THIS WEEK’S QUICK HITS:
    •    The CAA looks to improve on its 46-40 record.
    •    The second RPI ratings came out from Collegiate Basketball News and the CAA fell to #9 through games of Dec. 14.  Towson jumped to the front of the pack with a RPI ranking of #22, while VCU follows closely at #28.  Old Dominion improved to #49, while Georgia State improved to 84.
    •    Old Dominion will bring a 29 game home court winning streak to The Ted this week as they host nationally-ranked Tennessee and Maryland.  Both contests will be aired on Comcast SportsNet.
    •    The CAA has the top two scorers in the nation playing in the league as Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean steadied at #1 netting 27.1 points per game and JMU’s Dawn Evans holding onto second while averaging 25.9 points per contest.  

LAST WEEK’S QUICK HITS:
    •    The CAA improved its record to 46-40.  
    •    The first RPI ratings came out from Collegiate Basketball News and the CAA is ranked #8 through games of Dec. 7.  VCU led the conference ranked at #28 and Towson followed at #30. Old Dominion was ranked at #57, while Hofstra and Georgia State followed at #96 and #97, respectively.
    •    Old Dominion extended its home winning streak to 29, tying the national leader Hartford, with a 74-51 win over Saint Joseph’s on Friday evening.
    •    Towson handed Richmond its first loss of the season as they defeated the Spiders, 56-48, on the road Saturday night.  The Tigers improved to 7-1, while UR fell to 8-1.   
    •    After an impressive week with 70 forced turnovers and 49 steals, the Georgia State Panthers lead the nation as a team averaging 18.0 steals per match-up.  
    •    Drexel, George Mason, Georgia State, VCU and William & Mary were idle last week due to final exams.   

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
Shanae Baker-Brice • Towson

Washington, D.C./Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Guard

Towson junior guard Shanae Baker-Brice earned CAA Player of the Week honors after leading the Tigers to a pair of victories last week, including a road win over previously undefeated Richmond.  The junior averaged 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.5 steals per game last week.  She started the week with 16 points against Navy, before collecting 19 points against the Spiders. For the week Baker-Brice shot 50 percent (12-for-24)from the floor, 50 percent  (2-for-4) from beyond the arc and 82 percent (9-for-11) from the free throw line.  The junior has now scored in double figures in each of the Tigers first eight games.        

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Brittany Wilson • Northeastern

Pawtucket, R.I./Bay View, Fr., Guard

Northeastern freshman guard Brittany Wilson received CAA Rookie of the Week after posting career highs of 11 points and six rebounds against New Hampshire on Sunday.  The rookie also contributed two steals in 28 minutes of action. Before last week’s contest, Wilson was averaging 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.    

NCAA STAT LEADERS: 
For the third straight week, the CAA has the top two scorers in the nation playing in the league.  Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean and James Madison’s Dawn Evans steadied their spots this week as Marginean leads the nation averaging 27.1 points per game and Evans follows at #2 putting up 25.9 points per outing.  UMBC’s Carlee Cassidy is the next closest player, who is ranked third, as she is netting 24.3 points per contest.  Evans is tied is ranked fifth in the nation in three-point field goals made per game as she is averaging 3.3 per game.  Also ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA statistic summaries is Hofstra’s Joelle Connelly and Old Dominion’s Tiffany Green in blocked shots per game.  Connelly is ranked sixth averaging 3.1 blocks per outing, while Green follows at #9 stopping 3.0 per contest.  Hofstra’s Jess Fuller is ranked 10th after shooting 61.7 percent from the field.  The Georgia State Panthers lead the nation as a team averaging 18.0 steals per match-up and  rank second with a turnover margin of 14.0.  The Pride of Hofstra is ranked seventh in blocked shots per game (6.6 bpg).  Delaware’s defense is holdings its opponents to an average of 50.5 points per game, which is ranked eighth in the nation.

CAA 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 (through games of Dec. 14), after opening the RPI ratings at #8.  Towson jumped to the front of the pack with a RPI ranking of #22, while VCU follows closely at #28.  Old Dominion improved to #49, while Georgia State improved to 84.  Hofstra, which was ranked in the top 100, slipped to #114.

