QUICK NOTES ABOUT LAST WEEK:
• The CAA women’s basketball teams recorded a 10-4 mark in non-conference play and improved their overall record against non-conference opponents to over 60 percent.
• James Madison handed Liberty its first loss of the season. The Dukes then defeated VCU in conference play to extended their winning streak at home to 16 games--the second longest in school history.
• Delaware, Hofstra, James Madison and Towson earned their first conference wins of the season on Sunday.
CO-PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
Meredith Alexis • James Madison
Hanover Township, Pa./Bishop Hoban, Sr., Center
James Madison senior center Meredith Alexis received CAA Player of the Week honors after leading the Dukes to a pair of victories averaging 22.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game last week. The senior registered game highs of 28 points (12-of-17) and 11 rebounds as JMU handed Liberty its first loss of the season. She then recorded her second double-double on the week with a game-high 17 points and 14 rebounds as JMU defeated VCU in its opening CAA contest at home. The senior added three steals and a block on the week.
Marcquitta Head • Georgia State
Conley, Ga./Forest Park, So., Center
Georgia State sophomore center Marcquitta Head received CAA Player of the Week honors after posting a triple-double in the Panthers’ game against Hofstra. The sophomore registered 14 points, 16 rebounds and a CAA-record 11 blocked shots in GSU’s conference opener on Sunday. She is the first GSU women’s basketball player to earn a triple-double. The 11 blocked shots was also a Georgia State school record. Head averaged 14.0 points and 12.5 rebounds off the bench on the week as the Panthers went 1-1.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Nicole McCombs • Drexel
Richmond, Va./Manchester, Fr., Forward
Drexel forward Nicole McCombs earned CAA Rookie of the Week honors as she averaged 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last week. The freshman forward set her season high by scoring 13 points in Drexel’s overtime win at Siena and came one rebound short of a double-double. McCombs made her first career start in the Dragon’s CAA opener against Delaware and poured in a career-high 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. She also led the Dragons with two steals and two blocks on the week.
RECEIVING VOTES: Both Hofstra and Delaware received votes in the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll, for the second consecutive week. The Pride received 17 votes and was seventh among the "Others Receiving Votes", while the Blue Hens tabbed 11 votes and were listed 14th.
THIS WEEK IN THE CAA: The CAA women’s basketball teams are scheduled to play 18 contests this week. George Mason will open conference play in Boston against Northeastern on Tuesday.
CAA TOPS RANKED TEAMS: Hofstra and Delaware defeated a ranked team for the first time in school history. On Wednesday, Hofstra downed No. 17 Michigan State on the road (57-53), before Delaware defeated #20 Kentucky (86-70) on Friday evening.
NCAA TEAM RANKINGS: The NCAA released its first National Rankings Summary through games of Sunday, Dec. 2. Delaware is ranked eighth in turnovers per game (13.3). Georgia State (14th, 5.6 bpg), Old Dominion (15th, 5.5 bpg) and William & Mary (25th, 5.3 bpg) stand in the top 30 in blocks per game. The Tribe is ranked 17th in three-point field goals per game (6.9), 21st in holding their opponents to a 34.1 field goal percentage and 24th in three-point field goal percentage (39.7). UNC Wilmington rounds out the top 30 teams with holding their opponents to a 35.0 field goal percentage. Towson (17th, 13.1 spg) and Delaware (19th, 12.9 spg) are ranked among the top 20 in steals per game, while James Madison is ranked 26th with a 76.0 free throw percentage.
