CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL WEEKLY REPORT - JAN. 4
*Complete report in PDF format at the bottom of this article*
CAA QUICK HITS:
• A strong start to the season for the CAA women's basketball programs producing a 79-54 record against non-conference opponents.
• Drexel, Georgia State, Old Dominion, Towson, VCU and William & Mary opened the conference schedule with victories.
• The most recent RPIRatings.com report (Jan. 4) showed the CAA with a league RPI of nine. James Madison is ranked 44th in the team RPI ranking. Drexel (83) and Towson (97) are the only other CAA schools in the Top 100, as Old Dominion (101) and Delaware (109) are edging the Top 100.
• CAA Record Watch Alert: Drexel's Gabriela Marginean is just seven points from breaking the CAA All-Time career scoring record, while William & Mary's Tiffany Benson is just 11 blocks from becoming the CAA All-Time career blocking leader.
• JMU fell out of the AP Poll Top 25, but are still receiving votes. The ESPN/USA Today Poll will be released on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
• The CAA has 23 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:
Gabriela Marginean • Drexel
Cluj-Napoca, Romania/Mt. de Chantal Academy, Sr., Forward
Marginean led the Dragons to a 2-1 week, including a 68-67 win over #25/25 James Madison at home for the first conference match-up of the season. The senior recorded her fourth double-double for the season with 25 points and 11 rebounds against Loyola in the opening game of the Villanova Wildcat Classic. She fell one rebound short of her second straight double-double against Villanova with 22 points and nine rebounds. Marginean finished the week scoring 14 of her team-high 23 points in the second half in the win over the Dukes. She shot 9-for-10 from the foul line and made four straight in the final seconds to seal Drexel's first ever win against a Top 25 team. On the week she averaged 23.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals per outing. Marginean also moved into second place on the CAA All-Time career scoring list with 2,114 points and needs just seven points to tie JMU's Tamera Young.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Shante Evans • Hofstra
West Chester, Pa./Henderson, Fr., Forward
Evans had a impressive week as she averaged a double-double with 18 points and 12.7 rebounds per contest in Hofstra's three outings. The freshman forward started the week with an 11-point, 18-rebound effort against Southern Methodist, before pouring in 30 points on 13-of-20 shooting against Rice. The 30 points marked a season high for any Pride player and the most since Cigi McCollin had 34 against UNC Wilmington in February of 2006. Evans finished the week with her sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 14 rebounds against William & Mary. Her six double-doubles is tied for first in the CAA. She also added four blocks, three steals and two assists on the week.
CAA STAND AT No. 9 IN RPI RANKING: The CAA is ranked 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 Jan. 3). James Madison is ranked 44th in the team RPI ranking. Drexel (83) and Towson (97) are the only other CAA schools in the Top 100, as Old Dominion (101) and Delaware (109) are edging the Top 100. All 12 CAA teams currently post a 195 RPI or better.
SCHEDULE STRENGTH: The Lady Monarchs of Old Dominion have started the new season with the fifth toughest strength of schedule in the nation according to Collegiate Basketball News (games through Jan. 3). ODU has faced top contenders in the RPI ratings such as Stanford, N.C. State, Maryland, Louisville and Florida. Drexel has played the 52nd toughest schedule, while Towson follows at 62 and Northeastern at 104.
CAA IN THE AP POLL: With the loss to Drexel, James Madison fell out of the Top 25 of the AP Poll, but received 13 votes. The Dukes had recently held onto a spot in the Top 25 for three straight weeks. James Madison will look to hold onto its spot in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, which is released on Tuesday's. 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.
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 Jan. 3, Evans leads the nation with 27.9 points per outing. Delaware's Elena Delle Donne follows at third (25.2 ppg), while Marginean (9th, 21.7 ppg) and Georgia State's Danyiell McKeller (16th, 21.7 ppg) also make an appearance in the Top 16. Evans also leads the nation 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 12 others who have accomplished a triple-double this season (as of Jan. 3). 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 (25.2 ppg). Delle Donne also leads five rookies in rebounding pulling down 8.8 boards per outing. Delle Donne has drained 22 treys thus far this season, while Northeastern's Rachael Pecota had added 18 and UD's Lauren Carra has drained 10. Old Dominion's Carolann Cloutier leads the frosh at the foul line going 10-for-10 from the charity stripe. Delle Donne follows shooting 50-of-57 (.877) from the line. George Mason's Rahneeka Saunders has recorded 29 steals, while Hofstra's Candace Bond (20) and Mason's Amber Easter (20) follow closely behind in thefts. George Mason's Janaa Pickard dominates the newbies with 21 blocks after 12 outings, while William & Mary's Emily Correal (14) and Delle Donne (13) follows. Leading the freshman in assists is Saunders with 36 and JMU's Tarik Hislop (33) and Delle Donne (28) follow closely.
