**Complete Release in PDF format at the bottom of this release**
THIS WEEK’S QUICK HITS:
James Madison will visit Delaware early this week as the two teams will play in Newark, Del., on Wednesday. The 10 other teams will continue conference play on Thursday. William & Mary and Old Dominion are the only two teams that have perfect records in CAA action after three games into the fresh season.
The CAA has two contests scheduled to be televised on Sunday, Jan. 18. Old Dominion will welcome Georgia State in the Noon contest on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and Comcast SportsNet Southeast. The Towson Tigers will then host the Seahawks of UNC Wilmington immediately following the ODU/GSU contest on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, Comcast SportsNet Northeast and Time Warner Cable in Wilmington, N.C. (approximately at 2:00 p.m.)
The CAA has posted a 76-54 record in non-conference play.
The CAA improved to 9th 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 Jan. 11). Old Dominion, perennial powerhouse of the CAA, jumped to the front of the CAA in RPI ratings at 44 with a victories over VCU, UNCW and Northeastern last week. VCU follows with a rating of 48 and Towson is ranked 72. James Madison edges the Top 100 at 103.
Ten of the league’s 12 teams own a winning percentage of .500 or better.
The CAA has the two of the top four scorers in the nation playing in the league. James Madison’s Dawn Evans continued to steady her spot at No. 1 while averaging 24.5 points per outing. Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean is ranked fourth as she is averaging 23.1.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Tiffany Benson William & Mary
Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne, Jr., Forward
William & Mary junior forward Tiffany Benson collected CAA Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive week as she led the Tribe to a 2-0 record in conference play last week. The junior averaged 23.5 points, 13.0 rebounds and 6.0 blocks for William & Mary as they improved to 3-0 in CAA action. Benson shot 65.5 percent (21-of-32)from the floor last week, while opening the week with a career-high 24 points against Drexel. She then posted a school-record eight blocks in the win over UNC Wilmington to close the week.
ROOKIES OF THE WEEK
Nicole Capurso Hofstra
Staten Island, N.Y./St. John Villa Academy, Fr., Guard
Hofstra freshman guard Nicole Capurso was named CAA Rookie of the Week for the second time this season after leading the Pride with 22.0 points per game last week. She started her stellar week scoring a career-high 23 points in Hofstra’s overtime win against Delaware, before tying for game-high honors against Drexel with 21 points, including five treys. The rookie also contributed six rebounds, three assists and four steals for the Pride on the week.
Crystal Johnson Georgia State
Gainesville, Fla./Yonge, Fr., Guard
Georgia State freshman guard Crystal Johnson received CAA Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this season after leading the team with 7.5 assists and 7.0 rebounds per game. She also averaged 6.5 points per game to help the Panthers post a 2-0 mark in CAA action. The rookie recorded a personal-best and CAA season-high 11 assists with just one turnover in State’s win over Northeastern. Johnson added 11 points in the win over Delaware. The point guard shot 4-of-8 from the field last week and 5-of-8 from the free-throw line.
NCAA STAT LEADERS (THROUGH GAMES OF JAN. 11): The CAA has the two of the top four scorers in the nation playing in the league. James Madison’s Dawn Evans continued to steady her spot at No. 1 while averaging 24.5 points per outing. Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean steadied at No. 4 as she is averaging 23.1. Evans is ranked ninth in the nation in three-point field goals made per game as she is averaging 2.9 per game. Marginean also steadied at fifth in free-throw percentage while shooting 91.6 this far this season. William & Mary’s Tiffany Benson jumped up to seventh while blocking 3.3 shots per game. The Hofstra defense stands strong and tall as they lead the nation in blocking (7.6 bpg), while the Dragons of Drexel lead the nation in free-throw percentage while shooting 83.3 from the charity stripe. The Georgia State Panthers are sixth in the nation averaging 13.6 steals per match-up and rank third with a turnover margin of 8.31. Delaware’s defense is holdings its opponents to an average of 52.1 points per game, which is ranked sixth in the nation.
