BASKETBALL WEEKLY REPORT - DEC. 28
*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 69-47 record against non-conference opponents.
• JMU kept a spot in the Top 25 for the third straight week, steadying at No. 25 in the AP Poll which was released on Dec. 28. The Dukes will look to stay in the Top 25 of the ESPN/USA Today Poll, which will be released on Dec. 29.
• The most recent RPIRatings.com report (Dec. 28) showed the CAA with a league RPI of nine dropping one spot since last Monday. James Madison fell to 24th in the team RPI ranking. Hofstra (80) and Georgia State (99) are just the only other CAA schools in the Top 100, as Delaware (110) is 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 & ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Elena Delle Donne • Delaware
Wilmington, Del./Ursuline Academy, Fr., Forward/Guard
Delaware freshman Elena Delle Donne guided the Blue Hens to an 85-72 home victory over Buffalo on Tuesday evening. The forward/guard sensation erupted for 39 points, tying UD's single game record and earning the league's ninth-best single game performance all-time. Her outing against Buffalo marked the top points in a single outing this season for any CAA women's basketball player. Delle Donne's total also broke the 18-year old building mark at the Bob Carpenter Center as the Blue Hens won their fifth straight overall and sixth straight at the BCC. Delle Donne, a candidate for the Naismith Award as the top player in women's college basketball, connected on 15-of-23 (.652) shots from the field and finished with 39 points, tying the 29-year old UD record set by Lori Howard vs. Temple on Jan. 27, 1981. The rookie also went 4-for-8 (.500) from beyond the arc and 5-of-6 (.833) from the charity stripe. She completed the contest with nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.
CAA STAND AT No. 9 IN RPI RANKING: The CAA fell to ninth 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. 27). James Madison fell to 24th in the team RPI ranking. Hofstra (80) and Georgia State (99) are just the only other CAA schools in the Top 100, as Delaware (112) is edging the Top 100.
SCHEDULE STRENGTH: The Lady Monarchs of Old Dominion have started the new season with the 33rd toughest strength of schedule in the nation according to Collegiate Basketball News (games through Dec. 27). ODU has faced top contenders in the RPI ratings such as Stanford, N.C. State, Maryland, Louisville and Florida. James Madison is listed to have the 88th toughest strength of schedule as they have faced Duke, Virginia, Georgetown, Liberty, and Virginia Tech.
CAA IN THE AP POLL: JMU kept a spot in the Top 25 for the third straight week, holding onto No. 25 in the AP Poll on Dec. 28. The Dukes will look to hold a spot in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, which will be released on Dec. 29. 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 (25.4 ppg). Delle Donne also leads six rookies averaging five or more rebounds with 8.8 boards per outing. Delle Donne has drained 19 treys thus far this season, while Northeastern's Rachael Pecota had added 14 and UD's Lauren Carra has drained 10. Delle Donne leads the newbies at the foul line, for those making five or more, shooting 88.4 percent (37-of-43). George Mason's Rahneeka Saunders has recorded 22 steals, while Hofstra's Candace Bond (16) and Mason's Amber Easter (16) follow closely behind in thefts. George Mason's Janaa Pickard dominates the frosh with 18 blocks after 10 outings, and Delle Donne follows with 11. Leading the freshman in assists is Saunders with 32.
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 7-0 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 (6), Hofstra (5) and James Madison (5) follow closely behind strong winning streaks at home dating back to the 2008-09 season. Northeastern has a four-game winning streak at home.
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 (7-3, 0-0 CAA)
Delaware extended its winning streak at home to six games with an 85-72 win over Buffalo on Tuesday. Freshman sensation Elena Delle Donne tied the all-time University of Delaware single game scoring mark with 39 points and Tesia Harris drained all six of her three-point attempts and finished with 23 points. Her six treys tied a school record, as well as going 6-for-6 on the evening. Delle Donne, a 6-5 guard/forward who is a candidate for the Naismith Player of the Year Award in her first collegiate season, was virtually unstoppable as she knocked down 15-of-23 shots from the field, drained four three pointers, and also added team-highs of nine rebounds and four assists to lead the Blue Hens to their fifth straight victory overall and their sixth straight win at the BCC dating back to last season. The Hens' leading scorer (23.4 ppg) and rebounder (8.7 rpg) entering the game, Delle Donne tied the 29-year old school record for most points in a game set by Lori Howard against Temple on Jan. 27, 1981 and broke the Bob Carpenter Center (opened in 1992-93) single game record of 34 set by Maine's Cindy Blodgett in 1995-96 and by Delaware's Danielle Leyfert vs. Northeastern in 1997-98. Delle Donne already holds the overall building record for points by all players when she scored 50 points as a high school star at Ursuline Academy in the 2007 state title game. Delaware's 11 three-pointers as a team tied the school record set vs. UNC Wilmington on Feb. 15, 2007 and vs. Princeton on Nov. 23, 1999. The 85 points by the Hens were a season-high and most since an 85-66 win over Georgia State on Feb. 4, 2007. The Blue Hens took 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 (5-4, 0-0 CAA)
Drexel captured a 67-54 win over visiting Bucknell on Monday afternoon. Kamile Nacickaite (26) and Gabriela Marginean (24) combined to score 50 of Drexel's 67 points. The Dragons shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half and used six three-pointers in the period to pull away from the feisty Bison, who missed just five shots in the half. Nacickaite's 26-point effort set a new career high for the sophomore guard. Nacickaite's six three-pointers in the contest was a new personal best for the sophomore and it was also the most for a Dragon this season. Marginean knocked down 3-of-4 from deep, which was also her best three-point shooting performance of the season.Drexel will play the sixth of nine straight games in Philadelphia when the Dragons head to play in the Villanova Wildcat Classic. Drexel will face Loyola (Md.) in the opening game on Monday, Dec. 28 and take on either Villanova or San Francisco on Tuesday, Dec. 29 at Villanova. 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. The Dragons will open the conference schedule on Jan. 3 when they host James Madison.
