The women’s side of Paradise Jam tipped off on Thanksgiving day at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center and provided an action packed day of basketball with three decisive wins and one close call.
No. 17 University of South Florida 63, Kentucky 85.
In the first action of the day, Kentucky upset the No. 17 team in the country, USF, by utilizing effective three point shooting and efficient defense to take the win 85-63 and move the team to 5-0 on the season.
Kentucky took an early 5-0 advantage but then USF’s Freshman Sydni Harvey scored 13 of the team’s first 19 points and it was the Bulls on top, 19-15.
Kentucky made sure the hot start for Harvey wasn’t able to create any separation between the teams and as they tied the game at 20 by the end of the quarter.
It was Kentucky’s defense that stepped out as they held USF to just eight second-quarter points while scoring 24 of their own. The team’s hot shooting was their key advantage in the first 20 minutes as the Wildcats shot over 70 percent from three in the first half.
In the second half, everything kept going Kentucky’s way. With 9:40 to go in the game, guard Jaida Roper got fouled while shooting and needed a little luck as the ball bounced around on the rim four times before going in to extend the Kentucky lead to 24, their largest of the game at that point.
USF couldn’t mount a comeback and moved to 4-1 on the season.
Kentucky didn’t have a win against a team ranked in the AP Top 25 as they went 0-11 against ranked opponents.
The Wildcats were lead by a mix of youth and experience as freshman guard Rhyne Howard had a game-high 18 while senior guard Taylor Murray had 17.
USF had two players with double-digits point totals. Harvey finished with 16 and Laura Ferreira had 10.
North Carolina 83, UCLA 49
North Carolina jumped ahead early, with the score 20-8 after the game’s first seven minutes behind two three pointers from Paris Kea.
UCLA wasn’t going to lay down and responded quickly. A Kennedy Burke layup with just over seven minutes in the second quarter cut the deficit to two, 30-28.
The last seven minutes of the quarter were dominated by UNC as they only gave up two points while scoring 14. The lead was 44-30 at halftime.
The momentum carried over to the second half for UNC, as the Tar Heels went on a 19-2 run. The lead was 63-34 with just over three minutes to go in the third quarter.
All five of the The Tar Heels starters were able to put up double digits in the rout. They were lead by Janelle Bailey with 20 points, who also finished with double digits in rebounds, and Kea Paris with 15 points
UCLA was held to 26 percent shooting in the contest, scoring just 19 points in the second half. Burke had nearly half the team’s offense, putting up a game high 21.
St. John’s 68 Purdue 62
St. John’s handed Purdue their first loss of the season in the first game of the Reef Division and the the closest match-up in the day.
The game went back and forth early as the The Red Storm jumped out to a 12-4 lead after the game’s first five minutes. but after Purdue’s Ae’Rianna made up a layup with 6:10 to go in the first half the score was tied at 21.
32 seconds before halftime, Tiana England made a layup and St. John were up six, 33-27 going into the break.
In the third quarter, Purdue got the lead down to two with a Karissa Mclaughlin layup with just over four minutes left in the quarter.
An Alisha Kebbe jump shot got the margin back up to eight before the third quarter ended.
The Red Storm opened their biggest lead of the game when England gave them a 10 point lead with seven minutes to go.
The game was back within a one possession margin after Purdue’s Cassidy Hardin hit a three pointer with just under three minutes left.
Qadashah Hoppie hit the game’s next shot, a three pointer to get the margin back up to six with 36 seconds left in the game.
Mclaughlin hit a three pointer for the Boilermakers with 12 seconds left, but clutch free throws from Hoppie secured the win for St. John’s
UConn 90 Ole Miss 50
In the first half, UConn demonstrated why they are the number two team in the country with an impressive stretch of basketball. After Ole Miss cut the lead down to four with five and half minutes left, they outscored Ole Miss 29-8 over the rest of the first half.
UConn’s zone defense deserves a lot of credit as Ole Miss was unable to get anything going offensively.
The Rebels were scoreless for six and half minutes during that run. With just over three minutes left that drought was ended, but the lead was up to, 37-13. By halftime the margin was 42-17.
With the game broken wide open, the second half wasn’t much better for the Rebels as they were outscored 48-33.
UConn’s dominant victory was a well rounded team performance with six players in double figures. Katie Lou Samuelson lead the way with 22 points, while Napheesa Collier had 18 points and 10 rebounds to secure a double double. The other Huskies in double figures were Christyn Williams (13), Megan Walker (12), Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Crystal Dangerfield (10)
Crystal Allen and Shannon Dozier were the only Ole Miss players in double figures with 11 each.
There are two more days of action in the Women’s Paradise Jam.
On Friday, the action will start at 2 p.m. with Kentucky and UCLA followed by North Carolina and USF in Island Division play. The first match-up of the Reef Division is Purdue and Ole Miss followed by UConn and St. John’s.
On Saturday, the action will again tip off at 2 p.m. with North Carolina and Kentucky. After that it’s USF and UCLA in Island Division play. At 6:30 p.m. St. John’s will face off against Ole Miss, while UConn and Purdue will conclude Paradise Jam.