CAA NO. 9 IN RPI RANKING: The CAA improved to 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 Jan. 11). Old Dominion, perennial powerhouse of the CAA, jumped to the front of the CAA in RPI ratings at 44 with a victories over VCU, UNCW and Northeastern last week. VCU follows with a rating of 48 and Towson is ranked 72. James Madison edges the Top 100 at 103.
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 (The Comcast Network) 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 two contests scheduled to be televised on Sunday, Jan. 18. Old Dominion will welcome Georgia State in the Noon contest on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and Comcast SportsNet Southeast. The Towson Tigers will then host the Seahawks of UNC Wilmington immediately following the ODU/GSU contest on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, Comcast SportsNet Northeast and Time Warner Cable in Wilmington, N.C. (approximately at 2:00 p.m.)
CAA TEAMS UP WITH GIRL SCOUTS: For the 15th consecutive year, the CAA and Girl Scouts of the USA are teaming up for the “Be Your Best” partnership. Each CAA institution has designated a women’s basketball game this season as “Girl Scout Appreciation Day”, with the goal of teaching girls the many benefits that can be gained from participating in sports. Girl Scouts are invited to attend the games and cheer for their favorite CAA team. A variety of activities is planned in conjunction with the games, including autograph sessions with players, instructional clinics with coaches and spirit contests. To receive the special admission, Girl Scouts must wear their uniforms (i.e., t-shirt or sweatshirt, pins) to the game.
HOME SWEET HOME: Georgia State and VCU are the only teams in the CAA that have perfect records on their home court, as VCU enters the week with a 8-0 record at the Siegel Center and Georgia State owns a 7-0 mark at the Georgia State Sports Arena. Two hearty home court winning streaks have been broken this year in the CAA, as Old Dominion’s 29-game streak and James Madison’s 12-game stretch were snapped. James Madison had won 12 straight games at the Convocation Center in Harrisonburg, before VCU captured a victory over the Dukes on Jan. 11. Old Dominion’s 29-game winning streak on its home court was spoiled by #11/14 Tennessee on Dec. 18. ODU was the only CAA team that did not lose a contest on its home court in 2007-08 and was hoping to continue that streak in 2008. The Lady Monarchs were tied with Hartford for the nation’s longest home winning streaks at 29.
LADY MONARCHS FALL OUT OF AP & USA TODAY/ESPN COACHES’ POLLS: After the loss to then-ranked #24 Michigan State in November, 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, but then fell out of the Top 25 after a loss to St. Bonaventure.
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.
FLASHBACK TO 2008 - 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.
IMPROVEMENTS FOR 2008-09: With a record of 9-5, the Hofstra Pride is currently tied for third in the nation for top turnaround record. The Pride has won four more games than they had won all year in 2007-08. Delaware follows tied for 16th as they are one above what they finished a year ago. Leading the list currently is Fordham who were winless a year ago and are currently 7-9.
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 (8-6, 0-3 CAA)
Delaware suffered a tough overtime loss to Hofstra at home on Thursday evening, 62-53, and then fell to Georgia State on Sunday on the road, 55-48. Delaware, which lost its third straight game after a six-game win streak, is now 0-3 in league play for the first time since the 1997-98 season. Sophomore guard Vanessa Kabongo led UD on the week averaging 13.0 points per outing and added six steals. Ariene Jenkins led the team under the boards with 10.0 rebounds per outing, while Corinthia Benison snatched eight steals on the week. In the overtime contest against Hofstra, sophomore guard Vanessa Kabongo led the Blue Hens with a career-high 18 points and six steals while Ariene Jenkins posted a double-double with 14 points and a team-high 12 rebounds, and Tesia Harris, the hero in last season’s last second home victory over Hofstra, contributed 11 points, including three three-pointers. After trailing almost the entire second half, Hofstra sent the game into overtime and then scored the first seven points of the extra session - all by senior guard Niki Williams - to pull away and hand Delaware a 62-53 CAA women’s basketball setback. The win was a historic one for the Pride, who defeated Delaware in Newark for the first time ever after 24 straight losses. On Sunday, Delaware was led in scoring by 10 points off the bench from Jocelyn Bailey. Vanessa Kabongo and Benison each added eight points, while Ariene Jenkins had eight rebounds to lead the Blue Hens. Delaware battled back from a 26-19 halftime deficit to take the team three separate times, but costly turnovers in the final minutes cost the young Blue Hens the game. The Hens, whose nine-player rotation features seven freshmen and sophomores and just one senior, will host James Madison on Wednesday before visiting VCU on Sunday.
