THIS WEEKS QUICK HITS:
• The league jumped to 64-51 in non-conference play and the CAA moved up one spot with a RPI of 11 in the most recent report by Collegiate Basketball News with six teams ranked in the Top 95.
• Three scorers in the CAA fall among the nation's top five Division I women's basketball leaders. JMU's Dawn Evans leads the nation at 26.1 ppg, while UD's Elena Delle Donne (26.0 ppg) and VCU's Courtney Hurt (24.6 ppg) immediately follow.
• Five CAA WBB teams are ranked in the Dec. 21 edition of the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll (#9 Delaware, #12 Old Dominion, #17 Drexel, #20 Hofstra and #22 James Madison). Five teams from one conference is the most ranked in the poll.
• The CAA Women's Basketball Weekly Teleconference call will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 4 at Noon. Georgia State's Sharon Baldwin-Tener, James Madison's Kenny Brooks and Old Dominion's Wendy Larry will join the call.
• The Show Place Arena (Upper Marlboro, Md.) will host the 2011 Virginia 529 College Savings Plan CAA Women's Basketball Championship on March 10-13.
• The CAA has 29 games slated to be televised for the 2010-11 season.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
Dawn Evans • James Madison
Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast, Sr., Guard
Evans received CAA Player of the Week honors after a stellar week and guiding the Dukes to an 82-80 home victory over Virginia. The senior guard poured in a school-record 42 points in the win to go along with eight assists. She shot 50 percent from long range with six treys and went 12-for-13 from the free throw line. Evans broke two other records -- the CAA career marks for three-pointers made (325) and attempted (951).
Kamile Nacickaite • Drexel
Siaulaia, Lithuania/Regis Jesuit (Colo.), Jr., Guard/Forward
Nacickaite collected CAA Player of the Week honors after her strong play to lead the Dragons to a road victory over Penn State. The junior poured in a career-high 27 points. Nacickaite knocked down 12-of-13 free-throws and made 9-of-10 in the final four minutes of the game to help Drexel hold on for the victory. She also led the Dragons with seven rebounds.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Kate Loper • Hofstra
Post Falls, Idaho/Post Falls, Fr., Guard
Loper earned CAA Rookie of the Week honors after guiding the Pride to back-to-back victories last week. The freshman averaged 15.0 points per game and added 4.5 rebounds per outing for Hofstra. Loper shot 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from the floor, 53.3 percent (8-for-15) from beyond the arc and 80.0 percent (4-for-5) from the charity stripe.
NATIONAL LEADING SCORERS IN THE CAA: The top two scorers in Division I women's basketball all play in the CAA, and three of the top five play in the league. Through games of Dec. 26, JMU's Dawn Evans leads the nation with 26.1 points per outing, while Delaware's Elena Delle Donne follows close at second with 26.0 points per game. VCU's Courtney Hurt fell from third to fifth with 24.6 points per contest. The NCAA will next update their national ranking summary on January 3rd after the holiday break, but check back to CAASports.com to follow a daily update.
CAA AT NO. 11 IN RPI RANKING (though games of Dec. 26): The RPI report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News ranked the CAA as 11th out of 32 conferences early in the season. The CAA has six ranked in the top 100, led by Drexel ranked at #30 in the team ranking. Old Dominion (66), Delaware (73), James Madison (80), Hofstra (92) and UNC Wilmington (95) are also in the Top 100.
STANDING OUT IN NATIONAL STATS (through games of Dec. 19): The NCAA will next update the national rankings on Jan. 3 with stats through games of Jan. 2. (CAA Top 50 individual & team listing on page 8)
CAA INDIVIDUAL LEADERS: JMU's Dawn Evans is the national and league leader averaging 26.1 ppg on the season. Delaware's Elena Delle Donne closely follows as she is averaging 26.0 points per game and VCU's Courtney Hurt (24.6 ppg) follow. Hurt continues to lead the league in rebounding with 13.3 rpg, while GSU's Chan Harris follows at 10.3 rpg. Delaware's Danielle Parker (9.6 rpg) and Hofstra's Shante Evans (9.6 rpg) are also among the top. Hofstra's Candice Bellocchio leads the conference while dishing out 7.3 assists per game and is over 2.0 assists per game more than the next best in the CAA. UNCW's Brittany Blackwell tops the conference with 3.3 steals per outing. Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite has shot 28-for-29 from the charity stripe, while Delle Donne follows at 93.3 percent (38-for-41) and Dawn Evans at 88.7 percent (55-for-62) to top free-throw shooters. Dawn Evans leads the conference shooting 3.6 treys per outing, while Harris top the league with 2.3 blocks per game.
