BASKETBALL WEEKLY REPORT - DEC. 21
*Complete report in PDF format located at the bottom of this article*
CAA QUICK HITS:
• A strong start to the new season for the CAA women's basketball programs as they have produced a 63-42 record against non-conference opponents.
• JMU kept a spot in the Top 25 for the second straight week, but fell to No. 25 in the AP Poll on Dec. 21. The ESPN/USA Today Poll will be released on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
• The most recent RPIRatings.com report (Dec. 21) showed the CAA with a league RPI of eight. James Madison fell to 18th after a loss to #7/8 Duke in the team RPI ranking. Hofstra (79) is just the only other CAA school in the Top 100, as Delaware (103), Georgia State (104) and Towson (110) are edging the Top 100.
• Drexel's Gabriela Marginean will be named the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association Outstanding Amateur Athlete of 2009 at the annual awards dinner on Feb. 1, 2010.
• The CAA has 22 games slated to be televised for the 2009-10 season.
• The CAA is celebrating its 25th Anniversary during the 2009-10 season. The CAA announced its women's basketball Silver Anniversary team on Oct. 13, which included 17 former CAA Players of the Year, 10 All-America selections and nine WNBA draft picks.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Danyiell McKeller • Georgia State
Fayetteville, N.C./Westover, Sr., Forward
McKeller led the Panthers to a pair of road wins last week for GSU's best start in school history. The senior forward poured in 25.5 points per outing in the wins over Delaware State and Iona, including a career-high 26 point performance against the Hornets. The Fayetteville, N.C., native shot 56 percent (20-for-36) from the floor and 86.2 percent (11-for-13) from the charity stripe. McKeller posted a personal best five steals against DSU and finished the week with seven. She also added two assist and averaged 5.0 rebounds per outing for GSU.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Taylor Hilton • William & Mary
Washington, D.C./Sidwell Friends, Fr., Forward/Guard
Hilton helped the Tribe to a 1-1 week averaging 10.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per outing. The freshman narrowly missed her first career double-double in each of the two outings on the week. The Washington, D.C. native, set or tied career highs in points, field goals made, field goal attempted, three-pointers made, three-pointers attempted and rebounds in the win over Norfolk State. She finished the week recording her first double-digit rebound game against High Point. The rookie also completed the week with two steals and averaged 24 minutes per outing.
CAA STAND AT No. 8 IN RPI RANKING: The CAA steadied at eighth among the nation's 32 Division I conferences in women's basketball according to the RPI report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News (games through Dec. 20). James Madison fell to 18th after a loss to #7/8 Duke in the team RPI ranking. Hofstra (79) is just the only other CAA school in the Top 100, as Delaware (103), Georgia State (104) and Towson (110) are edging the Top 100.
SCHEDULE STRENGTH: The Lady Monarchs of Old Dominion have started the new season with the eighth toughest strength of schedule in the nation according to Collegiate Basketball News (games through Dec. 20). ODU has faced top contenders in the RPI ratings such as Stanford (RPI 1), N.C. State (RPI 76), Maryland (RPI 62), Louisville (RPI 89) and Florida (RPI 92). James Madison is listed to have the 64th toughest strength of schedule as they have faced Duke (RPI 4), Virginia (RPI 12), Georgetown (RPI 49), Liberty (RPI 72), and Virginia Tech (RPI 119). Hofstra has face the 94th toughest schedule.
CAA IN THE AP POLL: James Madison received 58 votes in the most recent AP Top 25 Poll to earn the #25 spot. The Dukes are currently ranked No. 25 in last week's ESPN/USA Today Poll and the updated version will be released on Dec. 22. The Delaware Blue Hens are the only other CAA team that has receive votes this season as UD garnered a vote in the preseason and the first week 2009-10 AP Top 25 rankings. Delaware's preseason vote was the first preseason AP vote awarded to a Delaware men's or women's basketball team in school history. Delaware women's squad most recently received votes in the AP Top 25 Poll during the 2006-07 season on 13 separate occasions from Nov. 27-March 6.
