THIS WEEK’S QUICK HITS:
• Drexel earned a share of the CAA regular-season title with a victory over George Mason on Sunday. It’s the first regular-season title for the Dragons. With the win Drexel earned the top seed in the upcoming tournament. Other seeds that have been set are as follows: #2 VCU, #3 James Madison, #4 Old Dominion, #11 Georgia State, #12 George Mason.
• The CAA is ranked 10th 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 March 1). VCU continued in front of the conference ranked at 31, while James Madison and Drexel followed, at 64 and 82, respectively. Old Dominion was ranked 89.
• The CAA has the two of the top four scorers in the nation playing in the league- JMU’s Dawn Evans (23.8 ppg/3rd) and Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean (23.8 ppg/4th).
• VCU received votes in the latest AP and ESPN Polls. This is the fourth time this season that the Rams have received votes in the AP Poll and third time in the Coaches’ Poll.
PLAYER & ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Taysha Pye • William & Mary
Bronx, N.Y./St. Annes-Belfield (Va.), Fr., Guard
William & Mary freshman guard Taysha Pye received CAA Player & Rookie of the Week honors after leading the league as she poured in 23.5 points per game, while shooting 53.6 percent from the field (15-of-28) as the Tribe went 1-1 last week. The freshman guard added 6.5 rebounds per outing. The Bronx, N.Y., native, scored a career-high 30 points in a one-point loss to James Madison on Thursday. Her score against the Dukes was the second-most ever at William & Mary by a freshman and was the first 30-point outing for a W&M player since January 2007. Pye followed her Thursday performance with a 17-point effort in a win over Towson on Sunday. On the week, the rookie also shot 65.4 percent from the free throw line (17-of-26) and added two assists and two steals for the Tribe. This is Pye’s first Player of the Week honor and third Rookie of the Week accolade.
CAA NO. 10 IN RPI RANKING: The CAA is ranked 10th 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 March 1). VCU continued in front of the conference ranked at 31, while James Madison and Drexel followed, at 64 and 82, respectively. Old Dominion was ranked 89.
NCAA STAT LEADERS (THROUGH GAMES OF MARCH 1): The CAA has the two of the top four scorers in the nation playing in the league. James Madison’s Dawn Evans fell to No. 3 while averaging 23.8 points per outing. Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean is fell to fourth as she is also averaging 23.8 points per contest. Drexel’s Andrea Peterson has an assist turnover ratio of 2.7 for the best mark among Division I women’s basketball. Marginean is eighth in free-throw percentage while shooting 88.8 this far this season. Towson’s Shanae Baker-Brice is ranked ninth averaging 3.1 steals per game. William & Mary’s Tiffany Benson improved to seventh pulling down 11.4 rebounds per contest. Hofstra’s Jess Fuller and Benson are ranked in blocked shots per game as Fuller is stands at fourth (3.2 bpg) and Benson is 14th (2.8 bpg). Evans (2.9) and Drexel’s Jasmina Rosseel (2.8) are ranked in made treys per game at eighth and 11th, respectively. The Hofstra Pride defense stands strong and tall as they top the nation in blocked shots averaging 7.2 per game. The Pride is also holding its opponents to 35.2 percent from the field to be ranked 15th in field-goal percentage defense. The Delaware’s defense tops the nation while holding its opponents to shooting only 24.3 percent from the three-point range and Drexel follows at ninth holding its opponents to 26.7 percent from beyond the arc. The Dragons of Drexel are third in the nation in free-throw percentage while shooting 80.3 from the charity stripe. The Georgia State Panthers are 10th in the nation averaging 12.0 steals per match-up and is eighth with a turnover margin of 5.68.
2009 CAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - HARRISONBURG, VA: The CAA Championship will be hosted by James Madison University for the first of two years March 12-15, 2009. All 12 teams will participate in the thrilling event, which will be held at the JMU Convocation Center. If you are interested in attending this year’s championship and have not requested a credential, please contact Niki DeSantis at 804-754-1616 or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). The deadline to request a credential is March 2.
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.
JAMES MADISON’S EVANS BECOMES FASTEST PLAYER TO REACH 1,000 CAREER POINTS: James Madison guard Dawn Evans collected her 1,000th point of her career against Old Dominion on March 1, 2009 to become the fastest player CAA women’s basketball to reach the career milestone in just 55 games. She is followed by Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean and Old Dominion’s Clarisse Machanguana as they collected their 1,000th career point in 58 games. Marginean accomplished this milestone against Towson on Feb. 28, 2008.
