CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL WEEKLY REPORT - JAN. 23
**Full report in PDF Format with team notes located at the bottom of this article**
• Nationally-ranked Delaware is the last team left undefeated in conference play at 7-0, while Hofstra follows at 6-1. James Madison and Drexel round out the top four in the conference standings at 5-2.
• CAA squads went 77-54 in non-conference play. The CAA finished the non-conference slate with the fourth best NC strength of schedule.
• UD's Elena Delle Donne (1st, 27.9 ppg), VCU's Courtney Hurt (6th, 22.8 ppg) and George Mason's Taleia Moton (11th, 21.4 ppg) rank in the Top 11 leading scorers in the nation as of games through Jan. 22. Hurt is ranked second in the nation in rebounding with 12.2 rpg. Full listing on page 12 of this report.
• Delaware, who finished the non-conference portion of its schedule at No. 1, is ranked at No. 8 in the latest RPI rankings report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News. The CAA is ranked seventh among the conferences with seven teams in the Top 96.
• Delaware jumped to #15 in the AP Top 25 and ranked #16 ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Three CAA teams appear in the Mid-Major Top 25.
• CAA Women's Basketball weekly conference calls will continue on Jan. 24 (full schedule on page 5).
• Delaware was selected as the preseason CAA favorite to win the 2011-12 title. VCU followed along with James Madison and Hofstra to round out the top four.
• Virginia 529 Women's Basketball Championship will return to The Show Place Arena in 2012 in Upper Marlboro, Md.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Taleia Moton • George Mason
Fort Washington, Md./Suitland, Sr., Guard
Moton received CAA Player of the Week honors after leading the Patriot to a pair of victories over William & Mary and VCU, snapping a six-game losing streak. The senior guard averaged 28.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.0 assists per game. She scored a game-high 28 points against W&M and a game-high 29 points against VCU, while setting a school and Patriot Center record for field goal percentage in a game shooting 85.7 percent (12-for-14) against the Rams. Moton finished the week shooting 69.0 percent (20-for-29) from the floor, 66.7 percent (2-for-3) from long range and 78.9 percent (15-for-19) from the free throw line. The senior now has three consecutive games of 28+ points in a game.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Toia Giggetts • James Madison
Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor, Fr., Forward
Giggetts earned CAA Rookie of the Week for the second straight week after helping the Dukes to a 2-0 week with wins over Hofstra and William & Mary. The freshman came off the bench to average 14.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game for James Madison. She scored a career-high 21 points against then-league-leading Hofstra to go along with a career-high 11 rebounds in just 27 minutes of action. Giggetts finished the week shooting 55.6 percent (10-for-18) from the field, 81.8 percent (9-for-11) from the line to go along with an assists and five steals.
CAA AT NO. 7 IN RPI RANKING - SEVEN CAA SQUADS IN TOP 100, INCLUDING DELAWARE AT NO. 7 (Through Games of Jan. 22): The CAA is ranked seventh among the nation's 32 Division I conferences in women's basketball according to the RPI report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News. Delaware, which finished the non-conference season ranked at No. 1, is ranked at No. 8 in the team RPI ranking, as the first of seven CAA teams in the Top 100. James Madison (28), Towson (45) and Hofstra (46) are the other CAA schools that are listed in the Top 50. Drexel (68), UNCW (82) and VCU (96) round out the CAA teams in the Top 100.
CAA IN THE TOP 25: The Delaware Blue Hens jumped to #15 in the Jan. 23 AP poll after a pair of conference victories and leaped to #16 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll (Jan. 17). The Blue Hens were awarded the #15 spot with 429 votes in the AP Poll and jumped to #16 with 284 nods in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. For the third time in her tenure as head coach, Tina Martin's squad is receiving notice in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Delaware received notice in the AP Top 25 polls during the 2006-07 and 2009-10 campaigns. It's Delaware's first appearance in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll ever in school history. Hofstra earned a pair of votes in the AP Top 25 poll for the first time this season.
THREE CAA WBB TEAMS RANKED IN COLLEGEINSIDER.COM MID-MAJOR POLL (Jan. 17): Delaware stayed steady ranked second in the CollegeInsider.com Jan. 17 edition of the mid-major poll, while James Madison fell to ninth, Hofstra improved to #11. Atop the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 is Green Bay, which received 30 first-place votes. The women's Mid-Major Top 25 is comprised of teams from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt, West Coast Conferences. The Mid-Major Top 25 will be released every Tuesday throughout the season.
