After rallying for a win over No. 3 Belmont, the JU women’s basketball team (19-12) will play in the 2009 General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Championship Game against No. 1 ETSU (19-10) on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET at Allen Arena.
The contest can be seen live on CSS with Matt Stewart calling all the action and Robin Muller providing color analysis. The finale can also be heard live on 1010XL with Barry Milligan calling the action. A-Sun.TV is also available by logging on to JUDolphins.com.
JU trails in the all-time series to ETSU, 8-1, which includes an 0-2 record against the Lady Bucs this season.
The Dolphins and Lady Bucs will meet in the A-Sun final for the second consecutive season after ETSU won the last matchup, 75-72, on March 8, 2008. JU has also been eliminated by ETSU in the postseason in each of the past two years.
RECORD WATCH: CAREER: JU is nine steals shy of surpass the program record of 327, which was set by the 2007-08 squad...junior forward Desarae Johnson is two blocks shy of passing Milica Milijkovic (90, 1999-01) for second on the blocks list...senior guard Virginia Gregoire is 13 rebounds shy of surpassing Ashley Williams (608) for second on the rebounding list.....senior guard DaVina Hamilton passed Lexie Richards (2,962, 1999-04) for fourth on the minutes played list...SINGLE-SEASON: Johnson needs five more blocks to pass Ashley Williams (54, 2005-06)...Hamilton needs two steals to surpass Angela Walker (63, 2000-01)...senior guard Regina Omoite, who already owns two of the top three marks, moved into fifth on the minutes played list (989).
Against Belmont, the Dolphins defeated the Bruins in Nashville for the first time in nine opportunities (1-8)...JU held an opponent under 52 points for the fourth consecutive game and held an opponent under 50 points for the seventh time this year...the Dolphins moved to 4-0 on the year in games played at a neutral site...JU won its first contest when trailing with 10 minutes remaining (1-8) and also improved to 2-10 in games in which they are trailing with five minutes remaining...Hamilton led the squad with 14 points and eight rebounds...Johnson added eight points, eight rebounds, four steals and two blocks...junior guard Courtney Jackson finished with nine points, five rebounds and three steals while also hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer with 32 seconds remaining.
A-Sun Championship tidbits
The Dolphins are competing in the A-Sun Championship for the sixth time in program history and the fourth consecutive year under head coach Jill Dunn....JU entered as the No. 2 seed for the third straight year...with a win over No. 7 Lipscomb, JU played the the semifinal game for the third straight year...with a win over No. 3 Belmont, JU is playing in the championship game for the second straight year...in each year in the A-Sun Championship under Dunn, the Dolphins have surpassed their previous feat - first round (2006), semifinal (2007), championship (2008)...JU will face ETSU for the second straight year in the championship game - ETSU won 75-72 on March 8, 2008 at Allen Arena...the Dolphins have been eliminated by the Lady Bucs in each of the past two seasons (semifinal - 2007, final - 2008)...JU had been swept in the season series by Belmont (0-2) before defeating the Bruins in the semifinals. Entering today’s final, JU is 0-2 against ETSU this season...the Dolphins are in search of their first A-Sun Championship crown and NCAA Tournament bid.
Defense sets another JU record
Another look at how well JU is playing defense this season can simply be compared the teams of the past.
This season, the Dolphins have held an opponent under 50 points in a program-record seven games: FIU - 43 (11/20), George Mason - 49 (11/25), at UNF - 42 (1/15), at Stetson - 43 (1/24), at Lipscomb - 42 (2/26), at Belmont - 45 (2/28) and vs. No. 3 Belmont - 49 (3/6).
The number surpasses the program record of five, which was set by the 2007-08 squad.
In her five years with JU, head coach Jill Dunn has registered 18 games in which her squad held an opponent under 50 points. Prior to that, the Dolphins had only accomplished the feat five times in five seasons.
And just an added note, JU came close in three other games by allowing 51 points to Stetson (1/24), Campbell (2/12) and Lipscomb (3/4).
JU puts the clamps on
Despite its struggles to score, the JU defense is currently the best in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
JU leads the conference in turnover margin (+4.19) and scoring defense (57.3 ppg). The Dolphins are also second in field goal percentage defense (37.9), 3-point field goal percentage defense (28.9), blocked shots (4.42 bpg), steals (10.29 spg).
JU has held its opponent to less than 60 points in 20-of-31 games and the opposition has shot less than .400 in 18-of-31 games, including four consecutive games (Mercer, Campbell, UNF, Stetson). The Dolphins have held an opponent under 52 points in four straight games.