NCAA INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS: James Madison’s Meredith Alexis is second in the nation averaging 12.2 rebounds per game. Alexis is also ranked 13th posting 21.4 points per game, while VCU’s Krystal Vaughn follows with 19.9 ppg (25th). The Dukes’ Lesley Dickinson and Northeastern’s Ashlee Feldman are 17-of-18 (94.4) from the free throw line this season and are ranked seventh. Drexel’s Narissa Suber is ranked 22nd with a 90.9 free throw shooting percentage. Towson’s Holly Mahan is averaging 4.0 steals per game which is good for 8th and Delaware’s Kyle DeHaven follows at 17th with 3.6 spg. Old Dominion’s T.J. Jordan is averaging 3.3 three-point field goals per game and is ranked 12th. Suber is averaging 3.0 (19th) and Feldman is averaging 2.8 (28th) in the same category. William & Mary’s Tiffany Benson is averaging 2.7 blocked shots per game (14th) and Georgia State’s Marcquitta Head follows with 2.6 (18th).
ENTERING THE 2006-07 SEASON:
STRONG RETURNING NUMBERS:CAA teams return an amazing 75% (45-of-60) of their starting line-ups from a season ago. James Madison, UNC Wilmington and Virginia Commonwealth University have all five starters back, while Delaware, George Mason, Hofstra, Old Dominion and William & Mary have four starters returning.
ALL-CONFERENCE RETURNEES: Twelve of the 15 members from last year’s All-CAA team will return for the 2006-07 season. All five first-team honorees are back: William & Mary forward Kyra Kaylor, James Madison center Meredith Alexis, Hofstra center Vanessa Gidden, Delaware guard Tyresa Smith and JMU guard Tamera Young. Also returning are the league’s Player of the Year (Kaylor), Defensive Player of the Year (Smith) and Rookie of the Year (VCU’s Quanitra Hollingsworth).
STREET & SMITH RANKS ODU 18th: Street and Smith’s Magazine listed the Old Dominion women's basketball team at No. 18 in its in their annual College Basketball Yearbook. The Old Dominion women's basketball team returns four starters and nine letterwinners from last year's 22-9 team.
TOP SCORERS: The CAA welcomes back 17 of its top 20 scorers from last season. Also back are 13 of the CAA’s top 15 in rebounding, nine of the top 10 in assists and steals and the top five in blocked shots.
TV EXPOSURE: CAA women’s basketball is scheduled to increase its television exposure with 17 games on the air this season. All 12 teams will make at least one television appearance.
DELAWARE (6-1, 1-0 CAA):
DREXEL (2-5, 0-1 CAA):
Drexel split on the week 1-1. The Dragons defeated Siena in a 69-66 overtime contest on Wednesday before falling to Delaware, 65-53, in their first CAA contest of the season. In Drexel’s non-conference victory, freshman Gabriela Marginean led the Dragons with 24 points, including the first 12 of the game for Drexel which helped to keep the Dragons alive after Siena jumped out to a 13-0 lead. She also converted a conventional three-point play with 1:17 left in overtime to seal the deal for the Dragons. Kira Karlstrom scored a season-high 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out a career-high six assists. Freshman forward Nicole McCombs scored 13 points and came one board short of a double-double. Drexel’s overtime win against Siena was the Dragons’ first win in overtime since their triple-overtime triumph over UNC Wilmington on Jan. 9, 2005. The shot a season-best 40.5 percent from the floor in their loss to the Blue Hens on Sunday. In the Dragons’ 17th straight loss to Delaware, Drexel committed a season-high 27 turnovers. McCombs poured in a team-high and career-best 20 points for Drexel and Narissa Suber added 15 against the Blue Hens. The Dragons’ Nicole Hester missed the game against Delaware is out indefinitely due to a medical illness. Drexel will visit La Salle on Saturday for its only contest of the week.
GEORGE MASON (2-2, 0-0 CAA):
After a two week break from play, George Mason returned to the court to go 2-0 on the week. The Patriots earned its first win of the season over Howard, 80-77, on Tuesday before defeating Siena, 61-44, on Saturday. Junior forward Moni Akintunde led the Patriots averaging 18.0 points last week. Akintunde tallied a double-double with 19 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against the Bison. Junior guard Lateisha Wade poured in a game-high 22 points and led four Patriots in double-digit scoring on Tuesday. Along with Akintunde’s 19 points, junior guard Casey Quigley notched 14 and sophomore center Jessica Smith added 10. Wade was perfect from the field in the first half as she shot 5-of-5, three of which were from beyond the arc. Smith was also perfect in the first 20 minutes as she was 3-of-3 from the field. On Saturday, Akintunde registered a game-high 17 points and Wade added 13. Smith pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds. George Mason will open conference play at Northeastern on Tuesday.
