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Courtesy: CAA
UD's Elena Delle Donne & VCU's Courtney Hurt

CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL WEEKLY REPORT - JAN. 2

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 01/02/2012
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**Full report in PDF Format with team notes located at the bottom of this article**

CAA 4-1-1:

        •      CAA squads are currently 74-52 in non-conference play.  The league opened conference play on Dec. 4 and Delaware, George Mason, Hofstra, Towson, Drexel and VCU started CAA action 1-0 and will continue on Jan. 5. 

        •      Delaware had its 10-game winning streak snapped (first loss of the season) with a hard-fought loss to #5/5 Maryland on Thursday. VCU fell to #12/10 Miami to snap a five-game win streak.

        •      The CAA currently has the seventh best non-conference strength of schedule.

        •      UD's Elena Delle Donne (1st, 28.8 ppg), VCU's Courtney Hurt (3rd, 24.6 ppg) and George Mason's Taleia Moton (9th, 22.1 ppg) rank in the Top 9 leading scorers in the nation. The Blue Hens also lead the nation in free-throw shooting (82.9%). Full listing on page 11 of this report.

        •      Delaware returned to No. 1 in the latest RPI rankings report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News, after sitting at No. 2 for just one week. The CAA is ranked seventh among the conferences with six teams in the Top 80 and four in the Top 37.

        •      Delaware steadied at #19 in the AP Top 25 and #20 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

        •      CAA Women's Basketball weekly conference calls will begin on Jan. 3 (full schedule on page 5).

        •      Delaware was selected as the preseason CAA favorite to win the 2011-12 title. VCU followed along with James Madison and Hofstra.

        •      Virginia 529 Women's Basketball Championship will return to The Show Place Arena in 2012 in Upper Marlboro, Md.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:

Elena Delle Donne • Delaware

Wilmington, Del./Ursuline, Jr., Guard/Forward

Delle Donne received CAA Player of the Week honors after leading the Blue Hens to a 1-1 record last week while putting up 27.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per outing. The junior scored 22 points in UD's win over East Carolina and a game-high 32 points in the close loss to host #5/5 Maryland.  Delle Donne shot 52.9 percent (18-for-34) from the floor on the week and 16-for-17 (.941) from the line missing just one against ECU. She added three assists, six blocks and three steals on the week. Delle Donne was also honored on the All-Tournament team.

Courtney Hurt • VCU

Conyers, Ga./Salem, Sr., Forward

Hurt earned CAA Player of the Week honors after a strong week for the Rams at the University of Miami Holiday Classic. The senior averaged 28.5 points and 18.5 rebounds per game in a pair of outings. Hurt led all scorers with 32 points and a career-best 21 rebounds, three shy of the school's single-game record, against Morgan State (posting her second career 20-20 game). She added game highs of 25 points and 16 rebounds against host #12/10 Miami. Hurt added one assist, one block and one steal on the week and was named to the All-Tournament team.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:

Ashley Betz-White • Old Dominion

Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity, Fr., Guard

Betz-White collected CAA Rookie of the Week accolades after scoring nine points to go along with four rebounds in the Lady Monarchs' outing against #7/8 Tennessee on the road last week. The freshman made three treys against the Lady Vols and also added one assist in the outing.

CAA AT NO. 7 IN RPI RANKING - SIX CAA SQUADS IN TOP 100, INCLUDING DELAWARE AT NO. 1 (Through Games of Jan. 1): The CAA is ranked seventh among the nation's 32 Division I conferences in women's basketball according to the RPI report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News. Delaware returned to No. 1 in the team RPI ranking, as the first of six CAA teams in the Top 80. Hofstra (31), Towson (32) and James Madison (37) are the only other CAA schools that are listed in the Top 50. Drexel (77) and UNCW (80) round out the CAA teams in the Top 100.