JAMES MADISON TOPS NATIONALLY-RANKED VIRGINIA: James Madison became the first team in the 2009-10 season to defeat a Top 25 team when they took down #14/15 Virginia, 75-73, on Sunday, Dec. 6. Dawn Evans matched her career high with 38 points. Evans' 38-point performance, which is 14 points above her average, set a John Paul Jones Arena scoring record.
TOWSON TOPS NATIONALLY-RANKED MARYLAND: Towson quickly followed the Dukes as they picked up a Top-25 win over #25/18 Maryland, 67-55, at the Towson Center on Thursday, Dec. 10. Shanae Baker-Brice recorded game highs of 25 points, seven assists and three steals. The win over the Terps is Towson's first-ever victory over a nationally-ranked team and it came before a crowd of 2,243.
CAA PRESEASON TEAM PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: 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.
CAA PRESEASON INDIVIDUAL HONORS: Drexel's Marginean was chosen as the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. She was joined on the preseason All-CAA first team by Towson's Shanae Baker-Brice, William & Mary's Tiffany Benson, Old Dominion's Canady and James Madison's Dawn Evans. Voted to the preseason All-CAA second team were UNC Wilmington's Brittany Blackwell, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and Tesia Harris, Hofstra's Jess Fuller and Drexel's Jasmina Rosseel.
PLENTY OF TALENT RETURNING IN 2009-10: CAA teams welcome back 75% of their starters from a year ago, including 11 players who earned All-CAA honors. Among the stat leaders, the CAA returns eight of last season's top 10 scorers, lead by James Madison's Dawn Evans (23.8 ppg) and Drexel's Gabriela Marginean (23.3 ppg), and seven of the top 10 rebounders, including William & Mary's Tiffany Benson (11.5 rpg) and Old Dominion's Jessica Canady (9.6 rpg). The conference also welcomes back four of the top five leaders in assists and steals. Georgia State's Crystal Johnson led the league in assists last year with 5.5 per outing, while Towson's Shanae Baker-Brice led the CAA grabbing 3.0 steals per game. All seven of the league's top three-point shooters are back as well.
TOP STATS IN NCAA: Two of the top three scorers in the nation played for the CAA in 2008-09 and return for more in 2009-10. James Madison sophomore guard Dawn Evans completed the season at No. 2, after averaging 23.8 points per outing, while Drexel junior forward Gabriela Marginean wrapped up the season at third as she averaged 23.3 points per contest. Through games of Dec. 20, Evans is ranked to No. 2 with 27.1 points per outing, just behind Oral Roberts' Kevi Luper (27.3 ppg). Delaware's Elena Delle Donn follows at seventh (23.4 ppg), while Georgia State's Danyiell McKeller (11th, 21.4 ppg) and Marginean (13th, 20.8 ppg) also make an appearance in the Top 15. Evans is ranked third with 4.3 trey's per outing.
TRIPLE DOUBLES: Georgia State junior transfer Angelique Burtts scored a triple-double (19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds) in the Panthers' win over Murray State on Nov. 27. She is just one of 10 others who have accomplished a triple-double this season (as of Dec. 17). St. Mary's Louella Tomlinson had recorded three this season to tally five in her career.
FRESH FACES--NICE NUMBERS: The CAA welcomes a strong group of freshmen this season. Four freshman are averaging double-digits in scoring, led by Delaware's Elena Delle Donne (23.4 ppg). Delle Donne also leads six rookies averaging five or more rebounds with 8.7 boards per outing. Delle Donne recently passed Northeastern's Rachael Pecota in three-pointers as she has drained 15 thus far this season, while Pecota had added 12 and UD's Lauren Carra has drained 10. Delle Donne leads the newbies at the foul line, for those making five or more, shooting 89.2 percent (33-of-37). George Mason's Rahneeka Saunders has recorded 18 steals, while Hofstra's Candace Bond (15) and Mason's Amber Easter (14) follow closely behind in thefts. George Mason's Janaa Pickard dominates the frosh with 18 blocks after nine outings, and Delle Donne follows with 11. Leading the freshman in assists is Saunders with 26.
