In her junior year on the University of Delaware basketball court, 2018 Catonsville High graduate Jasmine Dickey is posting eye-popping numbers in multiple statistical categories, while taking over a leadership role for a sizzling squad off to a 7-1 start and 4-0 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association.
The record after eight games is the best for the Blue Hens since the 2011-2012 season.
On Jan. 11, Dickey was named CAA Player of the Week for the second time this season.
Dickey, a 5-foot-10 guard and forward, averaged 20.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in four wins, two each over Northeastern and William & Mary.
“What she is, is more than just a scorer and a rebounder and just an all-around athlete,” Delaware head coach Natasha Adair said. “She is fearless, she is relentless, she is a leader and she does it with her hard work.”
Working overtime is no problem for Dickey, a two-time All-Metro first team selection who scored 2,091 career points in high school and was selected as Ms. Basketball in 2017 and 2018, an award named by the Maryland Basketball Coaches Association selected for public school players.
“She is the player that is in the gym an hour, half and hour before practice and she stays half an hour after to make sure she knocked down her 20 free throws in a row and she has been doing that since her freshman year,” Adair said.
The extra work from the charity stripe has certainly paid off for Dickey, who converted 16 of 20 free throws in a 77-64 win over William & Mary on Jan. 9.
The 16 free throws were a career-high and one short of the Delaware record. She finished with 28 points and nine rebounds.
Dickey is shooting 75 percent (45-for-60) from the foul line and leads the team in scoring (23.1 points per game).
She is also second in the conference and 13th in the nation for Division I players in scoring.
Dickey credits her scoring to the team’s defense.
“Coach puts a big emphasis on defense, you can’t really win many games without defense, so that has been our main focus, throughout,” said Dickey, who was named to the All-CAA Defensive Team last season and leads the squad with 16 steals this year. “We will score on the other end if our defense is there, getting steals, getting blocks, “Dickey said. “I know that I myself put a lot of emphasis on playing defense and making sure that my opponent doesn’t score.”
The coaching staff tracks transition points in practices and games, giving players goals and it has paid off.
High school players know that when they are recruited by Adair, who is in her fourth season at Delaware.
“When we are recruiting them we tell them we want to turn people over, but to do all those things you have to be in the best shape that you could be in, so it’s not a surprise when they get here,” Adair said. “We knew she was fast and you put that with her scoring ability and her ability to defend, add a strength and conditioning program that is top notch, a nutritionist that is top-notch and a trainer that keeps you healthy on the floor, we get to have the success that we are having.”
The up-tempo style is something Dickey has been doing her entire basketball life and is what helped her lead the Comets to a state title in 2017 and to the state finals again in 2018.
In four seasons playing under coach Mike Mohler at Catonsville the Comets were 93-14.
“We work hard at practice so we are trying to push ourselves at practice a little bit more,” said Dickey, who tells her coach practice is harder than the games.
“We don’t look too far ahead, but we want to make sure we are consistent in the things that make us who we are and so confirmation for me is when Jasmine says ‘Coach, practice is harder then the games.’” Adair said.
Two games that appeared on the schedule out of necessity because COVID-19 forced juggling of the schedule ended up being an 85-79 win over Pittsburgh, of the Atlantic Coast Conference, followed by a 93-88 triumph over Big East foe St. John’s.
It was the first win for Delaware over an ACC and Big East opponent since the 2012-13 season, when Elena Delle Donne led the 30-4 Blue Hens to the Sweet 16 and an unbeaten conference record (18-0).
Dickey scored 23 of her game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter in the win over St. John’s.
“We thought that was pretty incredible, 23 points in the fourth, I don’t think I’ve seen that in my career,” said Adair, noting the games were added to the schedule when other teams opted out for COVID-19 reasons. “I really think [the wins] boosted our confidence as a unit.”
“We were really happy with our wins and we were really happy with our performance and we took what we needed to take from those games and tried to dig deep and make sure we are improving on to the next game,” Dickey said.
Against St. John’s, she added nine rebounds, four steals and two assists and she had 20 points, nine rebounds and four steals in the victory at Pitt.
As a sophomore, Dickey averaged 12.4 points and 9.2 rebounds a game and earned selection to the CAA second team and 2020-21 pre-season CAA first team.
But this season she has become the go-to scorer in crunch time.
“When it is winning time, you want the ball in Jasmine’s hands, so in those moments, even just recently in the game against Northeastern, she took over in the fourth, big shots, big moments and as a coach you always know where that ball is going to go and you are going to live with whatever the outcome,” Adair said. “But you are going to make sure that you get the ball to the player that you want at the end of the game.”
This season, Dickey has adapted to her role as a captain and being a more vocal leader.
“I’m not that talkative of a person, so being that leader and coming out of my shell has really helped me a lot and just being able to be that third, fourth, fifth eye for the coaches and telling them what I see and telling the players what I see and them telling me what they see, it’s allowing us to work together in that aspect,” said Dickey, who is majoring in sports health.
“To have her as one of our captains and to have her as a leader, if I could put down a picture of the student-athlete that is just that model student-athlete, Jasmine’s face would be on that screen because I don’t have to wonder with her,” Adair said. “I know what I’m going to get every day.”
Dickey knows what she wants this season after the Blue Hens made their first postseason appearance since 2013-14 when they went 19-13 last year.
“That (conference championship) is the all-time goal at the moment, going as far as we can in conference and hopefully we are staying negative from all testing and just doing what we have to do, trying to get that big title and hopefully go further from there,” Dickey said.
Meanwhile, without fans in the stands, they hope to continue having fun and building team chemistry.
“We actually create our own energy, it’s a whole lot of fun and it starts in practice,” Dickey said. “Our practices are very competitive and we create our energy and everybody is loud and excited for everybody.”
“We have so much fun, sometimes I have to reel them back in,” Adair admitted.
But when she sees Dickey come early or stay late at practice and watches her teammates join her, she knows the serious work is getting done.
“She works so hard and that’s what we are most proud of and I think that’s what has been contagious for our team,” Adair said. “If our best player can come in an hour or half hour early, consistently and she’s gotten better and better and better, then that’s the example for the team. I’m really excited to see her flourish and to see her grow.”
Dickey would like to continue that growth on the court beyond college and has set some individual goals.
“Just expanding my game obviously and just trying to get that title and working because I would love to go overseas after basketball is over, so just continue to work and push myself,” Dickey said.
Adair believes that is a distinct possibility.
“Absolutely, she is definitely a pro, I have coached players at every level, WNBA level, overseas level international level,” Adair said. “She is a three-level player and she has a little size to her and can score and she’s a winner and that is what they are looking for overseas.”
In the meantime, Dickey will focus on the rest of this season and the expectation that opposing teams will continue throwing gimmick defenses on her.
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“I’m more of an attack-minded person, so you know that’s where people normally play me,” she said. “That’s where the jump shot comes in and you’ve got to knock that down because some people start to play me out, so I’m just trying to fix that to where I’m more of a threat all over the court, so that is my goal.”