QUICK HITS FOR THIS WEEK:
• Old Dominion made the AP Top 25 home for the sixth consecutive week as they improved to No. 18, its highest showing in the AP Top 25 this season. The Lady Monarchs made their first appearance in the ESPN/USA Today Poll at No. 23 last week.
• CAA women’s basketball is ranked ninth in the nation in the RPIRatings.com rankings through games of Jan. 6. Old Dominion leads the conference at #12, while VCU stands at #39. James Madison (#40) and UNC Wilmington (#81) finish out the CAA teams in the Top 81 of the rankings.
• The CAA Weekly Telephonic press conference will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Georgia State’s Lea Henry, VCU’s Beth Cunningham and William & Mary’s Debbie Taylor will be available at Noon to discuss their teams and the league in general.
QUICK HITS FROM LAST WEEK:
• CAA teams improved to 71-62 record against non-conference opponents. Drexel, Towson and UNC Wilmington all earned victories last week before playing their first conference contest of the season. George Mason will travel to Lynchburg to play Liberty on Jan. 15 to close the non-conference regular season schedule for the CAA.
• All 12 conference teams played their first CAA contest of the season. VCU, Old Dominion, Towson, James Madison, Drexel and Delaware started the season with a 1-0 mark in conference play.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
Jessica Canady • Old Dominion
Williamsburg, Va./Jamestown, So., Forward
Old Dominion sophomore forward Jessica Canady earned CAA Player of the Week honors after leading the #19 Lady Monarchs to their first CAA victory over Georgia State on the road on Sunday. The sophomore came off the bench and poured in a team- and career-high 21 points, along with 10 rebounds in 22 minutes of action. It was Canady’s second double-double of the season and of her career. The 21-point performance was the first time scoring over 20 points in a game. She shot a blistering 7-of-8 (.875) from the field and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line. The sophomore added one assist and a steal in the win over the Panthers.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Ariene Jenkins • Delaware
Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge, Fr., Forward
Delaware freshman Ariene Jenkins received CAA Rookie of the Week after assisting the Blue Hens snap an 11-game losing streak with a conference victory over George Mason on Sunday. Jenkins exploded for a career highs of 15 points and seven rebounds in the win. She surpassed her previous career highs of nine points (vs. Quinnipiac on 12/18) and six rebounds (twice this season). Jenkins also played a career-high 34 minutes in the contest against the Patriots. The redshirt freshman shot 4-of-9 from the field and went 7-of-9 from the charity stripe. She also contributed one assist and one steal in the road victory.
CAA CONFERENCE PLAY: All 12 women’s basketball teams opened their CAA schedule on Sunday, Jan. 6. Delaware, Drexel, James Madison, Old Dominion, Towson and VCU started the season with a 1-0 mark in the CAA.
ONE IS GOOD, TWO IS BETTER: The Lady Monarchs have made the AP Poll home for the sixth consecutive week as they improved to No. 18, its highest showing in the Top 25 this season. Old Dominion also made its first appearance in the ESPN/USA Today Poll on Jan. 2 at No. 23.
CAA NO. 9 IN RPI RANKING (JAN. 7): 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 Jan. 6. Old Dominion leads the CAA ranked 12th in the report. The Lady Monarchs are followed by VCU at 39, James Madison is ranked at 40, and UNC Wilmington at 81.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Four CAA teams are ranked among the top 25 of toughest strength of schedule, according to the Collegiate Basketball News through Jan. 6. The Delaware Blue Hens have played the 14th toughest schedule in the nation. Old Dominion, Northeastern and James Madison follow at 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, respectively.
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. On Jan. 13, Old Dominion will host James Madison at The Ted for a conference contest. The game will be carried on WSKY in the Hampton Roads area.
CAA TEAMS AMONG THE NCAA STATISTICAL LEADERS (Top 10): After nine weeks of play, Northeastern continues to hold its spot at third in the nation with an 81.7 free throw percentage. The Dukes of James Madison outrebound their opponents just over 12 boards a contest and is ranked seventh. VCU’s defense is ranked eighth giving up only 52.4 points per outing. William & Mary is averaging 7.8 three-point field goals per game good for eighth in the nation. Drexel leads the conference and is ranked eighth in the nation averaging 13.9 turnovers per contest. Towson averages 13.0 steals a game, which is good for 10th in the nation.