GEORGE MASON (7-3, 0-0 CAA)
The George Mason women's basketball team returned to the court and found its rhythm in the second half, breaking away from George Washington to defeat its local rival, 63-53, on Tuesday evening in the Patriots' final home non-conference game. Mason improved to 7-3 on the season. Junior Brittany Eley fell one point short of her career-high as she led all scorers with 19 points. She was one of four Patriots to reach double figures, while freshman Amber Easter led the Patriot rebounders with seven, a unit which held a 41-to-28 advantage over the Colonials. With the win, Mason improved to 7-0 at home this season, improving upon an already school-record start to the season. The Patriots will next travel to Boone, N.C., matching up with Appalachian State on December 30 to close out Mason's 2009-10 non-conference schedule. The Patriots will open the CAA schedule at Towson on Jan. 3.
GEORGIA STATE (7-2, 0-0 CAA)
Georgia State fell in just its second contest of the season to #24 Georgia Tech, 62-50, on Tuesday evening. Georgia State, whose only loss this year are to a pair of top 25 teams, got 14 points from Danyiell McKeller and 13 points and seven assists from Angelique Burtts. The Panthers missed 6-foot-2 center Chan Harris, who is now out for the season with a broken foot. Brittany Graham provided a first-half spark by coming off the bench to hit three three-point baskets. Both teams are nationally ranked in defense and steals, with State forcing 21 turnovers and making 13 steals today, while Tech forced 15 State turnovers and made seven steals. Tech could manage just 35.7% shooting against State's defense and State could hit just 32.8%. Georgia State returns to action with its 16th annual holiday tournament on Dec. 29 and 30 here at the Sports Arena. The Panthers will open conference action on Jan. 3 when they host UNC Wilmington.
HOFSTRA (7-3, 0-0 CAA)
Hofstra extended its winning streak to four games and its home winning streak to five games with a 67-61 victory over Stony Brook on Monday evening. Senior center Jess Fuller scored 13 points and added 14 rebounds and four blocks for her 15th career double-double to lead Hofstra. Fuller logged her second double-double of the season, sophomore guard Asia Jenkins contributed a season-high 12 points and freshman Shante Evans also added 12 points as Hofstra improved to 7-3 and extended its season-best winning streak to four games. With four blocks against the Seawolves, Fuller now has 137 career blocks and passed Diane Leonard (134; 1978-82) for second all-time. Fuller trails only Vanessa Gidden, who blocked 175 shots from 2003-07. Sophomore guard Nicole Capurso added nine points and freshman Candace Bond chipped in five points and six rebounds to help the Pride improve to 5-0 at home. 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 the first nine games this season for Hofstra 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. 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. Hofstra will open CAA play on January 3 with a road tilt at William & Mary, which will be aired on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic PLUS, Comcast SportsNet New England, The Comcast Network Philadelphia and Madison Square Garden Network Plus.
#25/25 JAMES MADISON (8-1, 0-0 CAA)
James Madison improved to 8-1 and extended its winning streak at home to five with an 85-67 win over Longwood on Monday evening. The Dukes have started the season at 8-1 for the third time under coach Kenny Brooks and for the eighth time since 1972-73. Only one JMU team, the 1973-74 squad that won its first 16 games, has had a better start. Junior guard Dawn Evans scored a game-high 32 points. Evans tallied her 11th career 30-point game, and she scored 30-plus points in her third consecutive game to become the first in JMU history to do so. Evans has scored 101 points in her last 101 minutes. She increased her career points total to 1,365 and moved into a tie for 10th place on JMU's all-time scoring list. Redshirt senior guard Sarah Williams was the only other JMU player to score in double figures, finishing with 13 points. JMU freshman guard Tarik Hislop was the game's leading rebounder with a career-high eight. 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 and held onto its No. 25 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. The Dukes will take a break for the holiday and prepare to host the JMU Invitational. The Dukes will entertain Lafayette on Dec. 29, before facing either UNC Asheville or Western Michigan. JMU will visit Drexel on Jan. 3 to open its portion of the CAA schedule.
