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Courtesy: CAA
UD's Elena Delle Donne & W&M's Janine Aldridge

CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL WEEKLY REPORT - NOV. 14

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 11/14/2011
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**Complete release located in PDF format at the bottom of this article**

CAA 4-1-1:

  • CAA squads went 7-10 on the opening weekend of the 2011-12 season. James Madison opened with a pair of victories, while Delaware, Towson and William & Mary went 1-0 on the weekend. George Mason and Hofstra split in the first two games of the season.
  • Delaware was selected as the preseason CAA favorite to win the 2011-12 title. VCU followed along with James Madison and Hofstra.
  • Old Dominion named Karen Barefoot head coach of the Lady Monarchs over the summer.
  • Virginia 529 Women's Basketball Championship will return to The Show Place Arena in 2012 in Upper Marlboro, Md.
  • Three CAA teams ranked in preseason Mid-Major poll: Delaware, James Madison and VCU.

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 89-53 home win over Rhode Island in the opening weekend. The junior guard/forward scored a game-high 33 points on 12-of-17 (.705) shooting from the floor and 6-of-6 (1.000) from the free-throw line. She scored 28 of her 33 points in the first half as Delaware jumped out to a 51-20 first half lead. Delle Donne played in just 24 minutes against URI. She also added six rebounds, one block and one steal.

Janine Aldridge - William & Mary
Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa, Jr., Guard

Aldridge was awarded CAA Player of the Week after posting a career-high 24 points to lead the Tribe to an 85-54 home victory last weekend. The junior guard shot an impressive 9-for-11 (.818) from the floor, including going 5-for-6 (.833) from long range. She also went 1-for-1 (1.000) from the free-throw line against Cornell. Aldridge added three assists and three steals on the night.  

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Ashley Betz-White - Old Dominion
Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity, Fr., Guard

Betz-White collected CAA Rookie of the Week accolades after pouring in a career-best 22 points against Virginia Tech on Nov. 11. The freshman shot 58.3 percent from the floor that evening, including going 5-for-8 (.625) from three-point range.  Betz-White finished the week averaging 12.0 points per game to go along with 4.0 rebounds per outing. She also added eight assists and one steal for the Lady Monarchs as they faced a pair of difficult ACC opponents.      


STARTING THE 2011-12 SEASON: Strong scoring in the CAA over the first weekend.  Delaware's Elena Delle Donne led all CAA players with 33 points in just 24 minutes, while Drexel's Hollie Mershon (26.0 ppg), William & Mary's Janine Aldridge (24.0 ppg), JMU's Tarik Hislop (21.0 ppg) and Jaclyn McKenna (20.0 ppg) all averaged 20+ points per game during the opening weekend.  Towson's Nyree Williams (11.0 rpg) and George Mason's Amber Easter (10.0 rpg) averaged 10+ rebounds per game. Fifteen CAA players shot perfect from the line with making two or more free-throw shots, including JMU's Kirby Burkholder going 8-for-8. Hofstra's Candace Bond snatched 12 (6.0 spg) steals and Towson's Meredith Kennedy went 4-for-4 in three-pointers.

EXTRA HONORS: CollegeSportsMadness.com has named Delaware's Elena Delle Donne a Madness High-Major Conference Player of the Week representing the CAA. She received this honor after pouring in a game-high 33 points in 24 minutes of action in Delaware's win over Rhode Island at home on Nov. 11.  

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 (25.3 ppg/7.8 rpg) 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 (18.4 ppg/11.0 rpg), VCU's Courtney Hurt (23.2 ppg/12.4 rpg) and Andrea Barbour (16.3 ppg/5.6 rpg) and Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite (17.6 ppg/6.3 rpg). 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.
    
TOP GUNS: The CAA returns four of the top five scorers from a year ago, including VCU's Courtney Hurt who was ranked second in the nation in scoring with 23.2 points per game. Overall, 21 of the CAA's top 30 scorers from last season are back in 2011-12. Hurt led the nation in rebounding with 12.4 boards per game, as well as double-doubles (25), and joins 12 of the top 20 rebounders returning for the new season. The conference also welcomes back eight of the top 10 in assists.

RETURNING THREE ALL-AMERICA HONOREES: 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: Colonial Athletic Association 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.   

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.

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. A three-time Kodak/WBCA All-American, she has been inducted into the CNU Athletic Hall of Fame and had her college jersey (No. 10) retired. In 2006 she was named to USA South's 25th Anniversary Team.

TV EXPOSURE: The CAA is scheduled to see at least 25 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.

THREE CAA WBB TEAMS RANKED IN COLLEGEINSIDER.COM PRESEASON MID-MAJOR POLL: Delaware was ranked 10th in the CollegeInsider.com preseason mid-major poll, while James Madison and VCU followed at 12th and 19th, respectively. Old Dominion, UNCW and Hofstra also received votes in the preseason poll. Atop the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 is Green Bay, which received 23 first-place votes. The CAA and the Mid-American each had three teams ranked in the preseason poll, which lead any other league. 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 season.

CAA IN THE AP POLL: The Delaware Blue Hens received a vote in the 2011-12 AP Preseason Top 25. For the third time in her tenure as head coach, Tina Martin's squad has earned notice in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. The Blue Hens received a vote in the pre-season poll announced earlier this week and were the only team in the CAA to be recognized. Delaware also received notice in the AP Top 25 polls during the 2006-07 and 2009-10 campaigns. The votes in 2009-10 also occurred in the pre-season poll.

SIX TEAMS DANCE IN POSTSEASON PLAY: 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, UNC Wilmington, 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.
 
CAA AT No. 9 IN RPI RANKING: The CAA completed the season ranked ninth among the nation's 32 Division I conferences in women's basketball according to the RPI report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News. James Madison finished ranked 44th in the team RPI ranking. Old Dominion (59) and VCU (97) are the only other CAA schools that completed the season in the Top 100.

--complete team notes included in PDF Report--
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