QUICK HITS FOR THIS WEEK:
• The CAA enters the week with a 48-46 record against non-conference foes. There are 16 games slated for this week before the holiday break.
• RPIRatings.com released its second Women’s RPI rankings of the season on Monday, Dec. 17. CAA Women’s Basketball is ranked ninth in the second ranking of the season. Old Dominion is ranked the highest of all CAA members at eighth.
• Old Dominion made the AP Top 25 home for the third consecutive week as they steadied at No. 25. The Lady Monarchs first appeared in the Top 25 at No. 24 on Dec. 3. ODU fell one spot after falling to top-ranked Tennessee on the road.
QUICK HITS FROM LAST WEEK:
• The CAA stands with a 48-46 record against non-conference foes. The CAA split on the week, including victories from Northeastern and Drexel. VCU dropped its first game of the season, falling to 7-1 on the year, to Georgetown.
• Northeastern’s Lucia Pablos scored a game- and career-high 27 points in the Huskies win over New Hampshire, while Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean posted 22 points (20 in the second half) in the Dragons victory over Monmouth. NU’s Kendra Walton led all CAA players with 10 rebounds last week, while Hofstra’s Candice Bellocchio dished out a week-high six assists.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Lucia Pablos • Northeastern
Leon, Spain/Colegio Leones Milagrosa, Sr., Guard
Nrotheastern senior guard Lucia Pablos earned CAA Player of the Week honors leading the Huskies to a 78-71 victory over New Hampshire at home on Saturday. The senior poured in a game- and career-high 27 points on 9-of-15 (.600) shooting. Pablos also shot 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. The senior guard added one rebound, four assists and one steal for the Huskies in 32 minutes of action.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Candice Bellocchio • Hofstra
Staten Island, N.Y./St. Peter’s, Fr., Guard
Hofstra freshman guard Candice Bellocchio received CAA Rookie of the Week after a strong performance for the Pride against Yale. The rookie had the best game of her young career scoring 16 points and six assists in 29 minutes of play. The 16 points was double her career high in which she has scored eight points in three other outings this season. The Staten Island native sank all eight of her free throw attempts in the game and is now a perfect 14-of-14 this season from the free throw line. The start was Bellocchio’s third this season and she is currently fifth on the team in scoring (6.3 ppg) and third with 13 assists.
CAA VS. 2007 NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAMS: The CAA have posted an even 9-11 mark against teams which made an appearance in the 2007 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. In the opening week, Delaware defeated Delaware State, James Madison was victorious over Harvard, Northeastern collected a win over Coppin State, and Old Dominion defeated Middle Tennessee. Three wins came on CAA home courts, while Northeastern earned a victory over CSU on a neutral floor. George Mason fell to #9 Georgia in Athens, Ga. In week two of the new season, the Dukes posted a victory over UMBC, while Delaware fell to both #3 Maryland and TCU in the Preseason WNIT. In week three, the CAA squads played some of the toughest teams in the nation. Georgia State dropped a tough match to #5 North Carolina, while Hofstra fell to Harvard in the championship game of the Dead River Classic and Delaware lost to Louisville at the Panera Bread Challenge. George Mason defeated UMBC at home in a close 58-57 victory. Old Dominion fell to #2 Connecticut and #4 Stanford at the Paradise Jam. The Lady Monarchs finished the tournament defeating #22 Purdue. The Tribe of William & Mary then fell to Marquette in a road contest, 79-61. James Madison improved to 5-0 with an 80-55 victory over #14 George Washington on Nov. 27. ODU defeated #19 Michigan State, 79-73, on its home court on Dec. 2. The Lady Monarchs continued their strong non-conference schedule, but fell to #1 Tennessee on Wednesday evening, 83-51, and Towson dropped a 76-63 decision to New Mexico on the road.
CAA VS. RANKED TEAMS: The CAA is currently 3-6 against ranked teams, as Old Dominion has defeated #22 Purdue and #19 Michigan State and James Madison upset #14 George Washington. The Lady Monarchs fell to #2 Connecticut and #4 Stanford at the Paradise Jam over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. George Mason fell to #9 Georgia, Georgia State lost to #6 North Carolina, and Delaware fell to #3 Maryland. ODU recently fell to top-ranked Tennessee last Wednesday evening on the road.
