Jacksonville, Fla. – Travonda Haddock scored a team-leading 19 points but it was not enough as the second-seeded Jacksonville Dolphins defeated third-seed USC Upstate 67-56 in an A-Sun Tournament Semifinal in Historic Swisher Gymnasium on Wednesday.
Jacksonville improves to 21-10 and will face top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast in the championship game on Sunday. Upstate drops to 20-11.
Haddock scored 19 points, finishing one point shy of her career-high. Brittany Clency and Kristen Dickerson each scored 11 points. Brittany Starling pulled down a team-leading 13 rebounds.
Briona Brown posted a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds to lead Jacksonville. Brandi Buie finished with 12 points, followed by Sherranda Reddick with 11 and Christin Mercer with 10.
A Brown three-pointer got the Dolphins on the board at the 8:46 mark before a Haddock layup and Clency free throw tied the game at 3-3. Jacksonville went on a 9-2 run for a 12-5 lead with 2:10 to go before a Raven Jefferson three-pointer brought Upstate to within 12-8. Jacksonville held a 14-10 lead after the opening quarter.
Haddock sank a pair of shots to open the second quarter as Upstate tied the game 14-14 with 8:20 to play in the first half. Jacksonville took a 21-16 lead following a Mercer layup before Victoria Hadler hit a jumper from the free throw line to bring Upstate back within three, 21-18, with 4:16 to go. Jacksonville responded with a 12-0 run to close the half as the Dolphins led 33-18 at halftime.
Clency opened the third quarter with a layup to bring Upstate within 13, 33-20, before the Dolphins went on a 10-4 run for a game-high 19-point lead, 43-24. Upstate scored eight of the next 10 points to pull within 13, 45-32, with 3:12 left. Jacksonville took a 52-36 lead in to the fourth quarter after a Kayla Gordon free throw with one second left.
After a Buie layup gave the Dolphins a 54-38 lead with 9:14 to play, Upstate used an 11-4 run to pull within single digits, 58-49, after Dickerson completed the three-point play with 5:23 to play. Brown answered with a jumper on the Dolphins’ next possession as Upstate would get no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Upstate went 19-for-62 (30.6%) from the field and 1-for-10 (10%) from behind the three-point line. Jacksonville was 25-for-66 (37.9%) from the field and 3-for-10 (30%) behind the arc. Jacksonville outrebounded Upstate 47-39 and scored 21 points off of 14 Spartan turnovers. Jacksonville also held a 26-6 edge in second chance points.