A TOUCH OF HISTORY: There is something in common with VCU’s Rochelle Luckett, Old Dominion’s Mery Andrade & Tisha Penicheiro and Georgia State’s Brittany Hollins as they all have recorded at least 1,000 points, 400 rebounds, 400 assists and 300 steals in their careers. Hollins just recently joined Luckett, Andrade, Penicheiro as the only four that have accomplished these numbers in CAA history.
HOME SWEET HOME: VCU is the only women’s team in the CAA that has a perfect record on their home court, as the Rams own a 16-0 record at the Siegel Center this season. VCU currently owns a 18-game win streak at home, dating back to the end of the 2007-08 season. The streak ranks tied for fifth in the nation. The 18 straight wins at home ties the longest home winning streak in school history. The Rams do not have any scheduled home contests left in the regular season. 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. The Lady Monarchs were tied with Hartford for the nation’s longest home winning streaks at 29. Georgia State had a seven game winning streak snapped when Hofstra earned a victory in Atlanta on Jan. 25.
AP & USA TODAY/ESPN COACHES’ POLLS: Virginia Commonwealth received votes in the most recent AP (March 1) and ESPN/USA Today Coaches (Feb. 24) polls. This is the fourth time this year that the Rams have received votes in the AP poll and third time in the coaches’ poll. Other Poll Appearances: After the loss to then-ranked #24 Michigan State in November, the ODU 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. On Jan. 26, Virginia Commonwealth received a vote in the AP Poll. The Rams were 15-4 overall and 5-2 in CAA action at that time. That was the first time in VCU history that the women’s basketball program has received votes in the AP Poll.
IMPROVEMENTS FOR 2008-09: With a record of 16-12, the Hofstra Pride has produced the third best turnaround record in the nation. The Pride has won 11 more games than they had won all year in 2007-08. Delaware is tied for 12th as they have won seven more games than the previous season and Georgia State has won four games more than last year. Leading the nation is Central Connecticut State as they have gone from winning only four games last season to 17 this current year.
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.
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.
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 to the game.
CAA TEAMS UP WBCA FOR THINK PINK: The CAA women’s basketball programs have committed to participate in a variety of different ways to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. The week set aside for this year’s initiative is February 13-22, however many schools are participating outside of that window due to the scheduling conflicts. A large number of schools have committed to participate nationwide in the 2009 WBCA’s “Think Pink” initiative.
DELAWARE (14-14, 6-11 CAA)
Delaware recorded a 64-53 victory at home over Northeastern in front of a season-high crowd 2,550 Thursday evening and then followed that up with a 62-51 home victory over Georgia State Sunday. The Blue Hens, who are on a two-game winning streak, were led by Tesia Harris as she poured in 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per outing last week. Teammate Corinthia Benison added 15.5 points, 5.0 steals and 3.5 assists per game and Ariene Jenkins contributed 22 points in the two outings. Against the Huskies, Harris led four Blue Hen scorers in double figures with 17 points, Benison scored 14 points and posted a career-high seven steals, and Jenkins came back strong from a three-game layoff with 12 points for UD. Delaware took part in its annual Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Pink Zone game to raise awareness of breast cancer. Fans were urged to wear pink and UD players wore pink socks and shoelaces. On Sunday against the Panthers, Benison recorded a game-high 17 points, eight in the final four minutes, to go along with five rebounds, four assists, and three steals for Delaware. Delaware sophomore Tesia Harris scored 11 of her 16 points in the first half and Ariene Jenkins came off the bench to post her fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Hens. Jenkins reached double figures in rebounds for the 10th time this season. The Blue Hens will close out the regular season March 4 at George Mason and with a win could move as high as No. 8 in the CAA standings heading into the CAA Tournament.