CAA IN THE TOP 25: The Delaware Blue Hens steadied itself at #19 in the Dec. 26 AP poll after their perfect start to the season and #20 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Blue Hens were awarded the #19 spot with 262 votes and #20 with 179 nods. For the third time in her tenure as head coach, Tina Martin's squad is receiving notice in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Delaware received notice in the AP Top 25 polls during the 2006-07 and 2009-10 campaigns. It's Delaware's first appearance in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll ever in school history.

FOUR CAA WBB TEAMS RANKED IN COLLEGEINSIDER.COM MID-MAJOR POLL (DEC. 27): Delaware stayed steady ranked second & received two first place votes in the CollegeInsider.com Dec. 27 edition of the mid-major poll, while James Madison stayed at sixth and Hofstra jumped to #12. Towson jumped into the Top 25 at #24. Atop the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 is Green Bay, which received 27 first-place votes. The women's Mid-Major Top 25 is comprised of teams from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt, West Coast Conferences. The Mid-Major Top 25 will be released every Tuesday throughout the season.

STELLAR OUTINGS & STRONG STATS (Week Ending Jan. 1): VCU's Courtney Hurt led the league on the week scoring an average of 28.5 points per game, while Delaware's Elena Delle Donne (27.5ppg), George Mason's Taleia Moton (25.0 ppg), Hofstra's Nicole Capurso (24.0 ppg), William & Mary's Emily Correal (20.0 ppg) and Towson's Krystin Fields (20.0 ppg) also averaged 20+ points on the week. VCU's Courtney Hurt also led the league with 18.5 rebounds per outing, including a career-high 21 against Morgan State. Fields (14.0 rpg), Correal (13.5 rpg), Hofstra's Shante Evans (13.0 rpg) and Towson's Nyree Williams (13.0 rpg) posted 10+ rebounds per contest. Hofstra's Candice Bellocchio dished out 13 assists in the Pride's outing against Princeton, while W&M's Katherine DeHenzel and Towson's Tanisha McTiller each averaged 7.0 assists in their respective outings. Hofstra's Candace Bond grabbed nine thefts in her only outing of the week against the Princeton Tigers. 

THREE CAA PLAYERS NAMED TO NAISMITH WATCH LIST: The CAA is well represented on the 2011-12 Naismith Women's Basketball Player of the Year early-season watch list with Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Hofstra's Shante Evans and VCU's Courtney Hurt making the line-up. In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors will compile a mid-season team of the top 30 players in the nation. Then in March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to the four finalists.

UPSET CITY-NEWARK, DEL.: Delaware women's basketball squad pulled off the biggest upset in school history on Nov. 17 as the Blue Hens brought down No. 11/12 ranked Penn State with an 80-71 victory. Backed by another brilliant performance from All-American Elena Delle Donne (40pts/12 rbs), the Blue Hens made history by defeating their highest ranked opponent in school history. Delaware had knocked off a Top 25 team just two other times in school history in 28 previous tries, including an 86-70 win over No. 20 Kentucky during the 2006-07 season and a 77-67 victory over then No. 22 James Madison at the BCC on Feb. 22, 2007.


SETTING RECORDS: In the upset of #11/12 Penn State, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne scored 25 of her game-high 40 points in the second half as Delaware recovered from an eight-point deficit midway through the second half with a big final flurry. Her 40 points set a Bob Carpenter Center record and was the third highest total in school history, trailing only her school-record 54-point performance at James Madison on Feb. 18, 2010 and her 41-point explosion against Yale on Nov. 20, 2010. Her 40 point performance ties the CAA all-time 10th best single game mark. Joining Delle Donne on the CAA all-time list, was VCU's Courtney Hurt as she poured in a school-record 40 points against UMKC.

TV EXPOSURE: The CAA is scheduled to see a record-best of at least 40 regular season games on television this season, plus three televised games during the CAA championship. All 12 teams will make at least one television appearance during the 2011-12 season. The CAA women's basketball television package has aired over 20 games for the last four seasons. The CAA also enjoyed a record amount of exposure through new media efforts.