TV EXPOSURE: CAA women's basketball had over 20 televised games for the second straight season in 2008-09. All 12 teams will make at least one television appearance in the 2009-10 season, which already has 22 games on its schedule. The CAA women's basketball semifinals (The Comcast Network) and championship (Comcast SportsNet) games are included in this season's package. The CAA saw an all-time best 25 games broadcast for CAA women's basketball in 2007-08.
MARGINEAN RACKS UP ANOTHER HONOR: The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association has announced that it will name Drexel senior women's basketball player Gabriela Marginean its Outstanding Amateur Athlete of 2009 at the group's annual awards dinner on Feb. 1, 2010. Marginean, who led Drexel to its first ever Colonial Athletic Association Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009, is on pace to become the all-time leading scorer in Philadelphia women's basketball history this season. The 2009 CAA Player of the Year, Marginean recently surpassed the 2,000-point mark for her career. She is the first Drexel women's player to reach the milestone and only the seventh women's player in the city to score 2,000 points. Marginean has scored 2,010 points and is 405 away from the Philadelphia women's scoring record held by Diana Caramanico.
VOTED AMONG THE TOP 20 BEST PLAYERS IN THE COUNTRY: The Associated Press released its 2009-10 preseason All-America women's basketball team comprised of five members and another 14 who received votes. Delaware redshirt freshman Elena Delle Donne received votes in the poll. Maya Moore, a junior at Connecticut, was a unanimous first pick receiving 40 votes. Also receiving top votes were Stanford senior Jayne Appel, Connecticut senior Tina Charles, Ohio State junior Jantel Lavender and Virginia senior Monica Wright to close out the top five spots voted on by a 40-member national media panel.
TRIO NAMED TO NAISMITH TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST: Delaware freshman forward Elena Delle Donne, James Madison junior guard Dawn Evans and Drexel senior forward Gabriela Marginean were selected to the Naismith Trophy preseason watch list on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2009-10 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T will be awarded at the 2010 NCAA Women's Final Four in San Antonio, Tx. Evans set a school and CAA record for scoring average last season, when she poured in 23.8 points per game. Her output ranked second in the NCAA among Division I players. Delle Donne was named the National Player of the Year by the Naismith, McDonald's and Gatorade foundations during the 2007-08 season as a high school senior. She is just one of three freshmen named to the watch list. Marginean, CAA Preseason Player of the Year, was chosen after finishing last season ranked third in the nation in scoring with 23.3 points per game. The senior returns a year after guiding the Dragons to their first CAA Championship title and trip to the NCAA Tournament. Marginean enters her final season on pace to become the CAA's all-time leading scorer.
MARGINEAN NAMED PRESEASON CANDIDATE FOR WOODEN AWARD: Drexel's Gabriela Marginean has been selected as one of 31 preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award, one of the top individual honors in college basketball. These candidates are chosen as the frontrunners for the award based on last year's individual performance and team records. Marginean, the 2009 CAA Player of the Year, led the Dragons to their first ever CAA Championship and NCAA Tournament berth last season. Last season, Marginean was a four-time WBCA Honorable Mention National Player of the Month while finishing third in the nation in scoring. She is a two-time First Team All-CAA selection and the 2007 CAA Rookie of the Year. She was also named the Most Outstanding Player of the CAA Tournament, while helping her team knock out 17-time defending champion Old Dominion and defeat James Madison in the championship game. Also making the list are 2009 stand-outs Maya Moore, UConn; last year's Wooden recipient, Jayne Appel, Stanford; Alysha Clark, Middle Tennessee; Jantel Lavender, Ohio State); Ta'Shia Phillips, Xavier; Andrea Riley, Oklahoma State; and Monica Wright, Virginia. Former winners include Duke's Alana Beard ('06) and Tennessee's Candice Parker ('07).
