SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2008
Women's hoops hosts UCF on Monday night
Junior forward Crystal Grable
Junior forward Crystal Grable
After taking a week off for final exams, the JU women’s basketball team (3-4) will wrap up its five-game homestand against UCF (1-7) on Monday at 7 p.m. at Swisher Gymnasium. JU trails the all-time series against UCF, 8-6, but the Dolphins have defeated the Knights in their last two games at Swisher Gymnasium. In fact, the home team has won in each of the last five meetings dating back to 2004. JU is 1-5 against Conference USA opponents with a 61-50 win over UCF on Nov. 21, 2006 being the first. UCF was a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference from 1992-2005. The game can be seen live on ASun.TV through JUDolphins.com.

Dolphin notables
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...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...against Lipscomb, Omoite finished with team-highs in points (13), assists (6) and rebounds (12) to pace the Dolphins…Jackson had 12 points to round out the Dolphins in double figures, while Grable and junior forward Desarae Johnson each tallied eight points…Grable also finished the game with nine rebounds.

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 seven 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. JU has scored under 50 points in 3-of-7 games this year after scoring less than 50 points in only five games in the entire Jill Dun era (2004-present). In fact, the last time the Dolphins scored less than 50 points in more than one game was Dunn’s first season (2004-05, three). After seven games, JU ranks last in the conference standings in field-goal percentage (.324) and are 10th in 3-point field-goal percentage (.232) and scoring offense (52.3 ppg). 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 leads the conference turnover margin (+4.86), is second in the conference in scoring defense (55.7 ppg), third in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.270) and blocked shots (3.86 bpg), fifth in steals (10 spg) and sixth in field goal percentage defense (.404). JU has held its opponent to less than 55 points in four of seven games and the opposition has shot less than .400 in four of seven games, including two consecuitve 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 16.4 turnovers per contest. Dolphin opponents are tallying an average of 21.3 miscues per game. In the conference rankings, JU ranks first with a +4.86 turnover margin.

Not your average “Cold Front”
JU experienced ice storms in the second half of a two-game span against Kansas State and Belmont that negated Dolphin leads in the final period. Against the Wildcats, the Dolphins scored the lowest total in the Jill Dunn era (43) 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. During those two losses, JU  shot a combined 9-63 (.143) in the second half, including a 1-for-13 (.077) effort from beyond the arc.