Women's Basketball hosts Bethune-Cookman to open Thursday doubleheader

Dec. 28, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After an eight-day hiatus, the Dolphins women's basketball team(2-5) will play their final non-conference contest on Thursday against Bethune-Cookman (2-5) at 5 p.m. The contest is the first of a scheduled double-header with the men's squad, who will host Georgia Southern at 7 p.m.

Head coach Jill Dunn: Jill Dunn enters her second season as head coach of the Jacksonville University women's basketball program after leading JU to its most overall and conference wins in three seasons, despite the loss of their top two post players. No stranger to the Atlantic Sun Conference, Dunn spent the previous three years helping Georgia State to three consecutive A-Sun Conference titles from 2001-04. Before joining Georgia State, Dunn was the top assistant coach at Miami University (Ohio), during the 2000-01 season. Prior to her one-year stint in Miami, Dunn served as the head coach at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., from 1998-00. In her final season with the program, the Lady Catamounts posted 12 wins which was the most in 15 seasons at WCU and the most ever by a second-year head coach in the Southern Conference. Before being elevated to the head spot at Western Carolina, she was the top assistant coach during the 1997-98 campaign. Dunn's coaching career began at the University of South Carolina, where she was as an assistant coach from 1994-97. Dunn's success began as a player at Georgia Southern, where she was a three-year starter from 1989-93. She earned Second-Team All-Southern Conference honors and led the Lady Eagles to the SoCon Tournament championship game and a berth in the NCAA Tournament as a senior.

A look at the latest action: Senior guard Sheena Carpenter finished with a game-high 17 points, nine rebounds and two steals but Central Michigan used a late run to pull away from the Dolphins, 66-54, Monday evening at Swisher Gymnasium. JU trailed by only eight points with 2:46 remaining but could only manage two points for the remainder of the contest. Central Michigan used a 6-2 run in the final stretch to put the contest out of reach. Carpenter led the contest in scoring after shooting 7-of-20 from the floor, while sophomore forward Ashley Williams had 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Junior guard Nakina Alford rounded out the Dolphins with double figure scoring with 10 points.

The A-List: A solid presence is being felt under the basket this season and it has been none other than sophomore forward Ashley Williams. The North Florida Community College transfer has made the biggest impact for the Dolphin newcomers in 2005-06 as she has become one of the Atlantic Sun Conference's top scorers. Last week, Williams continued her double-digit sc oring streak by tallying 11 points against Central Michigan. Williams has now scored at least 10 points in every game this season. Williams currently ranks fourth in the A-Sun with 17.6 points per game, leads the conference with a .644 field-goal percentage, third with 1.43 blocks per game, fourth with 9.3 rebounds per game and is fifth with 2.43 steals per game. Williams tied a program record with 27 points (12-of-14 from the floor), nine rebounds, four steals and blocked shot in a 98-60 loss to USF on Nov. 23. Williams accounted for nearly half of the Dolphins' offense as she continually scored in the low post against taller defenders, including a game-high 13 points at the half. Williams also tied the program record with 19 rebounds (Kat Sungy) against Savannah State on Dec. 12.

I wish I were a Carpenter: Senior guard Sheena Carpenter has come alive in 2005-06 after adjusting to a new squad and a different offensive strategy. Against Florida Atlantic, Carpenter narrowly led the Dolphins to their first win to open Atlantic Sun Conference play after falling in a 24 point hole. In the first half, she led JU with 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field as the Dolphins trailed 45-26 at the half. In the second frame, Carpenter was a catalyst for a Dolphin rally as JU used runs of 15-3 and 19-7 to pull within three points with 12 seconds remaining. Carpenter led the offensive assault by finishing with a career-high 25 points and nine rebounds, including a career-high 11-of-12 effort from the free-throw line. She has continued her hot hand by leading all scorers with 17 points against Central Michigan on Dec. 19. Carpenter is currently sixhth in the conference in scoring (14.3 ppg), sixth in rebounding (8.4 rpg) and seventh in assists (3.14 apg).

JU in the A-Sun: The Dolphins are currently ranked second in rebounding offense with 41.4 rpg, fourth in field-goal percentage (.390) and three-point field-goal percetage (.307) and fifth in scroing offense (62.6) and free-throw percentage (.659).

Injuries continue: No matter what the year, it seems that injuries are the center of attention for the JU women's basketball program. Last season, injuries took their toll on the Dolphins' post players when center Kara Donnell had missed the first half of the year while recovering from a knee injury in the preseason. After suffering another setback in her first practice, she is out indefinitely. Forward Yolisha Jackson has missed 17 games when she reinjured her left knee against Mercer on Jan. 6. This year, sophomore guard Crystal Ayers will miss the entire season due to surgery on her right knee. Ayers was penciled in to start at point guard after transferring from Okaloosa-Walton Junior College. Junior forward Talia Johnson has also missed the first three games of the year with a knee injury. She will be out indefinitely. Johnson was the Dolphins' most experience post player heading into this season. Freshman center Precious Robinson has added to the low-post injury woes by missing the past three games with an ankle injury.