TUESDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2010
Women’s basketball opens practice for 2010-11 season
The sweet sounds of sneakers hitting the hardwood reconvened in Swisher Gymnasium on Monday afternoon as the JU women’s basketball team began practice for the 2010-11 season.
The Dolphins return seven players from the 2009-10 squad that hit double-digit wins for the fifth straight season, while also reaching the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament for the fifth consecutive time under head coach Jill Dunn.
JU finished the year first in the A-Sun in blocks (140) and third in steals (288), while also setting a new school record in rebounds with 1,289 boards. JU continued its stingy defensive play by limiting five opponents under 50-points.
“We are excited about getting practice underway,” said Dunn. “This team has been working really hard in the preseason to get prepared for this season. They are bringing energy and excitement and that is already a great sign.”
Most of the experience for the Dolphins will come from the back court as they return five guards led by senior GiGi Thomas.
As a junior last season, Thomas finished third on the team in steals (30) and fourth in scoring (7.4). She scored in double-digits in the final four games, including a season-best 23 points and two blocks in the A-Sun tourney win over Campbell. Thomas also had 14 points and a season-high five steals against the Camels (2/25).
Ashanti Williams and Jessica George each will enter their junior seasons after being JU’s top two threats behind the arc last season. Sophomore Maggie Wilson returns after recording 11 of her 25 assists in the final four games of the season, while redshirt-freshman Abril Peeples looks to work her way back in the lineup following a knee injury that cut her year short.
Also in the mix will be freshman Ronisha Mitchell, freshman Ciara McLee and junior college transfer Crystal Bell.
“Our staff feels like this is a very solid group of guards,” said Dunn. We are versatile in this position to be able to do a lot of things offensively and defensively. We are really excited about the energy that they are bringing.”
Seniors Taneskei Richardson and Lynesy Paschal are the top two returners for the Dolphins down in the posts.
Richardson finished her junior season third in blocks (19) and rebounds (141), including pulling down five or more rebounds in nine of 10 games from Jan. 7-Feb. 11. She tallied a career-best 10 rebounds and 11 points at FGCU (1/9) for her first career double-double.
Paschal hit double figures in scoring on five occasions and recorded two double-double efforts. She tallied 10 points with a career-best 17 rebounds, four assists and three blocks against Florida Tech (11/20).
Both returners will share their knowledge to the three towering newcomers in freshmen Jane’l Osborne (6-foot-1), Jenae Wilson (6-foot-2), and Madison Scott (6-foot-3). They will also be joined by freshman Jade Cargill.
Scott and Wilson each averaged more than 13 points and 10 rebounds a contest as seniors, while Osborne helped her high school team to playoff berths during the last three seasons.
As a senior at Vero Beach High School, Cargill was named Team MVP, conference “Player of the Year” and second team all-state after averaging 21.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 6.2 steals.
“It’s really important that Lynsey and Taneskei continue to be leaders with this young group,” said Dunn. “We will be expecting a lot of production in every category from Lynsey and Taneskei. It’s vital that our young players catch on quickly and are ready to compete on Nov. 12.”
JU kicks off the 2010-11 campaign with an exhibition contest against Tampa (Nov. 6) at Swisher Gymnasium. The Dolphins will open the regular season on the road at USF in Tampa, Fla. on Nov. 12.