WBB Weekly Report - Feb. 27
• Nationally-ranked Delaware clinched the top see of the upcoming Virginia 529 CAA Women's Basketball Championship and improved to 17-0 in conference play. James Madison secured the #2 seed in the upcoming tournament. Drexel and Hofstra are currently tied for third place with a 11-6 mark and are playing for seeds this week as they have each earned a bye.
• Delaware standout Elena Delle Donne was named Capital One National Academic All-American of the Year on Feb. 23.
• Virginia 529 Women's Basketball Championship will return to The Show Place Arena in 2012 in Upper Marlboro, Md.
• For the third straight week, Delaware climbed in the AP Top 25 Poll to #8 on Feb. 27 and was ranked at #8 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll (Feb. 21). The Blue Hens received the highest ranking for a CAA women's basketball squad since Old Dominion was 10th on Feb. 18, 2008. Delaware is No. 1 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll for the second straight week on Feb. 21.
• UD's Elena Delle Donne (1st, 28.3 ppg), VCU's Courtney Hurt (9th, 22.1 ppg) and George Mason's Taleia Moton (11th, 20.9 ppg) rank in the Top 11 leading scorers in the nation as of games through Feb. 26. Hurt is currently the nation's leading rebounder with 12.8 rpg. Full listing on page 12 of this report.
• Delaware, which finished the non-conference portion of its schedule at No. 1, is ranked at No. 7 in the latest RPI rankings report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News. The CAA is ranked seventh among the conferences with six teams in the Top 89.
• 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 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.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Elena Delle Donne • Delaware
Wilmington, Del./Ursuline, Jr., Guard/Forward
Delle Donne collected CAA Player of the Week honors after leading No. 9/8 Delaware to a pair of conference victories over George Mason and Northeastern. The junior guard/forward averaged team highs of 31.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. She shot 57.5 percent (23-for-40) from the floor, 50 percent (6-for-12) from long range and 84.6 percent (11-for-13) from the line. Delle Donne also dished out six assists, blocked three shots and tallied two steals. Against Mason, Delle Donne became the program's all-time leader for free throws made and currently has 545 for her career.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Aprill McRae • VCU
Raleigh, N.C./Southeast, Fr., Center
McRae received CAA Rookie of the Week after helping the Rams to a 1-1 week, including a road victory over Georgia State. The rookie center averaged 9.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in the two games off the bench last week. McRae finished with 12 points on a perfect showing (6-for-6) from the floor against the Panthers. The 100 percent performance from the floor against GSU was the first for a VCU player since March 14, 2003. McRae finished the week shooting 69.2 percent (9-for-13) from the floor.
CAA AT NO. 7 IN RPI RANKING - SIX CAA SQUADS IN TOP 100, INCLUDING DELAWARE AT NO. 7 (Through Games of Feb. 26): 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. 7 in the team RPI ranking, as the first of six CAA teams in the Top 100. James Madison (33) is the only other CAA schools that are listed in the Top 50. Hofstra (52), UNCW (82), Drexel (84), Towson (89) round out the CAA teams in the Top 100.
CAA IN THE TOP 25: The Delaware Blue Hens jumped to #9 in the Feb. 20 AP poll and #8 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll last week. The Blue Hens were awarded the #9 spot with 655 votes in the AP Poll and #8 with 522 nods in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. The Blue Hens received the highest ranking for a CAA women's basketball squad since Old Dominion was 10th on Feb. 18, 2008. 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.
DELLE DONNE NAMED CAPITAL ONE NATIONAL ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN OF THE YEAR: Delle Donne was named to the Capital One Academic All-American first team on Feb. 23 and went a step higher by being selected as the Academic All-American of the Year for NCAA Division I women's basketball. The award is selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) by a vote of its members. An early childhood major with a 3.60 cumulative grade point average, Delle Donne was one of 15 NCAA Division I women's players recognized on the Academic All-American team and was selected as the top student-athlete from among that prestigious group. Delle Donne, who was named to the CoSIDA District 2 All-Academic first team earlier this month and to the second team last season, becomes just the second University of Delaware women's basketball player to earn a spot on the Academic All-American team - joining UD Athletics Hall of Fame member Lori Howard who was a third team Academic All-American in 1980. Delle Donne, a Dean's List student and a soon-to-be three-time member of the CAA Academic Honor Roll, is the first UD student-athlete in any sport to be named the Academic All-American of the Year.
THREE CAA WBB TEAMS RANKED IN COLLEGEINSIDER.COM MID-MAJOR POLL (Feb. 21): Delaware steadied at No. 1 with 28 first place votes in the CollegeInsider.com Feb. 21 edition of the mid-major poll, while James Madison is ranked #13 and Hofstra at #20. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have not received a credential form to fill out. Delaware (16-0 CAA) and James Madison (12-4) have locked up the top two seeds in the bracket.
