THIS WEEKS QUICK HITS:
• The CAA steadied with a RPI rating of 11 in the most recent report by Collegiate Basketball News with five in the Top 86. The league finished the non-conference schedule with a 72-59 record.
• Hofstra's Shante Evans and VCU's Courtney Hurt has a strong showing on the week as they averaged double-doubles on the week. Evans produced 21.5 ppg with 15.5 rpg, while Hurt recorded 23.0 ppg with 14.0 rpg. Their teams went 1-1 on the week.
• Four teams are ranked in the most recent Top 25 of the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll. Old Dominion jumped to #8 in the Mid-Major Poll and a top the CAA schools. Drexel stayed at #12, while Delaware (#16) and James Madison (#20) followed in the Jan. 11th poll.
• The CAA Women's Basketball Weekly Teleconference call will continue on Tuesday at Noon. Drexel's Denise Dillon, Towson's Joe Mathews and VCU's Beth Cunningham will be available for questions.
• 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.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Kquanise Byrd • Old Dominion
St. Petersburg, Fla./Lake Wood, Sr., Guard
Byrd earned CAA Player of the Week honors after leading the Lady Monarchs to a pair of road victories in conference play. The senior guard averaged 15.5 points per game in the outings after entering the week averaging just 6.3 points per game. Byrd poured in a game- and career-high 22 points in the win over the Blue Hens, including 15 points in the second stanza. The senior guard also made three critical trey's in ODU's win at Georgia State. Byrd completed the week shooting 55 percent (10-of-18) from the floor, shot 3-for-5 from beyond the arc and 88 percent (8-of-9) from the free throw line. She also finished with three rebounds, four assists and one steal.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Kendra Long • Georgia State
Atlanta, Ga./Benjamin Mays, Fr., Guard
Long collected CAA Rookie of the Week honors for the second straight week after pouring in 26 total points on the week (13.0 ppg) and seven rebounds (3.5 rpg) for the Panthers. The rookie poured in a game- and career-high 21 points against league-leading Old Dominion. Long shot 60.0 percent (9-for-15) from the floor, 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from long range and 75.0 percent (3-for-4) from the charity stripe. Her five made three-pointers against ODU tied her career high for the fourth time this season. The freshman also added three steals and two assists for the Panthers on the week
CAA AT NO. 11 IN RPI RANKING (though games of Jan. 16): The RPI report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News ranked the CAA as 11th out of 32 conferences at the start of conference play. The CAA has five ranked in the top 86, led by Old Dominion ranked at #35 in the team ranking. Drexel (62), James Madison (64), UNC Wilmington (75) and Delaware (86) are also in the Top 100.
STANDING OUT IN NATIONAL STATS (through games of Jan. 16): The CAA has the top two leading scorers in the nation with top-ranked Dawn Evans (25.3 ppg) from James Madison and second-ranked VCU's Courtney Hurt (24.1 ppg). Hurt leads the nation with 13.3 rebounds per outing, while Hofstra's Shante Evans follows in rebounding with 11.1 rpg (12th). Hofstra's Candice Bellocchio is ranked 11th in assists with 6.3 per outing and Old Dominion's Jasmine Parker's 3.3 steals per contest is the 15th best average in the nation. Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite is ranked ninth with 90.6 free throw percentage and fifth in three-point field goal percentage with 46.8. JMU's Dawn Evans is ranked second in three-point field goals per game (3.6), while Hurt leads the nation with 14 double-doubles on the season. (CAA Top 50 individual & team listing on page 9)
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. VCU's Courtney Hurt needs 23 points to reach the same career mark.
REACHING MILESTONES: William & Mary's Taysha Pye joined Drexel's Jasmina Rosseel and Old Dominion's Jasmine Parker after reaching the 1,000-point milestone this season with her 20-point performance at Northeastern. JMU's Dawn Evans posted 31 points against Monmouth and set a new JMU career record for the Dukes. She currently has 2,310 career points. Evans now ranks second in the CAA record books and looks to pass Drexel's Gabriela Marginean (2,581).
DOUBLE THE TROUBLE: There are three players in the CAA that are averaging a double-double thus far this season. VCU's Courtney Hurt leads the league with 14 double-double performances out of 15 outings and averages 24.1 ppg to go along with 13.1 rpg. Hofstra's Shante Evans follows closely with 16.9 ppg and 11.1 rpg, while Georgia State's Chan Harris is pouring in 13.7 ppg along with her 10.4 rpg.
