After splitting two games last week, the JU women’s basketball team (2-3) will continue its five-game homestand by opening Atlantic Sun Conference play against Belmont (3-2) on Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
The contest, which is the first of a scheduled doubleheader with the JU men, will offer free parking and admittance thanks to the MPS Group.
JU trails the all-time series against Belmont, 10-2, but defeated the Bruins (65-58) in its last meeting in Jacksonville (March 1, 2007).
The game can be seen live on ASun.TV through JUDolphins.com.
Under head coach Jill Dunn, the Dolphins are now 5-0 in home openers…JU is 1-8 in A-Sun openers, including a 1-3 mark in the Dunn era…the Dolphins are trying to avoid their first 2-4 start to a season since 2005-06…the 43 points scored by JU against Kansas State was the lowest total in the Dunn era and the lowest since an 80-43 loss to Florida Atlantic on Jan. 3, 2004...against George Mason, senior guard Virginia Gregoire got back to her old tricks with a game-high 22 points while the Dolphins shot a season-high 46 percent from the floor…Gregoire led the Dolphins after connecting on 8-of-13 shots from the field and 4-of-5 attempts from the 3-point line while also collecting four assists and three steals…freshman forward Taneskei Richardson had a season-high eight points after connecting on all four of her attempts from the floor…sophomore center Lynsey Paschal finished with a game-high seven rebounds and senior guard Regina Omoite had a game-high eight assists…against Kansas State, Gregoire had a game-high 15 points as the Dolphins held a halftime lead but cold shooting in the second half doomed JU…the Dolphins would hold a one point lead (39-38) with 8:44 left but went scoreless for the next five minutes…Gregoire led the Dolphins in scoring for the second consecutive game while also tallying two steals…senior guard DaVina Hamilton added six points while Paschal grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds…junior guard Courtney Jackson chipped in with a team-high four assists.
With the graduation of forward Ashley Williams, JU entered the year in search of a new identity as the program turned a new chapter. Thus far, the identity is still a work in progress and the Dolphins are suffering in the stats because of it.
The most glaring stats has been on the offensive end of the floor. Head coach Jill Dunn has retooled the program to be up-tempo and high scoring but her machine is not hitting on all cylinders after five games.
In four years, Dunn’s squads have increased its scoring average each season. Beginning with 59.1 points per game in 2004-05, the Dolphins improved to a program-record 67.7 ppg last season.
In shooting percentage, the Dolphins also improved each year under Dunn. Starting with .354 in 2004-05, JU improved to .414 last season.
This year has been a completely different story as Dunn and her Dolphins are finding baskets hard to come by.
After five games, JU ranks last in the conference standings in total offense (51.6 ppg), field-goal percentage (.333) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.224). The Dolphins also scored the lowest total in the Dunn era (43 vs. Kansas State) which included a .172 shooting percentage (5-29) and only 15 points in the second half.
Taking care of the ball
One of the staples of a Jill Dunn program is winning the turnover battles. Now in her fifth season with the program, those numbers are beginning to ring true as the Dolphins set a program low for turnovers per contest last season.
In her first year, JU averaged a program-record 17.1 turnovers per contest, compared to 19.0 by its opponents. In year two, the Dolphin’s finished with 18.8 turnovers per contest compared to 19.0 by their opponents.
In 2006-07, JU led the A-Sun in turnover margin (+4.80) with an average of 18.3 turnovers per contest. The Dolphins also forced a conference-high 22.2 turnovers per game.
Last year, the Dolphins finished the regular season leading the conference in turnover margin (+4.55) and were second in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.88). JU currently averages 16.7 turnovers per contest. JU opponents are averaging 21.3 turnovers per game.
This year has followed the same tune as JU averages 16.8 turnovers per contest. Dolphin opponents are tallying an average of 23.2 miscues per game. In the conference rankings, JU ranks first with a +6.4 turnover margin.
Gregoire gets back in the groove
Senior guard Virginia Gregoire was expected to take the reins from Ashley Williams in 2008-09 and become the focus of the JU offense.
Everything started out as expected with Gregoire earning A-Sun Preseason honors but the stats didn’t pan out well at first.
In the first three games, Gregoire averaged eight points per contest (which ranked second on the squad) and was shooting a less than stellar .290 (9-31) from the floor and .083 from beyond the arc (1-12).
In her last two games, she has gotten her swagger back by averaging 18.5 points, 2.5 steals, two assists and 1.5 rebounds while shooting .452 (14-31) from the floor and .444 (4-9) from beyond the arc.
Gregoire tallied a game-high 22 points to go with four assists and three steals against George Mason. Against Kansas State, she finished with a game-high 15 points and two steals.
The slick dribbling guard is also working her way into the JU career record book. Already in possession of the Dolphin steal record in only three years, Gregoire is currently in the top five in scoring, rebounding, assists, 3-pointers and minutes.
Omoite leads the pack
Senior guard Regina Omoite is in her fourth year directing JU as the floor general and she is solidifying her career as the best in program history.
The four-year starter already owns JU single season records for assists (138) and minutes played (1,090) while also owning the career record for assists (322).
Omoite is trying to join the exclusive 1,000 point club before the end of the year and is 191 points off the pace. She also has her sights set on other career marks, including 3-pointers, free throws, steals and minutes played.
Hamilton leaving her mark
Senior guard DaVina Hamilton is one of the three members of the senior class and has made a huge impact on the JU program’s recent success.
A silent leader who does all of the little intangibles, Hamilton is already second in the JU single season records for assists (126) and steals (67).
She also has her sights set on career marks, including rebounds, steals and assists. To see where she ranks check out the JU career records on the right sidebar.