THREE CAA PLAYERS NAMED TO PRESEASON MID-MAJOR TOP 25: Drexel senior forward Gabriela Marginean, James Madison junior guard Dawn Evans and Delaware freshman forward Elena Delle Donne were selected to the Full Court Preseason Mid-Major Top 25. The website honored the top 25 players who play for Division I schools outside of the six major conferences (Atlantic Coast, Southeastern, Big East, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac 10). Marginean, CAA Preseason Player of the Year, was chosen to the second team after finishing last season ranked third in the nation in scoring with 23.3 points per game. Evans and Delle Donne were honored on the fourth team. Evans set a school and CAA record for scoring average last season, when she poured in 23.8 points per game. Her output ranked second in the NCAA among Division I players. Delle Donne was named the National Player of the Year by the Naismith, McDonald's and Gatorade foundations during the 2007-08 season as a high school senior.
2010 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT: The CAA Women's Basketball Championship will be hosted by James Madison University for the second consecutive year on March 11-14, 2010. All 12 teams will participate in the thrilling event, which will be held at the JMU Convocation Center. This will be the second year of the two year bid to host. The tournament host is up for bid again and the site for the 2011 and 2012 championships will be announced in March 2010. The 2009 CAA Women's Basketball Championship welcomed 10, 895 fans over the four day event, which was the most the tournament has seen since 2003 when Old Dominion hosted and entertained 11,536 spectators.
25 YEARS OF SUCCESSFUL WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: The Colonial Athletic Association has announced its women's basketball Silver Anniversary team, which includes 17 former CAA Players of the Year, 10 All-America selections and nine WNBA draft picks. As part of its 25th Anniversary celebration in 2009-10, the CAA is recognizing Silver Anniversary teams in 21 championship sports. The teams are selected by a panel of current and former head coaches in the conference. The CAA has established an outstanding reputation nationally in women's basketball since the league's inception in 1985, and the conference has produced numerous standout performers and teams. Old Dominion has been the conference's dominant program, winning an NCAA-record 17 consecutive CAA championships from 1992-2008. James Madison captured the first four CAA titles from 1986-89, and Richmond followed with back-to-back conference crowns in 1990 and 1991. Drexel won its first CAA championship in 2009. (complete list on p. 4)
HOME SWEET HOME: University of Richmond spoiled VCU's 19-game winning streak at home on Dec. 6. The Rams were the only women's team in the CAA that posted a perfect record on their home court in 2008-09 with a 16-0 record at the Siegel Center last season and entered the 2009-10 season with an 18-game win streak at home, dating back to the end of the 2007-08 season. The streak had ranked sixth in the nation. The Rams have accumulated 29 home wins over the last two-plus seasons and have posted a .879 home winning percentage since the start of the 2007-08 campaign. George Mason is 6-0 at home this season leading four other CAA teams with perfect records at home. Mason currently owns the longest winning streak over all CAA teams, but Delaware follows closely behind with a five-game winning streak dating back to the 2008-09 season. James Madison, Hofstra and Northeastern have four-game winning streaks.
POSTSEASON SUCCESS IN THE NCAA: For the second time in three years, multiple CAA teams earned berths in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship. Drexel received the league's automatic bid and earned the 12th-seed in the Raleigh Regional while VCU received an at-large bid and the 10th-seed in the Oklahoma City Regional. Drexel, which earned its first CAA title in any sport, fell to Kansas State and finished the year with a 24-9 record. VCU, which also made its first NCAA appearance, lost a narrow 57-51 decision to host Rutgers and completed its season with a 26-7 record.
