Women's basketball travels to Lady Pirate Invitational this weekend

Nov. 21, 2007


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After going 2-1 last week, the JU women's basketball team returns to the road for the Lady Pirate Invitational this weekend in Greenville, N.C.

The Dolphins begin the tournament on Friday at 7 p.m. against UMass before facing the winner of host East Carolina and Winthrop on Saturday (5/7 p.m.).

Gregoire named A-Sun "Player of the Week"
Junior guard Virginia Gregoire earned preseason all- conference honors and she is backing up the recognition by establishing herself as one of the top scorers in the conference.

A first team all-conference and all-tournament selection in her break out sophomore campaign, Gregoire earned her first weekly honor after averaging 20.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.7 steals while also shooting .468 (22-47) from the field and .444 (8-18) from beyond the arc in three games.

In the biggest win in program history, Gregoire led the Dolphins to a 74-62 win at Miami with a career-high 26 points. She shot 7-of-17 from the field, tied a career- high by shooting 4-of-9 from beyond the arc and connected on 8-of-11 free throws. She also tied the team high with three steals and added four assists to lead JU to its first win over an ACC school in four attempts.

In a 76-45 win over Bethune-Cookman, Gregoire tallied 13 points, six assists, three steals and three rebounds while shooting 5-of-12 from the floor.

Against UCF, she led the Dolphins with 22 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals in an 80- 72 loss at the New UCF Arena. Gregoire also tied a career-high by connecting on 10-of-18 shots from the floor against the Golden Knights.

Head coach Jill Dunn
Jill Dunn is in her fourth season as head coach of the Jacksonville University women's basketball program and has engineered the squad into a powerhouse in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

In three short years, she directed the Dolphins to a program-best 21-9 overall record and led the squad to the semifinal of the A-Sun Tournament. This year, JU was selected as the preseason champion for the first time in program history.

Prior to JU, Dunn spent 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 Ohio, 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.

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 was named to the Georgia Southern Hall of Fame on Nov. 4.­

Williams breaking records
Senior forward Ashley Williams became the first player in program history to be named preseason MVP after surpassing her own single-season record with 509 points last season. She also became the first Dolphin to earn consecutive first team all-conference honors after tying for the conference lead with an average of 17 points per contest. The records are continuing to fall for the Jacksonville native and she is poised to end her Dolphin career as one of the top players in the history of the program.

After scoring 14 points in a win over Miami on Nov. 13, Williams joined forward Kat Sungy (1999-03), forward Yolisha Jackson (2000-05) and guard Sheena Carpenter (2003-06) as the only Dolphins to score 1,000 points in their careers. Now that she has surpassed 1,000 points, she will take aim at being the top scorer in program history. Williams is 136 points shy of surpassing Sungy (1,183) on the all-time point leader list. After surpassing Carpenter (1,015) for third place, she needs 23 points to move past Jackson (1,070) and make her way up the ladder.

On the defensive side of the ball, Williams set the career record for blocked shots (91) with one against Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 16. She also needs six more steals to surpass Sungy (115) on the all-time steals list.

Taking care of the ball
One of the staples of a Jill Dunn program is winning the turnover battles. Now in her fourth season with the program, those numbers are beginning to ring true.

In her first year, JU averaged 17.1 turnovers per contest, compared to 19.0 by its opponents. In year two, the Dolphin's finished with 18.8 turnovers per contest compared to 19.0 by their opponents.

Last year, JU led the A-Sun in turnover margin (+4.29) with an average of 18.3 turnovers per contest. The Dolphins also forced a conference-high 22.2 turnovers per game.

This year, the Dolphins lead the conference in turnover margin (+7.25), assist-to- turnover ratio (0.91), steals (16.25 spg) and assists (15.25 apg) with an average of 16.8 turnovers per contest. JU opponents are averaging 24.0 turnovers per game.

JU sets the tone with its pressure defense and this year's squad is setting new standards in the program record book for steals.

Last season, the Dolphins tallied a program-record with 309 team steals, shattering the previous record of 262 from 2005-06. JU also set a single-game record with 17 against Niagara on Dec. 18, 2006, and registered at least 10 steals in 18-of-30 contests.

This season, the Dolphins leap frogged the single-season mark with 21 steals against UCF on Nov. 19 and have tallied at least 10 steals in all four games. JU currently leads the Atlantic Sun Conference with 65 steals and 15.25 steals per contest.

Individually, four Dolphins are on pace to blow up the leader board for career steals this season.

Senior forward Ashley Williams needs only six steals to surpass Kat Sungy (115) for first on the all time list. Directly on her heels are junior guards Virginia Gregoire (104), DaVina Hamilton (103) and Regina Omoite (99). Williams may end her career as the program's all-time leader but she won't hold it for long with the guard trio still ready for another season of thievery.