UConn, Kentucky Women Win Paradise Jam Division Championships

UConn’s Napheesa Collier, 24 in the white, and Purdue’s Ae’Rinna Harris, 32 in black, battle for the opening tip at the UVI’s sports and Fitness in the Final Day of 2018 Paradise Jam.
UConn’s Napheesa Collier, 24 in the white, and Purdue’s Ae’Rinna Harris, 32 in black, battle for the opening tip at the UVI’s sports and Fitness in the Final Day of 2018 Paradise Jam.

The Kentucky Wildcats took home the Island Division Championship and move to 7-0 on the season and the University of Connecticut was crowned the champion of the Reef Division on Saturday, the final day of action of the 2018 Paradise Jam.

Kentucky 85, UNC 75
With both teams coming into the game with 2-0 Paradise Jam records, Kentucky came away with the Island Division crown, winning a seesaw battle over UNC, 85-75.

The game was tied at 9-9 in the early going, but UNC went on a 13-2 run and when the Tar Heels’ Destinee Walker buried a three-pointer, UNC was up 22-11 with 2:43 left in the period. Kentucky responded with a run of its own to make the deficit two, 25-23 at the end of the quarter.

In the second quarter, UNC scored the quarters’ first five points but Kentucky tied the game at 30 again with just over five minutes left in the half.

The Tar Heels again took the lead with a 10-2 run that ended at the three minute make the lead 40-32. They carried that momentum for the rest of the half and lead 47-38 at the break.

In the third quarter North Carolina extended its lead. Kentucky cut the deficit to six, but the Tar Heels went on a run and lead 60-47 with just under four minutes in the quarter.

After that the game the Wildcats took over, dominating the rest of the way. Kentucky scored the last seven points of the quarter, making the 60-54, then Wildcat Jaida Romper knocked down a three-point jumper, tying the game at 64.

The run didn’t stop, and Kentucky took a lead 68-64 with just over six and half minutes to go.

North Carolina’s five-point surge gave the Tar Heels a one-point edge, but Kentucky closed the ball game with a 17-6 run.

The 31 points scored in a fourth quarter, were the second most in a fourth-quarter in program history.

Two Wildcats notched double-doubles: Island Division MVP Rhyne Howard had 25 points and 12 rebounds while Taylor Murray scored 23 points and dished out 10 assists. Maci Morris knocked down five three pointers and finished with 18 points.

Stephanie Watts of UNC was the game’s leading scorer with 27 points and made seven three pointers. Her teammates Paris Kea and Shayla Bennett each had 13 in the loss.

No. 17 USF 60, UCLA 56
The University of South Florida, ranked 17th in the nation, got its first Paradise Jam win Saturday to finish in third place the Island Division, beating UCLA 60-56.

Defense stepped up in the first quarter, as the teams were held to a combined 20 percent from the field during the initial period.

The Bruins scored the first six points but Sydni Harvey knocked down a three pointer for USF and the game was tied at six with 1:31 left in the quarter.

Lindsey Corsaro answered with a three for UCLA and the Bruins held a slim first quarter edge, 9-6.

After the Bruins scored the first basket of the second quarter, USF went on a 14-0 run that was finished off by an Alyssa Rader three, putting the Bulls up 20-11 with just about four and half minutes to play in the first half.

The USF grew to 13 by the time the team’s went into the locker room for halftime.

At the opening of the second half the Bulls built their lead to 15 as a pair of Laura Ferreira free throws opened the second half, giving USF its biggest lead of the game.

Japreece Dean scores seven point for the Bruins over the next four minutes, cutting the deficit to six with a jump shot with just over six and half minutes in the quarter.

The Bruins trailed by nine as the final quarter opened, but kept battling back. A Michaela Onyenwere layup with just over six minutes left in the game cut the deficit to just three. But a jumper from Ferreira with three minutes left but the lead back to nine.

UCLA would not go away as they scored the game’s next six points and with 1:38 left cut the deficit to three again.

Ferreira hit a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left but Kennedy Burke hit a lay with 13 seconds to go and UCLA still had a chance.

Ferreira only made one of two free throws with 10 seconds on the clock but it was enough to see USF capture third place in the Island Division.

Harvey was the game’s MVP and finished with 19 points while Ferreira’s clutch free throw shooting was part of a 14 point performance.

Dean and Burke lead the Bruins in scoring with 17 and 16 respectively.

St. John’s 64, Ole Miss 59
St. John’s held on late against Ole Miss, and with Purdue’s loss in the later game were able to claim second place in the Reef Division

Neither team could get much going in the first quarter as St. John’s built a 10-8 lead at the end of one. A 13-2 St. John run to start the second quarter opened things up, and the Red Storm were up 25-12 after a Kadaja Bailey hit a three with just under five and half minutes left.

St. John’s kept the difference between the two teams around that mark for the rest of the half, going to the locker room up 30-18.

The lead grew up to 19 in the third quarter, when Shamachyca Duncan knocked down a three with 3:22 to go in the period. But a three pointer by Crystal Allen of the Ole’ Miss Rebels cut the deficit to 10 heading into the game’s final period.

Allen hit another three pointer on the quarter’s first possession and the deficit was down to seven with 8:24 left in the game. Jhileiya Dunlap made a nice move in the paint to send the St. John defender the wrong and hit the now-open shot in the paint, cutting the lead to five with six and half minutes left.

A pair of Allen free throws cut the deficit to two, the closest Ole Miss came in it’s comeback effort, with just under four and half minutes left.

Strong free throw shooting by St. John’s down the stretch saw the lead grow seven for the Red Storm.

Allen hit another three pointer with 14 seconds left and the deficit was just three. But Qadashah Hoppie hit two free throws for St. John’s.

Mimi Reid hit a layup with five seconds left to keep the Rebels alive. Hoppie hit two free throws again with 4.5 seconds left and the Red Storm forced a turnover to secure the victory.

Hoppie had 23 points and shot 17 of 17 from the free throw line, and Bailey scored 15 points in the victory.

Allen had 26 points and hit four three pointers and didn’t miss from downtown for Ole Miss and was the only Rebel in double digits.

No. 2 UConn 86, Purdue 40
The Huskies claimed the Reed Division title in dominant fashion as they were in control from the opening tip. When UConn’s Katie Lou Samuelson hit a three pointer to make the lead 9-2, the Boilermakers were forced to call a timeout to regroup just 1:58 into the quarter.

It didn’t help much as the Huskies kept on rolling. By the end of the quarter they were up 28-8, with Samuelson’s 13 points leading the way.

UConn’s defense continued to be stingy in the second quarter, giving up just 10 more points, and the offense continued to click. The Huskies had 47-18 lead at the half.

UConn continued to dominate all the way to the final horn.

The Huskies were led by Samuelson with 22 points, Napheesa Collier with 19 points and Christyn Williams had 17.

Dominique Oden and Kayana Taylor had 12 each for Purdue.

All Tournament Teams
The Island Division tournament team was lead by Division MVP Rhyne Howard from Kentucky. She was joined by teammate Taylor Murray, Sydni Harvey of USF, Kennedy Burke ofUCLA and Stephanie Watts, UNC.

The Reef Division tournament team features two players from UConn, tournament MVP Napheesa Collier Kaite Lou Samuelson. Rounding out the honor squad were Crystal Allen, Ole Miss; Tiana England, St. Johns; and Ae’Rianna Harris, Purdue.