Women's basketball faces Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday at 5 p.m.

Feb. 27, 2008


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After ending the 2007-08 home season with a win, the JU women's basketball team will look to guarantee second place in the conference with a showdown on Thursday night against Florida Gulf Coast.

The Dolphins (21-6, 11-3), off to their best record in program history and conference play, will face the Eagles (15-8, 10-3) on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Alico Arena. The contest can be seen live on as part of ASun.TV.

JU won the first meeting between the two schools with a 62-58 decision on Jan. 5 at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

What's at stake?
Having already claimed the No. 2 seed in the A-Sun Tournament due to ineligibility for postseason play by Florida Gulf Coast and Kennesaw State, the Dolphins are fighting for second place in the conference standings.

The winner of the conference tournament earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, no matter what it's finish may be in the regular season.

The highest ranked team remaining in the regular season standings, after the conference tournament winner has been determined, would then earn an automatic bid to the WNIT. Although Florida Gulf Coast and Kennesaw State are not eligible to compete in the A-Sun Tournament or the NCAA Tournament, they are eligible to compete in the WNIT.

With that said, ETSU is the No. 1 team in the A- Sun and Thursday's contest between the Dolphins and Eagles will determine who would be the next highest finisher in the regular season standings.

The only cloudy portion of who will receive the WNIT  bid is dependent upon ETSU winning the A-Sun Tournament. If anyone but the Lady Bucs wins the conference tournament, ETSU will receive the automatic bid to the WNIT as the top finisher in the conference.

VG gets A-Sun weekly honor again
Junior guard Virginia Gregoire was named Atlantic Sun Conference "Player of the Week" for the second time this season after leading the Dolphins to a 1-1 record last week, including an 84-66 win over Mercer in the 2007-08 home finale on Feb. 25.

Gregoire, who earned the weekly honor for the first time in her career on Nov. 20, averaged 23 points, seven rebounds, five assists and 2.5 steals while shooting .621 (18-29) from the field and .857 (6-7) from beyond the arc.

Gregoire poured it on for the Dolphins over the weekend as JU continues to maneuver for postseason position. Against Kennesaw State, she became the fifth Dolphin to reach 1,000 career points by dropping a season-high 24 against the Owls. Gregoire shot 10-of-16 from the field, 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and also tallied nine rebounds, six assists and three steals.

Against Mercer, she led the squad again with 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor (3-of-3 from beyond the arc) while also tallying five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

A D-vine Hamilton
Junior guard DaVina Hamilton has become the "X" factor for the Dolphins in 2007-08 with her all-around abilities on the floor.

Always known as a tenacious defender, Hamilton has also proven to be one of the most balanced players on the squad in her junior year.

If you consider her rankings on the squad, she may not catch your attention by being at the top of the list or as the person to break a school record, but she is certainly making a difference and on her teammates' heels.

Hamilton currently ranks fourth on the squad with 8.7 points per contest but she has slowly raised her average from 6.1 ppg (12/6) to 8.7 ppg (2/25), after her third career 20-point performance (20) against Mercer on Feb. 25.

She ranks second on the squad in assists (115), which puts her third on the JU single-season record book, only five behind teammate Regina Omoite (120).

Hamilton is also second in steals (59), which is three behind teammate Virginia Gregoire (62) and four behind the single-season record (63 - Angela Walker). In the conference standings, she is third in assists (4.26 apg), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.55) and sixth in steals (2.19 spg).

In the career record book, she is second in steals (149) and third in assists (255).

Against Mercer, junior guard DaVina Hamilton notched the third 20-point performance of her career by connecting on 6-of-10 shots from the floor, a career-best 8-of-9 free throws while adding seven assists and five rebounds. Junior guard Regina Omoite set the JU single season record for assists (120) with six against the Bears. Sophomore center Danielle Gray added nine points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor. Against Kennesaw State, JU lost its first contest at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena after going 5-0. The Dolphins lost the turnover battle for only the third time this year (22-15) but suffered its first loss of the season due to the stat.

JU among best in A-Sun
The Dolphins lead the Atlantic Sun Conference with an 21-6 mark, scoring margin (+8.1) and turnover margin (+4.96). The Dolphins also rank second in scoring (68.6 ppg), field goal percentage (.417), field goal percentage defense (.389), assists (15.15 apg), assist-to-turnover ratio (0.91), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.287) and blocks (4.26 bpg) and are third in scoring defense (60.2) and steals (10.67 spg).