POSTSEASON SUCCESS IN THE WNIT: James Madison ran its streak of postseason appearances to four, giving the CAA at least three teams in postseason action for the fourth straight year. The Dukes received an automatic bid to the Women's National Invitation Tournament and were victorious over American, 61-59, in the first round before suffering a two-point setback at Richmond. It was the ninth consecutive season that the CAA had a representative in the WNIT.
2010 WNIT EXPANDS POSTSEASON TOURNAMENT: The Women's National Invitation Tournament will expand its postseason tournament to a 64-team field. The expansion increases the field by 16 teams. The expansion to 64 teams was planned to accommodate a stronger field of teams. The tournament will continue to feature an automatic berth for each of the nation's 31 established conferences, in addition to now offering at-large berths to 33 teams. The 2010 Postseason WNIT will feature 32 first-round games, followed by 16 second-round games, eight third-round games, four quarterfinal games, two semifinal games, and the championship. All games in the single-elimination format are played at a host facility of participating schools. The WNIT field will be announced the evening of the NCAA Tournament selections, which is Monday, March 15. Games may begin Wednesday, March 17. The championship game will be played on Saturday, April 3, 2010 with national television coverage of the game.
DELAWARE (6-3, 0-0 CAA)
Delaware was idle last week due to the exam period and will return to the court on Tuesday when they host Buffalo and look to extend its home winning streak to six. The Blue Hens are led by freshman Elena Delle Donne as she is averaging 23.4 points per outing. She also leads the teams in rebounding (8.7 rpg), free throw percentage (89.2%), assists (23) and blocks (11). Tesia Harris is second on the team averaging 11.6 points per contest and Jocelyn Bailey is grabbing the team's second-best 5.8 rebounds per game. After the match-up against Buffalo, the Blue Hens will take a break for the holiday and will return to the court on Dec. 30 when they welcome Massachusetts, before entertaining Old Dominion at home to open conference play on Jan. 3.
DREXEL (4-4, 0-0 CAA)
Drexel suffered a 66-49 loss to Princeton at the DAC on Thursday evening. Drexel sophomore Kamile Nacickaite matched her career high with 19 points, including four treys, and did well to answer the call with leading scorer Gabriela Marginean shackled with foul trouble. The Dragons shot 35.8 percent in the contest and an uncharacteristic 4-for-9 from the free-throw line. Marginean, who played just 25 minutes due to foul trouble and was disqualified with five fouls with just over two minutes to play, finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and a team-high three steals. The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association had announced that it will name Marginean its Outstanding Amateur Athlete of 2009 at the group's annual awards dinner on Feb. 1, 2010. Sophomore guard Marisa Crane played all 40 minutes for just the second time in her career, leading the Dragons with four assists and matching her career-high with eight points in the loss. Drexel will play the fifth of nine straight games in Philadelphia when Bucknell comes to the DAC next week. The Dragons, who have been home since Dec. 2, will not leave the city to play a contest until Jan. 10 when they take on Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va. The Philadelphia homestand includes six true home games, one at Saint Joseph's and two in nearby Villanova's holiday tournament.
GEORGE MASON (6-3, 0-0 CAA)
The Patriots were idle last week for the exam period, but will look to keep their perfect record at home when they welcome George Washington on Tuesday evening. The 6-0 start at home is the first in school history, besting a 5-0 mark set two seasons ago. Additionally, in the six home games the Patriots have yet to trail this season. George Mason is led by Brittany Poindexter's 13.6 points per outing. Ashleigh Braxton (10.6 ppg) and Amber Easter (10.3 ppg) also averaged double-digit figure scoring. Easter and Angelee LaTouche lead the team in rebounds with 7.6 per outing. The match-up with the Colonials is part of a Mason doubleheader. That game will be followed by the Mason-VMI men's game at Patriot Center.
