Monday, November 30, 2009

Five reasons (plus) not to despair about 0-5 ODU

No team likes to exit November without a win. As dismal as the first five games have been for Old Dominion - and yes they have been ugly (they're shooting 31 percent and averaging 51 points per game) - there's reason for hope come December.

Here's five reasons for Lady Monarch fans to smile:

1. Jessica Canady hasn't played yet. Forget the 16 minutes next to the preseason All-CAA first-teamer's name in the Stanford box. Canady continues to heal from offseason knee surgery and her not playing these past five games, however distressing for fans, is the best thing for the 6-1 forward. ODU needs a healthy Canady, and sitting her out until she is 100 percent ready can only pay off in the long run. A healthy Canady will make a huge difference on the floor for an ODU team that desperately needs height and experience and more importantly, scoring.

2. The second half against Louisville. The Cancun trip was on the verge of being a disaster before the Lady Monarchs pulled it together to rally from 23 down against the Cardinals. They cut it to two behind career highs from Shadasia Green and Tia Lewis. Great to see that kind of fight in ODU and more significantly, something to build on.

3. As for Lewis, she's our third reason to smile. If Lewis can put up 24 against Louisville and 15 against Stanford, she can be a force in the CAA. No doubt the Conference USA Freshman of the Year who sat out last year due to NCAA transfer rules was rusty after not playing college basketball for a season. Particularly in Cancun, the player ODU fans have anticipated emerged in a manner that hopefully becomes routine.

4. The schedule has been brutal. Stanford is a national championship contender. Maryland at their place is daunting. As tropical as Cancun sounds, the Lady Monarchs had to be reeling from junior Jasmine Parker losing her brother the week before. But take a look at the next four games. ODU plays three straight home games against Ole Miss, Florida and Hampton. Ole Miss is 5-1, but those five have come against Florida Atlantic, San Jose State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Sam Houston State and SE Louisiana. Florida is 3-3, having defeated Stetson, UAB and Florida International. Hampton notably upended CAA foes William and Mary and UNCW, but has dropped its last three to Richmond, SMU and Fresno State. The lone road game for ODU in its next four is St. Joes (2-4). This team could easily rebound to 4-5. Of course, then they head to Knoxville.....

5. They're young. Really, really young. But youth grows up quickly as the minutes mount. We already like Jackie Cook's poise. JoNiquia Guilford has shown glimpses of the player she was in high school, and she's still working her way into shape.

Not convinced? Here's two more reasons not to count out the Lady Monarchs:

6. As nice as it is to knock off a team in the nonconference, here's what matters for ODU: a handful of games in March. The CAA is much improved, but it's not the SEC. ODU should be a viable contender for an 18th CAA tournament championship..

7. How you say? Here's our ace in the hole. Wendy Larry. With 17 CAA tournament titles to her credit, the Lady Monarchs coach, who is 31 wins shy of of 600, knows a thing or two about winning.


  1. I love our Lady Monarchs and have faith in them. As a good friend always says: "you have to believe". ODU fans do believe in our girls.

  2. Keep the faith, Noreen. Life has to get better when Canady returns and did you see that Florida lost to Florida A&M? ODU can win the next four and then (gulp) comes Tennessee.