UNC WILMINGTON (4-5, 0-0 CAA)
UNC Wilmington took an eight-day break for the Christmas holiday and will return 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. The Seahawks will then face host Maryland on Tuesday, Dec. 29. UNC Wilmington will open the conference schedule on Jan. 3 at Georgia State. The Seahawks are led by junior guard/forward Brittany Blackwell as she is averaging a team-high 14.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Greta Luksyte follows adding 10.7 points per outing.
NORTHEASTERN (5-5, 0-0 CAA)
Northeastern fell to Marist, 76-69, on the road before the holiday break. Brittany Wilson led Northeastern with 18 points and Kendra Walton added 16 as the Huskies fell to 5-5 on the season. Walton had nine rebounds to go along with her 16 points while Cannon finished with nine points for the Huskies, who had 13 steals in the contest. Northeastern took a break for the holiday and will 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 (2-7, 0-0 CAA)
Old Dominion fell to 2-7 on the season with a 78-62 loss at Saint Joseph's on Tuesday. The Lady Monarchs got 20 points from junior Shadasia Green and 22 from sophomore Tia Lewis. ODU got 22 points from Lewis on 8-of-10 shooting, adding 6-of-7 from the free-throw line to go with six boards. Green again posted a stellar game, scoring 20 points for the second time this season while hauling in a eight rebounds, assisting on two buckets and adding five steals for the second straight game. The Lady Monarchs are off until December 30 when they travel to face the #4/4 ranked Lady Vols at the University of Tennessee. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. The Lady Monarchs will then kick-off the CAA schedule with a trip to Delaware on Jan. 3.
TOWSON (6-5, 0-0 CAA)
Towson fell to Rhode Island, 52-46, on Tuesday evening. The Tigers dropped to 6-5 on the season with the loss. Senior guard Shanae Baker-Brice led the Tigers with 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Meredith Kennedy finished with two rebounds and an assist in addition to her points.Simona Petronyte finished with nine points including five in the final two minutes. Haliena Snowden led the Tigers on the boards with 10. Towson returns to action on Sunday, January 3 when CAA play begins. The Tigers will host George Mason at 2 p.m. that day.
VCU (5-5, 0-0 CAA)
VCU dropped the third and final outing of the Duel in the Desert to Arkansas, 68-58, on Monday afternoon. The Rams fell to host UNLV and Kansas State on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Senior forward D'Andra Moss scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Rams. Freshman forward Bree'Ana Perry contributed a career-high 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting off the bench for VCU. Senior guard La'Tavia Rorie added 12 points and a game-high six assists for the Rams. VCU shot just 34.9% (22-of-63) from the field and 26.7% (4-of-15) from 3-point range, while Arkansas connected on 46.2% (24-of-52) of its shots and 33.3% (7-of-21) from behind the arc. The Rams return to the court on Monday, December 28 for a 4 p.m. road contest against in-state foe Longwood, before opening the conference schedule on Jan. 3 against Northeastern.
WILLIAM & MARY (6-4, 0-0 CAA)
William and Mary completed the Florida Gator Classic with a 67-41 win over Southern on Monday evening. The Tribe fell to High Point, 66-58, in the opening contest on Sunday. Freshman Taylor Hilton broke through today with a career- and game-high tallies of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Hilton shot 6-for-9 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the free throw line while added two steals and a block. She is the fifth player from W&M to record a double-double this season, and was named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 12.5 points and 10 rebounds per game for the weekend. Sophomore Taysha Pye also reached double-figures, scoring 11 points largely on a 7-9 effort from the charity stripe. In total, 10 of the Tribe's 12 players scored (all with at least three points), and 11 of the 12 pulled in at least one rebound. Captain Katherine DeHenzel had game-high totals of five assists and three steals, to go with seven points and four rebounds. William and Mary now heads into the holidays, and will return to action on December 30, traveling to face Delaware State at 5:30 p.m. The Tribe will close out the week with its first conference outing as they host Hofstra in CAA action on Sunday, Jan. 3. The opening contest will be aired on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic PLUS, Comcast SportsNet New England, The Comcast Network Philadelphia and Madison Square Garden Network Plus.