DREXEL (7-7, 2-1 CAA)
Drexel saw a 29-26 halftime lead slip away on the road against William & Mary, 63-57, on Thursday, but picked up a home win over Hofstra, 71-66, on Sunday. Junior forward Gabriela Marginean led the team netting 19.0 points per game and pulling down 9.0 rebounds per outing last week. The junior also extended her free-throw streak (34) as she went 16-of-16 from the line in the two outings. Sophomore guard Jasmina Rosseel contributed 14.5 points per game and senior Andrea Peterson added 11.0 ppg and 10 assists on the week. Against the Tribe, Marginean posted her third double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Dragons in both categories. Rosseel finished with 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting from deep and Andrea Peterson chipped in 13 points and four assists. Nicole Hester grabbed a season-high nine boards and led the Dragons with five assists. Against the Pride of Hofstra, Marginean led Drexel with 21 points and Rosseel added 15 after shooting a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range in the first half. Hester grabbed a team-leading eight rebounds and came up with a key steal and a block in the final moments of the game. Drexel knocked down 5-of-6 free throws in the final 33 seconds to sink Hofstra in dramatic fashion 71-66 in front of a regional television audience. Marginean shot a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe to extend her consecutive free-throw streak to 34 tosses without a miss. Marginean steadied in the national rankings in scoring average as she is ranked fourth while netting 23.1 points per outing. The Dragons have the best free-throw shooting percentage in the nation while shooting 83.3 percent, led by Marginean’s league-best 91.6 percent shooting from the charity stripe. She is ranked fifth in the nation in that category. The Dragons will host Georgia State on Thursday before traveling to James Madison for a Sunday afternoon outing.
GEORGE MASON (2-12, 0-3 CAA)
George Mason dropped all three of its contests last week as the Patriots fell to Saint Joseph’s, 72-59, before suffering a 67-43 loss in Richmond to VCU and a 68-47 loss at home to Towson on Sunday in conference play. Senior Brittney Wilkins led the Patriots on the week as she averaged 11.3 points per game and a team-best 8.7 rebounds per contest. Sophomore Brittany Eley contributed 10.7 points per outing, while Eugenia Broadus added a team-best six steals on the week. On Tuesday, Wilkins led the Patriots with 17 points while falling one rebound short of a double-double. SJU controlled the glass in the game, holding a 42-to-30 rebounding advantage while also out-shooting Mason, 45.6-to-36.4 percent. Against VCU, Wilkins recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, tying a career high with rebounds. Joining her in double figures was Eley who had 11 points. On Sunday, Brittany Poindexter paced the Patriots with 11 points and six rebounds, while Wilkins had a team-high seven rebounds. Broadus finished with eight points and six boards in the contest. The Patriots face two tough tests this week as they travel to Old Dominion on Thursday before hosting Northeastern on Sunday afternoon.