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 23 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.
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.
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: George Mason is 7-0 at home this season leading four other CAA teams with perfect records at home. Mason joins James Madison as the top two teams with the longest winning streaks over all CAA teams, but Hofstra (5) follows closely behind strong winning streaks at home dating back to the 2008-09 season. 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.
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.
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.
DELAWARE (8-4, 0-0 CAA)
Delaware extended its winning streak at home to seven games with a 57-55 win over Massachusetts on Wednesday evening before falling to Old Dominion, 60-59, in the conference opener on Sunday. Against UMass, freshman Elena Delle Donne hit a layup in traffic with just five seconds left to play as Delaware held off the Minutemen. Delle Donne, one of the nation's top freshmen as a 6-5 guard/forward and a candidate for the Naismith Player of the Year Award, starred for the Blue Hens once again as she posted game-highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds as UD captured its sixth straight win this season and its seventh consecutive home victory dating back to last season. Junior guard Tesia Harris netted 17 points and eight rebounds and set a new school record by hitting her seventh consecutive three-point field goal, and sophomore point guard Kayla Miller contributed six points and five assists, including one on the winning basket, to aid the Blue Hen attack. The Blue Hens suffered a one-point loss to Old Dominion in CAA play and snapped a six-game win streak. Delle Donne poured in a game-high 28 points and added seven rebounds and six steals in the contest. UD will face a two-game road trip as they visit George Mason and Northeastern in conference outings this week.
DREXEL (7-5, 0-0 CAA)
Drexel capped a 2-1 week with an exciting 68-67 home victory over #25/25 James Madison on Sunday in the conference opener, which was a rematch of the 2008 CAA Championship title match. The Dragons went 1-1 at the Villanova Wildcat Classic with a 69-58 win over Loyola (Md.) and fell to host Villanova, 60-55, earlier in the week. Against Loyola, senior forward Gabriela Marginean recorded a 25-point, 11-rebound double-double, and Kamile Nacickaite scored 16 of her 18 points in the first half to help Drexel hold off the Greyhounds. On Tuesday, Marginean led all scorers with 22 points against the Wildcats. Nacickaite notched her first double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Villanova did not lead in the game until the 5:08 mark in the second half but outscored Drexel 38-22 in the second half to pull out the win on their home court. The loss drops Drexel to 6-5 at the conclusion of its non-conference schedule. Marginean and Nacickaite were named to the all-tournament team. In the CAA opener, Marginean led a balanced DU scoring attack with 23 points, including shooting 9-for-10 from the free throw line in a thrilling 68-67 upset of No. 25/25 JMU. Jasmina Rosseel returned to the Drexel lineup and deposited an efficient 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the floor. Rookie Taylor Wootton scored a career-high 11 points and led the team with five rebounds. Sophomore point guard Marisa Crane posted seven assists. Heading into the new week, Marginean stands in second on the CAA All-Time career points list with 2,114. The senior needs just seven points to tie JMU's Tamera Young (2004-08) with 2,121 career points. Drexel will play the final of nine straight games in Philadelphia when the Dragons host William & Mary on Jan. 7 for the conference opener. 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 included six true home games, one at Saint Joseph's and two in nearby Villanova's holiday tournament.
GEORGE MASON (7-6, 0-0 CAA)
The George Mason dropped back-to-back games last week as the Patriots closed out its non-conference portion of its schedule with a 74-54 loss to Appalachian State and then opened CAA action with a 60-46 loss at Towson. At ASU, junior Brittany Eley and freshman Amber Easter led the Patriot offense with 15 points each, as Appalachian State out-shot the Patriots by a 46 percent to 38 percent margin and out-rebounded Mason, 40-to-28. Eley led all scorers in the first half with 11 points including a perfect 5-for-5 shooting from the field. Both teams shot 50 percent from the field, with the Mountaineers edging Mason in rebounds, 16-to-14. Against the Tigers, Easter led George Mason with 14 points while Brittany Poindexter added 12 points. Eley led the Patriots on the boards with 11. The Patriots will welcome Delaware to the Patriot Center on Thursday, Jan. 7, before traveling to #RV/25 James Madison on Sunday.
