Women's Basketball Grinds Out Win in Opening Game of NSU Thanksgiving Tourney

Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications

Jordan Kong (Pictured, Center) Poured in a Season-High 20 Points on Saturday Against Southwest Minnesota State University in a 63-57 Sailfish Victory. Photo Courtesy of: Damon Higgins. Jordan Kong (Pictured, Center) Poured in a Season-High 20 Points on Saturday Against Southwest Minnesota State University in a 63-57 Sailfish Victory. Photo Courtesy of: Damon Higgins.

Box Score

DAVIE, Fla.- The Palm Beach Atlantic University women’s basketball jumped out to a quick lead on Friday afternoon in their contest versus Southwest Minnesota State University and never looked back as they held off numerous threats at their lead to hold on for a 63-57 win. The Sailfish and Mustangs opened the Nova Southeastern University Thanksgiving Tournament at the Don Taft University Center in nearby Davie, Florida.

Seniors Jordan Kong and Selethia Jackson both put up big performances to help carry the load for PBA who moves to 2-0 this week following their win at NCAA Division I, Bethune-Cookman University on Tuesday evening. The hard-fought victory over SMSU puts PBA’s record to 3-2 on the season with one more game versus Bemidji State University on Saturday to conclude play at NSU.

Kong poured in 15 of her team-high 20 points in the first-half as the Fish played smart and efficient basketball on the day as they turned the ball over only seven times including just once in the first-half.

Jackson posted an impressive defensive performance throughout as the Riviera Beach native tallied a career-high six blocks while altering a number of other Mustang attempts in the paint while also grabbing nine boards to go with her 16 points for the game.

Palm Beach Atlantic (3-2) jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead as a jumper from Jackson followed by two straight three-balls from Kong and junior guard Lynsey Poole put the Fish up early, prompting a timeout from SMSU head coach, Allison Kruger.

An 8-2 run by the Mustangs would then follow as a 3-pointer from Hope Bolander drew SMSU within two points with a 10-8 PBA lead with 14:21 until halftime.

An old-fashioned three-point play from Abby Kenealy a few minutes later would eventually tie the score at 15-15 while a jumper from Jessie Watts would give the Mustangs their first lead of 17-16 with 8:35 remaining in the opening half.

The remainder of the half would see both teams mostly trade baskets until a flurry of PBA scoring near the end of the half including a 3-pointer from senior Hayley Fields with 49 seconds remaining that gave the Fish their biggest lead of the half at eight points as her 3-pointer put the Fish up 32-24.

The Sailfish would settle for a 32-26 lead at halftime as they narrowly edged SMSU in the shooting department in the first-half as they connected on 39.4 percent (22-59) of their shots while SMSU shot 39.1 percent (9-23).

Out of the locker room the Fish would look to extend their lead as a quick start was keyed by the play of junior Ashley Dolberry who sat out much of the first-half in foul trouble. The Texas native gave PBA a game-high 12 point lead when she deposited a layup with 17:32 remaining to give the Fish a 40-28 lead.
The PBA lead would hover around double-digits until the 9:25 mark remaining in regulation as the Mustangs got in gear and began to chip away at the PBA advantage.

A layup by Bree Holleman with 3:51 left completed the comeback efforts for Southwest Minnesota as it drew her team within a basket at 54-52.

That would be as close as things would get however as the Fish re-upped their lead down the stretch thanks to their solid ball-handling against the increasing SMSU pressure while also making good on their trips to the free-throw line.

A trey from Fields with 2:05 remaining proved to be a major dagger as well to the SMSU hopes as her long-ball put the Fish back up by a more comfortable seven points with the clock on their side.

Although quieter in the second-half, Kong managed to play more of a distributor role in the second 20 minutes as she and backcourt mate Poole played the full 40 minutes. Poole helped PBA extend their lead down the stretch with some key trips to the free-throw line as she finished with nine points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Jackson finished 7-of-13 from the field while just missing another double-double while Dolberry chipped in with nine points including a 3-of-4 showing at the charity stripe. She also pulled down nine rebounds including six on the offensive glass.

Southwest Minnesota State was led by 19 points from Kenealy while Bonlander and Holleman each topped double-figures as well with 11 and 10 points respectively.

The Fish finished the contest shooting 37.3 percent (22-59) while the Mustangs were 35.7 percent (20-56) for the game.

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