THIS WEEKS QUICK HITS:
- The league jumped to 72-59 in non-conference play and the CAA moved up one spot with a RPI of 11 in the most recent report by Collegiate Basketball News.
- Five CAA WBB teams are ranked in the Dec. 28 edition of the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll (#11 Delaware, #12 Old Dominion, #13 Drexel, #17 Hofstra and #21 James Madison). Five teams from one conference is the most ranked in the poll.
- The CAA Women's Basketball Weekly Teleconference call will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 4 at Noon. Georgia State's Sharon Baldwin-Tener, James Madison's Kenny Brooks and Old Dominion's Wendy Larry will join the call.
- The Show Place Arena (Upper Marlboro, Md.) will host the 2011 Virginia 529 College Savings Plan CAA Women's Basketball Championship on March 10-13.
- The CAA has 29 games slated to be televised for the 2010-11 season.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
Brittany Blackwell • UNC Wilmington
Raleigh, N.C./Cary Academy, Sr., Forward
Blackwell received CAA Player of the Week honors after leading the Seahawks to a 2-0 week, including a win in UNCW’s conference opener over Drexel. The senior forward averaged 15.5 points per game to go along with 9.5 rebounds per outing. She also contributed five assists, three steals and two blocks. Blackwell shot 50.0 percent (14-of-28) from the field in the wins.
Dawn Evans • James Madison
Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast, Sr., Guard
Evans collected CAA Player of the Week honors for the second straight week after strong performance to help James Madison go 2-0 on the week and open conference play with a win. The senior guard averaged 23.0 points, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game last week. She shot an impressive 81.3 percent (13-of-16) en route to 31 points against Northeastern and finished the week shooting 60.0 percent (18-for-30) on the week. She also completed the week shooting 50 percent (7-for-14) from long range and perfect (3-for-3) from the charity stripe.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Alisha Andrews • UNC Wilmington
Stone Mountain, Ga./Redan, Fr., Guard
Andrews earned CAA Rookie of the Week honors after helping the Seahawks to a pair of home victories, including a win over Drexel in the conference opener. The freshman guard averaged 12.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Andrews led the team with 11 assists and 10 steals on the week, including a career-best six steals against Ohio. The rookie went 8-for-18 (.444) from the field, 7-for-13 (.538) from beyond the arc, and 1-for-2 (.500) from the free throw line. All but one of Andrews’ rebounds were on the defensive end of the court as she finished with 10 on the week.
CAA AT NO. 11 IN RPI RANKING (though games of Jan. 2): The RPI report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News ranked the CAA as 11th out of 32 conferences at the start of conference play. The CAA has five ranked in the top 77, led by Drexel ranked at #36 in the team ranking. Old Dominion (48), James Madison (71), UNC Wilmington (76) and Delaware (77) are also in the Top 100.
STANDING OUT IN NATIONAL STATS (through games of Jan. 2): The CAA has two of the top three nation's leading scorers in top-ranked Dawn Evans (25.6 ppg) from James Madison and third-ranked VCU's Courtney Hurt (24.0 ppg). Hurt leads the nation with 13.7 rebounds per outing, while Hofstra's Candice Bellocchio is ranked ninth in assists with 6.4 per outing. Old Dominion's Jasmine Parker's 3.5 steals per contest is the seventh best average in the nation. Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite is ranked third in a pair of national categories with 97.1 free throw percentage and 49.3 three-point field goal percentage. JMU's Dawn Evans is ranked second in three-point field goals per game (3.6), while Hurt leads the nation with 11 double-doubles on the season. (CAA Top 50 individual & team listing on page 8)
CAA INDIVIDUAL LEADERS: JMU's Dawn Evans is the league leader averaging 25.6 ppg on the season and VCU's Courtney Hurt (24.0 ppg) follows. Hurt continues to lead the league in rebounding with 13.7 rpg, while Hofstra's Shante Evans (10.6 rpg) and GSU's Chan Harris (10.4 rpg) follow. Hofstra's Candice Bellocchio leads the conference dishing out 6.4 assists per game and is nearly 2.0 assists per game more than the next best in the CAA. Old Dominion's Jasmine Parker tops the conference with 3.5 steals per outing. Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite has shot 34-for-35 (.971) from the charity stripe, while Dawn Evans at 89.2 percent (58-for-65) to top free-throw shooters. Dawn Evans leads the conference shooting 3.6 treys per outing, while Delaware's Sarah Acker top the league with 1.9 blocks per game.