GEORGIA STATE (9-4, 2-1 CAA)
Georgia State won its CAA home opener against Northeastern, 71-51, and followed that with a 55-48 win over Delaware to up its season home record to 7-0 at the Sports Arena. Freshman guard Jylisa Williams led the Panthers on the week recording 12.0 points per outing, while junior forward Danyiell McKeller followed with 11.5 points per contest. Junior transfer Brittany Graham also added 10.0 points per outing. Freshman Crystal Johnson averaged 7.5 assists per outing and led the team pulling down 7.0 boards per contest. On Thursday, the Panthers defense forced 20 turnovers and limited Northeastern to 34 percent shooting as they kept their sixth straight opponent at home under 60 points. McKeller poured in 23 points in just 30 minutes, despite a migraine headache that slowed her a bit. Graham provided outside punch with four 3-point baskets and 12 points, while Williams added 11 more points. Johnson was effective with a personal-best 11 assists and six rebounds. Senior leader Brittany Holllins had six points, six assists and four steals in 26 minutes, despite a leg injury. Against the Blue Hens of Delaware, the Panthers lost leading scorer and rebounder McKeller to an injury after eight minutes. Then, both freshman guards Johnson and Williams limped on and off with injuries. Junior forward Shay Rawls was slowed by the flu, but gave 12 minutes. Georgia State got 13 points from Williams on 5-of-9 and 11 points from Johnson on 4-of-7 shooting to go with her team-best eight rebounds. Chandra Harris came off the bench to replace McKeller and responded with nine points, while Graham came off the bench to add eight points. Hollins set the tempo with eight points and six steals. Leading scorer and rebounder McKeller did not score or grab a rebound due to her injury. Georgia State has held all seven teams that played the Panthers on their home court to 60 points or less to lower their season average to 57 points per game overall. At home, the Panthers are allowing just 50.0 points a contest, holding four of the seven opponents to 50 or fewer points. With her school-record 298 steals, Hollins has moved up to seventh in all-time CAA history. The Panthers will hit the road this week as they visit Drexel on Thursday before playing Old Dominion in a televised contest on Sunday in Norfolk. The Noon contest against ODU will air on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and Comcast SportsNet Southeast.
HOFSTRA (9-5, 1-2 CAA)
Hofstra went 1-1 on the road last week. The Pride posted a come-from-behind win over Delaware on Thursday night as they trailed all through regulation, but pulled in to tied the game sending it into overtime. The Pride defeated the Blue Hens, 62-53, which marked Hofstra’s first-ever win at Delaware in 25 tries. The contest was the third overtime game of the season for Hofstra, which came into the contest having defeated Buffalo and Saint Peter’s in its previous extra session contests. The Pride then fell to a pesky Drexel squad on Sunday, 71-66. Freshman Nicole Capurso put up a team-best 22.0 points per game last week, while classmate Joelle Connelly added 13.0 ppg. Junior center Jess Fuller led the team grabbing 9.0 rebounds per contest last week and senior guard Niki Williams snatched a team-best seven steals. Against Delaware, Williams scored all seven of her points in overtime as Hofstra rallied from as much as a 11-point deficit to defeat Delaware. Capurso scored a career-high 23 points to lead Hofstra, while Connelly added 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks to assist in the winning effort. On Sunday against Drexel, Connelly (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Fuller (15 points, 11 rebounds) both posted double-doubles for the Pride, who rallied from a 15-point hole in the first half to lead by as much as six points in the second period. The Pride used a 11-0 run to close out the half trailing by just four points, 34-30, after being behind by double-figures for much of the period. Hofstra opened the second half with a 14-5 push and took the lead for the first time since the opening minutes on a Nicole Capurso three-pointer. Capurso tied Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean for game-high honors with 21 points. Hofstra will be home for its next two games as the Pride will host Towson on Thursday at 7 p.m. before closing the short homestand with a 2 p.m. game against William & Mary on Sunday.
JAMES MADISON (9-5, 2-1 CAA)
James Madison posted a 1-1 record at home this week as they defeated Towson on Thursday, but then fell to a tough VCU squad on Sunday. The Dukes were led again by sophomore guard Dawn Evans as she averaged 19.5 points and 4.5 assists per game last week. Senior Kisha Stokes put up 9.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per outing last week to help the Dukes. JMU scored the game’s first 11 points and never trailed in a 74-56 home CAA women’s basketball win over Towson, which improved the Dukes winning home streak to 12 games. JMU led by as many as 27 points (44-17 at 2:24) in the first half and held a 46-25 halftime advantage. Evans led all players with 22 points and matched her season high with eight assists. Redshirt senior forward Nina Uqdah scored a season-high 13 points for JMU, and sophomore forward/center Jalissa Taylor added 11. Stokes was the game’s top rebounder with 10. On Sunday, the 33-point margin of defeat versus VCU marked the Dukes’ worst CAA regular-season loss and JMU’s worst defeat in 27 seasons at the JMU Convocation Center. The Rams’ win ended a six-game JMU winning streak and the Dukes’ 12-game home winning streak. VCU was the last team to beat JMU at the Convocation Center, taking a 61-60 overtime victory last Jan. 20. Evans led the Dukes with 17 points. She led JMU for the 12th time in 14 games. Stokes added 11 points and was the Dukes’ leading rebounder, for the third straight game, with nine. The Dukes will visit Delaware for a Wednesday match-up in Newark, Del., before returning home to host Drexel on Sunday.
