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Courtesy: CAA
Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and Old Dominion's Tia Lewis

CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL WEEKLY REPORT - FEB. 7

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 02/06/2012
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CAA 4-1-1:

        • Nationally-ranked Delaware is the last team left undefeated in conference play at 11-0, while James Madison and Hofstra are tied for second place with 8-3 CAA records. Drexel and UNCW are tied for fourth with a 7-4 conference mark.  

        • CAA squads went 77-54 in non-conference play. The CAA finished the non-conference slate with the fourth best NC strength of schedule.

        • Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and Hofstra's Shante Evans were selected to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 20.

        • UD's Elena Delle Donne (1st, 28.1 ppg), VCU's Courtney Hurt (8th, 22.3 ppg) and George Mason's Taleia Moton (12th, 21.5 ppg) rank in the Top 12 leading scorers in the nation as of games through Feb. 5. Hurt jumped back to being the nation's leading rebounder with 12.5 rpg. Full listing on page 12 of this report.

        • Delaware, who finished the non-conference portion of its schedule at No. 1, is ranked at No. 6 in the latest RPI rankings report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News. The CAA is ranked seventh among the conferences with seven teams in the Top 100.

        • Delaware stayed at #12 in the AP Top 25 on Feb. 7 and was ranked #13 ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll on Jan. 31. Three CAA teams appeared in the Mid-Major Top 25 last week.

        • CAA Women's Basketball weekly conference calls will continue on Feb. 7 (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 to round out the top four.

        • Virginia 529 Women's Basketball Championship will return to The Show Place Arena in 2012 in Upper Marlboro, Md. (contact Niki DeSantis about credentials if you have not received a request form).

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:

Elena Delle Donne • Delaware

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

Delle Donne received CAA Player of the Week honors leading the #12/13 Delaware Blue Hens to a pair of conference victories UNCW and VCU. The junior guard/forward averaged 25.5 points and 13.0 rebounds per game in back-to-back double-doubles (eight on the year).  Delle Donne also added team highs of five blocks and three steals to go along with six assists on the week. She surpassed the 20-point mark for the 20th time this season.

Tia Lewis • Old Dominion

Poulan, Ga./Worth County, Sr., Forward

Lewis earned CAA Player of the Week honors after leading the Lady Monarchs to a 1-1 week and averaging a team-best 16.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. She posted double-doubles in both games, including 17 points and 10 rebounds in the last second 57-55 loss to James Madison. The senior from Poulan, Ga., recorded her second double-double with 15 points and 11 boards in the 81-79 road win over Hofstra. Lewis finished the week with seven assists, two blocks and two steals. 

 

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:

Miranda Smith • Georgia State

Roanoke, Va./Patrick Henry, Fr., Guard

Smith collected CAA Rookie of the Week after helping the Panthers to their first CAA victory of the season with a win over Northeastern. The freshman guard earned a spot in the starting line-up for both outings, making it seven games this season she has started for Georgia State.  Smith shot an impressive 62.5 percent (5-8) from the floor against Northeastern and finished the week shooting 47.4 percent (9-19).  She also shot 62.5 percent (5-8) from the line against the Huskies. Smith added seven rebounds (nearly 1.5 rpg above her season average), four assists and two steals on the week for the Panthers.

CAA AT NO. 7 IN RPI RANKING - SEVEN CAA SQUADS IN TOP 100, INCLUDING DELAWARE AT NO. 6 (Through Games of Feb. 5):
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, which finished the non-conference season ranked at No. 1, is ranked at No. 6 in the team RPI ranking, as the first of seven CAA teams in the Top 100. James Madison (36) is the other CAA schools that are listed in the Top 50. Hofstra (56), UNCW (72), Towson (77), VCU (81)  and Drexel (93) round out the CAA teams in the Top 100. 

CAA IN THE TOP 25: The Delaware Blue Hens stayed at #12 in the Feb. 6 AP poll after a pair of conference victories and was ranked at #13 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll (Jan. 31). The Blue Hens were awarded the #12 spot with 556 votes in the AP Poll and was ranked at #13 with 382 nods in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. 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. Hofstra earned a pair of votes in the AP Top 25 poll for the first time this season on Jan. 16, while James Madison received nods in the ESPN/USA Today Poll earlier in the season. 

THREE CAA WBB TEAMS RANKED IN COLLEGEINSIDER.COM MID-MAJOR POLL (Jan. 31): Delaware stayed steady ranked second with one first place vote in the CollegeInsider.com Jan. 31 edition of the mid-major poll, while James Madison fell to 11th and Hofstra stayed at 13th. Atop the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 is Green Bay, which received 30 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.

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. Please contact Niki DeSantis (ndesantis@caasports.com) if you have not received a credential form to fill out.

CAA ALL-TIME RECORD BOOK WATCH: Some positive movement in the CAA All-Time Record Book. Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite joined Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, VCU's Courtney Hurt and Hofstra's Candice Bellocchio in the CAA Record Book recently. Nacickate entered the CAA all-time top 10 in three-point field goals made in a career with 219 (9th). Delle Donne is ranked in the top 10 career lists with 1,921 career points (5th), 504 made career free throws (5th), 173 blocks (9th)  and recently jumped in the top 10 for field goals made (643, 10th). Hurt ranks in the CAA record book for points with 1,825 (9th), field goals made with 667 (9th) as well as field goals attempted with 1,489 (7th) and rebounds with 1,072 (7th). Hurt also just entered the all-time category of free throws made with 448 (10th). Bellocchio entered the top 10 career list for assists with 573 (7th). The complete watch list is located on page 13 of this report.