STAT WATCH: Delaware sophomore All-American Elena Delle Donne is nearing the 1,000-point plateau. She has recorded 956 career points in 36 games and if she continues to average 26.0 points per game, she should reach her 1,000th-career point during her 38th career game as a Blue Hen. The fastest player to reach 1,000th career points in CAA history is JMU's Dawn Evans, who reached the milestone in 55 games. William & Mary's Taysha Pye is just 16 points away from the 1,000-point career milestone, while VCU's Courtney Hurt needs 121 points to reach the same career mark.
REACHING MILESTONES: Drexel's Jasmina Rosseel reached the 1,000-point milestone with her 20-point performance at Penn State and ODU's Jasmine Parker scored her 1,000th career point against the Lady Vols. JMU's Dawn Evans posted 31 points against Monmouth and set a new JMU career record for the Dukes. She currently has 2,213 career points. Evans now ranks second in the CAA record books and looks to pass Drexel's Gabriela Marginean.
FIVE CAA WBB TEAMS RANKED IN COLLEGEINSIDER.COM TOP 25 MID-MAJOR POLL: The CAA has five teams ranked in the Top 25 of the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll. With five teams ranked, the CAA has the most of any conference ranked in the Top 25. Delaware dropped in the Mid-Major Poll and a top the CAA schools at #11. Old Dominion steadied at #12, while Drexel (#13), Hofstra (#17) and James Madison (#21) followed in the Dec. 28th poll. UNC Wilmington received 16 votes. Atop the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 is Green Bay, which received 28 first-place votes. 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.
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 Virginia 529 College Savings Plan 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.
SIGN ON FOR DAWN: The NephCure Foundation's "Sign on for Dawn" (www.signonfordawn.org) fundraising campaign is nearing the halfway point, with $4,926 raised toward its $10,000 goal. The NephCure Foundation is a non-profit foundation that funds research into finding effective treatments and provides support for patients suffering from the kidney diseases FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis) and Nephrotic Syndrome. JMU's Dawn Evans has been suffering from FSGS since December 2009.
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. The league has 29 games scheduled for the current 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.
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.
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 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).
DELAWARE (8-4, 1-0 CAA)
Blue Hens fell to Vanderbilt, 72-51, and defeated Alcorn State, 76-36, at the 2010 Hilton Garden Inn Hokie Classic in Cassell Coliseum. Delaware then defeated Hofstra at home, 71-66, in their conference opener. During Elena Delle Donne's absence, Lauren Carra stepped up and poured in 18.7 points per game in the three outings, including a career- and game-high 29 points against the Pride. Jocelyn Bailey added 10.0 points per game, while Danielle Parker led the team with 7.7 rebounds per outing. Carra dished out a team-best six assists, while Sarah Acker made a team-high nine steals and five blocks. Delle Donne has missed the last four outings due to a back injury. The sophomore, who is averaging 26.0 ppg, is listed as day-to-day. Delaware will continue conference play as they visit Northeastern on Thursday before taking on the Drexel Dragons in Philly on Sunday.
DREXEL (8-4, 0-1 CAA)
Drexel fell to #7/5 Texas A&M, 74-45, but rebounded with a win over UTSA, 64-37, at the San Diego State Tournament. The Dragons then fell in a hard fought outing at UNC Wilmington, 69-61, in their first CAA outing. Kamile Nacickaite poured in a team-best 15.3 points per game, while Jasmina Rosseel contributed 10.0 ppg. Hollie Mershon led the team on the boards with 6.7 rebounds per game and Nacickaite added 6.3 rpg on the week. Rosseel joined Taylor Wootton with 11 assists each in the three outings. Wootton(10) and Mershon (9) pulled down career high rebounds against UNCW. Drexel will host Georgia State on Thursday before welcoming Delaware to the DAC on Sunday.
