THIS WEEKS QUICK HITS:
- After the first weekend of the 2010-11 season, the league went 4-6 in non-conference play. Delaware, George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU earned victories over the weekend and have started the season 1-0. UNC Wilmington will play their season opener tonight and Drexel will follow on Tuesday.
- James Madison was the preseason pick to take the 2011 CAA Women's Basketball title and the Dukes received votes in the Preseason AP Top 25 Poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll.
- Three CAA WBB teams were ranked in the CollegeInsider.com Preseason Mid-Major Poll (James Madison, Delaware and Old Dominion).
- Delaware's Elena Della Donne and JMU's Dawn Evans have been added to the watch lists of two prestigious awards -- Wooden and the Naismith Awards, and both were named CAA Preseason Co-Players of the Year.
- The Show Place Arena (Upper Marlboro, Md.) will host the 2011 CAA Women's Basketball Championship on March 10-13.
- The CAA has 27 games slated to be televised for the 2010-11 season, starting with a broadcast of Hofstra versus Virginia on November 12 tape delayed on FiOS1 TV.
- The league welcomes two new head coaches: UNCW's Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and GSU's Sharon Baldwin-Tener.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Elena Delle Donne • Delaware
Wilmington, Del./Ursuline Academy, So., Guard/Forward
Delaware sophomore guard/forward Elena Delle Donne earned CAA Player of the Week honors after guiding the Blue Hens to a 59-44 season opener win against UMBC. The sophomore led the game with 36 points on 44.8 percent shooting from the field. Delle Donne shot a perfect 100 percent from the free-throw line (6-for-6) and added seven rebounds for the Blue Hens.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Kate Loper • Hofstra
Post Falls, Idaho/Post Falls, Fr., Guard
Hofstra freshman guard Kate Loper received CAA Rookie of the Week accolades after she led the Pride with 17 points against Virginia on Friday evening. The rookie shot .400 from the field and nailed five three pointers in 26 minutes of play. Loper added two steals and one assist in her debut.
CAA PRESEASON TEAM PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: James Madison, which captured the 2010 CAA women's basketball championship, is favored to win the conference title again in 2010-11 according to a vote of the league's coaches, sports information directors and media members. The results of the poll were announced during the CAA Basketball Media Day at Champps-Pentagon Row in Arlington, Va. The Dukes were followed in the voting by Old Dominion, Delaware, Hofstra and VCU. Drexel was picked to finish sixth, followed by William and Mary, UNC Wilmington, Georgia State, George Mason, Towson and Northeastern.
CAA PRESEASON INDIVIDUAL HONORS: Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and JMU's Dawn Evans were chosen as the CAA Preseason Co-Players of the Year. They are joined on the preseason All-CAA first team by Hofstra's Evans, UNC Wilmington senior guard/forward Brittany Blackwell (12.9 ppg/7.7 rpg) and William and Mary junior guard Taysha Pye (16.4 ppg/5.2 rpg). Voted to the preseason All-CAA second team were Old Dominion's Green, Lewis and Parker, James Madison's Hislop and VCU junior forward Courtney Hurt (13.7 ppg/7.7 rpg).
PLENTY OF TALENT RETURNING IN 2010-11: The CAA's 12 teams return 68.3% (41-of-60) of their starters from a year ago. George Mason welcomes back their entire starting lineup, while Delaware, Drexel, James Madison, Old Dominion and William & Mary have four regulars returning. Hofstra, UNC Wilmington, Northeastern and VCU will see three starters back on the court. Among the stat leaders, 13 of the CAA's top 20 scorers from last season are back in 2010-11, led by UD's Elena Delle Donne (26.7 ppg). Ten of the top 20 in rebounders and eight of the top 10 in assists.
TOP GUNS: Two of the top five scorers in the nation return in the CAA. Delaware forward Elena Delle Donne, 2010 CAA Player and Rookie of the Year, and James Madison guard Dawn Evans finished the 2009-10 season averaging 26.7 and 24.6 points per game, respectively. The CAA returns 13 of the season's top 20 scorers and 10 of the top 20 rebounders. The conference also welcomes back eight of the top 10 leaders in assists.
TWO NEW HEAD COACHES WELCOMED TO THE LEAGUE: Two CAA schools have new head coaches this season. UNC Wilmington hired Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, who has previously served as head coach at Prairie View A&M. The former college great, Olympic gold medalist and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) Most Valuable Player was enshrined into the James Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on August 13 in Springfield, Mass. She replaces Ann Hancock. Georgia State hired Sharon Baldwin-Tener to replace Lea Henry. Baldwin-Tener had spent the past eight seasons with the East Carolina Lady Pirates and previously was the head coach Mercer and Life.