UNC WILMINGTON (7-7, 1-2 CAA)
The Seahawks suffered a pair of CAA set-backs last week as they fell to Old Dominion, 79-70, on Thursday, before falling to William & Mary, 59-55, on Sunday. Senior Sahsha Taylor led the Seahawks on the week with 16.5 points per game, while sophomore Brittany Blackwell added 10.5 ppg and led the team with 8.5 rebounds per outing. On Thursday, Old Dominion used a 14-3 run midway through the second half to erase a four-point deficit and defeat UNC Wilmington. Taylor matched her season-high with 19 points to lead three UNCW players in double figures as junior Greta Luksyte chipped in 14 points and Blackwell added 10. The trio combined to shoot 17-of-19 from the free-throw line to lead the Seahawks, who were 26-of-31 from the charity stripe in the contest. Luksyte also established a new career high as she recorded a game-best five steals, while Taylor and Candace Walker both pulled down a team-best seven rebounds. Sophomore Martha White matched her career-high with nine points. On Sunday, the Seahawks were unable to stop a power combination of Tiffany Benson and Kelly Heath, who scored45 of the Tribe’s 59 points, in the loss to William & Mary. Sophomore Treasure Johnson led three UNCW players in double figures with 17 points, 12 of which came after intermission. Taylor pitched in 14 points, while Blackwell notched 11 points and added 12 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season and the 12th of her career. Taylor’s 33 points last week placed her just one-point away from becoming the fifth player in school history to amass 1,300 or more points in her career. UNC Wilmington concludes its three-game road swing this week with games at Northeastern on Thursday and Towson on Sunday.
NORTHEASTERN (4-10, 1-2 CAA)
Northeastern suffered a pair of CAA contests as they fell to Georgia State, 71-51, Thursday night at GSU Sports Arena, before dropping a 66-56 decision to Old Dominion on Sunday. Sophomore guard Jasmine Crew led the Huskies on the week posting 16.0 points per outing and contributing 5.0 rebounds per contest. Junior forwards Kim Carr (13.0 ppg) and Kendra Walton (12.5 ppg) also averaged double-digit points. Freshman guard Brittany Wilson led the team grabbing 8.5 rebounds per outing, while senior Ashlee Feldman dished out a team-best five assists. On Thursday, the Panthers shot 54.5 percent from the field and forced 20 Northeastern turnovers. Crew led the way for the Huskies with 16 points and five rebounds. Walton chipped in with eight points and eight boards. Carr also contributed eight points each, while Wilson added seven rebounds on the night. Against the Lady Monarchs, Carr had a game-high 18 points to go along with four rebounds. Walton added 17 points, while Wilson posted nine points and 10 boards. Northeastern’s Kim Carr started things off for the Huskies scoring seven of Northeastern’s first 10 points, giving NU a 10-9 advantage with 9:18 left in the first half. Carr and Walton kept the Huskies in the game scoring the final 13 points for Northeastern. The Huskies entertain UNC Wilmington on Thursday before visiting George Mason on Sunday.