CAA INDIVIDUALS AMONG THE NCAA STATISTICAL LEADERS (Top 20): Averaging 3.2 three-point field-goals per game, William & Mary’s Courtney Portell is ranked sixth, while Old Dominion’s T.J. Jordan follows at 11th (3.1) and Northeastern’s Ashlee Feldman stands at 20th (2.8). James Madison’s Tamera Young is averaging 20.9 points per outing which is the ninth best average in the nation. Delaware’s Kyle DeHaven is snatching 3.7 steals per game and is ranked ninth among Division I players. She also leads the conference and stands 11th among the NCAA shooting 89.9 from the charity stripe. Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean follows DeHaven with an 89.2 percentage from the free throw line (18th). Towson’s Holly Mahan is shooting 46.6 percent from long range which currently ranks 13th. Drexel’s Narissa Suber has the 12th best assist to turnover ratio (2.4) in the nation.
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 T.J. 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 VS. 2007 NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAMS: The CAA have posted an even 12-16 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, 83-51, on Dec. 5 and Towson dropped a 76-63 decision to New Mexico on the road. Towson defeated UMBC, 69-61, at home on Dec. 19. The Lady Monarchs defeated Delaware State, 70-28, but JMU fell in a close contest at home to #4 Maryland, 71-65, on Dec. 20. Delaware fell to Bowling Green, 64-54, on Friday, Dec. 21. Georgia State lost to cross-town rival Georgia Tech on Dec. 22, 79-67. On Dec. 29, James Madison fell to Pittsburgh, 69-61. CAA women’s basketball wrapped up the non-conference schedule against 2007 NCAA Tournament teams as #23 Old Dominion defeated #20 Vanderbilt, while Hofstra fell to a tough Florida State squad on Dec. 30.
CAA VS. NON-CONFERENCE RANKED TEAMS: The CAA is currently 4-8 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. No.4 Maryland was challenged by James Madison in Harrisonburg, but the Terps came out on top with a 71-65 win on Dec. 20. Delaware dropped a 62-49 decision to #23 Arkansas at the Blue Sky Tournament on Dec. 29. No. 23 Old Dominion earned an 80-65 road victory against #20 Vanderbilt on Dec. 30.
CAA 2008 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.
CAA TEAMS UP WITH GIRL SCOUTS: For the 15th consecutive year, the Colonial Athletic Association and Girl Scouts of the USA are teaming up for the “Be Your Best” partnership. Each CAA institution has designated a women’s basketball game this season as “Girl Scout Appreciation Day”, with the goal of teaching girls the many benefits that can be gained from participating in athletics. Girl Scouts are invited to attend the games and cheer for their favorite CAA team. A variety of activities are planned in conjunction with the games, including autograph sessions with players, instructional clinics with coaches and spirit contests. Drexel and Towson will host their “Girl Scout Appreciation Day” next Sunday (Jan. 20). For complete information, including schedule and special events in conjunction with the games, visit www.caasports.com.
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.
FLASH BACK - CAA MAKING HISTORY IN 2006-07: 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.
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 (2-11, 1-0 CAA)
Delaware kicked off its CAA schedule by snapping its record-long 11-game losing streak with a 64-49 victory over George Mason at the Patriot Center on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore guard Corinthia Benison and freshman forward Ariene Jenkins led the Hens as they both netted career-highs, scoring 17 and 15 points respectively. Not only did the win end the team’s losing streak, but it also extended the Blue Hens’ dominance over the Patriots and in conference openers. Delaware has now won eight straight contests against George Mason and seven straight to start CAA play. Senior froward Courtney Irving led the Hens with eight boards and added 13 points, while Jenkins and senior guard Kyle DeHaven chipped in with seven rebounds apiece. Kyle, the team’s most consistent defensive stalwart, also had a team-high four steals. The Blue Hens will host Drexel, which is on a five-game winning streak, on Thursday, Jan. 10, before traveling to William & Mary on Sunday, Jan. 13.