NOTE WORTHY INDIVIDUAL STATS: UD's Elena Delle Donne (1st, 28.1 ppg), VCU's Courtney Hurt (8th, 22.3 ppg) and George Mason's Taleia Moton (12th, 21.5 ppg) rank in the Top 12 leading scorers in the nation as of games through Feb. 5. Hurt is returned as the nation's leading rebounder with 12.5 rpg. As of games through Feb. 5, Hurt has recorded 48 career double-doubles and has the second longest active career mark in Division I Women's Basketball, just behind Callan Taylor (51) from Sacred Heart. Hofstra's Shante Evans follows Hurt with 45 (in three years) ranked fourth and Old Dominion's Tia Lewis has tallied 38 career double-doubles for seventh. Delaware's Elena Delle Donne (38) is among the current leaders for consecutive games scoring 10+ points ranking fourth, as Baylor's Brittney Griner leads all active DI WBB players with 63 straight games scoring 10+ points per game.

NATIONAL HONORS: On Jan. 10, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne was selected as the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Women's National Player of the Week after helping the No. 20 ranked Blue Hens to a 2-0 week. Delle Donne was nearly unstoppable in a record-setting week as the Hens defeated Towson and George Mason. The 6-5 junior exploded for 37 points and became the school's all-time career scoring leader as the Blue Hens downed Towson. She broke the previous Delaware scoring record held by Cindy Johnson, who scored 1,675 points in 1997-01. Delle Donne set the record in just her 63rd career game while Johnson needed 113 games to reach the scoring mark. Johnson was on hand at the game to help celebrate the milestone. In Delaware's showdown with George Mason on Sunday, Delle Donne recorded her fourth double-double of the season by scoring a season high-tying 40 points (arena record for the Patriot Center) to go with 15 rebounds to help keep the Hens perfect in conference play.  Delle Donne was also honored as the ECAC Division I Player of the Week on Jan. 10.

SETTING RECORDS:

  • James Madison's freshman Crystal Ross blocked six shots in the win over ODU (Feb. 1), tying the school freshman record and third-highest single-game blocks total in school history.
  • William & Mary's Janine Aldridge set a school record with nine tree-pointers in the contest against Northestern on Jan. 29. During the same game, she became the Tribe's all-time leader in three-pointers made in a career and now has 204.
  • On Jan. 29, Northeastern's Jamie Conroy dished out a school-record 16 assists.
  • On Jan. 26, VCU's Courtney Hurt became the program's all-time leading scorer snapping a 22-year old school record en route to 1,755 career points. Hurt moved in front of Kelly Hoover (1985-89) on the WBB Rams' all-time scoring list with a free throw at the 10:03 mark in the second half against Drexel.
  • On Jan. 5, Junior All-American Elena Delle Donne exploded for 37 points to became the schools all-time career scoring leader (1,685) against Towson. She passed Cindy Johnson (1,675, 1997-01). Delle Donne set the record in just her 63rd career game while Johnson needed 113 games to reach the scoring mark.
  • In the upset of #11/12 Penn State, 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. She tied her season-best 40 points against George Mason on January 8th.
  • On Jan. 26, Delle Donne scored a season-high 41 points against Hofstra, which ties the CAA all-time 6th single game mark.
  • Joining Delle Donne on the CAA all-time list, is VCU's Courtney Hurt as she poured in a school-record 40 points against UMKC (N. 19).

HIGH-FLYING: The 100-97 win by Hofstra over William & Mary on January 8 was certainly one for the ages.  It easily broke Hofstra's program record for combined points in a game as the previous mark was 176 points (Hofstra 91, Delaware 85 on 2/12/06) for an overtime game and 175 (Hofstra 91, William & Mary 84 on 3/2/11) for a regulation game.  It is also the highest scoring regulation final in CAA Women's Basketball history and the second-highest combined score in CAA Women's Basketball history, only eclipsed by the 218 combined points between Richmond (114) and James Madison (104) in an overtime contest on January 9, 2000. The combined total points also shattered the previous Kaplan Arena mark set back on March 3, 1981 in the VAIAW D-II Quarterfinals when William & Mary defeated Hampton, 96-82.

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.

TWO PLAYERS NAMED TO WOODEN MID-SEASON TOP 20: Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and Hofstra's Shante Evans were selected to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 20. In terms of conference representation, the Big East leads the way with five Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 selections, followed by the ACC with four; the SEC with three; and the Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12 and CAA each with two. The annual Wooden Award Gala will take place on Friday, April 6, 2012, and will honor winners, All Americans and the Legends of Coaching winner Geno Auriemma of Connecticut.

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 (40 pts/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.


TV EXPOSURE: The CAA is scheduled to see a record-best of at least 36 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.

EXTRA HONORS: CollegeSportsMadness.com has named Delaware's Elena Delle Donne a Madness High-Major Conference Player of the Week representing the CAA (Feb. 6) for the third straight week. The junior guard/forward led the 12th-ranked Blue Hens to a pair of victories last week. She averaged 25.5 points per game and 13.0 rebounds per outing, both league-highs. 

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.

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.

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.

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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