GEORGIA STATE (3-4, 0-1 CAA):
The Panthers recorded a 58-54 victory over Samford in their home opener on Tuesday evening, before falling to Hofstra, 48-66, in CAA play on Sunday. Georgia State rallied from a 14-point second half deficit to claim a thrilling win. Four players scored in double figures for State, led by sophomore center Marcquitta Head, who posted game-highs with 14 points and nine rebounds in reserve. Sophomore guard Tabitha David and freshman forward Danyiell McKeller each added 12. Senior guard Kelcey Roegiers-Jensen totaled 10 points, seven rebounds and a game-high seven assists. Georgia State snapped a three-game winning streak with the loss to the Pride in Hempstead, N.Y. Rogiers-Jensen scored a team-high 17 points for State on Sunday and added seven rebounds. Head recorded the first triple-double for the Panthers in school history with her 14 points, a game- and career-high 16 rebounds and a game-career-best 11 blocked shots. Her 11 blocked shots is a school and CAA record. The Panthers led 31-30 at halftime, but shot 24 percent in the second half and was out scored 36-17 in the frame. McKeller scored four points in the game, snapping her streak of six straight double-digit scoring contests. Head coach Lea Henry is two wins away from 200 victories in 13 seasons at GSU. The Panthers will host Savannah State on Saturday for their only contest of the week.
HOFSTRA (5-1, 1-0 CAA):
Hofstra improved to 5-1 and 1-0 in CAA play with a 66-48 win over Georgia State on Sunday in the squad’s lone game last week. The 5-1 start to the season is tied for the best six-game start in the school’s Division I history (since 1982-83) with the 1982-83 and 1985-86 squads. In addition, the win was Hofstra’s seventh straight home victory, one off the longest home court win streak in school history, set in 2003-04. During its current four-game win streak, the Pride has held each of its opponents under 60 points, marking the first time Hofstra has done that during a win streak of this length since the start of the 1997-98 campaign. Senior center Vanessa Gidden posted a game-high 18 points and added eight rebounds and four steals against the Panthers. Senior forward Lizanne Murphy finished with 16 points, a team-high nine rebounds and three assists in the win over Georgia State, while senior forward Lana Harshaw added 15 points and five rebounds. Senior guard Jeanell Hughes dished out a game-high nine assists for the Pride, who out-rebounded the Panthers, 47-39. Gidden also added a blocked shot, tying her with Diane Leonard (1978-82) for the top spot on Hofstra’s career block list with 134. Hofstra has a pair of games scheduled this week as they will host Central Connecticut State on Wednesday before traveling to Long Island rival Stony Brook on Saturday afternoon.
JAMES MADISON (4-1, 1-0 CAA):
James Madison improved to 4-1 as they went 2-0 at home last week. The Dukes’ handed Liberty its first loss of the season as the Dukes captured a 74-64 win at home on Wednesday, before defeating VCU, 73-63, in the first CAA contest of the season. Head coach Kenny Brooks won his 75th career game versus the Rams on Sunday and now owns a 75-47 record. Senior center Meredith Alexis registered game highs of 28 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Lesley Dickinson and junior Tamera Young were large contributors with 17 and 16 points, respectively. Young also finished the game with a double-double adding 10 rebounds. Andrea Benvenuto handed out a game-high seven assists and Young grabbed a game-high four steals. On Sunday, Alexis grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds and added 17 points in the conference win over VCU. The Dukes were led by Young, who poured in a game-high 28 points. Benvenuto increased her career assist total to 411 with six assists on Sunday. Dickinson moved to 10th place on JMU’s career scoring list and passed the 1,300-point mark last week. Young increased her career steals total to 152 with six last week. Only 12 players in JMU history have had 150 or more career steals. With a pair of double-doubles, Alexis extends her career record to 45 double-doubles. She also now owns 991 career rebounds and has posted 56 double-figure rebound games during her time as a Duke. Senior Shirley McCall, a starter the last three seasons at forward, continues to be sidelined with a broken finger in her shooting hand. JMU's 16-game home streak dates back to last season, when the Dukes were 13-0 at home. It's the second longest known streak in school history. The Dukes will conclude a three-game homestand when they host Clemson on Wednesday before traveling to play Hampton on Saturday.