CAA NO. 9 IN SECOND RPI RANKING: The CAA is ranked ninth among the nations 32 Division I conferences in women’s basketball according to the RPI report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News through games of Dec. 16. Old Dominion leads the CAA ranked eighth in the second report. The Lady Monarchs are followed by James Madison at 30, UNC Wilmington is ranked 53 and VCU at 58.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: The Old Dominion Lady Monarchs has the fifth toughest schedule in the nation, according the Collegiate Basketball News, through games of Dec. 16. The Lady Monarchs have already faced five members of the Top 25 and three members among the Top Five. James Madison follows at 33rd and Delaware has the next toughest schedule in the CAA at 65th.
RETURNING TALENT: Seven of the 15 members from last year’s All-CAA teams returned for the 2007-08 season. Three of the five first-team honorees are back: Old Dominion’s TJ Jordan, William & Mary’s Kyra Kaylor and James Madison’s Tamera Young.
TOP STATISTICAL LEADERS RETURN: The CAA welcomes back 13 of its top 20 scorers from last season. Also back are 12 of the CAA’s top 20 in rebounding and 10 of the top 15 in assists and steals.
CAA TEAMS AMONG THE NCAA STATISTICAL LEADERS (Top 15): After six weeks of play, Northeastern stands third with an 82.6 free throw percentage, while Drexel (79.2) follows at seventh. Also among the top 10, VCU’s defense is ranked fifth giving up only 49.4 points per outing. Drexel leads the conference and is ranked 12th in the nation averaging 14.1 turnovers per contest, while Northeastern follows in the same category at 15th (14.3 tpg). The Rams of VCU are ranked 15th dishing out 17.9 assists per outing. James Madison’s rebound margin (14.9) improved to fourth in the nation. William & Mary averages 8.1 three-point field goals per game and stands sixth among Division I teams.
CAA INDIVIDUALS AMONG THE NCAA STATISTICAL LEADERS (Top 20): Averaging 3.0 three-point field-goals per game, Old Dominion’s TJ Jordan is ranked 10th. JMU’s Tamera Young is ranked 17th averaging 10.6 rebounds per outing. Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean has shot 90.3 percent from the free-throw line and is ranked 19th.
ODU CAPTURES 16TH STRAIGHT CAA TITLE: Old Dominion edged James Madison 78-70 in another thrilling title game to capture its NCAA record 16th consecutive CAA championship. The Lady Monarchs have never lost a CAA Tournament game since joining the league back in 1991-92. With the win, ODU advanced to its 24th NCAA Tournament, which ranks as the third-most appearances in Division I behind only Tennessee and Louisiana Tech. The Lady Monarchs have won 20 or more games during all 16 seasons as a CAA member.
CAA MAKING HISTORY: For the first time in CAA history, three women’s basketball teams advanced to the 2007 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. Old Dominion, which earned the CAA’s automatic bid, was joined by James Madison and Delaware in the field of 64. Hofstra represented the CAA in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, which marked the second straight season the CAA had four women’s basketball teams advance to postseason play. The Lady Monarchs made their 16th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 24th overall. James Madison made its seventh NCAA appearance, but first since 1996--the last time the CAA had more than one team in the NCAA Women’s Tournament. Delaware made its second trip to the “Big Dance” which was its first since winning the America East automatic bid in 2002. Hofstra made its second straight appearance in the WNIT. Hofstra advanced to the quarterfinals of the WNIT with wins over Seton Hall and South Carolina. The Pride fell to Western Kentucky, 72-54, in the quarterfinals.
HOME SWEET HOME: James Madison continued its success at home as the Dukes defeated #14 George Mason Tuesday and Savannah State on Friday. The Dukes own the longest current winning streak on their home court with 30 victories dating back to the 2005-06 season. JMU will next test their strength at home again on Dec. 20 when they host Maryland, a Top-25 squad.
TV EXPOSURE: CAA women’s basketball increased its television exposure with 21 games on the air this season. All 12 teams will make least one television appearance.
2007-08 DEAL WITH THE AMERICA CHANNEL: Colonial Athletic Association Commissioner Tom Yeager announced that the league has entered into an agreement with The America Channel, which will provide live television coverage of a minimum of 18 women’s basketball games and several other CAA Championships beginning in 2008. The America Channel® is a new programming network that will explore and celebrate our communities, campuses, real heroes, and ordinary people who accomplish the extraordinary. The America Channel’s SportsLife ™ initiative merges life and sport – combining broadcast of over 200 NCAA sports games and matches, with real-life drama about the aspirations, achievements, challenges, adventures, community service, and lifestyles of students and student athletes from numerous NCAA conferences.