GEORGE MASON (7-5, 1-0 CAA)
George Mason captured a 72-45 home victory over Norfolk State and then defeated Georgia State, 71-47, in its conference opener. With the wins, the Patriots extended their winning streak to five straight. They also completed a five-game homestand undefeated, recording the first time in history to do so. The win over GSU was Mason's first in CAA openers since 2006-07. Mason had three players average double-figure points on the week, led by Amber Easter and Taleia Moton as they both averaged 12.0 points per game. Brittany Poindexter added 11.5 points per outing and led the team with 8.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists per contest. Ashleigh Braxton scored a career-high five treys against the Panthers. The Patriots will hit the road for a pair of CAA games as they visit Old Dominion on Thursday and VCU on Sunday.
GEORGIA STATE (5-7, 0-1 CAA)
Georgia State earned a 91-65 win over Mississippi Valley State in the opening game of the GSU Holiday Invitational, but fell to Hampton, 74-44, in the championship game. The Panthers then suffered a 71-47 loss at George Mason in their conference opener. GSU was led by Chan Harris on the week with 11.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per outing. Kendra Long was a strong three-point shooter for the Panthers last week making 7-of-12 (.583), while also leading the team with nine assists. Georgia State will visit Drexel on Thursday before welcoming Hofstra to Atlanta on Sunday. GSU's next win will be the 500th all-time in school history. The last win (versus MVS) was the 200th in head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener's career.
HOFSTRA (8-4, 0-1 CAA)
Hofstra's eight game winning streak was snapped last Tuesday when they fell to host San Diego in overtime 85-83 at the Maggie Dixon Surf 'N Slam Classic. The Pride suffered back-to-back single bucket losses when they dropped a 65-63 decision to Cincinnati in the consolation game and then fell to Delaware, 71-66, in the Pride's first conference outing. The eight-game winning streak was the second longest in the Pride's history. Despite the Pride's losses, the team was led by three players with double-figure points on the week. Sophomore Shante Evans led the team with 15.3 points and 13.7 rebounds per outing in the three-game week. Evans was named to the All-Tournament team. Annie Payton (14.0 ppg) and Nicole Capurso (12.0 ppg) also averaged double-figure points. Candice Bellocchio led the team with 11 assists, while Capurso snatched a team-best 14 steals. The Pride will host Towson on Thursday and visit Georgia State in hopes of snapping their three-game losing streak.
JAMES MADISON (8-5, 1-0 CAA)
James Madison went 2-0 at home last week with an 82-47 non-conference victory over Western Carolina and an 84-61 conference win over Northeastern. With the wins, the Dukes extend their winning steak to three straight, which is the longest of the season. The Dukes were led by four players averaging double-figure points. Senior guard Dawn Evans poured in a team-best 23.0 points per game. Lauren Whitehurst (13.0 ppg), Lauren Jimenez (11.5 ppg) and Tarik Hislop (10.0 ppg) also contributed double-digit points. Jalissa Taylor and Whitehurst each averaged a team-best 8.5 rebounds per game and teammate Nikki Newman added 8.0 rebounds per outing. Evans dished out a team-best 10 assists on the week, while Newman snatched a team-high five steals. Newman dished out a career-high eight assists against WCU. The Dukes will continue conference play when they hit the road for a pair of games this week. JMU will face William & Mary in Williamsburg on Thursday before visiting Old Dominion on Sunday. The outing against ODU will be televised on Comcast SportsNet-Mid-Atlantic, Comcast SportsNet-New England and The Comcast Network-Philadelphia.