UNC WILMINGTON (4-3, 0-0 CAA):
UNC Wilmington extends its winning streak to four games as they improved its overall record to 4-3. The Seahawks recorded victories over South Carolina State, 67-49, and College of Charleston, 56-41. Senior guard Lori Drake scored a career-high 20 points for the Seahawks as they picked up their first road game against South Carolina State. UNCW shot a season-high 48 percent from the field for the game, including 53.8 percent in the first half as UNCW built a 38-25 lead. Sophomore Sahsha Taylor notched a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds while freshman Greta Luksyte added 12 points. Alex Stewart snatched a game-high six steals and added a game-high two blocks for the Seahawks. On Saturday, Drake registered her second straight double-double with 15 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, including 12 defensive boards, against College of Charleston. Taylor added 12 points to help the Seahawks improved to 3-0 at home. UNC Wilmington will visit East Carolina on Wednesday for its only contest this week.
NORTHEASTERN (0-5, 0-0 CAA):
Northeastern fell to 0-5 on the season as they fell to Massachusetts, 58-50, on Saturday. Sophomore Ashlee Feldman netted 12 points to lead the Huskies in scoring and junior Shaleyse Smallwood added nine. Smallwood also had team-highs of eight rebounds and five assists. Senior Jody Burrows left the game in the first half with an injury and junior guard Lucia Pablos filled in at point guard with eight points, two assists and one steal. The Huskies will look for its first win of the season when they host George Mason on Tuesday for their conference opener.
OLD DOMINION (2-4, 0-0 CAA):
The Old Dominion women’s basketball team fell to 2-4 overall with a 49-80 loss to #5 Duke and a 77-80 thriller at Penn State denying head coach Wendy Larry her 500th career victory. On Wednesday against the Blue Devils, Duke rushed out to a 9-0 lead and never looked back. At the half, the Blue Devils held a commanding 43-11 lead. The 11 points scored by the Lady Monarchs tied the school record for fewest points in a half. Old Dominion only hit four field goals and had three points from the line. Junior Tamara Ransburg led ODU at the half with four points. The Lady Monarchs’ top two scorers, junior T.J. Jordan and senior Sherida Triggs, were both held scoreless. Old Dominion had a stronger second half but was outscored by Duke, 46-29. Senior Tish Lyons was the lone Lady Monarch in double figures. Lyons finished the night with 11 points, nine of them coming in the second half. On Sunday against the Lady Lions, Old Dominion managed to erase a 20-point second half deficit and regain the lead late in the game, but was edged out by Penn State. Behind 55-35 a minute and a half into the second half, Old Dominion would go on to outscore Penn State, 44-33, in half. Jordan led the Lady Monarchs with a season-high 24 points. It was her second 20+ point effort of the year. Ransburg and Shahida Williams joined Jordan in double figures. Ransburg had 17 points 7-of-7 from the field and 2-of-2 from the line. Williams added in 17 and a game-high eight rebounds. The Lady Monarchs rebounded from its 26.0 percent shooting performance at #5 Duke to finish the night at 46.9 percent (30-of-64), including a 52.9 percent (18-of-34) second half. The Lady Monarchs return to action hosting Chicago State on Saturday, December 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the first ever meeting between the two schools. The Cougars are coached by former Lady Monarch standout Angela Jackson. Jackson was a member of the Lady Monarchs in 1989 and 1990, helping the Old Dominion women’s basketball team to two second round appearances in the NCAA. As a senior in 1990, she was named First Team All-Sun Belt averaging a team second best 16.6 points per game. Additionally, the Lady Monarchs will look to give head coach Wendy Larry her 500th career win.