CAA RECORD BOOK WATCH: Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, VCU's Courtney Hurt and Hofstra's Candice Bellocchio jumped into the CAA Record Book recently. Delle Donne is ranked in the top 10 career lists with 1,806 career points (t8th), 467 made career free throws (7th) and 162 blocks (t9th) during her campaign at UD. Hurt ranks in the CAA record book for field goals made with 641 (9th) as well as field goals attempted with 1,424 (8th) and rebounds with 1,016 (10th). Bellocchio jumped into the top 10 career list for assists with 549 (9th). The complete watch is located on page 13 of this report.
NOTE WORTHY INDIVIDUAL STATS: UD's Elena Delle Donne (1st, 27.9 ppg), VCU's Courtney Hurt (6th, 22.8 ppg) and George Mason's Taleia Moton (11th, 21.4 ppg) rank in the Top 11 leading scorers in the nation as of games through Jan. 22. Hurt is ranked second in the nation in rebounding with 12.2 rpg. Hurt has recorded 46 career double-doubles and has the second longest active career mark in Division I Women's Basketball, just behind Callan Taylor (48) from Sacred Heart. Hofstra's Shante Evans follows Hurt with 43 (in three years) ranked tied for third and Old Dominion's Tia Lewis has tallied 35 career double-doubles tied for eighth. Delaware's Elena Delle Donne (34) and Evans (30) are among the current leaders for consecutive games scoring 10+ points. They are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, as Baylor's Brittney Griner leads all active DI WBB players with 59 straight games scoring 10+ points per game.
NATIONAL HONORS: On Jan. 10, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne was selected as the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Women's National Player of the Week after helping the No. 20 ranked Blue Hens to a 2-0 week. Delle Donne was nearly unstoppable in a record-setting week as the Hens defeated Towson and George Mason. The 6-5 junior exploded for 37 points and became the school's all-time career scoring leader as the Blue Hens downed Towson. She broke the previous Delaware scoring record held by Cindy Johnson, who scored 1,675 points in 1997-01. Delle Donne set the record in just her 63rd career game while Johnson needed 113 games to reach the scoring mark. Johnson was on hand at the game to help celebrate the milestone. In Delaware's showdown with George Mason on Sunday, Delle Donne recorded her fourth double-double of the season by scoring a season high-tying 40 points (arena record for the Patriot Center) to go with 15 rebounds to help keep the Hens perfect in conference play. Delle Donne was also honored as the ECAC Division I Player of the Week on Jan. 10.
HIGH-FLYING: The 100-97 win by Hofstra over William & Mary on January 8 was certainly one for the ages. It easily broke Hofstra's program record for combined points in a game as the previous mark was 176 points (Hofstra 91, Delaware 85 on 2/12/06) for an overtime game and 175 (Hofstra 91, William & Mary 84 on 3/2/11) for a regulation game. It is also the highest scoring regulation final in CAA Women's Basketball history and the second-highest combined score in CAA Women's Basketball history, only eclipsed by the 218 combined points between Richmond (114) and James Madison (104) in an overtime contest on January 9, 2000. The combined total points also shattered the previous Kaplan Arena mark set back on March 3, 1981 in the VAIAW D-II Quarterfinals when William & Mary defeated Hampton, 96-82.
THREE CAA PLAYERS NAMED TO NAISMITH WATCH LIST: The CAA is well represented on the 2011-12 Naismith Women's Basketball Player of the Year early-season watch list with Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Hofstra's Shante Evans and VCU's Courtney Hurt making the line-up. In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors will compile a mid-season team of the top 30 players in the nation. Then in March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to the four finalists.
UPSET CITY-NEWARK, DEL.: Delaware women's basketball squad pulled off the biggest upset in school history on Nov. 17 as the Blue Hens brought down No. 11/12 ranked Penn State with an 80-71 victory. Backed by another brilliant performance from All-American Elena Delle Donne (40pts/12 rbs), the Blue Hens made history by defeating their highest ranked opponent in school history. Delaware had knocked off a Top 25 team just two other times in school history in 28 previous tries, including an 86-70 win over No. 20 Kentucky during the 2006-07 season and a 77-67 victory over then No. 22 James Madison at the BCC on Feb. 22, 2007.
SETTING RECORDS: Junior All-American Elena Delle Donne exploded for 37 points to became the schools all-time career scoring leader (1,685) against Towson (J. 5). She passed Cindy Johnson (1,675, 1997-01). Delle Donne set the record in just her 63rd career game while Johnson needed 113 games to reach the scoring mark. In the upset of #11/12 Penn State, Elena Delle Donne scored 25 of her game-high 40 points in the second half as Delaware recovered from an eight-point deficit midway through the second half with a big final flurry. Her 40 points set a Bob Carpenter Center record and was the third highest total in school history, trailing only her school-record 54-point performance at James Madison on Feb. 18, 2010 and her 41-point explosion against Yale on Nov. 20, 2010. Her 40 point performance ties the CAA all-time 10th best single game mark. She tied her season-best 40 points against George Mason on January 8th. Joining Delle Donne on the CAA all-time list, is VCU's Courtney Hurt as she poured in a school-record 40 points against UMKC (N. 19).