UNC WILMINGTON (9-3, 1-0 CAA)
The Seahawks recorded a 62-53 home victory over Ohio in their last non-conference outing, before earning a 69-61 victory at home over Drexel in UNCW's first CAA contest. With the wins, UNC Wilmington has won five game in six outings. The Seahawks were led by Brittany Blackwell who poured in 15.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per contest. Alisha Andrews contributed 12.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, while Kristen Hanzer added 10.5 ppg. Andrews led the team with 11 assists and 10 steals. Blackwell continues to lead the Seahawks in steals (3.0) as she enters play this week needing just three more steals to move into a tie for first place on the program's all-time steals list. UNC Wilmington will visit VCU on Thursday before hosting Towson on Sunday.
NORTHEASTERN (5-7, 0-1 CAA)
Northeastern went 0-2 on the road last week. The Huskies first suffered an 80-67 loss at #RV/25 Boston College on Thursday in their last non-conference outing before falling to James Madison, 84-61, in their first CAA game on Sunday. Kashaia Cannon averaged a team-best 19.5 points per game. Jamie Conroy (15.5 ppg) and Afreyea Tolbert (12.5 ppg) also contributed double-figures on the week. Christine Huber led the Huskies with 9.0 rebounds per outing. Northeastern will host a pair of conference games this week when they welcome Delaware on Thursday and William & Mary on Sunday.
OLD DOMINION (7-5, 1-0 CAA)
Old Dominion went 2-1 on the week as they rolled past Charlotte, 81-75, in its first game of the Double Tree Classic in New Orleans, La., before narrowly falling to host Tulane, 62-59. The Lady Monarchs finished the week with a 69-63 victory at Towson in their conference opener. ODU is now 20-0 in CAA openers. Tia Lewis and Jasmine Parker led the team in the three games with 13.0 ppg and 12.0 ppg, respectively, while Alena Voronina contributed 25 points in one outing during the week. Lewis led the team with 10.0 rebounds per game and Parker led the team with 16 assists and 12 steals. Lewis and Parker were named to the Tulane/Double Tree All-Tournament team. The Lady Monarchs will host a pair of CAA contests at the Ted this week as they welcome George Mason and James Madison. The outing against JMU will be televised on Comcast SportsNet-Mid-Atlantic, Comcast SportsNet-New England and The Comcast Network-Philadelphia.
TOWSON (6-6, 0-1 CAA)
Towson split, 1-1, at home on the week as they earned a 55-41 against Delaware State in the Tigers' final non-conference outing, before falling to Old Dominion, 69-63, in the conference opener. Dovile Miliauskaite and Sheree Ledbetter guided the team with 15.5 ppg and 14.5 ppg, respectively. Miliauskaite also led the team with 12.0 rebounds per game on the week. Krystal Parnell dished out a team-best 10 assists and five steals. The Tigers will hit the road for a pair of conference outings this week as they visit Hofstra and UNC Wilmington.
VCU (6-5, 1-0 CAA)
VCU opened its conference schedule with a 73-61 road win over William & Mary. Courtney Hurt led the team with her 11th double-double of the season with 18 points and 18 rebounds. Andrea Barbour added 14 points, while Jessica Taylor contributed 13. Barbour and Jennifer Lane each posted four assists, while Barbour led the team with five steals. Hurt is on her way to reaching the 1,000-career point plateau with 121 to go. The Rams will host a pair of conference contests at home when they welcome UNC Wilmington and George Mason this week.
WILLIAM & MARY (1-10, 0-1 CAA)
The Tribe suffered a pair of losses last week. William & Mary fell to Longwood on the road, 82-77, in its last non-conference outing, before dropping a 73-61 decision to VCU in the conference opener. Taysha Pye led the team with 20.0 points per outing, while Katherine DeHenzel (14.5 ppg) and Taylor Hilton (12.5 ppg) also contributed double-figures. Hilton led the team in rebounding grabbing 6.0 per game, while Lindsey Moller also added 5.5 rpg. DeHenzel (9), Pye (8) and Moller (8) shared time dishing out assists, while DeHenzel posted a team-best eight steals on the week. Pye is just 16 points away from reaching the 1,000-career point milestone. The Tribe will host James Madison on Thursday before traveling to Boston, Mass., to play Northeastern in conference action.