GEORGIA STATE (10-2, 0-0 CAA)
Georgia State posted a 3-0 record last week as they won their own GSU Invitational and then earned a 63-53 win in the conference opener against UNC Wilmington in Atlanta, Ga. The Panthers opened the week 2-0 in the 16th Annual Georgia State Invitational with wins over UT Martin, 61-32, and UMES, 76-49, to capture the title of the event. The 10-2 start equals the second best in school history. The best is the 11-2 start back in 1975-76. This is the 11th time in the 16 years of the GSU Invitational that the Panthers have won their host tournament. GSU forced 25 turnovers, made 13 steals, blocked 10 shots and held UT Martin to 27.9% from the field. Senior forward Danyiell McKeller led the scoring with 19 points in her 28 minutes of action, with Shay Rawls adding 10 points and making six rebounds and blocking three shots. Angelique Burtts led the defense with four steals, while adding eight points and three assists. Against UMES, the Panthers upped the streak to 12 straight wins when scoring 70 or points and the full-court defense upped that streak to 49 straight wins when holding the opponent to under 50 points. McKeller again led the scoring with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Rawls stepped up with a double-double game of 11 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Jylisa Williams added 10 points off the bench. Georgia State got 20 points from McKeller, her season average and eighth time of 20 or more this year, to go with seven rebounds and four steals in the win over UNCW. Sophomore point guard Crystal Johnson was as star of the game with her 13 points, her career-tying best 11 assists and six steals. Burtts scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half, while senior Brittany Graham added 11 more points with three treys to give the Panthers four players in double figures. The Panthers will cover many miles this week as they visit #RV/25 James Madison on Thursday, Jan. 7, before visiting Hofstra on Sunday, Jan. 10.
HOFSTRA (7-6, 0-0 CAA)
Hofstra faced its third one-point loss of the season as they dropped a 66-65 heartbreaker to SMU on Monday evening, before falling to Rice, 90-71, on Wednesday. Only Hofstra, Arkansas (2) and Brigham Young (2) have more than one one-point loss this season. The Pride finished the week 0-3 with a loss at William & Mary to open conference action at 0-1. Against SMU, freshman forward Shante Evans posted 11 rebounds and a career-high 18 rebounds for the Pride. The 18 rebounds by Evans were the sixth-highest single game total in Hofstra history. Senior guard Sam Brigham tied for team-high honors with 13 points for the Pride. Sophomore guard Nicole Capurso also scored 13 and added a career-high five assists. Senior Jess Fuller finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and six blocks for the Pride, who had 14 blocked shots in the contest. In the Pride's outing at Rice, Evans tallied a career-high 30 points, including 21 in the second stanza. The point total for Evans was a high for a Pride player this season, eclipsing the 23 points scored by Capurso against Providence on December 8. Evans added six rebounds to her point total, while Candice Bellocchio had 13 points and five assists and Fuller chipped in with 10 points. In the loss to the Tribe, Evans led the Pride with 13 points and 14 rebounds. The double-double was the sixth of the season for Evans, who grabbed nine of her rebounds on the defensive end. Hofstra also got 12 points, six rebounds and a career-high six steals from senior guard Sam Brigham. The Pride begins a three-game homestand on Thursday when they host Towson. Hofstra will also host Georgia State on Sunday.