TOWSON (6-1, 1-0 CAA):
The Tigers went 1-1 on the week, falling in their first contest on Wednesday as they dropped a 58-45 decision to Wake Forest on the road before rebounding with a 66-59 victory in conference play against William & Mary. The Demon Decons snapped the Tigers five-game winning streak. Junior guard Holly Mahan and freshman guard Shanae Baker-Brice paced the Tigers with nine points in the loss while Davis added eight points. Baker-Brice, who was named as the CAA Rookie of the Week on Monday, also had a team-high seven rebounds. The victory over the Tribe allowed the Tigers to open their season with a 6-1 record for the sixth time in their 25-year Division I history and for the second time during head coach Joe Mathews’ six-year tenure at Towson. During the 2003-04 season, the Tigers opened the year with eight wins in their first nine games, in which they finished that season with a 9-19 record. Freshman guard Shanae Baker-Brice scored 17 points against the Tribe, while adding four steals and six rebounds. Junior guard Holly Mahan was held to a season-low nine points in the loss at Wake Forest, but registered 12 points against William & Mary. She also added 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Towson returns home to host Norfolk State on December 10 for the start of a four-game homestand.
VCU (6-1, 0-1 CAA):
The Rams improved to 6-0, the best start in school history, with a 71-49 victory over Norfolk State on Wednesday, before falling in conference play to James Madison, 73-63, on Sunday. VCU scored the first 15 points of the contest and were led by junior forward Krystal Vaughn as she posted a game-high 23 points. Vaughn hit 8-of-16 shots from the floor and was 7-of-8 at the free throw line. She added six rebounds. Senior guard Michele Cosel added a season-high 15 points for VCU, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range to move into sixth place on the Rams’ career list with 83. Sophomore Quanitra Hollingsworth kicked in nine points and 10 rebounds in 14 minutes of play. On Sunday, Vaughn registered a team-high 26 points, recording her fourth 20-point plus performance of the season. It is the first time since Cyndy Wilks logged four straight in 2003-04 that a Ram has had as many as three consecutive 20-point efforts. D’Andra Moss added 15 points for the Rams, while Hollingsworth had sat out for the first time in her career due to a sprained ankle. VCU is scheduled to play at cross-town rival Richmond on Wednesday before visiting Toledo on Saturday.
WILLIAM & MARY (4-3, 0-1 CAA):
The Tribe went 1-1 on the week. William & Mary cruised past Virginia Tech, 64-41, on Tuesday evening, before it fell to Towson, 66-59, in the Tribe’s conference opener on Sunday. Wednesday’s triumph was W&M’s first versus an ACC opponent since defeating Virginia during the 1973-74 season. Junior Devin James led the Tribe with a career-high 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting, while sophomore Dani Kell nearly recorded a double-double with 19 points and nine rebounds. Also coming up big were junior Kyra Kaylor, who provided a game-high 11 rebounds, and freshman Tiffany Benson, who totaled four blocks. The College limited the Hokies (4-4) to just 24.2 percent (15-of-62) shooting. Conversely, the Green and Gold connected on 52.9 percent (9-of-17) of its attempts from beyond the arc. On Sunday, Kaylor recorded her second double-double of the season versus Towson, totaling a game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds. Kaylor and James’s (12 pts/10 rbs) double-doubles in the contest marked the first time since Nov. 18, 2005 (vs. Pittsburgh) that two Tribe players accomplished the feat in the same game. In its four wins this season, the Tribe is holding the opposition to a combined shooting percentage of just 27.4. William & Mary has been out-rebounded only once this season (vs. Virginia Tech). Kaylor moved to 10th place (1,044) on the Tribe’s all-time scoring list with her 22 points versus Towson. The Tribe are scheduled to travel to Mount St. Mary’s on Friday and then host Howard on Sunday.