SATURDAY, MARCH 10, 2007
Women's Basketball falls to No. 3 ETSU, 78-72, in A-Sun Semifinals

March 10, 2007

Box Score

DOTHAN, Ala. - GALLERY

Despite a sluggish first half and a 15 point deficit in the second frame, the JU women's basketball team pulled to within three but ran out of magic to end its record breaking season with a 78-72 loss to No. 3 East Tennessee State, Friday evening in the semifinal round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament at the Dothan Civic Center.

JU (21-9), which had its program-record nine-game winning streak snapped, shot 39 percent from the floor (26-67) and had 13 turnovers in the first half.

Belmont (20-10) advances to play No. 1 Belmont on Saturday after shooting 54 percent from the floor (28-52), including a blistering 67 percent (14-21) in the second half.

"We are certainly disappointed in the way we played tonight," said JU head coach Jill Dunn. "ETSU put a couple of runs on us in the first half and we were not able to get over the hump in the second."

Trailing by as many as 15 points in the second frame, the Dolphins cut the deficit to within three points (70-67) on a three pointer by freshman Courtney Jackson with 2:09 left. ETSU answered with a 5-0 run to quash the rally, including a wide open break away layup by Wiles when the Dolphins' press broke down with less than a minute remaining.

Sophomore guard Virginia Gregoire led all scorers with 22 points while adding eight rebounds and five assists. Junior forward Ashley Williams had 17 points to set a new program record for points in a season (509).

Freshman guard Courtney Jackson had 11 points, all in the second half, and sophomore guard Regina Omiote added 10 points and eight assists. Sophomore guard DaVina Hamilton did not play in the contest due to a hamstring injury she suffered in the first minute against Stetson the day before.

"Not having DaVina in the lineup did have an effect on us but by no means is that an excuse for why we lost. We didn't come out with the intensity that we needed to have tonight."

Brooke Wilhoite led the Bucs with 14 points, nine assists and two steals while Michele DeVault (13) and Latisha Belcher (10) rounded out ETSU's players with double-figure scoring. The Bucs also had five other players with at least eight points.

In the second frame, Williams hit a jumper to cut the deficit to 40-31 at the 19:45 mark but ETSU used an 8-2 run to take a 48-33 advantage after a baseline jumper by Wiles.

JU cut the deficit to 53-40 after a leaning jumper off an inbound at the 12:24 mark before the Dolphins cut the margin under 10 points (64-56) on a put back by Danielle Gray with 6:17 left.

In the first half, JU jumped out to an early 6-2 lead after a jumper by Omoite at the 17:14 mark. ETSU answered with an 8-2 run to take a 10-8 advantage on a three-point play by Latisha Belcher at the 13:54 mark.

The Dolphins took a 14-12 lead after three-consecutive baskets by Gregoire, the last coming on a layup with 11:49 left in the half. The Bucs answered with a 9-0 run, which included two three's and a three-point play by Brooke Wilhoit, to take a 21-14 advantage with 8:52 left.

The Bucs pushed the lead to 25-17 on a jumper by Nichelle Akers with 7:05 left before the Dolphins answered with a 5-0 run to make it a 25-22 deficit after a pair of free throws by Williams with 6:11 left. After a three by senior guard Nakina Alford cut the margin to 27-25, the Bucs ended the half with a 13-4 run to lead 40-29 at the break.

The Dolphins finished the 2006-07 season winning 16 of their last 19 games, including 15 of their last 18 A-Sun games, while also going 15-3 since Jan. 1. JU set career records for wins (21), conference wins (14), home wins (13), consecutive home wins (10), consecutive road wins (four).

Junior forward Ashley Williams and sophomore guard Virginia Gregoire became the first Dolphin duo to earn first team all-conference honors in the same season. Head coach Jill Dunn also won her 50th career game and set the new mark for career wins by a Dolphin coach (37).

Senior guard Nakina Alford, who scored her first points of the season with a three against the Lady Bucs, and senior guard Jenaire Davis each played in their final game in a Dolphins uniform.