DREXEL (20-8, 15-2 CAA)
Drexel went 2-0 at home on the week with a 74-69 overtime win over VCU and a 64-47 victory over George Mason. The Dragons’ victories secured a share of the regular-season title for the first time in Drexel’s history. Drexel also clinched the top-seed in the upcoming CAA Championship. It is the fourth time in the history of the Drexel program that the team will finish first after regular-season play. The Dragons previously accomplished the feat three times as a member of the East Coast Conference (1986-87, 87-88, 89-90). With the win over the Patriots, the Dragons gave head coach Denise Dillon her first 20-win season. It was just the third 20-win season in the program’s history and the first time a Drexel team reached the mark since the 1989-90 team went 22-7. Drexel also extended its winning streak to 12 straight, which is the longest winning streak in the program’s history, second to only a 16-game streak during the 1989-90 season. The Dragons closed out conference play with a perfect 9-0 mark at the DAC, which is also the current winning streak at home. Junior forward Gabriela Marginean led the Dragons as she poured in 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per outing. The junior also added two assists, three steals and shot an impressive 91.7 percent (22-of-24) from the line. Against the Rams, Jasmina Rosseel drilled a three-pointer with 35 seconds left in overtime to break a 67-67 tie and send the largest crown to watch a women’s basketball game at the DAC this season into a frenzy. Rosseel’s bucket gave Drexel the edge it needed to close out a 74-69 OT victory over the Rams. The Dragons converted four straight free throws in the closing seconds to seal one of the biggest wins in the program’s history. Marginean led all scorers with 22 points, she shot 14-for-16 from the free-throw line including the two tosses that knotted the game with 14 seconds left in regulation, and also pulled down nine rebounds. Her first bucket of the game, a three-pointer in the first half, set Drexel’s single-season scoring record, breaking her tie with Michelle Maslowski’s total of 625 in the 2000-01 season. On her 21st birthday, junior Jennifer Stjarnstrom put in a career-high 12 points and blocked three shots to lead her team’s defensive effort. Rosseel hit four three pointers in the game, none larger than her overtime dagger, and finished with 12 points and five boards. On Sunday, Marginean led all scorers with 19 points and also grabbed eight rebounds. Senior Nicole Hester added 10 points and six boards in her final game at the DAC. Andrea Peterson added six points, four boards and two assists and Brooke Cornish, who also finished her high school career playing alongside Peterson, matched her career high with eight points, grabbed two boards and swatted her 75th career blocked shot. Marginean now has 666 points this season, sitting third in the CAA record books and is just 27 points shy of matching former James Madison student-athlete Tamera Young’s single-season CAA record of 693. The Dragons will visit Towson on Wednesday to close out the regular season. As the top-seed of the tournament, Drexel receives a first-round bye and will play in the first quarterfinal contest of the championship on March 13.
GEORGE MASON (4-24, 2-15 CAA)
George Mason dropped a pair of conference outings last week as they fell to Hofstra at home, 71-59, Thursday evening before suffering a 64-47 loss at league-leading Drexel Sunday. By virtue of their two losses, the Patriots will be the #12 seed in the upcoming championship. Senior Birttney Wilkins led Mason recording 14.5 points per game. Teammate Eugenia Broadus contributed a balanced effort of 9.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest. Brittany Poindexter and Brittany Eley each added nine points and five rebounds per outing. Against the Pride, four George Mason women’s basketball players hit double figures in scoring and the Patriots had their best first half of the season. The Patriots, who shot a blistering 63 percent from the field and scored 40 points in the first half, were lead by 15 points from Wilkins. Poindexter followed with 12, while Broadus and Eley chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively. Against the Dragons, Wilkins led the Patriots with 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting, but her day came to an unfortunate close as she suffered a serious knee injury in a collision under the basket. Her condition will be evaluated upon the team’s return to Fairfax. Broadus was the top rebounder for Mason with 10 boards, as the Patriots held a 36-35 rebounding advantage. The Patriots will complete the regular season Wednesday evening when they host Delaware.
GEORGIA STATE (12-16, 4-13 CAA)
The Panthers earned a 70-67 victory at home as they defeated visiting UNC Wilmington Thursday, snapping a seven-game losing streak, but then fell to Delaware, 62-51, on the road. The split on the week gave the Panthers the #11 seed in the upcoming CAA Championship. Georgia State was led by junior forward Danyiell McKeller as she scored 17.0 points and grabbed 6.5 rebounds per outing. Chandra Harris contributed 11.5 points per outing, while freshman Crystal Johnson dished out a team-best 12 assists and eight steals on the week. In the win over UNCW, McKeller paced the attack with 24 points and seven rebounds. Senior Brittany Hollins added 12 points, plus three steals, three blocks, three assists and three rebounds. Johnson added eight points, eight assists and six steals in a solid game. On Sunday, Harris with 14 points on 7-for-8 field goals, with McKeller adding 10 more points and six rebounds. Shay Rawls had nine rebounds to lead the team. The Panthers will wrap up the regular season Wednesday when they host VCU. Senior night for Hollins will be her 118th game and her 107th career start, which is the 6th most active starts in the NCAA.