THREE CAA WBB TEAMS RANKED IN COLLEGEINSIDER.COM PRESEASON MID-MAJOR POLL: James Madison was ranked third in the CollegeInsider.com preseason mid-major poll, while Old Dominion and Delaware followed at 11th and 24th, respectively. The Dukes earned 656 points, including seven first place votes, while Old Dominion received 369 votes and Delaware secured 147 nods. VCU and Hofstra also received votes in the preseason poll. Atop the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 is Gonzaga, which received 12 first-place votes. Wisconsin-Green Bay (11 first-place votes) is second. The CAA and the Sun Belt each had three teams ranked in the preseason poll, which lead any other league. The women's Mid-Major Top 25 is comprised of teams from America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, CAA, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt and West Coast Conference. The Mid-Major Top 25 will be released every Tuesday throughout the 2010-11 season.
CAA IN THE AP POLL: The James Madison Dukes received votes in the 2010-11 AP Preseason Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll.
2011 & 2012 CAA WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIPS TO BE HOSTED BY NEUTRAL SITE: The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. has been selected to host the CAA Women's Basketball Championship in 2011 and 2012 by the league's athletic directors. It will be the first time that The Show Place Arena has served as host of the CAA women's championship. All games in the four-day, 11-game tournament will be played at the 5,000-seat arena, with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. This season's event will be held from March 10-13, 2011.
TWO CAA PLAYERS ADDED TO WATCH LISTS: CAA women's basketball standouts Elena Delle Donne of Delaware and Dawn Evans of James Madison were added to the 2010-11 Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) State Farm® Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year and the Naismith preseason watch lists. Delle Donne, a sophomore forward/guard, led Delaware to a 21-12 record and a berth in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) as a freshman. The Blue Hens' forward was named the CAA Player and Rookie of the Year and became the first player in UD history to earn All-America honors when she garnered third team Associated Press and honorable mention WBCA accolades. Evans, a senior guard at JMU, ranked fifth in the nation in scoring with 24.6 points per game, was third nationally in three-pointers per game (3.6) and also was third in the CAA with 4.6 assists per game last season. Evans also honorable mention All-America honors from the Associated Press.
TV EXPOSURE: The CAA surpassed its all-time record of 25 game (2007-08) with 27 games aired during the 2009-10 season and looks to accomplish the same task in 2010-11. At the start of the season, the league has 27 games scheduled for the new season. All 12 teams will make at least one television appearance. The CAA women's basketball television package has aired over 20 games for at least the last three seasons.
ONE OF THE BEST WBB COLLEGE POINT GUARDS: James Madison women's basketball player Dawn Evans has been ranked as one of the top five point guards in the country by AOL FanHouse. The selections were made by FanHouse women's basketball writers Michelle Smith and Milton Kent. Evans averaged a team-high 24.6 points per game (fifth-highest in the NCAA) and a team-high 4.6 assists per game last season. She enters the 2010-11 season 215 points away from the school career points record of 2,121 and is on pace to also break the CAA career scoring record of 2,581. The FanHouse point guard ranking was as follows: 1. Danielle Robinson, Sr., Oklahoma; 2. Jasmine Thomas, Jr., Duke; 3. Samantha Prahalis, Jr., Ohio State; 4. Courtney Vandersloot, Sr., Gonzaga; 5. Dawn Evans, Sr., James Madison.
RECORD-HIGH SEVEN TEAMS IN POSTSEASON PLAY: For the first time in conference history, the CAA sent seven women's basketball teams to the postseason. James Madison earned a bid in the NCAA Women's Basketball tournament, while Old Dominion, Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra, and VCU earned bids to the Women's National Invitation Tournament and Towson played in the Women's Basketball Invitational. For the fifth consecutive season, at least three CAA teams advanced to the postseason and for the 10th consecutive season the CAA had a representative in the WNIT. The CAA was just one of four conferences to see five teams in the WNIT. The Big Ten, Big East and Atlantic 10 also saw five conference teams advance to the postseason event.
CAA AT No. 9 IN RPI RANKING: The CAA completed the 2009-10 ‑season ranked ninth among the nation's 32 Division I conferences in women's basketball according to the RPI report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News. James Madison finished ranked 44th in the team RPI ranking. Old Dominion (59) and VCU (97) are the only other CAA schools that completed the season in the Top 100.