CAA CHAMPIONSHIP: The CAA Championship will be hosted by the University of Delaware for the second straight season March 13-16, 2008. All 12 teams will participate in the thrilling event, which will be held at the Bob Carpenter Center.
MAJORITY OF STARTERS RETURN: CAA teams return 55% (33-of-60) of their starting line-ups from a season ago. Drexel, George Mason, Northeastern, Towson and William & Mary only lost one starter from the 2006-07 season. UNC Wilmington and VCU, which both had all five starters back a year ago, return three starters this season.
DELAWARE (1-7, 0-0 CAA)
The Blue Hens were idle last week and looks to snap its seven-game losing streak when they return from an 11-day break on Dec. 18 to host Quinnipiac. After eight games, Delaware is lead by senior Kyle DeHaven who is averaging 11.2 points per outing. Jamie Mundy, a junior guard, leads the Blue Hens pulling down 4.3 boards per contest.
DREXEL (2-6, 0-0 CAA)
Drexel snapped a four-game losing streak when they downed Monmouth, 57-49, on the road Sunday afternoon. Sophomore Gabriela Marginean finished with 22 points in the contest, 20 of which came in the second period when the Dragons withstood a drought of 7:21 without a field goal to end the game. Marginean scored her points with four made-three-pointers and going 10-for-10 from the charity stripe. After shooting just 2-for-13 from long range all of last season, Marginean is currently Drexel’s most accurate three-point shooter at .400 (10-for-25) this season. Junior forward Nicole Hester turned in her best performance of the season for the Dragons with nine points, a team-high six rebounds, two steals and a block in 23 minutes of play. Freshman guard Jasmina Rosseel joined Marginean with double-figure scoring as she added 10 for the Dragons. The freshman also captured game highs of four assists and three steals. Drexel’s victory was the 56th career coaching win for head coach Denise Dillon. She is now the second winningest coach in Drexel history behind Drexel Hall of Famer Lil Haas. The Dragons are back in action on Dec. 20 to tip off a three-game home stand with a game against University City rival Penn at 1:00 p.m.
GEORGE MASON (3-4, 0-0 CAA)
George Mason was idle last week and will look to snap a two-game losing streak as they return to the court on Wednesday after a 15-day layoff. The Patriots will host American at 7 p.m., the first of its season-long four-game homestand. Later in the week, Mason will face Fordham at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Patriot Center. Senior guard Lateisha Wade leads the team averaging 17.9 points per outing, which is ranked third in the conference. Senior forward Moni Akintunde leads the team on the boards averaging 6.4 per game.
GEORGIA STATE (2-5, 0-0 CAA)
Georgia State will return from a 10-day break to play Winthrop court on Dec. 17 at Winthrop, followed by a home game with ranked Georgia Tech on Dec. 22. The Panthers depend on two top scorers in Danyiell McKeller and Brittany Hollins, each averaging 12.6 points per contest. Sophomore Shay Rawls tops the team and is ranked third in the conference pulling down 9.4 rebounds per game.
HOFSTRA (2-6, 0-0 CAA)
Hofstra dropped its fifth straight, its longest losing skid since a seven-game streak during the 2002-03 campaign, with a 73-67 decision at Yale on Tuesday evening. The Pride trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half before staging a comeback that saw them get within two, 65-63, with 1:26 left in the contest. That would be as close as the Pride would get, though, as Yale was a perfect 10-10 from the charity stripe in the final 1:16 to hold on for the six point victory. Senior forward Linn Quamme tallied a career-high 17 points and freshman guard Candice Bellocchio added a season-high 16. Bellocchio also added six assists, which was also a season-high for the Staten Island native. The Staten Island native sank all eight of her free throw attempts in the game and is now a perfect 14-14 this season from the charity stripe. Joining Quamme and Bellocchio in double figures for the Pride were Niki Williams and Britne Rodgers. Both players tallied 10 points in the contest, with Williams adding four assists and four rebounds. Hofstra will look to end its current losing skid on Friday when they host Southern Methodist at 2 p.m. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Pride and the Mustangs.