OLD DOMINION (8-5, 3-0 CAA)
Old Dominion opened up the CAA portion of its schedule with three straight wins a 69-68 thriller against VCU, a 79-70 road win at UNC Wilmington, and a 66-56 victory at Northeastern. On the week, Jasmine Parker and Jazzmin Walters led the Lady Monarchs as they posted 13.0 points per game each. Walters finished the week averaging 6.3 assists per outing, while Parker led the team in steals with 10. Senior Tiffany Green added 11.7 points and joined Shadasia Green in averaging 9.0 rebounds per game each. The Lady Monarchs won its 18th straight CAA opener on Monday night against VCU in a rematch of last year’s CAA championship game. The Lady Monarchs, who were down by eight with 4:09 remaining in the game, outscored the Rams 13-4 down the stretch including a huge three-pointer by sophomore Jasmine Parker and free throws by senior Jazzmin Walters. Senior Tiffany Green led ODU with 15 points, while sophomore Shadasia Green collected a team-high eight boards. The victory improved Old Dominion to 162-2 overall at home against the CAA. The Lady Monarchs have won their last 35 home CAA contests. On Thursday night, Old Dominion hit the road for the first time in conference competition emerging with a 79-70 victory over the Seahawks. With all the post players in foul trouble throughout the night, team remained poised down the stretch as sophomores Vicki Collier, Sierra Little, and Alena Voronina all came off the bench to capture career numbers in helping the Lady Monarchs to victory. Along with Collier’s career-high eight points, Little reset her mark with a career-high seven points, and Voronina playing in a career-high 13 minutes went 3-of-3 from the field to collect a career-high six points. Walters ended the night with a team-high 13 points along with seven assists, while classmate Jen Nuzzo added in 12. On Sunday against Northeastern, sophomore Jasmine Parker netted a team-high 17 points and senior Tiffany Green poured in a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards. It was Green’s fifth double-double of the season. Green, who has scored in double figures in 11 of the Lady Monarch’s 13 contest this season, scored all 12 of her points in the second half. The Old Dominion women’s basketball team returns home for a pair of games this week. The Lady Monarchs host George Mason on Thursday night and Georgia State on Sunday at noon. The game against the Lady Panthers will be aired on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and Comcast SportsNet Southeast.
TOWSON (9-4, 1-2 CAA)
Towson split on the week in conference play. The Tigers dropped its second straight CAA contest when they suffered a 74-56 loss at James Madison on Thursday, but rebounded with a 68-47 win at George Mason on Sunday. Junior guard Shanae Baker-Brice led the Tigers on the week posting 17.5 points per outing and dishing out nine assists. Junior forward Katrina Wheeler averaged 12.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Simona Petronyte also contributed double-digit points with 10.0 points per outing. Against James Madison, Wheeler scored the first 10 points of the game for the Tigers. Wheeler finished with 13 points while Baker-Brice had 15. Junior Kandace Davis led the Tigers on the boards finishing with nine. On Sunday, the Towson basketball team shot 46.3% including 56% in the first half en route to a 68-47 victory over Mason. The Tigers had a balanced scoring attack in the contest as all 14 players saw time and 11 players scored at least one point in the game. Baker-Brice finished with 20 points, four rebounds, seven assists and only two turnovers in 32 minutes of action. Her 20 points in the contest give her 987 career points, just 13 shy of becoming the 14th player in school history to reach 1,000 points for their career. Petronyte contributed 15 points, just one shy of her career-high. Wheeler posted her fifth double-double of the season as she finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds. The Tigers return to the court on Thursday when they visit Hofstra. The Towson Tigers will then host the Seahawks of UNC Wilmington in a televised contest on Sunday immediately following the ODU/GSU contest on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, Comcast SportsNet Northeast and Time Warner Cable in Wilmington, N.C. (approximately at 2:00 p.m.).
