FRIDAY, DECEMBER 05, 2008
Women's basketball hosts Lipscomb on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Junior guard Courtney Jackson
Junior guard Courtney Jackson
After splitting two games last week, the JU women’s basketball team (2-4, 0-1) will continue its five-game homestand by continuing Atlantic Sun Conference play against Lipscomb (2-5, 0-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Swisher Gymnasium. The contest, which is the first of a scheduled doubleheader with the JU men, will be a “White Out” game in which all fans are asked to wear white. JU trails the all-time series against Lipscomb, 6-3, but have won the last two meetings including a 61-48 decision on Feb. 9, 2008 for the Dolphins’ first win at Allen Arena. The game can be seen live on ASun.TV through JUDolphins.com.

Dolphin notables
The Dolphins are trying to avoid their first 2-5 start to a season since 2003-04…with a loss to Belmont, JU is 1-9 in A-Sun openers, including a 1-4 mark in the Dunn era…the Dolphins are 11-2 all-time against the Bruins...JU is 7-2 a the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, including two consecutive losses...in its last two games, JU  is shooting a combined 9-63 (.143) in the second half, including a 1-for-13 (.077) effort from beyond the arc...against Belmont, senior guard Virginia Gregoire led the Dolphins with 11 points while senior guard DaVina Hamilton added eight points, five assists and three steals...junior forward Crystal Grable finished with five points and career highs in rebounds (11) and blocks (5)...senior guard Regina Omoite chipped in with seven points, seven rebounds and three assists...freshman guard Ashanti Williams added a season-high seven points.

Scoring blues
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 six 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 six games, JU ranks last in the conference standings in total offense (50.5 ppg), field-goal percentage (.324) and are 10th in 3-point field-goal percentage (.225). 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. In the next game against Belmont, JU shot .118 (4-34) in the second frame for a total of 16 points. In its last two games, JU  is shooting a combined 9-63 (.143) in the second half, including a 1-for-13 (.077) effort from beyond the arc.

On the flip side
In a polar opposite version of Jekel and Hyde, the JU defense is among the best in the A-Sun. JU is currently leading the conference in scoring defense (55.5 ppg), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.241) and turnover margin (+5.17). The Dolphins are also third in blocked shots (3.5 bpg), fourth in steals (10.17 spg) and sixth in field goal percentage defense (.416). JU has held its opponent to less than 55 points in four of six games and the opposition has shot less than .400 in three of six games.

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 22.0 miscues per game. In the conference rankings, JU ranks first with a +5.19 turnover margin.