DELAWARE (1-0, 0-0 CAA)
Delaware earned a 59-44 home victory over UMBC on Friday evening. With the win, the Blue Hens won their seventh straight season opener and are now 14-1 under head coach Tina Martin in home openers. CAA Preseason Player of the Year Elena Delle Donne returned to her old ways as she poured in a game-high 36 points to go along with seven rebounds. The point total gave Delle Donne her ninth career 30+ game and her 25th 20+ game. She also started the year shooting 100% from the free throw line (6-for-6). Senior forward Eva Reddick grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and sophomore guard Lauren Carra dished out a team-high four assists. The Blue Hens will host Villanova on Tuesday before visiting Yale on Saturday.
DREXEL (0-0, 0-0 CAA)
Drexel will rely on an experienced core of four starters in its quest to capture a second conference title in three years and make a third straight postseason appearance. The top returnees in the Dragons' veteran lineup are a pair of double-digit scorers in junior guard Kamile Nacickaite (11.6ppg/4.5rpg) and senior guard Jasmina Rosseel (10.3 ppg/3.0 rpg). They each averaged two treys per game for a Drexel squad that led the league from behind the arc with 6.5 threes per contest. Joining the dynamic duo in the backcourt are junior Marisa Crane (5.9 ppg/4.3 apg) and sophomore Hollie Mershon (2.5 ppg), whose versatility on the floor should earn her a more prominent role in 2010-11. Up front for the Dragons will be junior Tyler Hale (5.1 ppg/4.0 rpg) and sophomore Taylor Wootton (2.7 ppg), who coach Denise Dillon hopes can help fill the shoes of departed star Gabriela Marginean.
GEORGE MASON (1-0, 0-0 CAA)
George Mason opened the season with a 60-55 road victory at Massachusetts on Friday. Redshirt junior guard Taleia Moton, appearing in her first game as a Patriot, scored a game-high 19 points for the Patriots, while senior guard Brittany Eley contributed 14. Senior forward/center Angelee LaTouche grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and junior forward/center Evelyn Lewis added 10 rebounds. George Mason continues its three-game opening road swing with a 7 p.m. matchup at Fairfield tonight.
GEORGIA STATE (0-1, 0-0 CAA)
Georgia State, under the direction of new head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener, suffered its first loss of the season to cross-town rival Georgia Tech, 66-56, on Friday evening. The Panthers were led by redshirt junior forward Chan Harris, as she tabbed a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. She was joined by senior forward Angelique Burtts' 12 points, while freshman guard Kendra Long stepped up in her debut with a team-best 13 points. Junior guard Tiffany Anderson added four assists for the Panthers. Georgia State will continue a three-game road swing when they visit Stetson on Sunday. The Panthers will not host their home opener until Nov. 27 when they host their own GSU Tournament.
HOFSTRA (0-1, 0-0 CAA)
Hofstra open the season against Virginia at home and dropped the opener, 82-66. The Pride were led by freshman Kate Loper, who scored a game-high 17 points. The two teams battled deep into the second half before UVA pulled away for the win. Junior guard Candice Bellocchio was the only other Hofstra player in double-figure scoring with 10 points and she handed out six assists. Junior center Marie Malone grabbed eight rebounds to pace the Pride, while sophomore forward Shante Evans was held to seven points and seven rebounds. The loss ended Hofstra's string of four straight wins in home openers. Hofstra has two games scheduled for this week as the Price will host Saint Peter's on Monday, before traveling to Stony Brook on Thursday. The outing against the Peahens will be televised on FiOS1 TV on tape delay.
JAMES MADISON (0-1, 0-0 CAA)
The Dukes hosted Hampton in the WNIT opening round. James Madison dropped a nail-bitter at home as they fell to the Lady Pirates, 69-64. JMU lost its season-opening game for the first time since 2004-05, when the Dukes lost 80-67 to Virginia Tech. In 29 seasons at the JMU Convocation Center, the loss to Hampton marked only the fifth defeat in a season opener. The Dukes were led by CAA Preseason Player of the Year Dawn Evans, as she tossed in 25 points, while adding six assists. Senior center Jalissa Taylor pulled down a game- and career-high 15 rebounds and Nikki Newman snatched 11 more rebounds. The loss to Hampton ended an eight-game JMU home winning streak. The Dukes will host the consolation round at the JMU Convocation Center when they welcome St. Francis (Pa.) on Friday evening at 7 p.m. JMU will then face either Iona or Central Florida on Saturday evening (4:30/7 p.m.) at home.
