Sunday, December 20, 2009

They're free, aren't they?

You know how they say defense wins championships? Free throws often win games in this sport, and problems from the line hindered all but one state team on Sunday. How bout those Lady Monarchs?

Old Dominion 83, Hampton 64: It's a yawner to watch a team go to the line 35 times, but all credit goes to ODU for converting 30 of those attempts. Pirates didn't go down quietly, pulling it to within a bucket at the 14:31 mark, but Lady Monarchs respond with a 13-0 run. Tia Lewis got what we're going to start calling her usual with 15 points and six boards, and Shadasia Green put up the exact same numbers. What's nice to see for ODU: Mairi Buchan adding 14 and Vicki Collier 10. Turnaround time isn't much for ODU , which looks for its first road win on Tuesday at St. Joseph's.

St. John's 75, Virginia Tech 62: The Red Storm misses nine free throws, Hokies miss four, but here's the killer. Tech went to the line 13 times. St. John's sat up shop there 30 times. Another Bigg game from Lindsay (15 points) who made the all-tournament team along with Alyssa Fenyn. Tech doesn't play again for eight days when they return against mood lifter New Jersey Institute of Technology, which will surely get the Hokies back in the win column. Teams played in front of 342 in Queens. Guess everybody was out shoveling snow.

Georgia 69, Virginia 53:
Monica Wright racked 'em up as usual (21 points) to reach the 2,000-mark plateau. Problem is nobody else had much to offer. Georgia led by 20 for most of the game. Cavaliers put in one of those "we can't wait to get home for Christmas" efforts.

High Point 66, William and Mary 58: Both teams miss 10 free throws. Tribe's problem is they went to the line 20 times; High Point was there 31 times. Tribe came closer than this, but High Point padded its lead with nine consecutive free throws to close it out.

Kansas State 73, VCU 67:
Rams (5-4) shot great (53 percent) but couldn't keep the Wildcats off the line where they buried 23 of 25. VCU connected on just 4 of 9 free throws, spoiling a 20-point performance by La'Tavia Rorie.

Monday's games

VCU (5-4) vs. Arkansas (6-5), 7th-place game, Duel in the Desert, 3 p.m.
The Rams, who are 0-2 in this tournament so far, could clearly use a return to form by D'Andra Moss, who scored just eight points in 28 foul-plagued minutes Sunday in a 73-67 loss to Kansas State. Arkansas comes in after losses to DePaul and Texas-San Antonio. VCU 72, Arkansas 69

William and Mary (5-4) vs. Southern (6-3), consolation game, Florida Gators Classic, 3:30 p.m.
Sadly, it appears to be something of a given that the Tribe will hover around the 50-percent mark at the free throw line. This just makes it even more important they drain the high-percentage shots (read layups) we've seen them miss far too many times. 32-percent shooting against High Point? C'mon, guys. William and Mary 64, Southern 53

Radford (1-7) at Richmond (7-3), 7 p.m.
Richmond is 4-0 against Virginia teams so far, having defeated George Mason, Hampton, VCU and William and Mary by an average of 18 points. Radford had hoped to tune up for this contest last Friday, but the Highlanders' game against Davidson was canceled due to the snowstorm. Richmond 69, Radford 51

Longwood (4-8) at JMU (7-1), 5 p.m.
The Lancers have won two in a row, including their first road triumph of the season Friday at High Point. But unless the Dukes' minds start wandering towards the impending Christmas break, they should have a nice bounce-back from Friday's loss at Duke. JMU 78, Longwood 58

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