THURSDAY, JANUARY 01, 2009
Women's hoops ready for showdown with ETSU
Junior forward Crystal Grable
Junior forward Crystal Grable
After ending its non-conference schedule on Tuesday, the JU women’s basketball team (5-6, 1-1) will begin the final run of Atlantic Sun Conference action by facing ETSU (3-6, 1-1) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Memorial Center. The contest can be seen live on A-Sun.TV by logging on to JUDolphins.com. JU trails in the all-time series to ETSU, 6-1, which included an 0-2 mark last season. In the last meeting between the two schools, the Lady Bucs held off a late rally by the Dolphins to win the 2008 A-Sun Championship, 75-72, on March 8 in Nashville, Tenn. The Dolphins have been eliminated by the Lady Bucs in each of the last two seasons at the conference tournament. The first being a 78-72 loss to ETSU on March 9, 2007 in the semifinals.

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 299 points shy of passing Ashley Williams (1,489)...against SC, senior guard DaVina Hamilton tallied a game-high 16 points after connecting on 6-of-8 shots from the foul line while also tallying a team-high five rebounds and tying a career high with two blocks...junior guard Courtney Jackson added eight points while senior guard Regina Omoite and junior forward Crystal Grable each chipped in with seven points.

Miss Jackson is for real
After a slow start to her junior season, guard Courtney Jackson has emerged as one of the Dolphins’ top scoring threats in the past five 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. She tailed off slightly against South Carolina but was second on the squad with eight points. With JU in search of a source of consistent scoring, Jackson may prove to be the complimentary balance.

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 (+4.45) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.264), third in scoring defense (58.5 ppg) and blocked shots (3.4 bpg), fifth in steals (9.45 spg) and sixth in field goal percentage defense (.408). JU has held its opponent to less than 60 points in seven of 11 games and the opposition has shot less than .400 in five of 11 games, including three consecutive games (Belmont, Lipscomb, UCF).

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 turnovers per contest. Dolphin opponents are tallying an average of 21.5 miscues per game. In the conference rankings, JU ranks second with a +4.45 turnover margin.