Women’s basketball begins practice on Friday
Senior guard DaVina Hamilton
Senior guard DaVina Hamilton
After a record breaking season with the JU women’s basketball program last year, head coach Jill Dunn and the Dolphins will set their sights on the program’s first regular-season title and NCAA Tournament bid as the squad begins practice on Friday in newly renovated Swisher Gymnasium.

The Dolphins took it to a new level in 2007-08 by recording the best finish in program history with a record of 23-9, reaching the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship Game for the very first time. JU also tallied 11 conference wins and solidified the No. 2 seed in the A-Sun tournament for the second consecutive season.

Along with the program’s best finish, the squad also rewrote the JU record book with 13 new team records, including back-to-back 20-win seasons, consecutive wins (10), consecutive home wins (17) and road wins (9).

In just her fourth year with the program, head coach Jill Dunn established JU at the national level by ranking second in the nation in consecutive home wins, earning votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 Poll and tallying wins from opponents in the SEC (Florida), ACC (Miami) and Atlantic 10 (UMass).

"We are ready to get going,” said Dunn. “The players are tired of going through individual workouts and are excited about getting in the gym to prepare for the season. As coaches, we are looking forward to building some continuity and repetition in a team setting as opposed to two hours of workouts. We start playing in three weeks and its going to be here quickly."

Leading the Dolphins in the upcoming season will be two-time all-conference guard Virginia Gregoire. Also solidifying the returning core will be senior point guard Regina Omoite, senior guard DaVina Hamilton and junior guard Courtney Jackson. Along with junior center Danielle Gray, junior forward Desarae Johnson, junior forward Crystal Grable and sophomore forward Lynsay Paschal in the post, the Dolphins will feature six new names on the roster in 2008-09.

Junior guard/forward Jasmine Coleman (Walter State CC) and sophomore forward Teneskei Richardson (Santa Fe CC) join the squad from the junior college ranks. Guard Jessica George (Celebration), Valerie Jones (Charles Henderson) and Ashanti Williams (Suncoast) will enter the season as true freshmen. Junior guard GiGi Thomas, who will sit out a year after transferring from Appalachian State, will provide two-years of Division I experience with the Mountaineers during practice.

The Dolphins open the season with an exhibition contest at Swisher Gymnasium against Flagler on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m.