DREXEL (6-6, 1-0 CAA)
Drexel extended its winning streak to five games as the Dragons were victorious over Mount St. Mary’s, 81-51, in non-conference play on Thursday before defeating Hofstra, 59-30, in their first conference game of the season. The five-game winning streak is the longest for the Dragons since the 2004-05 season, when the team finished 19-10 and advanced to the CAA Championship Semifinals. On Thursday, the Dragons shot an impressive 58.5 percent from the floor in the non-conference victory. Sophomore forward Gabriela Marginean led all scorers with 17 points. She shot 3-for-4 from deep and was one of seven Dragons who participated a three-point downpour that saw the team shower the Mountaineers with 14 triples before the final buzzer sound on their fourth straight victory. Junior forward Nicole Hester finished 3-of-4 from deep for a second straight game and completed the contest with 12 points. Freshman guard Jasmina Rosseel came off the bench after missing the team’s last game to score 13 points. The 30-point win was Drexel’s largest margin of victory since Feb. 17, 2006, when the Dragons beat Northeastern 81-51 and set a single-game team record with 18 three-pointers in the win. Against Hofstra, the Dragons’ defense limited the Pride to just 30 points, which is the fewest points given up by a Drexel team in the program’s history and the lowest point total in Hofstra’s Division I history. Marginean led all scorers with 20 points and she also pulled down a game-high eight rebounds. Florida transfer Brooke Cornish contributed four blocks to the record-setting defensive performance. Cornish matched her season high for swats for the second consecutive game and leads the team with 20 swats. The Dragons held the Pride to just 25 percent shooting from the floor and 1-for-14 from behind the three-point line. Next up for the Dragons is a two-game road trip as they visit Delaware on Thursday before traveling to play George Mason in Fairfax on Sunday.
GEORGE MASON (6-5, 0-1 CAA)
George Mason had their five-game home winning-streak snapped as they fell to conference foe Delaware, 64-49, on Sunday afternoon. The Patriots’ 5-0 start at home was a school record. The Patriot offense was led by sophomore Rashuana Hobbs, who reached double figures for the fourth straight time with 12 points. Senior Moni Akintunde added nine points to go with her team-best six rebounds, while classmates Lateisha Wade and C’Vette Henson each chipped in seven points. Mason will look for its first CAA victory on Thursday when it hits the road for the first time in over a month, traveling to Hofstra. The Patriots will then host Drexel on Sunday.
GEORGIA STATE (3-9, 0-1 CAA)
Georgia State opened its CAA season opener against a tough #19 Old Dominion and fell 79-59 on Sunday afternoon. Georgia State (3-9) got a career-best 25 points from junior guard Brittany Hollins and 13 points and seven rebounds from sophomore forward Shay Rawls. Rawls just missed a third consecutive double-double game in the CAA opener, but played just 21 of the 40 minutes due to foul trouble. Georgia State shot just 30 percent in the game, hitting just 21 of 70 shots. The Panthers attempted 16 more shots than ODU. The Panthers have used 11 different players so far in the starting lineup with eight different players scoring in double figures. Georgia State will travel to the state of Virginia to play James Madison on Thursday, Jan. 10 before facing VCU in Richmond on Sunday, Jan. 13.
HOFSTRA (2-10, 0-1 CAA)
The Pride dropped its ninth straight games as they fell 59-30 to Drexel in its CAA opener on Sunday. Freshman forward Britne’ Rodgers scored the first four points and led Hofstra with 11 points and four rebounds. Freshman guard Aamira Terry had another solid outing for the Pride as she chipped in with nine points and two rebounds in 19 minutes. The 30 points scored by Hofstra tied the program’s Division I record for fewest in a game as the Pride also scored 30 in a 65-30 loss to Northeastern during the 1993-94 campaign. Senior guard India Ali played in the 100th game of her career at Drexel, and with at least 18 games remaining this season Ali has a chance to reach the top five in games played in the program’s Division I history. Junior center Christina Biedny continued to contribute since returning from injury at the FIU Fun and Sun Classic and is averaging six points per game in her three games this season. Hofstra will look to end its longest losing streak since a 10-game streak in 1998-99 when they host George Mason on Thursday before traveling to Northeastern on Sunday.
