WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 20, 2009) – Drexel, which captured its first Colonial Athletic Association women’s basketball championship last season, is favored to win the conference title again in 2009-10 according to a vote of the league’s coaches, sports information directors and media members.  The results of the poll were announced during Tuesday’s CAA Basketball Media Day at the ESPN Zone in Washington, D.C.

The Dragons were followed in the voting by James Madison, Old Dominion, Delaware and VCU.  Towson was picked to finish sixth, followed by Hofstra, UNC Wilmington, William & Mary, Northeastern, Georgia State and George Mason.

Drexel returns eight letterwinners back from last year’s 24-9 squad that earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.  Three starters are back, led by senior forward Gabriela Marginean (23.3 ppg/7.4 rpg), who was named the 2009 CAA Player of the Year after ranking third in the nation in scoring.  She will be joined by junior guard Jasmina Rosseel (10.8 ppg), who earned third-team All-CAA accolades a year ago, and senior forward Jennifer Stjarnstrom (2.1 ppg/2.0 rpg).

James Madison has won 24 or more games and reached postseason play in each of the past four seasons, and the Dukes look to continue that success. The Dukes will build around junior guard Dawn Evans, who received first-team All-CAA accolades after draining a school-record 92 treys and ranking second in the nation in scoring (23.8 ppg). Joining her in the backcourt is senior Sarah Williams (9.3 ppg), who hit 56 threes a year ago. JMU also welcomes back junior post player Jalissa Taylor (7.1 ppg/6.5 rpg), who was 13th in the CAA in rebounding.

Old Dominion’s incredible streak of 17 consecutive CAA championships came to an end last season, but legendary head coach Wendy Larry is expected to have the Lady Monarchs back in the title hunt this season.  The Lady Monarchs welcome back a pair of starters in senior forward Jessica Canady (12.6 ppg/9.6 rpg), a second team All-CAA selection a year ago, and junior guard Shadasia Green (9.3 ppg/6.0 rpg). Sophomore center Mairi Buchan (5.2 ppg/3.3 rpg), junior guard Jasmine Parker (5.2 ppg/3.3 rpg) and newcomer Tia Lewis are also expected to contribute for Old Dominion.

Delaware returns all five starters and welcomes an outstanding class of newcomers.  Topping the list of returnees is junior guard Tesia Harris, who earned third team All-CAA honors after contributing 13.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per outing.  Junior Vanessa Kabongo was the Hens’ second-leading scorer (10.8 ppg) last season and she will be joined in the backcourt by the team’s lone senior, Corinthia Benison (9.3 ppg).  Back up front for UD is junior Ariene Jenkins (8.6 ppg/8.1 rpg) and junior Eva Reddick (3.1 ppg/4.7 rpg).  The Hens will be helped by the addition of forward Danielle Parker, Kayla Miller and Elena Delle Donne. 

The CAA is coming off an outstanding season in which the conference sent three teams (Drexel, James Madison and VCU) to post-season play for the fourth season in a row.  This season, the league returns 75% of its starters and eight all-conference performers.

Drexel’s Marginean was chosen as the CAA Preseason Player of the Year.  She is joined on the preseason All-CAA first team by Towson’s Shanae Baker-Brice, William & Mary’s Tiffany Benson, ODU’s Canady and JMU’s Evans.

Voted to the preseason All-CAA second team were UNC Wilmington’s Brittany Blackwell, Delaware’s Delle Donne and Harris, Hofstra’s Jess Fuller and Drexel’s Rosseel.

2009-10 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. Drexel
2. James Madison
3. Old Dominion
4. Delaware
5. VCU
6. Towson
7. Hofstra
8. UNC Wilmington
9. William and Mary
10. Northeastern
11. Georgia State
12. George Mason

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2009-10 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS

First Team Cl.

Pos.

Ht.

Hometown/Previous School
Shanae Baker-Brice, Towson* Sr. G 5-6 Washington, D.C./Theodore Roosevelt
Tiffany Benson, William & Mary# Sr. F 6-1 Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne
Jessica Canady, Old Dominion# Sr. F 6-0 Williamsburg, Va./Jamestown
Dawn Evans, James Madison* Jr. G 5-7 Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast
Gabriela Marginean, Drexel* Sr. F 6-1 Cluj-Napoca, Romania/Mt. de Chantal Academy
         
Second Team Cl. Pos. Ht. Hometown/Previous School
Brittany Blackwell, UNCW#  Jr.  G/F 6-1 Raleigh, N.C./Cary Academy
Elena Delle Donne, Delaware R-Fr.
 G/F 6-5 Wilmington, Del./Ursuline Academy
Jess Fuller, Hofstra# Sr.  C 6-4 Queens, N.Y./Francis Lewis/Monroe CC
Tesia Harris, Delaware Jr.  G 6-0 Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollows Hills West
Jasmina Rosseel, Drexel^ Jr. G 5-8 Leper, Belgium/Sint-Theresia Instituut

CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Gabriela Marginean, Drexel

Honorable Mention: Joelle Connelly, So., C/F, Hofstra; Katrina Wheeler, Sr., F, Towson^

*1st team All-CAA in 2008-09
# 2nd team All-CAA in 2008-09
^ 3rd team All-CAA in 2008-09