Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wednesday dribble

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like...the Patriot Center? Meanwhile, Old Dominion's non-conference woes continue, and Radford and Hampton prepare to close out the state's pre-Christmas slate with what should be a real pitcher's duel at the HU Convocation Center.

Tuesday's results

St. Joseph's 78, Old Dominion 62: The longer a game plays out, the easier it's become to solve the ODU defense. Tuesday marked the sixth time this season an opponent has shot at least 48 percent against ODU (2-7) in the second half; the Lady Monarchs are 0-6 in those games. This team also continues to travel poorly. On Jan. 22, the Lady Monarchs visited Williamsburg and topped William and Mary 66-48. They haven't won a road game since (0-8). On the bright side, Tia Lewis had an efficient 22 points (8-of-10 shooting) and Shadasia Green filled up the stat sheet (20 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 assists and a block). But these two have delivered all season. For various reasons (injury, inexperience, etc.), there's really no one else Wendy Larry has been able to count on night-in and night-out.

George Mason 63, George Washington 53: This may have been the most satisfying victory in Mason's school-record 7-0 mark at the Patriot Center, as it came against a city/recruiting rival and a team coach Jeri Porter told her players would be the best they've hosted to date. Brittany Eley, subbing for an injured Ashleigh Braxton (back), led the way with 19 points. But three other starters also finished in double figures as the Patriots roll into a Christmas break after a 7-3 start. And remember, this is a program that won just four games all of last season.

Wednesday's game

Radford (1-8) at Hampton (2-7), 5:30 p.m. The Highlanders average fewer points per game than all but two of the 332 Division I schools (47.5 ppg), while Hampton ranks dead last in shooting percentage. Bottom line - we're not expecting a high-scoring contest. But we are expecting a fiercely fought battle. Because while Radford has dropped three straight and has yet to beat a D-I school and Hampton has lost seven in a row, this is a game both teams expect to win. Hampton 51, Radford 49


  1. ODU's loss at St. Joe's had to be the toughest for the Monarchs thus far. After all the Hawks were just 3-7 going in ...

    Is it just because ODU is such a question mark that the CAA looks more wide open than maybe ever before? How do you see the league now that conference play is a little over a week away?

    Madison is obviously strong, but how good will Delaware be with Delle Donne? Drexel is just 5-4, but the Dragons are up and down every year before January. Can VCU contend with this group? ... and just where does ODU fit in the mix? Was Towson's win over Maryland a fluke? Is Georgia State as good as their 7-2 record (with 2 close losses to nationally ranked teams) might indicate. Is GMU as good as their record, or W&M as bad as they've looked? When has non-conference play told us so little about what to expect in the CAA during Jan. and Feb? It's gonna be interesting!

  2. Finally the CAA gets to experience life as a normal conference, where 4 or 5 teams go in with realistic dreams of winning it all. For a remarkable number of years, it was ODU and everyone else.
    We're going to take an expansive look at the impending CAA race next week. But here are a few initial thoughts:
    - JMU deserves the favorite's role, but when the Dukes get into league play against teams familiar with their style, we expect they'll have their share of challenges.
    - Delle Donne is the real deal, but we still want to see what Delaware looks like against quality foes;
    - Weak schedules have also inflated the win totals of Mason and Georgia State. But that's not a criticism, especially with Mason. If I was coming off a 4-win season, I schedule conservatively, too.
    - You're right about Drexel struggling early; they started 4-6 last year and 1-6 the year before that. We're still expecting them to turn it on;
    - William and Mary beats itself too much with turnovers and missed free throws/layups
    - Finally, ODU is definitely a work in progress. We wouldn't be surprised if come February, a couple of guards have stepped up and the Lady Monarchs bare some real teeth. But based on what we've seen so far, we also wouldn't be surprised if ODU's non-conference struggles bleed into their early CAA slate, especially when the Lady Monarchs have to go on the road.
    Happy holidays!