HOME SWEET HOME: Old Dominion is the only CAA team that did not lose a contest on its home court last season and looks to continue that streak in 2008.  The Lady Monarchs extended their home winning streak to 29 games with the victory over Saint Joseph’s on Dec. 12 and is now tied with Hartford for the nation’s longest home winning streaks.  The Lady Monarchs will look to extend their steak when they host national powers Tennessee, Dec. 18, and Maryland, Dec. 21.  The Hartford Hawks will now play on the road for the next few weeks and will return to their home court on Jan. 7 when they host Binghamton in America East conference play.

LADY MONARCHS FALL OUT OF AP & USA TODAY/ESPN COACHES’ POLLS: 
With the loss to then-ranked #24 Michigan State, the Lady Monarchs fell out of the Top 25 AP Poll on Dec. 1 and then out of the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Poll on Dec. 2.  This is the first time this since Nov. 20, 2007 that Old Dominion dropped below the Top 25, but continued to receive points.  Michigan State jumped to #21 with the win over the Lady Monarchs.  ODU is still receiving votes, just short of the top 25.

TV EXPOSURE: CAA women’s basketball increased its television exposure with 25 games on the air in 2007-08.  All 12 teams made at least one television appearance.  The CAA women’s basketball semifinals (CN8) and championship (Comcast SportsNet) games were included in the 2007-08 season package.  The 25 games broadcast for CAA women’s basketball is an all-time best in the history of the league.  Heading into the season, 19 games are slated for the 2008-09 season for CAA women’s basketball.  The CAA has a pair of televised games this week as Old Dominion welcomes nationally-ranked Tennessee and Maryland.   

GEORGE MASON HIRES JERI PORTER AS NEW HEAD COACH:  George Mason will be the only CAA team with a new head coach this season as Jeri Porter replaces Debbie Taneyhill. Porter was the head coach at Radford for the past six seasons, where she guided the Highlanders to a 93-85 overall record.  Prior to that, she spent four years at the helm of the North Alabama program finishing with a 64-43 mark.  

ODU CAPTURES 17TH STRAIGHT CAA TITLE:  Old Dominion edged VCU, 71-64, in another thrilling title game to capture its NCAA-record 17th consecutive CAA championship in 2008.  The Lady Monarchs have never lost a CAA tournament game since joining the league back in 1991-92.  With the win, ODU advanced to its 25th NCAA Tournament, which is tied with Louisiana Tech for the second-most appearances in Division I behind only Tennessee. The Lady Monarchs have won 20 or more games during all 17 seasons as a CAA member.

DREXEL’S MARGINEAN TIES FASTEST PLAYER TO REACH 1,000 POINTS: 
Drexel forward Gabriela Marginean collected the 1,000th point of her career against Towson on Feb. 28, 2008 and tied ODU’s Clarisse Machanguana for the fastest in the CAA to reach the career milestone in just 58 games.

MOST IMPROVED SQUADS: Four CAA teams were among the top 25 most improved squads in Division I women’s basketball in 2007-08.  Northeastern topped the league with a 10-game turnaround, going 14-16 last year in the second season under coach Daynia La-Force Mann after going 4-26 in 2006-07. UNC Wilmington (9), Drexel (8.5), and VCU (7) also ranked among the top 25 most improved squads.

WINNING BIG & SETTING RECORDS: Four CAA teams completed the 2007-08 season with 22 or more victories.  Over the past three seasons, 12 CAA squads have eclipsed the 22-win total.  Old Dominion finished last season with 31 victories, the most wins since 1996-97 when the Lady Monarchs won 35 contests. ODU was followed by VCU’s school-record 26 wins, James Madison’s 24 and Towson’s school-record 22 victories.

POSTSEASON SUCCESS IN THE NCAA: Old Dominion captured its 17th straight CAA title, danced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and finished with a 31-5 record in 2007-08. It was the Lady Monarchs’ best record since the 1996-97 season when they advanced to the national championship game.  ODU, which was seeded fifth in the Greensboro Regional, reached the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 2002 by defeating Liberty and Virginia before falling to Connecticut in the Regional semifinals. Four of the Lady Monarchs’ five losses came against teams that reached the 2008 Final Four (Connecticut, Stanford, Tennessee).  The Lady Monarchs spent 18 weeks in the Top 25 polls and finished the season ranked 10th.  

