Women's hoops faces South Carolina on Tuesday
Junior center Danielle Gray
Junior center Danielle Gray
After winning the South Padre Island Shootout, the JU women’s basketball team (5-5) will end its non-conference schedule against South Carolina on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in Colonial Life Arena. JU is 1-2 against Southeastern Conference opponents and is 0-1 this season with a 74-51 loss at Florida to open the season on Nov. 17.

Jackson named co-A-Sun “Player of the Week”
Junior Courtney Jackson averaged more than 18 points in three games to earn co-Atlantic Sun Conference “Player of the Week” honors on Dec. 22. Jackson averaged 18.3 points and five rebounds while shooting a blistering 51.4 (19-37) from the field and 52.2 (12-23) from beyond the arc in three games, leading JU to wins over SMU and IUPUI to give the Dolphins the South Padre Island Shootout title. Jackson shares her first career player of the week honor with Sierra Evans from East Tennessee State, who led the Buccaneers to a win over A-Sun rival Kennesaw State. Despite a 75-71 loss to UCF on Dec. 15, Jackson carried the Dolphins with a career high 22 points after shooting 9-of-18 from the floor and 4-of-10 from beyond the arc. She opened the South Padre Island Shootout Tournament against SMU (Dec. 19) with another 22-point effort, connecting on a career-best 5-of-9 from long range to give the Dolphins a 67-65 victory against the Mustangs. In the tournament final, Jackson finished with 11 points while connecting on 3-of-4 3-pointers to guide JU to a 59-56 victory over IUPUI.

Dolphin notables
Senior guard Virginia Gregoire moved into second place on the all-time scoring list with six points against IUPUI. She surpasses Kat Sungy (1,183) and is 305 points shy of passing Ashley Williams (1,489)...against UCF, junior guard Courtney Jackson tallied a career-high 22 points after connecting on 9-of-18 shots from the floor, including a 4-for-10 effort from beyond the arc... junior guard Virginia Gregoire tallied 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field...junior forward Desarae Johnson added seven points, six rebounds and three blocks...sophomore forward Teneskei Richardson chipped in with nine rebounds and senior guard Regina Omoite had six assists...against SMU, Jackson tallied 22 points in back-to-back games after connecting on 6-of-12 shots from the field, a career-best 5-of-9 from beyond the arc and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line...Gregoire tallied 10 points to go with five rebounds...senior forward DaVina Hamilton added nine points, junior center Lynsey Paschal had six rebounds and Omoite chipped in with seven assists and six rebounds...against IUPUI, Jackson was named tournament MVP after tallying 11 points, six rebounds and two steals...Hamilton also finished with 11 points after connecting on 5-of-6 free throws to help seal the game...Omoite added 10 points while Paschal chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds...Gregoire was also named to the all-tournament team.

Miss Jackson is for real
After a slow start to her junior season, guard Courtney Jackson has emerged as the Dolphins’ top scoring threat in the past four games. Lost in the shuffle of the senior trio, Jackson’s ability to shoot the outside shot and the pull up jumper in the lane also gives opponents headaches. Jackson starting things off by scoring 12 points against Lipscomb to help JU to its first conference win of the year. She continued her torrid streak by planting a career-best 22 points on UCF by connecting on 9-of-18 shots (4-of-10 from beyond the arc). During the South Padre Island Shootout, she earned tournament MVP honors after tallying 22 points against SMU and 11 points versus IUPUI to lead the Dolphins to the weekend title. She finished her time in Texas by shooting 52.6 percent (10-19) from the floor and 61.5 percent (8-13) from beyond the arc. With JU in search of a source of consistent scoring, Jackson may prove to be the complimentary balance.

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 17.6 turnovers per contest. Dolphin opponents are tallying an average of 21.0 miscues per game. In the conference rankings, JU ranks second with a +3.40 turnover margin.

JU puts the clamps on
Despite its early struggles to score, the JU defense is among the best in the Atlantic Sun Conference. JU is second in the conference in turnover margin (+3.40), scoring defense (58.6 ppg) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.288), third in blocked shots (3.4 bpg), fourth in rebounding margin (-1.4), fifth in steals (9.20 spg) and sixth in field goal percentage defense (.404). JU has held its opponent to less than 60 points in six of 10 games and the opposition has shot less than .400 in five of 10 games, including three consecutive games (Belmont, Lipscomb, UCF).