HOFSTRA (16-12, 8-9 CAA)
Hofstra split on the week as they defeated George Mason, 71-59, Thursday evening, but then fell to UNC Wilmington at home, 58-53, Sunday. Three Pride members produced double-digits on the week in scoring as junior Sam Brigham and freshman forward Joelle Connelly tossed in 14.5 points per outing and senior guard Natty Fripp added 10.5 points per game. Junior Jess Fuller finished the week pulling down a team-high 10.5 rebounds per contest and contributed 7.5 points per outing. Fuller also led the team with eight blocks in the two outings. In the road win over Mason, Connelly had a career-high 19 points and Brigham matched her with a season-high 19 points to lead Hofstra. Hofstra used a strong defensive effort in the second half as they held the Patriots to just 19 points in the second half after Mason scored 40 first half points. The win improved Hofstra to 13-3 this season when holding their opponent under 60 points. Senior Niki Williams joined Connelly and Brigham in double figures as she added 12 points, five assists and four rebounds. Fuller led Hofstra with nine rebounds and also added five points and a game-high four blocks. In the home contest against UNC Wilmington, Fuller posted 10 points and 13 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season and freshman guard Asia Jenkins scored nine points off the bench in the Pride’s home finale. Connelly provided a strong low-post presence with 10 points and two blocks before being limited by an injury suffered in the first half that kept her on the bench after halftime. Fuller did her best to pick up the production in the paint, pouring in six second half points and nine rebounds. Her four blocks gives her a conference-leading 90 on the season. Hofstra utilized a makeshift rotation at point guard with the top three players on the depth chart unavailable. Williams played just eight minutes because of illness and Nicole Capurso and Candice Bellocchio were inactive because of injuries. Jenkins stepped up to fill the void at the point position, adding three assists while Brigham contributed 10 points. Fripp added 12 points in the final regular season home game of her career. The Pride will complete the regular season in an outing in Boston where they face Northeastern, the team in which they opened conference play and suffered a 57-52 loss.
JAMES MADISON (20-8, 13-4 CAA)
The Dukes of James Madison clinched the #3 seed of the upcoming CAA Championship, in which they will host, as they went 2-0 on the week with victories over William & Mary and Old Dominion. JMU collected a one-point road win over the Tribe, 73-72, Thursday evening before completing a season sweep of Old Dominion with a 73-57 home victory. The sweep of the Lady Monarchs was a first for the Dukes and it was only their third time that ODU has been swept in conference play as Richmond (1992) and Delaware (2005) have tackled that feat. Sophomore Dawn Evans returned to the court last week after missing three games due to injury. The sophomore guard came back in strong fashion as she led the team with 17.5 points per contest and tied a team-best eight assists. Evans is among 13 finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award--which honors the nation’s top collegiate point guard in Division I women’s basketball. The finalists include six seniors, two juniors, four sophomores and one freshman. Evans is the only nominee from a non-BCS school. Sophomore guard Courtney Hamner posted 11.5 points per game and junior guard Sarah Williams added 10.0 points per outing and eight assists. Senior forward Kisha Stokes, who scored on a putback off an offensive rebounds at the buzzer to lift JMU over W&M, led the team with 21 rebounds on the week. The victory over the Tribe was the Dukes second straight win with a basket in the closing seconds. JMU was led by a 19-point performance by Evans. Freshman guard/forward Kiara Francisco contributed career highs of 15 points and eight rebounds and shot a perfect 7-for-7 from the foul line. Also in double figures were sophomore forward/center Jalissa Taylor and Hamner, each with 11. In the win over the Lady Monarchs, Hamner joined Evans in double-digits with 12, while Williams and Stokes added 11 and 10, respectively. Williams also finished with a game- and career-high seven assists. Stokes finished with a game-high 14 rebounds to record her second double-double of the season. JMU tied its season high with 11 treys, one below the school and Convocation Center records. The Dukes will visit UNC Wilmington for their final regular season contest.
