Women's Hoops hosts Mercer and Stetson this week

Jan. 18, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After dropping a two-game road trip to Gardner-Webb and Campbell, the Dolphins women's basketball team (3-10, 0-6 A-Sun) returns to Swisher Gymnasium this week to face Mercer (7-6, 4-2) and Stetson. The Dolphins begin the week against Mercer on Thursday at 5 p.m. before concluding the weekend against Stetson on Saturday at 1 p.m. Both contests will be the first of a scheduled doubleheaders with the JU men's squad. The Dolphins are still in search of their first win in conference play.

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: Despite a career high in points from freshman guard Regina Omiote (17) and freshman forward Kelly Ford (12), the Dolphins could not overcome a 12:10 scoring drought as the JU women's basketball team fell to Campbell, 85-69, on Jan. 12 at Carter Gymnasium. JU dropped its fifth-consecutive game and seventh straight Atlantic Sun Conference contest after being out rebounded by the Camels, 52-24. Campbell took advantage of a 0-for-12 shooting slump by the Dolphins with a 26-0 run spanning 12:17 at the end of the first and into the second half.

Dolphin notables: Against Gardner-Webb, senior guard Sheena Carpenter surpassed Lexie Richards (1999-04) in the JU career record book with four assists to give her 193 for her career. She also surpassed Richards for third place on the all-time scoring list with 789 career points. Sophomore forward Ashley Williams finished with 13 points (all in the second half), nine rebounds and three blocks to lead a second-half run by the Dolphins. Freshman guard Virginia Gregoire grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds to go with nine points. The Dolphins also finished with 15 steals, including at least one steal by every member of the squad. Against Campbell, freshman guard Regina Omoite, who also had a game-high four steals, finished with a career-high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the contest, including a 3-for-5 effort from beyond the arc. Freshman forward Kelly Ford had a career-high 12 points after going 4-for-5 from the field and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line. JU also had a season-low 11 turnovers and 12 steals in the contest.

An interesting trend: The Dolphins are powered by the dynamic duo of senior guard Sheena Carpenter and sophomore forward Ashley Williams. But JU has only been successful in the win column when the supporting cast jumps to the forefront. In eight losses this season, the scoring average leaders are as follows: Carpenter (16.4 ppg), Williams (14.8 ppg), junior guard Nakina Alford (7.8 ppg), freshman guard Virginia Gregoire (6.1 ppg) and freshman guard Regina Omoite (4.4 ppg). Also to be added in the equation is a combined average of 5.25 assists per game by Carpenter and Omoite. In three wins, the scoring average leaders are as follows: Williams (19.0 ppg), Alford (13.3 ppg), Gregoire (11.7 ppg), Omoite (8.0 ppg) and Carpenter (7.3 ppg). During that span, Carpenter and Omoite are averaging 8.0 assists per game.

JU in the A-Sun: The Dolphins are currently ranked third in rebounding margin (+0.3), defensive rebounds (39.8 rpg) and blocked shots (4.31 bpg), fourth in field-goal percentage (.400), offensive rebounds (40.1 rbg) and three-point field-goal percentage (.303), fifth in free-throw percentage (.665) and fifth in assists (13.15 apg), scoring offense (68.3 ppg), field-goal percentage defense (.405), assist-to-turnover ratio (0.64) and scoring margin (-5.9). Individually, sophomore forward Ashley Williams currently ranks fifth in the A-Sun with 15.5 points per game, leads the conference with a .573 field-goal percentage, second with 1.85 blocks per game, fifth with 7.8 rebounds per game, seventh with a .776 free-throw percentage and is tied for 8th with 1.85 steals per game. Senior guard Sheena Carpenter is currently eighth in the conference in scoring (13.7 ppg), sixth in rebounding (7.7 rpg) and 9th in assist (3.00 apg). Junior guard Nakina Alford is nineth in three-point field-goals made (1.62 tpg) and 15th in three-point field goal percentage (.296). Freshman forward Virginia Gregoire is 12th in field-goal percentage (.444). Freshman guard Regina Omoite is eleventh with 2.85 apg.

Injuries starting to improve 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.