Thursday, November 12, 2009

We sure can pick 'em!

Didn’t Tom Petty say the waiting is the hardest part? Well, hey, the waiting is over. Finally, real games!

Women's basketball's opening night features a smorgasbord of matchups involving state teams, including

- the No. 2 team in the nation invading Old Dominion;

- Virginia's Debbie Ryan going for victory No. 700; and,

- Norfolk State, the worst team in Division I in 2008-09, looking to match its win total from a year ago with a victory tonight.

A week ago, we ranked the state's Division I teams. Today we’re picking the games (scores and all). Crazy? Perhaps. But we like things a little zany here at Ladyswish HQ.

So here goes nothing. Oh, and feel free to use the comments section to play along with us.

Stanford at Old Dominion, 7 p.m.
How good is Stanford? Sorry Husky fans, but this might be the best team in the country. You couldn’t ask for a bigger frontcourt than National Player of the Year prospect Jayne Appel, the long and quick Kayla Pederson and sensational soph Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who, by the way, shot 78 percent in the Cardinal’s two exhibitions. A young Lady Monarch team will have trouble matching up, but what a treat it would be if ODU could make Stanford sweat it out a bit. The nor’easter in Norfolk won’t help bring in the crowd that ODU could desperately use because as every Lady Monarch fan knows, Tara isn’t crazy about playing in this town. Stanford 84, Old Dominion 69.

Western Carolina at Richmond, 4 p.m.
It shouldn’t be close. Richmond is a threat for the A-10 title. Western Carolina has a new coach in Karen Middleton. The Spiders return five starters. The Catamounts graduated their top two scorers. Nuf said? Richmond 79, Western Carolina 54.

Norfolk State at George Mason, 5 p.m.
Don't be insulted, Spartans. In two meetings with CAA teams a year ago, you guys lost by an average of 51 points. So no, picking the new-look Patriots to thump you by 30 is no insult. It's actually progress. George Mason 81, Norfolk State 51

Virginia at UMBC, 7 p.m
Rumor says the cake is already waiting to celebrate Debbie Ryan’s 700th victory tonight. While this looks like an easy gimme for Virginia, consider UMBC scored 2,000 points a year ago and returns the top dog in America East scoring the last two years in Carlee Cassidy. Of course, nobody scored more in the ACC than the Cavaliers’ Monica Wright last season. Joining Wright tonight – five of the best freshmen in the country, including a kid named China. UMBC is no patsy, but this Virginia team is a national contender again. Virginia 91, UMBC 54.

Winston-Salem State at Liberty, 7 p.m.
Man, these exhibition games are really.... Huh? This counts? But while this opponent doesn't do much for us, the Lady Flames won't be out there yukking it up. A year ago, a much more experienced Liberty team trailed Winston-Salem at halftime before escaping North Carolina with a 55-43 decision. Liberty 67, Winston-Salem State 47

Longwood at Virginia Tech, 7:30 p.m.
Typically, there's no way an ACC team, at home, should have many problems with an upstart Division I program. But the Hokies haven't been a typical ACC team. So until they prove otherwise, it says here the Lancers hang in this one. Virginia Tech 72, Longwood 60

Also tonight, JMU hosts California (Pa.) in a 7 p.m. exhibition game.

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