Women’s basketball picked seventh in A-Sun preseason coaches’ poll
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With seven players returning, the JU women’s basketball team was picked to finish seventh in the Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

Florida Gulf Coast (seven first place votes) was picked first for the second straight season with 104 points and ETSU is in close second with 101 points and two first place votes. USC Upstate took third with 100 points, while UNF (84), Belmont (71) and Campbell (71) rounded out the top five. JU (53), Kennesaw State (51), Mercer (39), Stetson (20) and Lipscomb (20) made up the rest of the poll.

“I am not surprised with how the polls turned out,” said JU head coach Jill Dunn. “We lost five seniors and our all-freshmen point guard. We have seven new people, including six freshmen, so we definitely have a lot to prove.”

In the media poll, Florida Gulf Coast took the top spot again with 234 points, while ETSU and USC Upstate each were picked second with 221 points. Belmont (155) and UNF (137) made up the rest of the top five. Campbell (133), Kennesaw State (125), Mercer (102), Jacksonville (98), Stetson (54) and Lipscomb (38) rounded out the rest of the poll.

East Tennessee State, the three-time defending tournament champion, was picked to win the tournament for a fourth straight year in each of the two polls.

Despite the picks, the Dolphins have a lot to look to forward as they embark on the 2010-11 campaign.

JU returns seven players from last season’s squad that posted double-digit wins for the fifth straight season and reached the A-Sun semifinals for the fourth straight year after beating Campbell, who were picked ahead of the Dolphins in both polls.

Senior guard GiGi Thomas is one of the returners that will be counted on heavily this season. As a junior, Thomas finished third on the team in steals (30) and fourth in scoring (7.4). She scored in double-digits in the final four games, including a season-best 23 points and two blocks in the A-Sun tourney win over Campbell.

The Dolphins also bolstered their front count with the addition of three towering newcomers in freshmen Jane’l Osborne (6-foot-1), Jenae Wilson (6-foot-2), and Madison Scott (6-foot-3).

“Our staff is ecstatic about our new recruits,” said Dunn. “We feel like we did a good job of finding players that can help us get to the top of the conference and win a championship. They have been a joy to coach.”

The Dolphins will hit the hardwood for the first time in an exhibition against Tampa at Swisher Gymnasium on Nov. 6. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.