#RV/25 JAMES MADISON (10-2, 0-0 CAA)
James Madison went 2-1 last week as they were crowned winners at its own JMU Invitational with an 86-54 win over Lafayette and a 74-65 win over Western Michigan. The nationally-ranked Dukes fell to Drexel, 68-67, in a rematch of the 2008 CAA Championship title game, in the first conference game of the season. In the win over Lafayette, JMU junior guard Dawn Evans had game highs of 27 points and 12 assists. She recorded her third career points-assist double-double, and her assist total was a career high. Evans also increased her career points total to 1,392 and moved from tied for 10th to ninth place on JMU's all-time scoring list. JMU freshman guard Tarik Hislop added 15 points, and junior forward Nichelle Glover finished with 11 points and a game-high seven rebounds. In the championship game, Evans scored a game-high 28 points and dished out another nine assists to lead the Dukes to the win. Evans, who was named the tournament most valuable player, was joined on the all-tournament team by junior center Lauren Jimenez and freshman guard Tarik Hislop. Jimenez, playing in only her second game after being sidelined with an injury since last February, scored a career-high 21 points. Hislop tallied 11 points. In the match-up against Drexel, Evans recorded a game-high 30 points for her fourth 30+ point performance of the season and 12th of her career (adding to her school record). Jalissa Taylor led the Dukes with 14 rebounds, nine on the offensive glass, and Sarah Williams chipped in 11 points. The Dukes will play three of their next four games at home, where JMU is 6-0 this season. The Dukes are currently riding a seven-game home winning streak. JMU will entertain Georgia State on Thursday before welcoming George Mason on Sunday.
UNC WILMINGTON (5-7, 0-0 CAA)
UNC Wilmington posted a 1-2 record on the week after going 1-1 at the Terrapin Classic and falling to Georgia State, 63-53, in CAA action. At the Terrapin Classic, posted an 85-51 victory over Stony Brook and a 67-61 loss to host Maryland. Against SBU, The Seahawks used a 34-5 run over an 11-minute span to build a 24-point lead. The Seahawks shot a season-high 61.1 percent (33-of-54) from the field in the contest. Junior forward Treasure Johnson poured in a season-high 17 points to lead five UNCW players in double figures as junior forward Brittany Blackwell scored 16, senior guard Greta Luksyte chipped in 13, senior guard Casey Sawhook matched her career-high with 11 and junior forward Martha White added 10. Senior guard Whitney Simmons finished just shy of double figures as she matched her season high with nine points. Sawhook also established a new career high with six assists as the team combined to record 17 helpers. Against Maryland, Blackwell scored a game-high 16 points to become just the 14th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point milestone. Blackwell scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half to pace a UNCW attack that shot 44.6 percent (25-of-56) from the floor and 41.7 percent (5-of-12) from three-point range in the contest. Blackwell also added a team-best 11 rebounds as she recorded her sixth double-double of the season and the 22nd of her career. Blackwell was the only Seahawk to reach double figures as sophomore guard Julia Finlay matched her career-high for the second time in three games with nine points and senior guards Greta Luksyte and Casey Sawhook chipped in seven points each. In Atlanta, Ga., White matched her career high with 16 points and classmate Blackwell added 15 for UNCW, who shot above 40 percent from the floor for the 10th time this season as it made 21-of-50 attempts from the floor. Luksyte chipped in seven points, all in the second half, as she became just the 15th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. The Seahawks return home after its five-game road swing, as they welcome VCU on Thursday and William & Mary on Sunday.
NORTHEASTERN (5-7, 0-0 CAA)
Northeastern suffered a pair of losses last week extending its losing streak to five straight. The Huskies fell in their first home contest of the season to St. John's, 69-53, on Tuesday evening, dipping to 3-1 at Soloman Court. Northeastern was led by Kashaia Cannon, who came off the bench to score 13 points, all in the first half, while Rachael Pecota added 11 for Northeastern. Jamie Conroy finished with eight points, while Kendra Walton added eight rebounds. On Sunday against VCU, senior forward Kim Carr led the Huskies with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. The senior went 8-of-11 from the floor against the Rams. Walton added 12 points for Northeastern, while Dani Iervolino had nine as the Huskies drop to 5-7 on the season and 0-1 in CAA play. Northeastern will start its home schedule of CAA play when they host Old Dominion on Thursday, Jan. 7. The Huskies will finish the week at home against Delaware on Sunday, Jan. 10.
