Women's hoops ready for showdown with FGCU
Senior guard Regina Omoite
Senior guard Regina Omoite
After winning a season-best five straight games, the JU women’s basketball team (10-7, 6-2) will continue its four-game road trip against Florida Gulf Coast (12-4, 5-3) at Alico Arena on Thursday at 7 p.m. The contest can be seen live on A-Sun.TV by logging on to JU and FGCU are even in the all-time series, 1-1, after both schools won its home meetings between the two schools last season. Both teams enter the contest as the hottest in the conference with JU winning five consecutive games and FGCU coming out the victor in three straight.

Dolphin notables
Senior guard DaVina Hamilton (190) surpassed fellow senior guard Virginia Gregoire (188) for first on the JU all-time steals list with five against Campbell...junior forward Desarae Johnson moved into fourth on the JU all-time blocks list (64), surpassing Kara Donnell (63, 2001-05).. against Campbell, JU trailed at the half for the first time in five games...the Dolphins also won their first contest when trailing at the half this season...senior guard Regina Omoite led the Dolphins with a season-high 16 points while dishing out a career-best 11 assists to register her fourth career double-double. Her assist total made her only the second Dolphins to tally double digits, joining program record holder Shannon Wynn (12 vs. Charleston Southern - 12/30/00)...Hamilton added 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and a game-high five steals...Johnson had 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals while Gregoire rounded out the scoring with 11 points...against UNF, JU had its 70-point scoring streak snapped at four games with only 62 points against the Ospreys...junior center Lynsey Paschal tallied a career-best 16 points after connecting on all five of her shots from the floor and a career-high 6-of-7 shots from the free-throw line...junior guard Courtney Jackson added 12 points while Gregoire rounded out the JU scoring with 10 points...Omoite chipped in with a game-high six assists and three steals while and Johnson finished with seven points, six rebounds and three blocks.

Dolphins getting offensive
The Dolphins had a less than spectacular start to the 2008-09 season and a big part of that was their inability to put the ball in the basket. Through its first 11 games in which the squad went 5-6, JU shot 35 percent from the floor, 27.3 percent from beyond the arc, 70.5 percent from the free-throw line to average 55.7 points per game. Included in the Dolphins’ early winter was a 2-4 start to the year in which JU shot 32.4 percent from the field, 22.5 percent from beyond the arc and 68.1 percent from the line for an average of 50.5 points per contest. JU also put up its lowest scoring total in the Jill Dunn era with 43 points against Kansas State on Nov. 28 at Swisher Gymnasium. Lately, the Dolphins have gotten their offensive swagger back and it has led to a 5-1 record. During that span, JU is shooting 44 percent from floor, 35.3 percent from the 3-point line and 71.1 percent of its free throws to average 72.7 points per game. JU has also notched 70 points in five of six games, including a season-best 78 points in back-to-back contests (USC Upstate, Mercer). The Dolphins also tallied 70 points in five consecutive games which was the second longest in program history. The longest being a seven-game stretch combining over two seasons (March 8-Nov. 23, 2008). In the conference rankings, JU has moved up in the standings in scoring offense (6th - 61.7 ppg), 3-point field-goal percentage (6th - 30.6) and field-goal percentage (7th - 38.2). The squad is also second in assists (14.47 apg), third in offensive rebounds (15.06 rpg) and fourth in 3-pointers made (4.53 tpg).

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 18 turnovers per contest. Dolphin opponents are tallying an average of 22.1 miscues per game. In the conference rankings, JU ranks first with a +4.12 turnover margin and is second in assist/turnover ratio (0.80).

JU sets the tone with its pressure defense and this year’s squad is following in line with Jill Dunn’s style. In 2006-07, the Dolphins tallied a program-record with 309 team steals, shattering the previous record of 262 from 2005-06. JU also set a single-game record with 17 against Niagara on Dec. 18, 2006, and registered at least 10 steals in 18-of-30 contests. Last season, the Dolphins leap frogged the single-season mark with 21 steals against UCF on Nov. 19 and once again surpassed the program record with 327 steals. JU finished the regular season third in the Atlantic Sun Conference with an average of 10.67 steals per contest. This year, JU is continuing its defensive swagger by tallying 72 steals in its last six games. Among those contests, was a season-high 18 at USC Upstate. The Dolphins have tallied at least 10 steals in nine of 17 games and are currently ranked third in the A-Sun with 10.35 steals per contest. Individually, three Dolphins are rewriting the leader board for career steals this season. Senior guard Virginia Gregoire (188) ended last season first on the all time list and is now second behind senior guard DaVina Hamilton (190). Fellow senior guard Regina Omoite (166) is also lurking in the shadows.

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 first in the conference in turnover margin (+4.12), second in blocked shots (4.65 bpg), third in scoring defense (59 ppg), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.281) and steals (10.35 spg) and fifth in rebounding defense (39.3) and field goal percentage defense (.391). JU has held its opponent to less than 60 points in 11 of 17 games and the opposition has shot less than .400 in eight of 17 games, including three consecutive games (Belmont, Lipscomb, UCF). In the last six games, the Dolphins have held opponents to less than 60 points in four contests. Teams are also averaging 59.8 points, shooting 36.4 percent from the floor and are registering 23.3 turnovers per contest.