of seven assists in the game. Gavin led JSU in rebounds with 11 giving her a third double-double on the season. Madison McCoy followed Gavin with eight rebounds in the competition.
Jacksonville State came out with a blazing hot start opening the game with a 7-0 run. Thompson scored to extend the JSU lead to 11-2 before a 7-2 run by the Mountain Lions cut the Gamecock lead to four, 13-9. JSU was able to take a six point lead of 17-11 into the second quarter. Griffin hit a three-point basket as the Gamecocks opened the second period on a 10-4 run extending their lead to 27-15. JSU continued to pour it on in the second quarter after Bre’Anna Rhodes scored an and-one to extend the JSU lead to 20 points, 47-27 with a few ticks under a minute remaining in the opening half. JSU was able to take a 49-29 lead into the halftime break following a pair of Shawnta Shaw free throws.
Following the break, JSU went on a 17-2 run to gain a 38 point advantage, 71-32. JSU gained their largest lead of the game of 39 following a transition layup by Shawnta Shaw extended the lead to 79-40 with just under one minute remaining in the third quarter. Young Harris was able to outscore the Gamecocks, 16-12, in the final period of the game. This would not be close to enough to cut into the margin the Gamecocks held as JSU would win 91-58. This was the first time JSU scored 90 or more points since January 2017 when the Gamecocks scored 97 in a victory over Murray State.
The Gamecocks were able to dominate the rebounding category as well as they had 46 boards compared to 31 from Young Harris. 16 of those 46 rebounds were offensive rebounds for the Gamecocks. These offensive rebounds led to 19 second chance points for JSU. Four of Gavin’s 11 rebounds were offensive rebounds. Gavin leads the entire ASUN in offensive rebounds this season to this point. The rebounding advantage has been huge for the Gamecocks as JSU is 5-0 when out rebounding their opponents.
Head coach Rick Pietri told JSU Sports Information, “There’s a number of things that I did like. While we went through a stretch where we had difficulty making our perimeter shots, we did give ourselves additional chances with offensive rebounds and those led to points.” Coach Pietri also praised the rebounding tenacity of Gavin by saying, “She’ll go get us second chances which is a big deal. She’s an extremely capable defensive rebounder as well. She has a nose for it on the offensive glass and that’s always helpful because if you aren’t making the first shot it certainly helps to get the second one.”
JSU hit 12 of 44 three point attempts in the game which is one shot shy of tying the school record for most threes attempted in a game. The record of 45 was set and tied in 2020. Martin and Griffin both made three three-pointers in the game to lead the way for JSU’s shooting. JSU is now set to face Alabama State at the Pete Mathews Coliseum Sunday, Dec. 5. The game is set for a 2 p.m. tip off.