POSTSEASON SUCCESS IN THE WNIT: James Madison and VCU were selected to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, making it the third consecutive season that at least three CAA teams continued in the postseason.  JMU received an automatic bid to the WNIT and VCU earned a postseason berth for just the second time in school history with an at-large bid to the WNIT.  The Dukes reached the third round with a win over Radford at home and an overtime victory at Indiana.  VCU defeated Charlotte on the road for their first postseason victory since 1995.  It was the first time in CAA history that two different teams won WNIT games in the same season.

DELAWARE (5-3, 0-0 CAA)
The Blue Hens defeated UMass, 56-42, on the road in their only contest this week. Sophomore guard Tesia Harris scored a team-leading 13 points and sophomore forward Ariene Jenkins nearly posted her second straight double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.  Delaware (5-3) held UMass (5-5) to 21.2 points below its season average (63.2), as the Minutewomen made just 16-59 from the field and 5-23 from three-point range. The Blue Hens also forced 24 UMass turnovers which they scored 19 points off of on the night.  With the win, Delaware is 2-0 against Atlantic 10 teams and it has already surpassed its win total from last season (4).  The Blue Hens are off until Dec. 22 when they go on the road to take on the Big East’s Villanova.

DREXEL (3-4, 0-0 CAA)
Drexel was idle last week as they concluded final exams.  Junior forward Gabriela Marginean entered last week as the leading scorer in the NCAA, averaging 27.1 points per game. She has reached the 30-point mark in four of the team’s seven games this season and has five 30-plus-point performances in her career, which is more than any player in Drexel history.  She also leads the team in field-goal, free-throw and three-point percentage, rebounding and steals.  Drexel faces cross town rival Penn on Friday, Dec. 19 at Noon. The Dragons are 8-4 all-time against their closest geographic rival, the Quakers. The home team has won in all but two of the team’s previous 12 meetings, both of the exceptions have been Drexel victories at Penn, in 1992 and 1983.   The basketball arenas of both schools, the Palestra and the DAC, are located on 33rd Street just two blocks away from each other.

GEORGE MASON (0-7, 0-0 CAA)

The Patriots were idle last week as they are in the midst of a two week break for final exams.  George Mason will return to action at Howard on Dec. 21.  Heading into the contest with Howard, Mason is led by Whitney Ward as she has averaged 9.1 points per game in eight contests.  Brittany Poindexter and Rashauna Hobbs follow close behind putting up 8.8 points per game.  Eugenia Broadus leads the squad pulling down 7.6 rebounds per outing.  

GEORGIA STATE (3-2, 0-0 CAA)
Georgia State was idle last week for final exams and will return to action on Monday, Dec. 15 against Louisiana-Lafayette in the UAB Blazer Invitational Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. The Panthers will play either host UAB or Alabama State on Tuesday.  The Panthers defense steadied at No. 1 in steals per game, upping the season per game average to 18 steals per game. That comes after the school record-setting game of 31 against Presbyterian on Dec. 2.  Georgia State also stayed at the No. 2 spot in turnover margin per game, with a +14 of opponents turnovers forced vs. turnovers made. Danyiell McKeller leads the Panthers averaging 17.4 points per outing, while senior guard Brittany Hollins leads the team with 18 steals on the year and freshman Crystal Johnson leads the team with 20 assists.

HOFSTRA (4-3, 0-0 CAA)
Hofstra improved its record to 4-3 with a 60-56 home victory over Maine on Tuesday evening. The three game win streak is Hofstra’s longest since an eight-game streak near the end of the 2006-07 campaign, and the Pride has now won four of its last five games since starting the season with a 0-2 record.  At 4-3, all three of the Pride’s current losses are to teams that advanced to postseason play in 2007-08. Junior Jess Fuller had her second straight double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds, and senior Natty Fripp hit two clutch foul shots with 45 seconds left as Hofstra pulled out the win. Fuller, who added five blocks and four steals in the contest, either tied or established a new career-high in four separate categories.  Her points and steals totals were new career-highs, while her rebounds and blocked shots totals tied career-highs.  Junior guard Sam Brigham finished with 13 points and five assists for the Pride.  Fripp finished with nine points, five rebounds and three assists for Hofstra, while the Pride held Maine to 34.6% (18-52) shooting in the contest and forced 22 turnovers.  Hofstra will take a break for exams and return to the court on Dec. 19 when they host Rice and will then wrap up its homestand with a game against St. Francis (NY) on Dec. 22.    

