CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL WEEKLY REPORT - DEC. 5
**Complete release located in PDF format at the bottom of this article**
• CAA squads are currently 40-30 in non-conference play. The league opened conference play on Dec. 4 and Delaware, George Mason, Hofstra, Towson, Drexel and VCU started CAA play 1-0.
• With their wins on Sunday, Delaware, George Mason and Hofstra extended their winning streaks to six straight.
• Delaware is ranked No. 1 in the latest RPI report compiled by Collegiate Basketball News, through games of Dec. 4. The CAA is ranked seventh among the conferences with seven teams in the Top 100 and four in the Top 21.
• Delaware moved up to #22 in the AP Top 25.. The Blue Hens are currently 6-0 with victories over ranked-Penn State, Villanova, Saint Bonaventure and Rhode Island.
• Three CAA players were named to the 2011-12 Naismith Women's Basketball Player of the Year early-season watch list.
• NCAA Division I Women's Basketball National Stat Rankings through games of Dec. 4 had a number of CAA highlights. The CAA boasts the top scorer in the nation in UD's Elena Delle Donne (29.3 ppg), along with third-ranked Mason's Taleia Moton (24.7 ppg) and eigth-ranked VCU's Courtney Hurt (22.6 ppg). Full listing on page 11 of this report.
• 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 earned CAA Player of the Week accolades for the third time this season after helping the No. 24-ranked Blue Hens to a 2-0 week with victories over Princeton and William & Mary in the conference opener. The junior, who is leading the nation in scoring (29.3 ppg), poured in 27.5 points per game on 61.8 percent shooting (21-of-34) from the floor. She also added a team-best 9.0 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 4.0 assists per game. Delle Donne became the sixth Delaware player to reach the 1,500 career point mark during the match-up against W&M.
Taleia Moton • George Mason
Fort Washington, Md./Suitland, Sr., Guard
Moton received CAA Player of the Week honors for the second straight week after helping the Patriots go 2-0 on the week. She led the league averaging 32.5 points per game on 60.5 percent shooting (23-of-38) from the field, including a career-high 33 points against Old Dominion. Moton also marked career highs with seven rebounds and 12 made free throws against the Lady Monarchs. The senior has recorded three consecutive games of posting 30 points or more. Moton also finished the week with 6.0 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.0 assists per game. Moton's 24.7 points per game on the season is the third best mark in the nation.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Aprill McRae • VCU
Raleigh, N.C./Southeast, Fr., Center
McRae collected CAA Rookie of the Week honors as she averaged 9.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per outing for the Rams as they went 1-1, including a conference victory over Northeastern. The rookie contributed a career-best 13 points and seven rebounds against non-conference foe Richmond. McRae finished the week shooting 61.5 percent (8-of-13) from the field with one block and two steals in 60 minutes of play.
CAA AT NO. 7 IN RPI RANKING - SEVEN CAA SQUADS IN TOP 100, INCLUDING DELAWARE AT NO. 1: The CAA opened the 2011-12 season 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 is ranked at No. 1 in the team RPI ranking, as the first of seven CAA teams in the Top 100. Hofstra (13), Towson (15) and James Madison (21) are the only other CAA schools that are listed in the Top 50. Drexel (83), William & Mary (89) and Georgia State (95) round out the CAA teams in the Top 100.
CAA IN THE AP POLL: The Delaware Blue Hens moved up to #22 in the Dec. 5 AP poll after their perfect start to the season. The Blue Hens were awarded the #22 spot with 156 votes. 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. The Blue Hens also received votes again in the Nov. 28 ESPN/WBCA Coaches Poll with 16 votes, while James Madison received one vote.
STELLAR OUTINGS & STRONG STATS (Week Ending Dec. 4): Delaware, George Mason and Hofstra went 2-0 on the week. The Patriots' Taleia Moton led the league averaging 32.5 points per contest, while Delaware's Elena Delle Donne (27.5 ppg), VCU's Andrea Barbour (23.0 ppg) and Courtney Hurt (22.0 ppg), and Hofstra's Nicole Capurso (20.0 ppg) all averaged 20 or more points per game last week. UNCW's Karneshia Garrett grabbed a league-best 13.0 rebounds per game in a pair of outings, while Old Dominion's Tia Lewis (11.5 rpg), Northeastern's Christine Huber (11.5 rpg), William & Mary's Emily Correal (11.3 rpg) and Hurt (10.5 rpg) added 10+ rebounds per outing.
THREE CAA WBB TEAMS RANKED IN COLLEGEINSIDER.COM MID-MAJOR POLL (NOV. 29): Delaware jumped to fourth & received a first place vote in the CollegeInsider.com Nov. 29 edition of the mid-major poll, while James Madison followed at fifth and Hofstra made its first appearance at #19. VCU and Drexel also received votes in the weekly poll. 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 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.
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.
EXTRA HONORS: CollegeSportsMadness.com has named Hofstra's Candice Bellocchio a Madness High-Major Conference Player of the Week representing the CAA. She received this honor after helping the Pride to a 2-0 week with victories over St. John's and Georgia State. She averaged 11.5 points per game to go along with a team-best nine assists and five steals.
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.
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.
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.
TV EXPOSURE: The CAA is scheduled to see at least 27 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.
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: 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.