FOUR CAA WBB TEAMS RANKED IN COLLEGEINSIDER.COM TOP 25 MID-MAJOR POLL: The CAA has four teams ranked in the Top 25 of the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll. Old Dominion jumped to #8 in the Mid-Major Poll and a top the CAA schools. Drexel stayed at #12, while Delaware (#16) and James Madison (#20) followed in the Jan. 11th poll. Hofstra and UNC Wilmington were the first two receiving votes with 36 and 31 votes, respectively. Atop the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 is Green Bay, which received 28 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. Tickets are on sale now through all 12 schools and TicketMaster.com.
HOME-SWEET-HOME: Drexel has a perfect 7-0 record at the Daskalakis Athletic Center this season, including a 2-0 mark against conference opponents. Old Dominion (7-1) and UNC Wilmington (5-1) each have just one loss on their home court this season, while Hofstra (5-2) and James Madison (7-2) each have two losses at home. As a league, the teams own a 59-32 (.648) overall record on their home courts. In conference play, five of the 12 teams are still perfect at home -- Drexel (2-0), JMU (2-0), UNCW (2-0), ODU (2-0), and VCU (3-0).
WATCH LISTS - KEEPING AN EYE ON CAA PLAYERS: 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. Evans was named to the mid-season Wooden Award, also.
CAA 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.
SIGN ON FOR DAWN: The NephCure Foundation's "Sign on for Dawn" (www.signonfordawn.org) fundraising campaign is past the halfway point, with $5,751 raised toward its $10,000 goal. The NephCure Foundation is a non-profit foundation that funds research into finding effective treatments and provides support for patients suffering from the kidney diseases FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis) and Nephrotic Syndrome. JMU's Dawn Evans has been suffering from FSGS since December 2009.
GIRL SCOUT APPRECIATION DAYS: For the 17th consecutive year, the CAA and the 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 and participate in a variety of activities, including autograph sessions with players, sleep over events, 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.
PLAY FOR THE CURE - WBCA PINK ZONE DAYS: The CAA, all 12 women's basketball programs and Kroger are teaming up to fight breast cancer. 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 11-20, however some schools are participating outside of that window due to the scheduling conflicts. A large number of schools have committed to participate nationwide in the 2011 WBCA's Pink Zone initiative. The CAA, the women's basketball programs and Kroger are asking fans to attend one of the CAA's Pink Zone women's basketball games and donate to help fight breast cancer and increase early detection and prevention.
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 (2010): 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.
2010-11 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.
2010-11 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 (10-6, 3-2 CAA)
The Blue Hens split at home on the week with a 60-51 victory over William & Mary and a close 62-59 loss to league-leader Old Dominion. Delaware was led by Danielle Parker's 15.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, while leading four players to double-digit points on the week. Lauren Carra (12.0 ppg), Jocelyn Bailey (11.5 ppg) and Vanessa Kabongo (11.0 ppg) all contributed double figures in the two outings. Sarah Acker added 5.5 rebounds per game. Bailey led the team with seven steals and Kabongo dished out a team-best five assists. Standout Elena Delle Donne has missed eight straight games with a back injury and is listed as day-to-day. She i The Blue Hens will look to return to the win column when they visit UNC Wilmington on Thursday and continue their road swing at Georgia State on Sunday.
DREXEL (11-5, 3-2 CAA)
After suffering a 77-74 set back in overtime to host James Madison on Thursday, the Dragons squeaked a 59-58 road victory at William & Mary on Sunday with a Kamile Nacickaite three-point buzzer-beater. Nacickaite led Drexel on the week averaging 22.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. She also dished out a team-leading seven assists and three steals tying teammate Jasmina Rosseel in both categories. Rosseel finished the week with 13.0 points per outing. Ayana Lee, who earned a pair of starts in place of Tyler Hale (returning from injury), stepped up for the Dragons pulling down 11 total rebounds in the two outings. The Dragons will continue its three-game road swing at George Mason on Thursday before returning home to host Hofstra on Sunday.