GEORGIA STATE (7-1, 0-0 CAA)
Georgia State women's basketball team won its fifth and then sixth straight game with a 66-42 victory at Delaware State, Wednesday, and a 64-56 win at Iona, Friday. The Panthers, now 7-1, are off to the fastest start in school history, topping the 6-1 start of the 1980-81 squad. State improves to 4-0 on the road this year as well. The last time Georgia State won six straight games was three years ago in games 8 through 13 of the 2006-07 season. The Panthers allowed a season-low 42 points and holding a fourth consecutive opponent to 50 points or less in the win at DSU. Panthers have won 11 straight games when scoring 70 or more points, including 3-0 this year. Georgia State got a career-best 26 points from senior forward Danyiell McKeller, who came in averaging 20 points a game to rank in the top 25 in the nation. This 11-of-18 shooting game was her fourth of 20 or more points this season and she added a personal-best five steals in the contest. McKeller is closing in on 1,000 points for her 87-game career as she sits at 986 now. Junior wing Angelique Burtts added 12 points, while sophomore guard Crystal Johnson provided 11 more points and seven assists. Senior forward Shay Rawls led the team with nine rebounds. In the win over Iona, GSU got 25 points and six rebounds from senior forward Danyiell McKeller, who entered the game ranked in the top 25 in the nation with her 20.9 average. Senior forward Shay Rawls added 13 points and six rebounds, while sophomore guard Jylisa Williams also added 10 points and six rebounds. GSU's defense, ranked in the top 25 in the nation in steals, added 12 more steals tonight and forced 23 turnovers, while holding Iona to 34 percent from the field. Shay Rawls needs two more rebounds to pass the 600-milestone in her career and needs five points to reach the 500-point milestone in scoring. The Panthers return home to face top-25 ranked Georgia Tech Tuesday afternoon in the 33rd annual game, this year at the GSU Sports Arena with a noon tipoff.
HOFSTRA (6-3, 0-0 CAA)
Hofstra had no games scheduled last week and returns to action when they face Stony Brook on Monday, Dec. 21. That contest will air on a tape-delayed basis on Verizon FiOS1. The Pride will bring a three-game overall win streak into the contest against the Seawolves, and also a perfect 4-0 record in the Mack Sports Complex in 2009-10. Hofstra has won its last three games, including a 73-65 victory over Manhattan in its last game on December 12. The Pride rallied from deficits of 9-0 and 21-10 against the Lady Jaspers before pulling away for the eight-point win. Hofstra was led by freshman forward Shante Evans in the contest as the heralded rookie tallied game-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds in notching the fourth double-double of her young career. Evans also had a double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) in Hofstra's previous game, a 70-48 win over Niagara, and earned CAA Rookie of the Week honors for her efforts in leading the Pride to a perfect 3-0 week. Evans leads Hofstra in scoring and rebounding this season with averages of 11.8 and 7.2, respectively. Senior center Jess Fuller is making her mark on both ends of the court as the junior college transfer ranks third on the team in scoring (9.7 ppg), second in rebounding (7.0 rpg) and leads the squad with 28 blocked shots. Fuller has 133 career blocked shots and is just one block shy of second all-time in program history (Diane Leonard - 134; 1978-82). Sophomore guard Nicole Capurso is also averaging in double figures for the Pride as she chips in with 11 points per game and has knocked down a team-best 18 three-pointers this year. Head Coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey announced Monday, Dec. 21, sophomore forward Joelle Connelly has left the women's basketball team for personal reasons. Connelly played in all nine games this season for Hofstra (6-3) and averaged 3.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Connelly, 2009 CAA Rookie of the Year, averaged 9.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per outing in her freshman campaign. The game against Stony Brook is the Pride's lone game this week as Hofstra will next be on the court on December 28 when they travel to Texas to face Southern Methodist. The Pride will also face Rice on that trip as Hofstra will matchup with the Owls on December 30.