2012 VIRGINIA 529 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: The 2012 Virginia 529 CAA Women's Basketball Championship will return to The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., for the second straight season. The 2011 outing was the first time that The Show Place Arena had served as host of the CAA women's championship. The Show Place was the first neutral site since 1998 for the CAA women's championship and the teams played in front of 7,727 fans during the four-day event.

EXTRA HONORS: CollegeSportsMadness.com has named UNCW's Alisha Andrews a Madness High-Major Conference Player of the Week representing the CAA (Jan. 2). The sophomore guard led the Seahawks with 17 points, including 13 after intermission, in UNCW's home victory over Xavier.

CAA PRESEASON TEAM PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: Delaware, which returns five starters from last year's 20-14 team, is picked to win the 2012 CAA Women's Basketball title according to a vote of the league's head coaches. The results of the poll were announced during Tuesday's CAA Basketball Media Day at Champps-Pentagon Row in Arlington, Va. The Blue Hens were followed in the voting by VCU, James Madison and Hofstra. Drexel and Old Dominion tied for fifth, followed by UNCW, George Mason, William & Mary, Georgia State, Towson and Northeastern.

CAA PRESEASON INDIVIDUAL HONORS: Delaware's Elena Delle Donne was chosen as the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. She is joined on the preseason All-CAA first team by Hofstra's Shante Evans, VCU's Courtney Hurt and Andrea Barbour and Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite. Voted to the preseason All-CAA second team were UNCW's Alisha Andrews, Georgia State's Chan Harris, JMU's Hislop, Old Dominion's Tia Lewis and William & Mary's Taysha Pye.

HUNGRY FOR MORE: Nine of the 15 players who received all-conference honors in 2010-11 return this season. Back from the All-CAA first team are Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Hofstra's Shante Evans and VCU's Courtney Hurt, who all earned All-America accolades. All but one of the All-CAA third team will return. The CAA teams also return 70% of their starters from a year ago.

RETURNING THREE ALL-AMERICA HONOREES IN 2011-12: The CAA welcomes back three Associated Press All-America honorees in Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Hofstra's Shante Evans and VCU's Courtney Hurt. The trio joined former JMU all-star Dawn Evans in receiving Honorable Mention accolades in 2011.

OLD DOMINION WELCOMES KAREN BAREFOOT AS HEAD COACH: Former Lady Monarch assistant coach Karen Barefoot, who last season led Elon to its first ever Division I postseason appearance, was named Old Dominion's new head women's basketball coach on June 8, 2011. Barefoot became just the sixth head coach in Lady Monarch basketball history and first new hire since 1987. Barefoot, the school's first Native American head coaching hire, takes over a program that has reached postseason play in 19 of its last 20 years and has won 929 games, the third most all-time in women's basketball history. Barefoot, who hails from Newport News, Va., has a career head coaching record of 209-144, resulting in 11 winning seasons. Aside from Elon, Barefoot has also held the head coaching position at Division II Lenoir Rhyne College and at the Apprentice School.

REPRESENTING THE USA IN WOMEN'S HOOPS: CAA women's basketball standouts Elena Delle Donne of Delaware and Shante Evans of Hofstra were invited to participate in a pair of USA Basketball events. Delle Donne was selected for the 2011 USA World University Games Team and led her team to a gold medal in China in August 2011. VCU's Courtney Hurt also received an invite to the team trials with Delle Donne. The Delaware stand-out and All-American led the USA team averaging 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Red, White and Blue during six games. Evans was selected as a member of the USA Basketball Women's Pan American Games Team. She averaged 6.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game during her four outings with the Pan American Games Team which went 2-2. 

SIX TEAMS DANCE IN POSTSEASON PLAY IN 2011: For the sixth consecutive season, at least three CAA teams advanced to the postseason and for the 11th consecutive season the CAA had a representative in the WNIT, as the CAA was just one of three conferences to see five teams in the WNIT. CAA champion James Madison was selected as the 11th-seed in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, while Delaware, Drexel, UNCW, Old Dominion, and VCU were invited to the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The Southeastern and Atlantic 10 also saw five conference teams advance to the postseason WNIT event in 2011.

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