GEORGE MASON (7-9, 1-4 CAA)
George Mason fell in a pair of tough home contests. The Patriots dropped a 67-51 decision to UNC Wilmington, before suffering an 83-54 loss to James Madison. Mason received double-figure scoring from Brittany Poindexter (12.0 ppg) and Taleia Moton (11.0 ppg) on the week. Amber Easter led the team on the boards with 13 on the week, while Poindexter added 12 and Angelee LaTouche snatched 11. Moton also led the team dishing out four assists and making three steals. The Patriots will wrap up its three-game homestand when they host Drexel on Thursday. George Mason will then visit William & Mary for a Sunday afternoon match-up.
GEORGIA STATE (7-9, 2-3 CAA)
Georgia State was leading first-place Old Dominion, 62-57, with 2:23 left to play, but the visiting Lady Monarchs used a 9-0 run to close the game and defeat the Panthers, 66-62 on Thursday. The Panthers rebounded with a 58-53 victory at Towson on Sunday. Freshman Kendra Long led four players in double-figures on the week with 13.0 points per game. Chan Harris (12.5 ppg), Angelique Burtts (12.5 ppg) and Tiffany Anderson (12.0 ppg) also contributed double-digit points. Burtts recently returned from an ankle injury that she suffered on Jan. 2 against George Mason. Harris led the team with 9.5 rebounds per outing on the week to go along with team highs of seven assists and three blocks. Burtts teamed up with Traci Haltiwanger to make eight steals (four a piece). Head Coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener continues to experiment as she used a sixth different starting line-up against Towson. No player has started every game at the same position this season. The Panthers will host a pair of home contests this week as they welcome Northeastern and Delaware.
HOFSTRA (10-6, 2-3 CAA)
Hofstra split on the week as they defeated Northeastern, 77-63, but fell to UNC Wilmington, 70-66. The loss to the Seahawks ended Hofstra's five-game home court win streak. The Pride was led by sophomore Shante Evans' 21.5 points and 15.5 rebounds per outing. Evans opened the week with a 28-point, 14-rebound performance against the Huskies, before a 15-point, 17-rebound outing against the Seahawks. Nicole Capurso averaged 15.0 points per game, while Annie Payton added 13 points in her only outing of the week on Sunday. Candice Bellocchio handed out a team-best 11 assists on the week, while Candace Bond grabbed a team-high seven steals. The Pride will go on the road for its next three games beginning with road tilts at Towson and Drexel this week.
JAMES MADISON (11-6, 4-1 CAA)
James Madison went 2-0 in CAA action last week with a 77-73 overtime victory over Drexel (JMU's third OT game of the season) before capturing an 83-54 road victory over George Mason. With the victories, the Dukes have won six of their last seven games, including five straight home contests. Senior guard Dawn Evans led the away again for the Dukes with 25.5 points per game after scoring game-highs of 27 and 24 points. Sophomore Tarik Hislop poured in 17.5 points per game for the second JMU player to contribute double-figure points. Hislop scored a career-high 20 points at George Mason. Lauren Whitehurst and Jalissa Taylor pulled down 21 and 20 rebounds, respectively, to lead the Dukes on the boards. Evans also led the team with nine assists on the week to move up in the JMU career assist list. Evans also passed the 2,300-point mark in her career and now has 2,310 points. Courtney Hamner made four trey's on the week and hit her 100th of her career versus Drexel. Junior center Rachel Connely got her first career start versus Drexel. The Dukes will return home for a pair of conference games when they host William & Mary and VCU this week.
UNC WILMINGTON (12-4, 4-1 CAA)
UNC Wilmington improved to 4-1 in conference play with road victories over George Mason, 67-51, and Hofstra, 70-66. Brittany Blackwell led the Seahawks with 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per outing. Martha White (15.0 ppg) and Kristen Hanzer (13.5 ppg) also contributed double-figure points on the week and the two led the team with six assists each. White and Hanzer also helped on the boards with 7.0 rpg and 5.5 rpg, respectively. Treasure Johnson chipped in 8.5 points per outing off the bench. UNC Wilmington will host a pair of conference games this week when they welcome Delaware on Thursday and Northeastern on Sunday.