#25/25 JAMES MADISON (7-1, 0-0 CAA)
James Madison suffered its first loss of the season to #7/8 Duke, 79-65, on Friday evening. The Dukes have started the season at 7-1 for the third time under coach Kenny Brooks and for the ninth time since 1972-73. James Madison junior guard Dawn Evans returned to the court after sitting out against Siena following testing for a kidney disorder that prohibited her from contact practice or games and scored 31 points to lead JMU. Senior guard Sarah Williams finished with a season-high 16 points, and freshman guard Tarik Hislop added 10 points as she scored in double figures for the eighth time in eight games.Junior center Lauren Jimenez was cleared to resume practice last week, and she was in uniform for the Duke game. She isn't expected to see game action for several weeks, however. The Dukes held onto a spot in the Top 25 with 58 votes in the AP Poll for No. 25. JMU is currently ranked No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll and the updated poll will be released on Tuesday, Dec. 22. JMU will then return home to entertain Longwood before the holiday break on Dec. 21.
UNC WILMINGTON (4-5, 0-0 CAA)
UNC Wilmington posted a 2-1 record on the week with wins over Coastal Carolina, 70-40, and Ohio, 58-51, before falling to Kent State, 84-71. Playing in front of the third largest crowd for a women's basketball game in arena history, as the game against Coastal served as the third annual "Seahawks Tomorrow" contest, with area-elementary school students attending the game as part of a full day of activities on the UNCW campus. Junior forward Brittany Blackwell paced the UNCW effort with team highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season and the second in as many contests. Junior forward Martha White joined Blackwell in double figures with 10 points while senior guards Whitney Simmons and Greta Luksyte chipped in nine and eight points, respectively. In the win over Ohio, Luksyte and Blackwell scored 15 points apiece to pace the Seahawks attack. Blackwell also pulled down a team-best 10 rebounds as she recorded her fifth double-double of the season and the third in as many contests. White complimented the Seahawks effort with nine points and eight rebounds. To finish the week, Luksyte poured in a team-high 18 points on the strength of a 4-for-5 effort from three-point range to lead three UNCW players in double figures against KSU. White pitched in a season-high 14 points and Blackwell added 10 points. Blackwell pulled down a team-best six rebounds, while White and senior guard Candace Walker grabbed five caroms each. UNCW will take an eight-day break for the Christmas holiday before returning to the floor Dec. 28 in a 4 p.m. neutral site contest against Stony Brook in the Terrapin Classic at the University of Maryland.
NORTHEASTERN (5-4, 0-0 CAA)
Northeastern as idle last week and will return to action as they travel to play Marist on December 22. The Huskies are led by Brittany Wilson as she is averaging 19.6 points per contest. The sophomore guard also leads the team with 6.8 rebounds per game and 23 steals, while adding a team's second-best 20 assists. Senior forward Kendra Walton (11.0 ppg) and sophomore guard Kashaia Cannon (10.0 ppg) also average double-digit points. Sophomore guard Jamie Conroy leads the team with 36 assists. After the outing at Marist, Northeastern will take a break for the holiday and return to the court on Dec. 29 when they host St. John's before traveling to Richmond, Va., to face VCU for the first conference contest of the season on Jan. 3.
OLD DOMINION (2-6, 0-0 CAA)
Old Dominion used a balanced scoring attack and stellar free-throw shooting to down the Hampton Lady Pirates on Sunday, 83-64. Old Dominion had four players in double figures and all but one Lady Monarch was in the scoring column. ODU also show 85.7% from the free-throw line on 30-of-35 shooting. Tia Lewis and Shadasia Green led the way for Old Dominion with 15 points and six boards each, while sophomore center Mairi Buchan had a big night from the line, going a perfect 6-for-6, and finished with 14 points and four rebounds. Junior guard Vicki Collier was in double figures for the third consecutive game, scoring 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. As a team, ODU missed just five free-throws. Coming off the worst free-throw shooting game of the season against Florida, the Lady Monarchs responded with a 30-for-35 night from the charity stripe and an 85.7% shooting percentage. From the field, Old Dominion shot 48.1% on 25-of-52 shooting. The home team shared the ball well, posting a season-high 17 assists as a team. Green and Jasmine Parker each had five in the contest. Old Dominion has a quick turnaround for their next game, as the team will head up to Philadelphia for a Tuesday afternoon tilt against St. Joseph's University. The Lady Monarchs have gone 5-0 all-time against St. Joe's, including two wins in the NCAA Tournament.