STAT WATCH: Delaware sophomore All-American Elena Delle Donne is nearing the 1,000-point plateau. She has recorded 956 career points in 36 games and if she continues to average 26.0 points per game, she should reach her 1,000th-career point during her 38th career game as a Blue Hen. The fastest player to reach 1,000th career points in CAA history is JMU's Dawn Evans, who reached the milestone in 55 games. William & Mary's Taysha Pye is just 56 points away from the 1,000-point career milestone, while VCU's Courtney Hurt needs 139 points to reach the same career mark.
REACHING MILESTONES: Drexel's Jasmina Rosseel reached the 1,000-point milestone with her 20-point performance at Penn State and now has 1,005 career points. Against the Lady Vols, ODU's Jasmine Parker scored her 1,000th career point and became the 28th Lady Monarch to do reach the milestone. JMU's Dawn Evans posted 31 points against Monmouth and set a new JMU record for the Dukes. She currently has 2,167 career points and topped Tamera Young's (2004-08) school record of 2,121. Evans now ranks second in the CAA record books and looks to pass Drexel's Gabriela Marginean.
FIVE CAA WBB TEAMS RANKED IN COLLEGEINSIDER.COM TOP 25 MID-MAJOR POLL: Delaware dropped in the Mid-Major Poll and a top the CAA schools at #9. Old Dominion fell to #12, while Drexel (#17), Hofstra (#20) and James Madison (#22) followed in the Dec. 21st CollegeInsider.com mid-major poll. UNC Wilmington received 18 votes. With five teams ranked, the CAA has the most of any conference ranked in the Top 25. Atop the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 is Green Bay, which received 23 first-place votes. The women's Mid-Major Top 25 is comprised of teams from America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, CAA, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt and West Coast Conference. The Mid-Major Top 25 will be released every Tuesday throughout the 2010-11 season.
2011 & 2012 CAA WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIPS TO BE HOSTED BY NEUTRAL SITE: The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. has been selected to host the Virginia 529 College Savings Plan CAA Women's Basketball Championship in 2011 and 2012 by the league's athletic directors. It will be the first time that The Show Place Arena has served as host of the CAA women's championship. All games in the four-day, 11-game tournament will be played at the 5,000-seat arena, with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. This season's event will be held from March 10-13, 2011.
TWO CAA PLAYERS ADDED TO WATCH LISTS: CAA women's basketball standouts Elena Delle Donne of Delaware and Dawn Evans of James Madison were added to the 2010-11 Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) State Farm® Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year and the Naismith preseason watch lists. Delle Donne, a sophomore forward/guard, led Delaware to a 21-12 record and a berth in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) as a freshman. The Blue Hens' forward was named the CAA Player and Rookie of the Year and became the first player in UD history to earn All-America honors when she garnered third team Associated Press and honorable mention WBCA accolades. Evans, a senior guard at JMU, ranked fifth in the nation in scoring with 24.6 points per game, was third nationally in three-pointers per game (3.6) and also was third in the CAA with 4.6 assists per game last season. Evans also honorable mention All-America honors from the Associated Press.
TV EXPOSURE: The CAA surpassed its all-time record of 25 game (2007-08) with 27 games aired during the 2009-10 season and looks to accomplish the same task in 2010-11. The league has 29 games scheduled for the current season. All 12 teams will make at least one television appearance. The CAA women's basketball television package has aired over 20 games for at least the last three seasons.
TWO NEW HEAD COACHES WELCOMED TO THE LEAGUE: Two CAA schools have new head coaches this season. UNC Wilmington hired Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, who has previously served as head coach at Prairie View A&M. The former college great, Olympic gold medalist and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) Most Valuable Player was enshrined into the James Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on August 13 in Springfield, Mass. She replaces Ann Hancock. Georgia State hired Sharon Baldwin-Tener to replace Lea Henry. Baldwin-Tener had spent the past eight seasons with the East Carolina Lady Pirates and previously was the head coach Mercer and Life.
ONE OF THE BEST WBB COLLEGE POINT GUARDS: James Madison women's basketball player Dawn Evans has been ranked as one of the top five point guards in the country by AOL FanHouse. The selections were made by FanHouse women's basketball writers Michelle Smith and Milton Kent. Evans averaged a team-high 24.6 points per game (fifth-highest in the NCAA) and a team-high 4.6 assists per game last season. She enters the 2010-11 season 215 points away from the school career points record of 2,121 and is on pace to also break the CAA career scoring record of 2,581. The FanHouse point guard ranking was as follows: 1. Danielle Robinson, Sr., Oklahoma; 2. Jasmine Thomas, Jr., Duke; 3. Samantha Prahalis, Jr., Ohio State; 4. Courtney Vandersloot, Sr., Gonzaga; 5. Dawn Evans, Sr., James Madison.