UNC WILMINGTON (15-13, 9-8 CAA)
The Seahawks split on the week as they fell to Georgia State, 70-67, in Atlanta on Thursday, but rebounded with a 58-53 win over Hofstra in Hempstead, N.Y., Sunday. The Seahawks have won five of their last six contests and are currently in sole possession of fifth place in the league standings with a 9-8 conference record heading into the final regular-season contest. With 16.5 points per outing, the Seahawks were led by junior guard Candace Walker. Junior guard Greta Luksyte posted 13.5 points per game for UNCW. Sophomore forward Brittany Blackwell led the Seahawks under the boards grabbing 8.5 per contest and also added a team-best seven assists on the week. In the loss to Georgia State, Walker poured in a career-high 22 points for UNCW as Luksyte joined Walker in double figures with 12 points. Sophomore Treasure Johnson added eight points and matched her career-high with a game-best eight rebounds as the Seahawks held a 42-28 advantage on the glass. Against Hofstra, UNCW used a 15-4 run midway through the second half to break a 40-all tie and collect a three-point victory. Luksyte led two UNCW players in double figures as she scored a game-high 15 points, 11 of which came in the first half. Walker joined Luksyte in double figures with 11 points, while Blackwell chipped in nine points, pulled down a team-high nine rebounds and dished out a game-best five assists. UNC Wilmington also shared the ball as they averaged 12.5 assists. The Seahawks have recorded double-figure assists in each of the last six contests as they have averaged 14.2 helpers per outing. The Seahawks close out the regular season Wednesday when they host James Madison at Trask Coliseum.
NORTHEASTERN (10-18, 7-10 CAA)
The Huskies suffered back-to-back road losses this week as the fell to Delaware, 64-53, Thursday night and then dropped a 68-39 decision in Richmond to VCU on Sunday. Northeastern was led by Kim Carr as she scored 12.0 points per outing and added 6.0 rebounds per contest. Jasmine Crew provided the Huskies with 20 points on the week (10.0 ppg) and also grabbed 5.5 rebounds per contest. Against the Blue Hens of Delaware, Northeastern was led by Carr’s 14-point and five-rebound effort. Kendra Walton added 10 points and eight boards, while Crew chipped in with nine points and nine rebounds. Northeastern’s offense suffered the final five minutes as the Huskies did not hit a field goal over the final five minutes and missed their final eight field goal attempts and turned the ball over three times down the stretch. On Sunday, Carr had 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while Crew scored a team-best 11 points. Northeastern returns home Wednesday night when it hosts Hofstra on senior night at 7 p.m. The Huskies will close out the season series with the Pride. The two teams opened conference play this season against each other with Northeastern earning a 57-52 road victory.
OLD DOMINION (15-12, 10-7 CAA)
The Lady Monarchs earned a 65-57 home victory over Towson on Thursday evening, before falling to James Madison, 73-57, on the road Sunday. With the split, Old Dominion clinched the four seed at the upcoming CAA Championship. Three Lady Monarchs averaged double-figures on the week led by sophomore Shadasia Green’s 12.5 points per game. Sophomore Jasmine Parker and senior Tiffany Green scored 10.5 and 10.5 points per outing, respectively. Sophomore Sierra Little led ODU on the boards pulling down 9.0 per contest. Against the Tigers, Parker netted 15 points as one of three Lady Monarchs in double figures. Little hauled in 10 rebounds to help her squad snap a two-game slide. The game also marked the return of senior Jazzmin Walters. The 5-2 senior has missed the last eight games nursing a fractured fibula suffered in January 25th’s loss to James Madison, returned to the hardwood for six points, four steals, and seven assists. On Sunday, JMU became just the third team to capture a season sweep of the Lady Monarchs joining Delaware (2005) and Richmond (1992). It was also the Lady Monarchs sixth straight road loss. Shadasia Green and Tiffany Green led ODU with 13 points each. Shadasia Green posted her second career double-double by hauling in 10 rebounds. The game remained neck and neck throughout the first half with the Lady Monarchs owning a 29-27 halftime advantage. However, the second half had the Dukes outscoring Old Dominion, 46-28. The Lady Monarchs hit the hardwood for their last regular season game on Wednesday when they close out the regular season hosting William & Mary. The contest will be televised by WSKY in the Hampton Roads Area.
TOWSON (16-11, 8-9 CAA)
Towson suffered a pair of conference outings as they fell to Old Dominion, 65-57, Thursday and then dropped a 61-50 decision to William & Mary on Sunday. The Tigers were led by junior guard Shanae Baker-Brice who averaged 19.5 points per game. Rebounding leaders included Haliena Snowden (7.5 rpg), Kandace Davis (7.0 rpg), and Katrina Wheeler (7.0 rpg). Baker-Brice also led the team with nine assists and seven steals in the two outings. Against the Lady Monarchs, Baker-Brice recorded a game-high 18 points. She was joined by two other Tigers in double figure points as Wheeler added 12 and Snowden posted 11. Kandace Davis grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, while Snowden contributed eight. Baker-Brice also dished out five assists and snatched five steals for Towson. On Sunday, Baker-Brice posted a game-high 21 points, which marked her eighth 20+ point performance of the season. She also added four rebounds, four assists and two steals in the game. Wheeler led the Tigers on the boards with nine while adding five points and two blocked shots. Alis Freeman would finish with seven points, while Snowden contributed six points and seven rebounds. Towson will look to snap Drexel’s 12-game winning streak on Wednesday in the regular-season finale.