TOWSON (6-4, 0-0 CAA)
Due to weather conditions that moved into the area, Saturday's women's basketball game between the Tigers and UMES had been postponed. The game that had been scheduled to be played at UMES at 3 p.m. does not have a make-up date at this time. Towson will now return to action on December 22 at Rhode Island for a 7 p.m. game. After starting the season with a 2-4 record, the Tigers have won four straight, including a home victory over nationally-ranked Maryland, and will put that winning streak on the line when they visit the Rams on Tuesday evening. The Tigers are led by Shanae Baker-Brice as she is averaging 18.6 points per outing. The senior guard also leads the team with 37 assists and 22 steals. Katrina Wheeler leads the team with 6.2 rebounds per outing, while Kandace Davis adds 6.2 per contest.
VCU (5-4, 0-0 CAA)
VCU went 1-2 on the week with a 65-51 road win over Winthrop, before falling to UNLV, 68-66, and Kansas State, 73-67. The Rams lost both games at the Duel in the Desert in the last four minutes of each contest. Against Winthrop, senior forward D'Andra Moss registered her second double-double of the season with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead VCU. Senior guard La'Tavia Rorie finished with 13 points and three assists for the Rams and sophomore forward Courtney Hurt chipped in 10 points with a game-high five steals off the bench. The Rams shot a season-best 87.5% (21-of-24) from the charity stripe, including a perfect 10-for-10 effort from Moss. On Saturday, VCU led for the majority of the game but couldn't hold on during the final four minutes as UNLV rallied past the Rams. VCU used a balanced scoring attack with four players in double figures as senior guard La'Tavia Rorie registered a team-high 18 points. Senior guard Kita Waller scored 14, senior forward D'Andra Moss added 12 and Hurt chipped in 11 points off the bench for the Rams. In the second outing at the Duel in the Desert, VCU fell to Kansas State. Rorie stepped up again pouring in a game-high 20 points and hit a season-best 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Hurt and Waller each came off the bench and contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively for VCU. Rorie has posted double-digit scoring performances in a career-high nine straight games. She has scored in double figures in 13 out of the last 14 contests dating back to last year. Her pervious career high for consecutive games with 10 points or more is six, which she registered once in each of the previous three seasons. VCU will face Arkansas on Monday at 3 p.m. EST in the final round of the Duel in the Desert Tournament.
WILLIAM & MARY (5-4, 0-0 CAA)
William and Mary went 1-1 on the week with an 80-52 win at Norfolk State, before falling to High Point, 66-58, at the Florida Gator Classic. On Friday, senior Tiffany Benson picked up her first double-double of the season, scoring 11 points with 10 rebounds, and registering a season-high four blocks. Benson's second block of the evening was an emphatic rejection with 13 minutes to go in the second half to pass Nyree Roberts (ODU, 1994-98) for second all-time on the CAA blocked-shots chart. Junior Kelly Heath finish with a game- and season-high 16 points. Freshman Taylor Hilton and sophomore Taysha Pye each tallied with 12 points. Freshman Emily Correal grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. In the loss to High Point, Benson recorded her second consecutive double-double with 12 rebounds and a game-high 14 points. Sophomores Janine Aldridge and Pye also reached double digits with 11 each. Hilton just missed a double-double of her own, pulling down 10 rebounds and scoring nine points, including the first five of the second half. William and Mary will play Southern University tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 p.m. in the consolation game of the Gator Holiday Classic. It is the first time that the Tribe has ever faced a team from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).