JAMES MADISON (8-4, 1-0 CAA)
James Madison improved to 8-4 on the season and 1-0 in conference play as the Dukes defeated UNC Wilmington, 79-39, on Sunday. The 40-point win over the Seahawks was the largest margin of victory in a home contest since a 55-point win (86-31) over Charleston Southern on Dec. 20, 2005. The Dukes had five players who scored in double figures. JMU senior guard Tamera Young led all players with 19 points. She also added nine rebounds and a season- and game-high six assists in the victory. Also in double figures for the Dukes were freshman center Lauren Jimenez with a season-high 16, redshirt senior forward Jennifer Brown with 12, junior forward Kisha Stokes with 10, and freshman point guard Dawn Evans with 10. Brown also had a game-high 10 rebounds as she recorded her third double-double of the season. Young recently jumped in the top 10 of the CAA career scorers and last week added seven field goals to enter into the CAA top 10 career field goal category with 604. The Dukes will host Georgia State on Thursday before making the trek to Norfolk, Va. to play #18 Old Dominion at The Ted on Sunday. The 2 p.m. contest will be broadcast on WSKY in the Hampton Roads area.
UNC WILMINGTON (9-3, 0-1 CAA)
UNC Wilmington split on the week as they captured an overtime victory at home over Western Carolina on Thursday before suffering a 79-39 setback at James Madison in conference play on Sunday. The Seahawks captured a 90-88 overtime win over Western Carolina with the help of junior guard Shade Smith’s running 25-footer as time expired. The Lady Seahawks, who spotted WCU a 16-0 lead over the first five minutes of the contest, rallied to win. Freshman guard Brittany Blackwell led all scorers in the game with a career-high 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the floor and 6-for-8 at the free throw line. The newcomer from Cary, N.C., made just one of her first five attempts, but finished 8-for-10 down the stretch. Sophomore guard Greta Luksyte scored a career-best 22 points, junior forward Sahsha Taylor chipped in 15 and senior guard Stephanie Fernald had 11 points off the bench for the Lady Seahawks. In the Seahawks’ CAA opener, UNCW shot a season low 30 percent from the field and was limited to season lows of 12 field goals and 29 rebounds. The 40-point margin of defeat is the second largest of the Ann Hancock era. Luksyte was the lone Seahawk in double figures, scoring 15 points. Blackwell, the team’s leading scorer at 14.8 ppg, was limited to a season-low six points. UNC Wilmington returns to action this week with a pair of home games and will look to defend its perfect 5-0 home record. The Seahawks will host #18 Old Dominion on Wednesday before closing the homestand with Towson on Sunday.
NORTHEASTERN (5-6, 0-1 CAA)
Northeastern opened its CAA schedule against a tough VCU squad and suffered a 77-65 loss at home. The Huskies had four players score in double figures for the third straight game. Senior guards Shaleyse Smallwood and Lucia Pablos each had a team high 14 points, but VCU shot 55.4 percent from the field en route to the win. The Huskies shot the ball very well themselves, shooting 50.0 percent from the field, the third straight game NU has shot 50.0 percent or better from the field. Junior guard Ashlee Feldman added 12 points and sophomore forward Kim Carr contributed 10 for the Huskies. The loss was Northeastern’s first loss at home this season, after winnings its first three games to begin the season. The Huskies will visit Towson for a conference outing on Thursday before hosting Hofstra on Sunday in Boston.
