Women's Hoops Notes For Florida Atlantic

Jan. 19, 2001


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Swat Team Matchup: This afternoon's game features the two premier shot blockers in the TAAC during the 2000-01 season in Florida Atlantic's Ruta Griniute and JU's Milica Miljkovic.

Griniute paces the league with 2.80 blocks per game while Miljkovic is second with 1.53. As of the Jan. 15 release by the NCAA, Griniute ranks fifth among Division I players with 39 blocks. Miljkovic, meanwhile, stands as JU's all-time block leader with 84 career swats, including 23 this season. Last season, Miljkovic led the TAAC with 61 blocks for an average of 2.18 per game.

Unfamiliar Territory: When the buzzer sounded for halftime of JU's game against UCF on Thursday, the Dolphins found themselves in somewhat unfamiliar territory as they held a 29-23 lead at the break.

It marked only the second time all year that JU held a lead at the break and also the second time the Dolphins turned a halftime lead into a win during the 2000-01 season. The other time JU held a halftime lead was against the College of Charleston when the Dolphins turned a 34-23 halftime lead into a 75-67 win over the Cougars back on Dec. 30, 2000.

Getting Better From The Field: In Thursday night's 66-62 victory over UCF in Swisher Gymnasium, the Dolphins shot over 50 percent from the field for the third time during the 2000-01 season. And while shooting has not been a strong point for the Dolphins so far this year, JU has shown improvement and currently ranks fourth in the TAAC with a 40.5 shooting percentage fromt he field.

Two Dolphins, sophomore post player Kat Sungy and senior forward Angela Walker, rank among the league leaders in shooting percentage. Sungy leads the team and ranks fifth with a .547 clip on 70-of-128 shooting, while Walker is 13th in the TAAC with a .354 mark.

The other two times JU shot over 50 percent for the game was against Stetson (Dec. 16) when they converted a season-best 52.9 percent of its shots on 27-of-51 shooting, and vs. College of Charleston (12-30-00) when the Dolphins hit 29-of-56 shots from the field for a 51.8 mark.

What To Watch: This afternoon's game should provide some interesting matchups between the Dolphins and the Owls. First and formost will be JU's scoring offense vs. FAU's scoring defense. While the Dolphins rank just eighth in the league with a scoring average of 57.7 points per game, Florida Atlantic is allowing a league-high 81.0 points a contest. While FAU averages 69.1 points an outing, the Owls' scoring margin is -11.9 points per game through the first 15 games of the season.

Another matchup will be the battle of the boards where the Dolphins feature the league's leading rebounded in Kat Sungy (8.9 rpg) while FAU ranks tops in the TAAC in rebounding offense (42.2). And while the Owls grab a lot of balls off the glass, they also give up a lot as FAU ranks ninth out of 10 TAAC teams with a rebounding defense of 44.5. FAU is tied for sixth in rebounding margin with -2.3 boards a contest.

A final area to keep an eye on is in the blocks category. FAU's Ruta Griniute leads the league in blocks with 1.8 a game while JU's Milica Miljkovic is No. 2 with a 1.53 average.

Keeping It Close: In all five of JU's wins during the 2000-01 season, the game was decided by single digits. In fact, JU is 5-1 this season in games decided by less than 10 points, including a 4-1 mark whent he game is decided by five points or less. In the 43-game history of JU women's basketball, the Dolphins are 9-13 in games decided by 10 points or less, including a 6-5 mark in games decided by five points or less. Below is a game-by-game breakdown of JU's games during the 2000-01 season that have been decided by 10 points or less.

   Opponent               Result          Date          Location
   Bethune-Cookman        W, 69-66 ot     11-22-00      Jacksonville, Fla.
   Army                   L, 63-57        11-25-00      Jacksonville, Fla.
   High Point             W, 60-57        12-2-00       High Point, N.C.
   Winthrop               W, 57-52        12-28-00      Jacksonville, Fla.
   College of Charleston  W, 75-76        12-30-00      Jacksonville, Fla.
   Samford                L, 52-47        1-11-01       Birmingham, Ala.
   UCF                    W, 66-62        1-18-01       Jacksonville, Fla.

Leader Of The TAAC: The one constant of the JU club since its first game back on Nov. 21, 1999, against Winthrop has been solid defense. And while the Dolphins went through a tough stretch earlier this season, JU is back on top of the TAAC standings in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot at just a .397 clip.

The Dolphins have held opponents to less than 40.0 percent shooting from the field on nine occasions, including Thursday night's performance against UCF when JU held the Golden Knights to a .358 clip from the field in the win. JU's best defensive game came last Thursday night when the Dolphins held the Samford University Bulldogs to 30.9 percent on 17-of-55 shooting from the field.

Last season, JU lead the TAAC in field goal percentage defense with a .364 clip and ranked third in scoring defense by holding opponents to 63.5 points per game.

Fighting Back: Junior forward Lana Labura made her return to the practice floor for the first time since the preseason on Monday. Labura, who has not suited up for a regulation game during the 2000-01 season, has been sitting out since the two exhibition games after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in her foot.

Labura has been working out with the team, attending all team practices and meetings, and has been swimming to stay fit for a return this season. In the two exhibition games, Labura averaged 16.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game. Against the Smokey Mountain Swarm, Labura had a double-double with 30 points and 18 rebounds to go along with seven assists.

Last season, Labura saw action in 28 games averaged 5.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest.

Record Watch: As the 2000-01 club continues to rewrite the record book in just the second season of women's basketball at JU, several single-season records can fall. On Thursday night, Shannon Wynn set the record for assists with seven dishes against UCF to give her 76 for the year.

Sophomore post player Kat Sungy is now just two rebounds away from tying Angela Walker's offensive rebounds record with 54. With 52 offensive boards through 15 games, Sungy is on pace to grab 94 o-boards during the regular season.

Another team record that can fall this season, and possibly be tied tonight, is wins in a season. At 5-10 through the first 15 games, JU is just one win off of last year's win total when the Dolphins went 6-22 in their inaugural season.

It's A Girl: JU added to it's basketball family last Wednesday night when assistant coach Melanee Wagener Atkinson gave birth the her first child, McKenzee Anne. McKenzee was born at approximately 3 p.m., weighing eight pounds, three ounces and measuring 21 inches long.

Atkinson has been a mainstay on the staff since the program's inception and will return to duty later this season. Both the newborn and elder Atkinson are doing fine and returned to their Jacksonville home last Thursday.

New Faces: The Dolphins added a new face for the 2001-02 season last Wednesday when head coach Melissa Taketa announced the signing of Providence College transfer Dee Cummings. A native of Huntsville, Ala., Cummings will have to sit out the remainder of the season due to transfer rules, and can begin play for the Dolphins after the Fall 2001 semester.

As a freshman in 1999-2000, Cummings started 11 of the 13 games in which she appeared, averaging 5.85 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 points per game before suffering a season-ending knee injury. She also saw action in four games this season before deciding to transfer. For her career, Cummings averages 5.41 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 points per game while tallying a 1.42 assist-to-turnover ratio.

She had a career-high 15 assists and seven rebounds in her first collegiate start against George Mason on Nov. 20, 1999. She also had 10-assist performances vs. Rhode Island on Dec. 3, 1999, and vs. Central Michigan on Nov. 18, 2000.