Friday, January 5, 2018
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
AS the Jacksonville Univerity Dolphins Womens Basketball programme heads into conference play next week, head coach Yolette McPhee-McCuin expects her team to continue its progression toward postseason play in March.
McPhee-McCuin appeared on the latest edition of her "No Ceilings Podcast" and recapped the end of the non-conference schedule, the main focus is this time of the year, what she expects in conference play and the remainder of the season.
"Defensively we're really solid, right now we're number six in the country in offensive rebounds, we're in the top 50 in about four categories and top 100 in about eight categories so that speaks volumes because we played an extremely tough schedule," McPhee McCuin said.
"We feel like we've played enough variety of teams that mirror teams in our conference and we look forward to see how we respond in conference play where teams know you a little bit better and are a little more locked in."
The Dolphins are 10-5 on the season with four of their losses to teams from power five conferences and another one-point loss to Troy. "We are not ahead of schedule with anything, maybe with our record because we played a tough schedule.
"We are to the point where people are understanding what they need to do to help us be successful but we will have one more in-depth meeting before conference play to make sure everyone is on the same page,"she said.
"We have so much we need to work on ourselves, a lot of our focus has been on us and I don't know if I'm ready to change that. I don't think you start focusing on other teams at a high level until tournament play in March so right now we have to focus on us."
In her fifth year at the helm, she has set the bar high for the 2017-18 campaign, which has been called one of the toughest in the history of the Dolphins' programme.
"We're about five-six weeks away from where I think we can clearly say this is what that JU team will look like, and still we will grow. We have had about six different leading scorers - sometimes it's the starters, sometimes it's the bench so we definitely have depth, it'll be my job to get some consistency going and figure out what combinations work, what lineups work and at what time during the game so we can know the best product to put on the floor at all times," McPhee-McCuin said.
Last season, the Dolphins came up just short in making consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament but earned a berth in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).
They received an at-large bid and ultimately lost in the first round to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. She led the Dolphins to 23 wins, which tied the school mark for most wins in a season, and they also had the best RPI in the conference.
In the 2015-16 campaign, McPhee-McCuin led the Dolphins to a 22-11 record, the A-Sun tournament title and their first NCAA Tournament championship berth in school history.