RECORD-HIGH SEVEN TEAMS IN POSTSEASON PLAY: For the first time in conference history, the CAA sent seven women's basketball teams to the postseason. James Madison earned a bid in the NCAA Women's Basketball tournament, while Old Dominion, Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra, and VCU earned bids to the Women's National Invitation Tournament and Towson played in the Women's Basketball Invitational. For the fifth consecutive season, at least three CAA teams advanced to the postseason and for the 10th consecutive season the CAA had a representative in the WNIT. The CAA was just one of four conferences to see five teams in the WNIT. The Big Ten, Big East and Atlantic 10 also saw five conference teams advance to the postseason event.
CAA PRESEASON TEAM PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: James Madison, which captured the 2010 CAA women's basketball championship, is favored to win the conference title again in 2010-11 according to a vote of the league's coaches, sports information directors and media members. The results of the poll were announced during the CAA Basketball Media Day at Champps-Pentagon Row in Arlington, Va. The Dukes were followed in the voting by Old Dominion, Delaware, Hofstra and VCU. Drexel was picked to finish sixth, followed by William and Mary, UNC Wilmington, Georgia State, George Mason, Towson and Northeastern.
CAA PRESEASON INDIVIDUAL HONORS: Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and JMU's Dawn Evans were chosen as the CAA Preseason Co-Players of the Year. They are joined on the preseason All-CAA first team by Hofstra's Evans, UNC Wilmington senior guard/forward Brittany Blackwell (12.9 ppg/7.7 rpg) and William and Mary junior guard Taysha Pye (16.4 ppg/5.2 rpg). Voted to the preseason All-CAA second team were Old Dominion's Green, Lewis and Parker, James Madison's Hislop and VCU junior forward Courtney Hurt (13.7 ppg/7.7 rpg).
DELAWARE (6-3, 0-0 CAA)
Delaware was idle last week and will return to the court on Dec. 29 when they open the Hilton Garden Hokie Classic, hosted by Virginia Tech, with Vanderbilt University. The Blue Hens will also face either host Virginia Tech or Alcorn State at the tournament. Delaware is led by sophomore forward/guard Elena Delle Donne's 26.0 points per game. Sophomore Danielle Parker leads the team on the boards with 9.6 points per game. Lauren Carra has dished out a team-best 23 assists and Sarah Acker leads the team with 14 blocks.
DREXEL (7-2, 0-0 CAA)
Drexel earned a 84-73 road victory in Happy Valley against the then 10-2 Penn State Lady Lions. The Dragons were led by Kamile Nacickaite's 27-point performance, while Jasmina Rosseel showed off with six-three's to finish the night with 20 points. She surpassed the 1,000 point plateau and now stands at 1,005 career points. The Dragons continue its five-game road swing on the road with an outing against nationally-ranked Texas A&M, and UTSA or San Diego State in the SDSU Tournament. Drexel will then open the CAA schedule on the road at UNC Wilmington.
GEORGE MASON (5-5, 0-0 CAA)
George Mason earned its third straight victory with a home win over Longwood, 73-45. Double-doubles from Amber Easter and Evelyn Lewis led the Patriots. Three Patriots posted double-figure scoring performances led by Lewis with 17 points. Lewis added 14 rebounds for her first double-double as a Patriot as Easter tallied her first of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Brittany Poindexter rounded out the double-digit performances with 16 points. The Patriots picked up 19 assists led by Poindexter and Rahneeka Saunders each with five and Easter followed with four. The Patriots return to the action on Wednesday, December 29 welcoming Norfolk State to the Patriot Center.
GEORGIA STATE (4-5, 0-0 CAA)
Georgia State was idle last week and will return home to host the 17th Annual Holiday Invitational on Dec. 29-30. The Panthers will host Mississippi Valley State on Wednesday before facing either Hampton or Troy on Thursday. GSU is currently led by Chan Harris' 14.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per outing. She also leads the team with 18 blocked shots. Angelique Burtts follows closely in points with 13.4 per game. The Panthers also welcome back Marcquitta Head to the team. She is averaging 7.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game after two outings.
HOFSTRA (8-1, 0-0 CAA)
Hofstra improved to 8-1 with a 90-60 road win over Albany and a 65-51 win at home over Hartford. The wins extended Hofstra's win streak to eight straight, now tied for the second-longest win streak in school history. The 2006-07 team had a ten-game and an eight-game streak during its magical 26-8 campaign. On the week, the Pride was led by three players averaging double-figure points. Shante Evans and Kate Loper each poured in 15.0 points per game, while Candice Bellocchio and Candace Bond added 10.0 points per outing. Evans led the team with 9.5 rebounds per outing and Bellocchio averaged 8.5 assists per contest. Hofstra returns to action after the Christmas break when its travels to San Diego for the Maggie Dixon Surf 'N Slam Classic. Hofstra will take on San Diego on December 28 at 9 p.m. and then Texas or Cincinnati on December 30.