OLD DOMINION (3-8, 0-0 CAA)
Old Dominion suffered an 102-62 loss at #4/4 Tennessee on Wednesday evening, but opened conference play with a 60-59 win at Delaware on Sunday. Against the Lady Vols, sophomore Tia Lewis posted her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. ODU concludes one of the toughest non-conference schedules with a 2-8 record. In Old Dominion's 1200th game in program history, the Lady Monarchs got double figures from Lewis, Green (12) and Jasmine Parker (13). ODU is just one of eight programs nationally with 1,200 career games, with three in the CAA (ODU, Hofstra, and JMU). Parker added four rebounds and four assists, while posting a season low-tying two turnovers. It was just the sixth time in ODU history an opponent hit triple digits, with the last occurrence coming against Tennessee on January 3, 2000 in Knoxville. On Sunday, Parker led the team in scoring with 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting and added five steals for the third time this season. The win over UD gave ODU its 19th straight win in a CAA opener, improving to 19-0 in the first game of the conference season since joining the league. ODU faces Northeastern on the road this week, before hosting Drexel on Sunday. The Lady Monarchs are 7-0 against NU and had lost just twice to Drexel, owning a 14-2 advantage, but both victories for the Dragons came last season. Drexel ended ODU's reign atop the CAA, handing ODU its first ever CAA Tournament loss in 2008.
TOWSON (7-5, 0-0 CAA)
Towson won its CAA opener with a 60-46 win over George Mason at home. Towson improved to 6-1 at home this season with the victory. Senior forward Haliena Snowden led the Tigers with her second career double-double. Snowden posted a career-high 18 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in the win. She was joined in double figures on the day by senior guard Shanae Baker-Brice and junior forward Dovile Miliauskaite. Baker-Brice finished with 12 points, eight assists and four rebounds. Miliauskaite contributed 10 points and seven rebounds in the outing. Towson now hits the road for a pair of games, visiting Hofstra on Thursday and VCU on Sunday.
VCU (8-5, 0-0 CAA)
VCU won three straight with wins over Longwood (84-64), Coppin State (70-40) and Northeastern (78-54). Against the Lancers, senior guard La'Tavia Rorie and sophomore forward Courtney Hurt each posted career-highs of 25 and 17 points, respectively, against the Lancers. Rorie went 7-of-10, including a career-best 5-of-5 from 3-point range on her way to 21 first half points. Senior forward D'Andra Moss added 13 points for VCU and senior guard Kita Waller, who made her first start of the season, contributed 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Junior guard Ebony Patterson came off the bench and tied career-best six assists. In the home win over CSU, Moss scored a game-high 23 points and Hurt contributed a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Rams. Patterson came off the bench and added 12 points and five assists for VCU, while Waller contributed nine points and a game-high five steals. Against the Huskies, Waller nearly missed her first career triple-double and led four VCU players in double figures, registering a team-high 20 points with nine rebounds and eight steals. Hurt posted her second double-double in a row with 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Rorie contributed 18 points and Moss added 15 points. VCU has won 20 of its last 21 games at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Richmond ended the Rams' school record 19th-consecutive home victory when it defeated the Rams on Dec. 6. The Rams will visit UNC Wilmington on Thursday to continue conference play before hosting Towson on Sunday.
WILLIAM & MARY (8-4, 0-0 CAA)
William and Mary finished the week with a 2-0 record as they closed its non-conference schedule with a 55-47 win at Delaware State on Wednesday, before capturing a 55-48 conference win over Hofstra on Sunday. With the two wins, the Tribe is on a three-game winning streak. The win over DSU was led by sophomore Janine Aldridge, who shot 5-for-7 from long range and 6-for-10 overall for a game-best 17 points. Freshman Emily Correal had a career-best 15 points and eight rebounds, and senior Tiffany Benson keyed the defensive effort with 10 defensive rebounds, five blocks, and three steals. Against the Pride, sophomore guard Taysha Pye led all scorers with 20 points, including 15 in the second half. She also added five steals, as the team had 19 total takeaways, tied for the fifth-most in school history. Aldridge contributed nearly a third of that total herself, coming up with a career-high six steals to go with 11 points.Sophomore Katherine DeHenzel was the third Tribe player in double-figures, scoring 10 to go with five assists. Benson narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds, while also adding four steals and a pair of blocks. She now stands just 12 blocks away from becoming the CAA's all-time leading shot-blocker. Correal also had a huge day defensively, with career-highs of five blocked shots and three steals to go with five rebounds. The Tribe will record some mileage this week as they visit Drexel on Thursday before heading to UNC Wilmington on Sunday.