JAMES MADISON (3-4, 0-0 CAA)
James Madison suffered a 72-70 overtime setback at Virginia Tech on Sunday evening.  The 3-4 record marks the first time JMU has been below .500 seven games into the season since 2003-04.  That year JMU had a 2-5 start (then 2-6).  The previous year, 2002-03, JMU was below .500 ( 3-4) at the seven-game mark. Against the Hokies, sophomore guard Dawn Evans led all players with 21 points and was joined in double figures by redshirt junior guard Sarah Williams with a season-high 17 and sophomore Jalissa Taylor with a career-high 16.  Senior Kisha Stokes was the Dukes’ top rebounder with a season-high 12, redshirt senior forward Nina Uqdah had eight rebounds, and Williams and sophomore center Lauren Jimenez each had seven boards.  But the Dukes were called for a foul on a desperation three-point attempt by Tech’s Shanel Harrison with one-tenth of a second remaining.  Harrison connected on two of her three free throws to tie the game at 62 and send the game into overtime.  In overtime JMU jumped out to a 66-62 lead on back-to-back jumpers by Evans at 4:31 and 4:08.  But the Hokies outscored the Dukes 10-8 in overtime.  Evans did not hit a three-pointer the entire game.  That’s only the third time that has happened in her 37 career games, but it was the second game in a row that she had not hit a three.  Prior to that Evans had hit a three-pointer in a school-record 25 consecutive games.  The former record of 22 was set by Allyson Keener in 2000-01.  JMU is winless (0-3) on its opponents’ home courts this season.  The Dukes will return home for a pair of contests this week as they welcome UMBC on Thursday and Bucknell on Sunday.

UNC WILMINGTON (4-3, 0-0 CAA)
The Seahawks suffered their third straight loss as they fell to East Carolina, 68-62, at Trask Coliseum on Sunday.  Junior Greta Luksyte led four Seahawks in double digits with 13 points. She also moved into a tie for ninth place on the school’s career three pointers list with her 73rd career three pointer.  Senior Sahsha Taylor had 12 points and nine rebounds, sophomore Brittany Blackwell had 11 and sophomore Treasure Johnson added 10 points off the bench. Taylor grabbed nine rebounds to finish just shy of a double-double while Luksyte matched her career-high with eight and Blackwell and junior Candace Walker added seven caroms each as UNCW held a 42-38 edge in that category.  Taylor’s 12 points moved her to sixth on the UNCW all-time list (1,224) passing Jennifer Kapper for sixth on the all-time list (1,222).  The Seahawks return to action this week with a pair of contests.  UNCW travels to Conway, S.C., Thursday for its first true road contest of the season against Coastal Carolina in a 7 p.m. tip-off before returning home to take on Hampton Sunday in a 2 p.m. matinee.  

NORTHEASTERN (2-5, 0-0 CAA)
Northeastern snapped a two game losing streak as they fell to New Hampshire, 70-62, on the road Sunday afternoon.  Northeastern saw four players score in double figures including Ashlee Feldman and Jasmine Crew who had 14 points each. Rookie Brittany Wilson added 11 points and six boards, while Kendra Walton chipped in with a team-high 10 boards, eight points, and four steals. Kim Carr also produced 12 points.  The Wildcats shot 60 percent from the field including 50 percent from behind the arc in the second half to over come an 11-point first-have deficit.  The Huskies will conclude a four-game roadstand when they take on Massachusetts, Dec. 20.

