Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dawn of a new day

It's a great day to be a women's basketball fan in Virginia! James Madison stuns Virginia in its own building for arguably the Dukes' biggest victory since they defeated Penn State in the second round of the NCAA tournament in 1991. Old Dominion survives a tight game against Ole Miss to earn its first win. And Richmond ends Virginia Commonwealth's 19-game home court win streak.

James Madison 75, Virginia 73:
Monica Wright gets all the pub, but how much do you know about Dawn Evans? Here's what we know. Behind Evans' 38, James Madison went to Charlottesville and took out Virginia 75-73. The Cavaliers were 14th in the nation behind Wright, a preseason first-team All-American, and as well as Wright played Sunday (31 points), Evans played better. If you haven't seen Evans, here's the scoop. She dabbled in acting as a child -- she lived alongside Hilary Duff and Frankie Muniz -- but at 12, Evans made a decision. She chose basketball and Kenny Brooks knew from the first moment he saw her, "That's who I want to be my point guard." Maybe the Hollywood limelight prepared her for the spotlight where she continues to shine, never brighter than at John Paul Jones Arena on Sunday. Her 38 points ties her own school record and reaffirms what we already knew: In a big spot Evans craves the ball and knows what to do with it when she gets it.
Know what else Evans has? Tasik Hislop. With the heat on the junior late in the second half, the freshman scored 10 of her 14 points in the final 11:09. Hislop is the Robin that Evans didn't have last year and the reason why the Dukes will break into the national rankings in a big way in Monday's poll.
Quipped Dukes coach Kenny Brooks: "We've been scratching and clawing. Hopefully this will get us on the radar screen."
Wright was no slouch by the way with 31.

Richmond 66, VCU 52:
So much for home-court advantage. Richmond's underrated Brittani Shells went off again with an 18-point, 11-rebound effort, three other players had at least two 3-pointers and sophomore reserve Abby Oliver chipped in 15. The Spiders won at VCU for the first time since 2004. As for the Rams, it's time to start a new streak.

Old Dominion 75, Ole Miss 66
: Hold off on those obituaries, folks. The thought-to-be reeling Lady Monarchs turned in the kind of performance to which its fans have become accustomed, featuring dominant play in the low post, contributions from virtually everyone on the roster and clutch play in the final minutes. Tia Lewis will earn the headlines for her 14, 17-rebound effort. But she had loads of help, with two other players with more than 10 points and three others within a basket of double figures. We especially excited about the play of Canadian freshman Carolann Cloutier, who hit two big 3-pointers in a performance which should infuse her with confidence. And remember, the Lady Monarchs' best player (Jessica Canady) is still on the mend.

St. Joseph's 65, George Mason 46:
Hawks halts the four-game win streak for the Patriots
(5-3), who shoot 27 percent, trail at the half and never lead in the second.

Virginia Tech 85, N.C. Wesleyan 44: Hokies nearly double the score and spit out that nasty taste of Wolverine from Thursday night. Virgina Tech never looks back from a 23-6 start in keeping the Eagles winless in seven games.

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