JAMES MADISON (6-2, 0-0 CAA)
James Madison will return from nearly a two week break when they return to defend its home court winning streak when it hosts #4 Maryland in Harrisonburg The Dukes will put a 30-game winning streak at home --the longest active streak in the NCAA Division I-- on the line against the Terps. Maryland is the highest-ranked team to visit the Convocation Center since 1997-98, when JMU played second-ranked Old Dominion (76-65 loss on Jan. 16). The last non-conference opponent with a higher rank to play at JMU was second-ranked Iowa on Dec. 19, 1993 (72-44 loss). The Dukes are led by senior Tamera Young, who pours an average of 18.8 points per contest (tied for first in the league with Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean). Young (10.6 rpg) teams up with Kisha Stokes (9.6 rpg) to lead the team in rebounds and are ranked first and second, respectively, in the league.
UNC WILMINGTON (6-1, 0-0 CAA)
The UNC Wilmington women’s basketball team was off last week in order to complete the fall academic semester. The Seahawks are 6-1 this season, off to their best start since 2002-03, when they opened the campaign at 7-0. Freshman Brittany Blackwell leads the team in both scoring (14.1 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 rpg), while Sahsha Taylor ranks second in scoring (13.6 ppg) and third in rebounding (5.9 rpg). The Seahawks to the court to host East Carolina on Dec. 20. Following Thursday’s game, UNCW will be off for the Christmas holiday before making its first trip outside of the Carolina’s for the Radford Christmas Tournament Dec. 28-29. The Seahawks will open the two-day event with an 8 p.m. contest against Kent State.
NORTHEASTERN (4-4, 0-0 CAA)
Northeastern defeated New Hampshire Saturday afternoon at Solomon Court, 78-71. The win improves Northeastern’s record to 4-4 on the season, and 2-0 at home. After just eight games, the Huskies have already equaled their win total from a season ago. The Huskies were led by Lucia Pablos, who poured in a career- and game-high 27 points. The senior guard earned her points on 9-of-15 shooting and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Crew was the other Husky to score in double figures with 11 points, while Kendra Walton grabbed 10 rebounds and Hodell contributed nine points and nine rebounds. Saturday marked the first time all season that NU has outrebounded an opponent, earning a 37-35 edge over UNH. The Huskies return to action next Saturday when they host Stony Brook at Solomon Court.
#25 OLD DOMINION (6-3, 0-0 CAA)
The Lady Monarchs were idle last week and will return to action on Thursday against defending MEAC champions, Delaware State, at 11 a.m. Old Dominion remained in the Top 25 of the Associated Press Poll for the third straight week (thru games of Dec. 16). In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, ODU remained the top team receiving votes. Following the holiday, the Lady Monarchs will wrap up 2007 with back-to-back SEC road games. ODU will travel to Kentucky on Friday December 28th and Vanderbilt on Sunday, December 30th. The game against the Wildcats will be aired on Fox Sports South and was recently picked up by WSKY-4 in the Hampton Roads area.
TOWSON (4-3, 0-0 CAA)
The Tigers were idle last week and have not played since a 76-63 loss against New Mexico in the championship game of the Comcast Lobo Shootout on Dec. 8. The Tigers are led by Shanae Baker-Brice averaging 12.6 points per game. Teammate Holly Mahan tops the team grabbing eight board an outing. The Tigers play UMBC which they will host on Dec. 19 and then host local rival Loyola on Dec. 28.
VCU (7-1, 0-0 CAA)
Virginia Commonwealth University’s seven-game win-streak came to an end as it dropped its first game of the year to Georgetown, 57-43, on Sunday afternoon. The Rams were held to 26.6 percent shooting from the floor and the Hoyas forced 25 turnovers. Senior Krystal Vaughn continues to be an offensive force, scoring in double digits for the seventh time in eight games. She posted a team-high 14 points, while teammate Quanitra Hollingsworth was a master on the boards grabbing a game-high nine rebounds. The 43 points was the lowest output for the Rams since Feb. 17, 2006 in a 58-43 loss at Hofstra, while VCU still managed to turn up the defense holding their eighth straight opponent under 60 points, extending their school record streak. VCU will make the short trip to Farmville, Va for a 3 p.m. contest against the Lancers of Longwood on Friday afternoon.
WILLIAM & MARY (5-4, 0-0 CAA)
The Tribe was idle last week due to exams and host Duquesne on Dec. 20. William & Mary is lead by senior forward Kyra Kaylor, who is averaging 15.6 points per game. Kaylor is joined by Tiffany Benson in grabbing 8.3 rebounds per contest. Devin James is averaging 3.0 steals per outing and ranks third among CAA players.