OLD DOMINION (5-2, 0-0 CAA)

Old Dominion defeated Saint Joseph’s in its lone game of the week by a score of 74-51 to extend its home win streak to 29.  The Lady Monarchs are tied with University of Hartford for the nation’s longest active home win streak.  Sophomores Jasmine Parker and Shadasia Green  each collected career highs. Parker poured in 19 points, while Green posted her first career double-double with a career-high 14 points and a career-tying 11 rebounds. Old Dominion led wire-to-wire for the second straight game limiting just one Hawk athlete to double figures. Parker scored 13 of her career-high 19 in the first half as the Lady Monarchs led 36-19 at the half. Old Dominion returns to action next week against defending NCAA Champion, #7/10Tennessee on Thursday, December 18th and 2006 NCAA Champion #15/16 Maryland, on Sunday, December 21st.  Both games will be aired on Comcast SportsNet.  Old Dominion has only faced CAA rival James Madison more times than it has the Tennessee Lady Vols. It will be the 42nd meeting between the two teams with the Lady Vols holding a 32-9 advantage in the all-time series as they have shared an annual game each season since the 1976-77 season. Old Dominion is looking for its first win over Tennessee in its last twelve attempts. The last Lady Monarch win over the Lady Vols came in 1997 with an 83-72 regular season victory at the ODU Fieldhouse. Later that season in the NCAA Championship game, the roles were reversed as Tennessee walked away with the title.  Old Dominion will meet up with the Terps for the first time since 1993 and will look to stop an eight-game Maryland win streak.  The Terps lead the all-time series, 10-8.

TOWSON (7-1, 0-0 CAA)
Towson improved to 7-1 on the season as they went 2-0 last week.  The Tigers opened the week with a win over Navy at home, 65-53, Tuesday evening and then and handed Richmond its first loss of the season as the Tigers defeated the Spiders, 56-48, Saturday evening.  On the week, Towson was led by junior guard Shanae Baker-Brice as she averaged 17.5 points, 5.0 assists and 3.5 steals in the Tigers two victories.  Junior forward Katrina Wheeler led the team under the boards grabbing 9.0 rebounds per outing.  Against the Midshipmen, the Tigers connected on their first seven baskets of the game and never looked back.   Towson was led by Baker-Brice who finished the game with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Wheeler also reached double figures as she posted 10 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore guard Simona Petronyte had seven points and a career-high six assists. Junior forward Kandace Davis finished with six points and a game-high nine rebounds. Thirteen Tigers saw action in the contest with 11 of the 13 scoring at least two points.  Against the Spiders, the Tigers got 19 points from Baker-Brice who stretched her streak of scoring in double figures to eight games.  In addition to her 19 points she added six rebounds, five assists and four steals.  Junior forward Haliena Snowden was the other Tiger in double figures as she recorded 10 points and six rebounds. Wheeler led all players with 11 rebounds and also contributed six points and two blocks. Davis had six points and nine rebounds, while sophomore guard Omara Parker struck for four points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.  The 18 points scored by Richmond in the first half was the lowest point total allowed by the Tigers in the first half this season.  The Tigers would go 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final minute to help secure the 56-48 victory.  Towson is now off till December 29 when they face Miami of Ohio at the State Farm Classic hosted by Florida.

VCU (5-2, 0-0 CAA)
VCU was idle last week for final exams and will return to the court on Dec. 15 when they host Morgan State, before traveling to Radford on Dec. 19.  The Rams will also sneak in a home contest against North Carolina State before the holiday break on Dec. 21.  Senior Quanitra Hollingsworth leads the way with 14.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and the Chesapeake, Va. native climbed into elite status in the Rams’ victory over Georgetown last week as her eight rebounds eclipsed Beth Mollerup’s old school record of 858 rebounds as Hollingsworth now sits with a school-record 862 for her career.  Radoslava Bachvarova and Kita Waller follow netting 10.7 ppg and 10.3 ppg, respectively.  Over the past 20 home contests, the Black and Gold are astounding 17-3 dating back to the 2006-2007 campaign.

WILLIAM & MARY (5-3, 0-0 CAA)
William & Mary is in the midst of a two week period off from contests for final exams.  The Tribe will return to action on Dec. 19 when they host Hampton in Williamsburg, Va.  Leading the Tribe is Tiffany Benson as she averages 10.5 points, followed by Dani Kell’s 10.3 points per game.  Benson also leads the team in rebounds as she is pulling down 9.8 rebounds per outing.