UNC WILMINGTON (0-0, 0-0 CAA)
There is great anticipation at UNC Wilmington as first-year head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke attempts to move the Seahawks to the top of the CAA standings. Among the team's nine letterwinners back this season are a pair of returning starters. Senior forward Brittany Blackwell, who netted all-conference honors for the third consecutive season, ranked in the league's top 10 in both scoring (12.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg) last year. Teaming up with Blackwell in the frontcourt will be senior Martha White (9.4 ppg), who ranked seventh in the league in blocked shots, and classmate Treasure Johnson (6.5 ppg). Sophomore Jessica Freeman (6.5 ppg) and junior Kristen Hanzer (4.9 ppg) will anchor a Seahawk backcourt that will be bolstered by a trio of rookie guards. Sophomore Brittany Gamby give the Seahawks added depth on the wings.
NORTHEASTERN (0-1, 0-0 CAA)
Northeastern went 0-1 to start the year, but fought hard as they fell 72-69 against Syracuse on the road. Sophomore forward Rachael Pecota poured in a game-high 25 points, including a career-high seven made three-pointers. The Huskies were perfect from the line (11-for-11) against the Orange and connected on 14 shots from beyond the arc. Junior Jamie Conroy dished the ball out a career-high seven times, tying the game-high. Conroy and senior forward Mia Mayberry each contributed 11 points for Northeastern. The Huskies also picked up 16 steals against the Orange. Northeastern will host Kent State for the Huskies home opener on Tuesday, Nov. 16. The Huskies will then head to play in the Hawkeye Challenge this weekend. Northeastern will face host Iowa on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., before taking on Central Michigan or Northern Iowa on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
OLD DOMINION (1-0, 0-0 CAA)
Old Dominion earned a come-from-behind victory, 65-63, over Georgia Tech on Sunday at home. With the win over GT, the Lady Monarchs have now won three of its last four season openers. The win was ODU's first over an ACC school since topping Virginia on Nov. 21, 2008. ODU had five players score double-figures against the Yellow Jackets, which was the first time five players had scored in double-figures in one game since March 4, 2009 against conference foe William & Mary. The Lady Monarchs were led by senior guard Jasmine Parker's 13 points. She also secured the win for the team after hitting a pair of free-throws with 4.6 seconds remaining in regulation. Sophomore guard Jackie Cook added 12 points, while Tia Lewis and Alena Voronina tabbed 11 and Shadasia Green scored 10 points. Parker also led the team with a game-high six assists. The Lady Monarchs will take the court again on Thursday when they host North Carolina A&T at 7 p.m.
TOWSON (0-1, 0-0 CAA)
Towson dropped its season opener to Coppin State on Friday evening as the Tigers fell 75-68 at home. The Tigers trailed by as much as 15 in the second half before rallying to pull within two points late in the game. Senior guard Simona Petronyte scored a career- and game-high 23 points as she tied a school record with seven three-pointers made, all in the second half. Junior redshirt guard Sheree Ledbetter scored a career-high 16 points, while senior forward Dovile Miliauskaite recorded her fourth double-double of her career with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Towson hosts St. Francis (Pa.) on Tuesday in a basketball doubleheader before visiting Maryland on Thursday.
VCU (1-0, 0-0 CAA)
VCU opened the new season with a 65-64 victory at High Point on Friday evening. The Rams have won six straight season openers and are 7-1 all-time under head coach Beth Cunningham, including a 4-1 mark on the road. Cunningham's teams are 24-3 in the month of November during her tenure. Junior forward Courtney Hurt led the Rams with game highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds. Junior guard Jennifer Lane scored 14 points and collected five rebounds and six assists. In her debut with the rams, redshirt sophomore Sonia Johnson chipped in five points with nine rebounds and three assists. VCU returns to the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center for its home opener on Wednesday when they host Winthrop at 7 p.m.
WILLIAM & MARY (0-1, 0-0 CAA)
The Tribe fell in its season opener on the road Sunday against Wisconsin, 65-38. William & Mary was led by junior Taysha Pye as she reached double-digit scoring for the 40th time with 12 points, as well as contributing six rebounds and five assists. Classmate Janine Aldridge scored 10 points, and freshman Kaitlyn Mathieu impressed in her collegiate debut with seven points and a team-high seven rebounds. Also of note, sophomore Emily Correal had nine points and four rebounds, and senior captain Lindsey Moller had four rebounds. William and Mary continues on the road next weekend, playing at Davidson on Friday, November 19, before facing Wake Forest on Sunday, November 21.