After opening the 2008-09 season at Florida, the JU women’s basketball team will open its home schedule against FIU on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Swisher Gymnasium.
This will be the first meeting between the two schools as the Dolphins look to avoid its first 0-2 start to a season since 2005-06.
The contest can be seen live ASun.TV on JUDolphins.com.
Against UF, JU trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half (24-5) but cut the deficit to 38-37 early in the second...UF answered immediately with a 26-2 run to pull away and avenge a 75-64 loss to JU last season…JU shot only .235 in the contest, including an icy .121 (4-33) in the second half to tally only 18 points...the Dolphins only trailed in the rebound department, 44-39, beat UF in second chance points (13-11) and forced the Gators into a game-high 24 turnovers…senior guard Virginia Gregoire led the Dolphins with 10 points while senior guard DaVina Hamilton added nine points…senior guard Regina Omoite (8 points) and junior guard Courtney Jackson (8 points) also contributed offensively.
Head coach Jill Dunn
Jill Dunn is entering her fifth season as head coach of the JU women’s basketball program and has built the squad into a powerhouse in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
In her fourth season, she directed the Dolphins to a program-best 23-9 overall record and led the squad to the finals of the A-Sun Tournament for the first time in program history. JU was selected as the preseason champion for the first time in program history and posted back-to-back 20-win seasons. In four years with the program, she has compiled a 60-57 mark.
Prior to JU, Dunn spent three years helping Georgia State to three consecutive A-Sun Conference titles from 2001-04. Before joining Georgia State, Dunn was the top assistant coach at Miami University (Ohio), during the 2000-01 season.
Prior to her one-year stint in Ohio, Dunn served as the head coach at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., from 1998-00. In her final season with the program, the Lady Catamounts posted 12 wins which was the most in 15 seasons at WCU.
Before being elevated to the head spot at Western Carolina, she was the top assistant coach during the 1997-98 campaign. Dunn’s coaching career began at the University of South Carolina, where she was as an assistant coach from 1994-97.
Dunn’s success began as a player at Georgia Southern, where she was a three-year starter from 1989-93. She was named to the Georgia Southern Hall of Fame on Nov. 4, 2007.
JU coaching staff gets some changes
JU head coach Jill Dunn made some tweaks to her coaching staff by naming her longest tenured assistant, Dee Pennix, associate head coach and Ginny Boggess as assistant coach.
Pennix, who joined Dunn’s staff in 2005, has been instrumental in building the program into an A-Sun power by assisting in recruiting while also working with the development of Dolphin post players. Also included in her tutelage was the molding of all-time scoring leader Ashley Williams.
In Pennix’s three years with the program, the Dolphins have set numerous team and individual records while also earning national recognition.
Boggess comes to the First Coast after coaching the past two seasons at Hofstra (2006-08). No stranger to the A-Sun, Boggess spent three years as an assistant at Kennesaw State.
New faces on the roster
Mixing in with the returners will be six new faces ranging from high school to Division I level experience.
Junior forward Jasmin Coleman and sophomore forward Teneskei Richardson join the squad from the junior college level. Guards Jessica George, Valerie Jones and Ashanti Williams will enter the season as true freshmen.
Junior guard GiGi Thomas, who will sit out a year after transferring from Appalachian State, will provide experience during practice.
JU picked second in A-Sun media poll
After enjoying the most successful season in program history last year, including the program’s first trip to the A-Sun tournament championship game, JU was selected second in the 2008-09 A-Sun media poll and third in the coaches poll.
On the media side, JU (six first-place votes) and Kennesaw State (eight first-place votes) were each selected to finish second with 23 points behind defending champion East Tennessee State (12 first place points), which tallied 249 points and was also selected as the tournament champion.
In the coaches poll, ETSU got top billing as well and was selected as the tournament champion with six first place votes and 124 points while Kennesaw State (106 – four first-place votes) and JU (one-first place vote) rounded out the top three. Belmont (79), Florida Gulf Coast (73), Lipscomb (50), UNF (48), Campbell and Mercer (46), Stetson (33) and USC Upstate (28) made up the rest of the field.