#18 OLD DOMINION (10-3, 1-0 CAA)
Old Dominion kicked off the CAA portion of its schedule Sunday by picking up a 79-59 victory over Georgia State. The Lady Monarchs, winners of four straight and seven of their last eight games, improve their mark to 10-3 overall and 1-0 in league action. Old Dominion now stands at 17-0 all-time in CAA openers. Additionally it is the fastest to 10 overall wins by the Lady Monarchs since the 1997-98 season when that squad accomplished the feat by January 4th. Sophomore Jessica Canady came off the bench and captured a new-career mark with a team-leading 21 points along with a game-high 10 boards for her second career double-double. It was also the first time in her career the sophomore forward scored over 20 points in a game. Canady shot 7-of-8 from field (87.5 percent) and a perfect 7-of-7 from the line. Also scoring double figures were senior Shahida Williams with 12 points and freshman Jasmine Parker with 10. Parker also tied her season-mark with four steals. The Lady Monarchs, who entered the game shooting just 60.9 percent from the free throw line, shot a season-high 73.3 percent from the charity stripe in the victory over the Panthers. The Old Dominion Lady Monarchs conclude a four-game road swing on Wednesday, January 9, when they travel to UNC Wilmington for 7:00 p.m. tip. The Lady Monarchs will return to the friendly confines of the Ted Constant Convocation Center for their CAA home opener Sunday, January 13 versus James Madison. Game time against the Dukes is 2:00 p.m. with the contest being televised on WSKY-4 in the Hampton Roads area. Old Dominion is 15-1 all-time in CAA home openers.
TOWSON (9-3, 1-0 CAA)
The Tigers extended their winning streak to five games as they earned a pair of road victories last week. On Wednesday, Towson defeated Radford, 65-57 and the Tigers collected their first CAA victory with a 57-48 win over William & Mary. The win against the Highlanders allowed Coach Joe Mathews to enjoy his return to Radford. A 1991 Radford graduate, Mathews was facing his alma mater for the first time as a head coach. Senior guard Holly Mahan led Towson with a 15 point, eight rebound performance. Junior guard Alis Freeman and sophomore guard Shanae Baker-Brice each added 12 points in the victory. Freeman added three assists and four steals while making eight of nine free throws. Baker-Brice, who had a game-high six assists, made four of nine shots from the floor and all four of her free throw attempts. She also recorded six rebounds. Senior guard Jamell Beasley came off the bench to score 12 points with five rebounds. On Sunday, Mahan led the Tigers with 16 points and five rebounds while sophomore forward Kandace Davis tallied a team-high 11 rebounds along with seven points. The victory over the Tribe marked the 300th win for the Tigers as a Division I program. Towson jumped out to an impressive 18-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game and held off the Tribe comeback later in the stanza. The Tigers forced W&M to make 27 turnover in the game. Towson will host Northeastern on Thursday evening before traveling to play UNC Wilmington on Sunday afternoon.
VCU (11-1, 1-0 CAA)
Virginia Commonwealth improved to 11-1 on the season and 1-0 in conference play as four Rams scored in double figures to run past the Northeastern Huskies, 77-65, on Sunday. The win was the Rams’ fourth straight and started the CAA schedule with a win for the first time since the 2000-01 season. Junior Quanitra Hollingsworth notched her seventh double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Radoslava Bachvarova finished with 14 points, La’Tavia Rorie with 11 points and Krystal Vaughn with 10 as VCU finished with four players in double figures for the second straight game. Vaughn’s double digit showing marked the 11th time in 12 games this season that she has tallied double figures. The defense was stellar yet again as VCU has still to allow more than 65 points from their opponents. The Rams will host in-state rival William & Mary for a conference contest on Wednesday before entertaining Georgia State on Sunday.
WILLIAM & MARY (6-7, 0-1 CAA)
The William and Mary suffered a 57-48 loss to Towson in its first CAA contest of the season. Senior Kyra Kaylor led the Tribe with a double-double, totaling 15 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native also equaled a career-high with four blocks. Junior Courtney Portell finished with 15 points and was 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Towson began the contest playing particularly well, as it scored the game’s initial 18 points. Despite the large deficit early, W&M fought back and held the Tigers scoreless for nearly a 10-minute span. In doing so, the Tribe cut the lead to just 18-12 with 6:50 remaining in the half. Junior Devin James ignited the run with six points. The Tribe has lost three of its last four and will look to jump back on the winning track as they visit Richmond, Va. to play VCU on Wednesday evening in CAA play. William & Mary will close out the week at home when they host Delaware on Sunday in Williamsburg, Va.