NORTHEASTERN (6-10, 1-4 CAA)
Northeastern suffered a pair of road losses last week as they fell to Hofstra, 77-63, and VCU, 79-58. Kashaia Cannon averaged 14.0 points per game to lead the Huskies in scoring and Rachael Pecota, who returned from a six-game absence, added 10.5 points per contest to go along with a team-best 9.0 rebounds per game. Jamie Conroy (9.5 ppg), Afreyea Tolbert (8.5 ppg) and Deanna Huber (8.0 ppg) were also strong in contributing points. Coach Daynia La-Force Mann utilized her ninth different starting lineup of the season in the contest against the VCU Rams. The Huskies will visit Georgia State on Thursday before returning home to entertain UNC Wilmington on Sunday.
OLD DOMINION (11-5, 5-0 CAA)
Old Dominion is a top the conference standings with the only perfect record in league play after earning a pair of road wins over Georgia State, 66-62, and Delaware, 62-59. The Lady Monarchs have won five straight and seven of their last eight outings. Three players averaged double-figure points on the week, led by Kquanise Byrd's 15.5 points per outing. She was joined by Alena Voronina (13.5 ppg) and Jasmine Parker (12.5 ppg). Voronina led the team on the boards with 8.5 rebounds per outing, while Shadasia Green (7) and Parker (5) dished out 12 assists on the week. Tia Lewis made a team-high three blocks, while Voronina and Parker joined JoNiquia Guilford as they each tabbed four steals. Byrd scored a career-high 22 points against Delaware, after entering the week averaging 6.3 points per game. Voronina posted her first career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds against GSU, as she tallied eight of ODU's final nine points to steal the win. Old Dominion head coach Wendy Larry is just one win shy of joining the exclusive 600-win club. The legendary head coach currently has a 599-228 overall record. The Lady Monarchs will look to give Coach Larry that win when they host VCU on Thursday and Towson on Sunday. The outing against the Rams will be broadcast on WSKY and CSN-MA+.
TOWSON (7-9, 1-4 CAA)
Towson went 1-1 at home on the week in conference play, earning a 65-58 victory over previously unbeaten VCU before falling 58-53 to Georgia State. The Tigers were led by freshman Tanisha McTiller's 13.0 points per game and Dovile Miliauskaite's 11.0 ppg. Sheree Ledbetter pulled down a team-best 8.0 rebounds per outing for Towson, while Miliauskaite assisted with 7.5 boards per outing. Krystal Parnell dished out a team-best nine assists, while Miliauskaite made five blocks on the week and led the team with six steals. The Tigers will host Hofstra on Thursday for their second match-up against the Pride on the season before visiting Old Dominion on Sunday. The outing against the Lady Monarchs will also be the Tigers second contest against ODU this season.
VCU (9-6, 4-1 CAA)
VCU split, 1-1, on the week as they dropped their first CAA contest at Towson, 65-58, before rebounding with a 79-58 home victory over Northeastern. The Rams have won five of their last six contests. Junior forward Courtney Hurt averaged a double-double on the week to lead the Rams with 23.0 points and 14.0 rebounds per outing. Sonia Johnson and Andrea Barbour also averaged double-figure scoring with 14.0 ppg and 11.5 ppg, respectively. Both Johnson and Barbour also grabbed 12 rebounds for the Rams in the two outings. Jennifer Lane dished out a team-high 10 assists, while the team spread out four blocks and 15 steals among the bench. Hurt has tabbed 14 double-doubles, which leads the nation. Her total is just four shy of tying VCU's single-season record held by Quanitra Hollingsworth. Hurt needs just 23 more points to become the 19th player in program history to score 1,000 career points. Hurt would be the first player since Hollingsworth in 2007-08 to reach the milestone as a junior. Hurt will look to reach that milestone when the Rams hit the road for a pair of conference outings this week. VCU will visit Old Dominion on Thursday and that contest will be televised on WSKY (Hampton Roads Area) and Comcast SportsNet-Mid-Atlantic PLUS. VCU will wrap up its week at James Madison on Sunday.
WILLIAM & MARY (1-14, 0-5 CAA)
William & Mary struggled to snap its losing streak as the Tribe lost at Delaware, 60-51, before dropping a heartbreaker at home to Drexel, 59-58. Taysha Paye poured in a team-best 19.0 points per game, while Taylor Hilton added 10.0 ppg. Rebounding was spread throughout the team, but Emily Correal led the team with 11 boards and Pye added 10. Katherine DeHenzel handed out a team-high nine assists on the week and also snatched a team-best five steals. William & Mary will look to snap its eight-game losing streak when they visit James Madison on Thursday. The Tribe will then return home to host George Mason on Sunday.