TV EXPOSURE: The CAA is scheduled to see a record-best of at least 38 regular season games on television this season, plus three televised games during the CAA championship. All 12 teams will make at least one television appearance during the 2011-12 season. The CAA women's basketball television package has aired over 20 games for the last four seasons. The CAA also enjoyed a record amount of exposure through new media efforts.
2012 VIRGINIA 529 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: The 2012 Virginia 529 CAA Women's Basketball Championship will return to The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., for the second straight season. The 2011 outing was the first time that The Show Place Arena had served as host of the CAA women's championship. The Show Place was the first neutral site since 1998 for the CAA women's championship and the teams played in front of 7,727 fans during the four-day event.
EXTRA HONORS: CollegeSportsMadness.com has named Delaware's Elena Delle Donne a Madness High-Major Conference Player of the Week representing the CAA (Jan. 22). The junior guard/forward led the 16th-ranked Blue Hens to a pair of victories last week. She averaged 18.0 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per outing, while playing through a calf injury.
CAA PRESEASON TEAM PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: Delaware, which returns five starters from last year's 20-14 team, is picked to win the 2012 CAA Women's Basketball title according to a vote of the league's head coaches. The results of the poll were announced during Tuesday's CAA Basketball Media Day at Champps-Pentagon Row in Arlington, Va. The Blue Hens were followed in the voting by VCU, James Madison and Hofstra. Drexel and Old Dominion tied for fifth, followed by UNCW, George Mason, William & Mary, Georgia State, Towson and Northeastern.
CAA PRESEASON INDIVIDUAL HONORS: Delaware's Elena Delle Donne was chosen as the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. She is joined on the preseason All-CAA first team by Hofstra's Shante Evans, VCU's Courtney Hurt and Andrea Barbour and Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite. Voted to the preseason All-CAA second team were UNCW's Alisha Andrews, Georgia State's Chan Harris, JMU's Hislop, Old Dominion's Tia Lewis and William & Mary's Taysha Pye.
OLD DOMINION WELCOMES KAREN BAREFOOT AS HEAD COACH: Former Lady Monarch assistant coach Karen Barefoot, who last season led Elon to its first ever Division I postseason appearance, was named Old Dominion's new head women's basketball coach on June 8, 2011. Barefoot became just the sixth head coach in Lady Monarch basketball history and first new hire since 1987. Barefoot, the school's first Native American head coaching hire, takes over a program that has reached postseason play in 19 of its last 20 years and has won 929 games, the third most all-time in women's basketball history. Barefoot, who hails from Newport News, Va., has a career head coaching record of 209-144, resulting in 11 winning seasons. Aside from Elon, Barefoot has also held the head coaching position at Division II Lenoir Rhyne College and at the Apprentice School.
HUNGRY FOR MORE: Nine of the 15 players who received all-conference honors in 2010-11 return this season. Back from the All-CAA first team are Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Hofstra's Shante Evans and VCU's Courtney Hurt, who all earned All-America accolades. All but one of the All-CAA third team will return. The CAA teams also return 70% of their starters from a year ago.
RETURNING THREE ALL-AMERICA HONOREES IN 2011-12: The CAA welcomes back three Associated Press All-America honorees in Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Hofstra's Shante Evans and VCU's Courtney Hurt. The trio joined former JMU all-star Dawn Evans in receiving Honorable Mention accolades in 2011.
REPRESENTING THE USA IN WOMEN'S HOOPS: CAA women's basketball standouts Elena Delle Donne of Delaware and Shante Evans of Hofstra were invited to participate in a pair of USA Basketball events. Delle Donne was selected for the 2011 USA World University Games Team and led her team to a gold medal in China in August 2011. VCU's Courtney Hurt also received an invite to the team trials with Delle Donne. The Delaware stand-out and All-American led the USA team averaging 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Red, White and Blue during six games. Evans was selected as a member of the USA Basketball Women's Pan American Games Team. She averaged 6.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game during her four outings with the Pan American Games Team which went 2-2.
SIX TEAMS DANCE IN POSTSEASON PLAY IN 2011: For the sixth consecutive season, at least three CAA teams advanced to the postseason and for the 11th consecutive season the CAA had a representative in the WNIT, as the CAA was just one of three conferences to see five teams in the WNIT. CAA champion James Madison was selected as the 11th-seed in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, while Delaware, Drexel, UNCW, Old Dominion, and VCU were invited to the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The Southeastern and Atlantic 10 also saw five conference teams advance to the postseason WNIT event in 2011.