VCU (12-3, 2-1 CAA)
VCU posted a 2-1 mark on the week as they faced three CAA opponents. The Rams fell in a close outing in Norfolk to Old Dominion on Monday, 69-68, before taking a pair with victories over George Mason, 67-43, and James Madison, 81-48. VCU was led by senior center Quanitra Hollingsworth as she netted 13.7 points and grabbed 8.7 rebounds per outing last week. Junior guard La’Tavia Rorie and Jennifer Lane combined for 21 assists on the week. Junior forward D’Andra Moss also contributed 13.3 points per outing. Against the Lady Monarchs, VCU led by eight points with 4:09 remaining in the game, but were outscored by the Lady Monarchs 13-4 down the stretch. Hollingsworth led VCU with 18 points. She was held to just two points on a pair of free throws in the first half, but exploded for 16 points and ended the night with a double-double by hauling in 10 boards. Moss added in 15 from off the bench with Kita Waller contributing 12 points and Lane adding 10. Against Mason, VCU evened its conference mark with a 67-43 home victory over George Mason on Thursday evening. The Rams improved to 8-0 on their home court, joining Georgia State as the only two CAA schools with perfect home records. Rorie led all scorers with 17 points on an efficient 7-of-8 shooting from the field. She added four assists and four rebounds, all offensive, to her productive night. Freshman Courtney Hurt continued her stellar play off the bench with eight points and six rebounds, while Hollingsworth, Lane and senior Radoslava Bachvarova each poured in seven points apiece. The Rams captured their second CAA victory on Sunday as they defeated James Madison while spoiling the Dukes’ 12-game winning streak at the Convocation Center and giving the Dukes of JMU their worst loss in 27 seasons of play in the arena. Moss poured in 20 points off the bench and Hollingsworth tallied yet another double-double with 16 points, all in the second half, and 11 rebounds to lead the potent offensive attack. The VCU defense was the story holding the Dukes to just 8-of-32 shooting in the second half and 29.3% for the game. It also forced 21 JMU turnovers, including seven from one of the league’s best point guards in Dawn Evans. Moss’s 20 points led all scorers, while Hollingsworth’s double-double was her seventh of the year and 44th of her career. Hurt came off the bench to chip in a career-high 10 points, while junior Kita Waller tallied nine points and Bachvarova finished with eight on the afternoon. Head coach Beth Cunningham sits at 93 career victories, just two away from the most all-time at VCU. The Rams will look to extend their home winning streak with a pair of home contests this week when they host William & Mary on Thursday and Delaware on Sunday.
WILLIAM & MARY (10-4, 3-0 CAA)
William & Mary improved its conference mark to 3-0 with a 63-57 home victory over Drexel on Thursday and a 59-55 home win over UNC Wilmington on Sunday. With a 10-4 record, only the 1993-94 squad reached 10 wins faster, in 13 games, while the 2006-07 team took 14 games to reach the 10-win mark. Junior forward Tiffany Benson exploded in stats this week as she led the Tribe in scoring (23.5 ppg), blocks (6.0 bpg), rebounds (13.0 rpg) and shooting percentage (.656) in the pair of victories. Junior guard Kelly Heath also contributed double-figure points as she averaged 15.5 points per outing, while teammate Dani Kell averaged 10.5 rebounds per contest and sophomore guard Katy Oblinger led the team dishing out 6.5 assists per win. On Thursday, Benson gave the Tribe its second 20-point outing of conference play with a career-high 24 coming on 12-16 shooting. The reigning CAA Player of the Week also had nine rebounds, three assists, and four blocks on the night. Benson’s 12 made field goals are tied for the fourth-most in a game in school history, and are the most for a Tribe player since Jen Sobota 03 also made 12 baskets against Army on January 2, 2001. Senior Courtney Portell was the outside threat to Benson’s inside power, shooting 4-6 from beyond the arc for 12 points. Kell just missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds, and Heath had nine points and four steals, icing the contest with two free throws with seven seconds remaining to give the Tribe a three-possession lead. Oblinger again had a great day in her home arena, dishing out eight assists against a single turnover with also providing seven points and three steals. Against UNC Wilmington, Benson scored 23 points, 16 of them in the second half. She had a double-double in the second half alone, pulling in 10 rebounds in the final 20 minutes to finish with 17 overall, and nearly had the Tribe’s first-ever triple-double, blocking eight UNCW shots. The eight rejections are a career-high for Benson and a school-record performance, one better than the seven she had against the Seahawks last season and against Norfolk State in November. The eight blocks ranks fifth in the CAA record book. With 46 blocks in just 14 games, this season already ranks as the third-best in school history, behind only the 67 blocks Benson had as a freshman and the 58 she added in 2007-08 as a sophomore. Heath scored 22 points including four treys. Impressively, 20 of her points came in the first-half alone, matching the output of the entire UNCW team in the half. Oblinger had five points, five rebounds, and five assists, and Kell tied her season-high with 12 rebounds. Head coach Debbie Taylor needs five more wins to become William & Mary’s all-time winningest coach, men’s or women’s basketball. Taylor is at 109 and the record is currently held by Bill Chambers, the W&M men’s coach from 1957-66. The Tribe will face a pair of road contests this week as they visit VCU on Thursday and then face Hofstra in Hempstead on Sunday.