VCU (24-5, 14-3 CAA)
The Rams’ eight game winning streak was snapped as they fell to Drexel, 74-69, in overtime Thursday, but VCU rebounded to extend its home court winning streak with a 68-39 victory over Northeastern in Richmond on Sunday. With the split on the week, the Rams clinched the second seed for the upcoming CAA Championship. The win over the Huskies marked the 18th-straight at home for the Rams, which ties a school record (1985-87) and is tied for fifth best home streak in the nation. The 14 conference wins tops the previous school record of 12 CAA victories, which was set last season by the Rams. Four VCU student-athletes averaged double-figure points on the week, led by junior guard/forward Kita Waller’s 15.5 points per game. Senior forward Radoslava Bachvarova (14.0 ppg), senior center Quanitra Hollingsworth (13.5 ppg) and junior guard La’Tavia Rorie (11.5 ppg) also contributed double-digit points. Hollingsworth led the team on the boards pulling down 11.0 per contest. Rorie led the team with nine assists, while Waller and Bachvarova added seven apiece. Against the Dragons, Bachvarova and Waller led VCU with 18 points each. Hollingsworth had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the 51st double-double of her career. Freshman Courtney Hurt posted nine points and nine rebounds. Against the Huskies, Rorie led the way with 18 points. Waller had 13, Hollingsworth 11, Bachvarova 10 and sophomore Jessica Taylor nine. Hollingsworth also grabbed 10 rebounds for her 52nd double-double of her career. Four players had four or more rebounds, four had three or more assists and four had at least two steals. The Rams shot an even 50 percent for the day (27-54). The Rams finished the regular season with a perfect 16-0 mark at the Siegel Center. The Rams have just one conference outing left in the regular season as they will visit a pesky Georgia State squad that gave them trouble just two weeks prior in Richmond. The outing against the Panthers on Wednesday will be in Atlanta and will close out the season series with GSU.
WILLIAM & MARY (13-15, 6-11 CAA)
William and Mary split on the week as they fell in a one-point loss at home to James Madison, 73-72, Thursday before rebounding with a 61-50 home victory over Towson on Sunday. The Tribe was led by the newcomers of the group as two freshman recorded double-figures in points per game last week. Freshman Taysha Pye led the Tribe on the week pouring in a league-best 23.5 points per outing. She also added 6.5 rebounds and shot 53.6 from the field (15-of-28) and 65.4 percent from the free throw line (17-of-26). Freshman guard Janine Aldridge added 12.0 points per contest, while junior Tiffany Benson snatched a league-high 12.0 rebounds per game. In a Thursday thriller at Kaplan Arena, the Tribe played its heart out for the full game against James Madison, but was frustrated at the buzzer again, 73-72. Pye scored a career-high 30 points against the Dukes to go with six rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Her mark stands tied for sixth all-time at W&M, and is the second-most ever scored by a freshman at the College, behind only the 31 scored by Angie Evans ‘91 against JMU on February 13, 1988. Senior Courtney Portell also reached double-figures in scoring, netting 14 to go with four assists. Junior forward Lauren Aadland scored eight points and set a career-high with nine rebounds, and Benson had eight points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. In the home victory over Towson, Aldridge led the team in scoring with 18 points, just as she did in the first game against Towson when she scored a career-high 22. Pye was right behind her with 17 points, and added seven rebounds to her tally. Junior Kelly Heath also reached double-figures in scoring with 10 points to go with four assists. Benson pulled in 16 rebounds, and now stands only 15 away from setting the W&M single-season rebounding mark. Head coach Debbie Taylor won her 112th game and is one away from tying Bill Chambers as the winningest coach in school history. Seniors Dani Kell and Portell are the winningest four-year class ever at W&M, with 61 victories. The Tribe will close out the regular season on Wednesday when they travel to play Old Dominion. The contest will be televised by WSKY in the Hampton Roads Area.
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