JAMES MADISON (6-5, 0-0 CAA)
James Madison earned an 82-80 home victory over Virginia on Monday. The Dukes were led by senior guard Dawn Evans' school-record 42-point performance, including 13 points in the last four minutes. Evans broke multiple records on the evening, including the CAA career records for three-pointers made and attempted, now 325 and 951, respectively. The former CAA marks of 323 and 941 were held by Old Dominion's TJ Jordan (2004-08). Sophomore guard Tarik Hislop and senior center Lauren Jimenez also scored in double figures for the Dukes, as Hislop tallied 12 points and Jimenez scored 10 in just 15 minutes of play. The Dukes will take a break for the holiday before playing Western Carolina on Dec. 30.
UNC WILMINGTON (7-3, 0-0 CAA)
The Seahawks took a 10-day break for the holiday before returning to action Dec. 29 with a contest against Ohio at Trask Coliseum. UNC Wilmington is lead by four players averaging double-digit points, including team-best 15.4 points per outing by Brittany Blackwell. She also leads the team with 8.9 rebounds per game. Kristen Hanzer (13.1 ppg), Martha White (10.9 ppg) and Alisha Andrews (10.1 ppg) also contribute double-digit points. White follows Blackwell in rebounding with 8.6 boards per game.
NORTHEASTERN (5-5, 0-0 CAA)
Northeastern earned a 76-65 home victory over Holy Cross on Tuesday. Sophomore Deanna Kerkhof led all players with a career-high 25 points, while going 5-of-7 from the three-point line, in her first start of the season. The guard missed the first nine games of the year while recovering from an off-season surgery. The Wallaceburg, Ontario native added four rebounds, two steals and two assists in a team-high 36 minutes of action. Junior Kashaia Cannon notched 20 points on the afternoon and also went 5-of-7 from the three-point line. Classmate Jamie Conroy scored 11 points and added a career-high eight assists for Northeastern, while sophomore Christine Huber also contributed 11 points. Northeastern will enjoy a nine-day break for the holidays before returning to action on Thursday, Dec. 30 when they face No. 24/24 Boston College.
OLD DOMINION (5-4, 0-0 CAA)
Old Dominion returned from finals to capture a 71-47 home victory over Stony Brook on Tuesday evening. Junior Tia Lewis poured in a season-high 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to register her third double-double of the season. Jasmine Parker added 14 points and six assists, while Shadasia Green had an all-around game with eight points, a career high seven assists and tied a career-high with 11 rebounds. JoNiquia Guilford tied a career high with seven boards. Old Dominion now heads down to New Orleans, La. to compete in the Tulane/Double Tree Classic December 29-30, the dates pushed back a day due to the weather along the East Coast. The Lady Monarchs will first face-off against Charlotte next Wednesday at 6 p.m. before taking on either Tulane or Nicholls State the following evening.
TOWSON (5-5, 0-0 CAA)
Towson suffered a 66-50 loss to Richmond on Wednesday evening. Simona Petronyte led the Tigers with 13 points and a career-high eight rebounds. Petronyte added two assists and three steals in addition to leading the team in points and rebounds. Krystal Parnell finished with nine points and two rebounds while Dovile Miliauskaite finished with six points and three rebounds. Miliauskaite's second rebound of the first half gave her 400 for her career. Tanisha McTiller chipped in with eight points, two assists and three steals off the bench. Towson returns to action on Wednesday, December 29 when it hosts Delaware State. That game is set for 7 p.m. in the Towson Center.
VCU (5-5, 0-0 CAA)
VCU split on the week, 1-1. The Rams dropped a heartbreaker at home on Tuesday to Liberty, 59-57, before capturing a 79-49 road victory over Radford on Thursday. Junior forward Courtney Hurt posted her 9th and 10th consecutive double-doubles on the week. She averaged 21.0 points per game and 13.0 rebounds per outing. Hurt received help from teammates Sonia Johnson (13.0 ppg) and Andrea Barbour (10.0 ppg). Barbour made her first appearance of the season in the outing against Radford. VCU's next outing is on the road when they open conference play at William & Mary on Jan. 2.
WILLIAM & MARY (1-8, 0-0 CAA)
William & Mary fell to Richmond at home, 69-59, on Monday evening. The Tribe was led in scoring by junior guard Taysha Pye, who had 18 points to go with six rebounds, three assists, and a pair of steals. Pye enters the Christmas break only 56 points shy of 1,000 for her career. Also having a terrific night was sophomore forward Emily Correal, who collected her first double-double of the year with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Classmate Taylor Hilton nearly joined her, producing 12 points and nine rebounds while shooting 2-3 from beyond the arc. William and Mary is off for the next nine days for the winter holidays, before returning to action on December 29th at Longwood.