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.
CAA, NBC SPORTS GROUP REACH FIVE-YEAR AGREEMENTS FOR NATIONAL BASKETBALL AND FOOTBALL RIGHTS: The CAA has reached five-year agreements with the NBC Sports Group that will provide the most extensive and comprehensive exposure of the conference in its history with coverage on NBC Sports Network and across the group's regional sports networks. The agreements, which begin with the 2012-13 season and runs through 2016-17, will provide national television coverage of CAA men's basketball and football games on the NBC Sports Network, regional television coverage of CAA men's and women's basketball and football through the Comcast SportsNet regional networks and coverage of a variety of other CAA sports through NBCSports.com. The CAA is the first collegiate athletic conference to sign a broadcast agreement with the NBC Sports Network, which launched on January 2, 2012. The Comcast SportsNet regional networks, which have partnered with the CAA for the past 28 years, will regionally televise 39 additional men's and women's basketball games, including the quarterfinals of the CAA Men's Basketball Championship and the semifinals and finals of the CAA Women's Basketball Championship.
CAA ALL-TIME RECORD BOOK WATCH: Some impressive movement in the CAA All-Time Record Book. VCU's Courtney Hurt leaped to #2 in the CAA All-Time Record Book in rebounds with 1,153 career boards. She is also ranked in the record book for points with 1,954 (6th), field goals made with 716 (8th) as well as field goals attempted with 1,597 (6th) and free throws made with 477 (6th). Delaware's Elena Delle Donne is ranked in the top 10 career lists with 2,096 career points (5th), 545 made career free throws (3rd), 187 blocked shots (6th), field goals made (704, 9th) and recently jumped in the top 10 for field goals attempted (1,476, 8th). William & Mary's Taysha Pye put her name in the books with 1,415 career field goal attempts (10th), 475 career free throws made tied at 7th and is also 7th in the free throws attempted category with 679. Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite is ranked 9th with 230 three-point field goals made, while Hofstra's Candice Bellocchio is listed in the top 10 career list for assists with 608 (6th). The complete watch list is located on page 14 of this report.
NOTE WORTHY INDIVIDUAL STATS: UD's Elena Delle Donne (1st, 28.3 ppg), VCU's Courtney Hurt (9th, 22.1 ppg) and George Mason's Taleia Moton (12th, 20.9 ppg) rank in the Top 12 leading scorers in the nation as of games through Feb. 26. Hurt is currently the nation's leading rebounder with 12.8 rpg. As of games through Feb. 26, Hurt has recorded 53 career double-doubles which is the longest active career mark in Division I Women's Basketball. Hofstra's Shante Evans follows Hurt with 47 (in three years) ranked fourth, Old Dominion's Tia Lewis has tallied 40 career double-doubles tied for seventh. Delle Donne (44) 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 69 straight games scoring 10+ points per game.
DELAWARE, OLD DOMINION SELECTED TO HOST 2013 NCAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL POSTSEASON ROUNDS: The NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee has announced the selections of the first and second-round as well as regional sites for the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. Delaware, located in Newark, Del., received a first and second-round games in 2013. Old Dominion, located in Norfolk, Va., was selected as a host for a Regional Site. ODU has hosted the NCAA tournament 22 total times, including five Regionals - most recently in 2004. Dates for the events will be determined in June 2012.
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 UD 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 CAA play.
- Delaware's Elena Delle Donne reached her 2,000th career point while notching a season-high 42 points against Hofstra on Feb. 16.
- 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 Jan. 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.
DELLE DONNE SELECTED TO USBWA MIDSEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST: The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected 20 outstanding players for its first Midseason Watch List for the Women's National Player of the Year. Members of the association's board of directors chose the players to be included on the list as contenders for the trophy, which will be presented to the national player of the year in Denver at the USBWA's Women's College Basketball Awards Breakfast on April 3. Five National Players of the Week from this season are featured as well: Brittney Griner from Baylor, Elena Delle Donne from Delaware, Nneka Ogwumike from Stanford, Sugar Rodgers from Georgetown, and A'dia Mathies from Kentucky. Last season's women's winner as the National Freshman of the Year, Odyssey Sims of Baylor is also among the players to watch down the stretch.
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.
EXTRA HONORS: CollegeSportsMadness.com has named Northeastern's Deanna Kerkhof a Madness High-Major Conference Player of the Week representing the CAA (Feb. 20). The junior guard averaged 21.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game in the Huskies two wins last week.
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.