Lots of action to dip into with two MEAC schools coming up with victories. We congratulate NSU and Hampton but are still trying to figure out what went wrong in Dayton for Richmond.
We picked Richmond to win this A-10 showdown but the Spiders didn't compete. The 52-point walloping was the second largest margin of victory in Dayton history. The Spiders (14-5, 3-1) never showed a semblance of the team they are, outscored 52-16 at the break. They shot 18.6 percent to Dayton's 51 percent. This was a chance to make a statement. This isn't the one Richmond wanted to make.
Coach Debra Clark must be ecstatic that when her youthful Spartans needed to make a play, they got it done, and with it, their third victory of the season. With the score tied at 56, freshman Ricca Trice banked in an off-balance jumper and free throws secured it for NSU. Another freshman, Batavia Owen put together a double-double 20 points and 22 rebounds. NSU (3-11, 0-5) dominated the paint 42-18 and rallied from a four-point halftime deficit.
This was an opportunity for Radford, which led 36-32 early in the second half, but the Highlanders (5-12, 4-2 Big South) fail to capitalize on the road as Coastal benefits from 18 straight made free throws. Victory keeps the Chanticleers perfect at home (8-0) and snaps Radford's three-game win streak. Highlanders, meanwhile, are 1-8 on the road.
Jericka Jenkins could have almost beaten the Wildcats singlehandedly, scoring 31 with six assists, but get this. Twenty-four of those points came from 3-point land, where she was 8 of 14 (might the Wildcats have decided to guard her at some point?). Said the humble Jenkins, “I usually take a lot of 3-point shots in games; this game I just made more than I missed." Another eye-catching stat: a mere 6 turnovers for HU (7-10. 3-3 MEAC), the fewest since '92.
The Buccaneers (thought they were in Tampa) might lead the Big South in scoring, but they were no match for a Flames team that shot 50 percent and owned the paint (48-6). Coach Carey Green won No. 250 in his bare feet, part of a charity effort by Samaritan's Feet to collect shoes. Kudos to coach Julie Goodenough and her staff for also participating. It's the sixth straight win for Liberty and we'd guess the Bucs are a bit tired of them, having been beaten by the Flames 26 straight times.
Sunday's games:VCU (13-5, 6-0 CAA) at Drexel,(11-6, 5-1 CAA) noon
Now, shall we say, it gets interesting. A victory by VCU keeps the Rams undefeated in the league. A loss pushes them into a possible three-way tie for first if Old Dominion wins at Towson. The Rams are no doubt riding high after an exhilarating buzzer beaten by D'Andra Moss lifted them to a one-point victory over Delaware on Thursday. All the buzz around this one, by the way, makes you forget the NFL playoffs today; this is a TV game (Comcast). Consider the streaks: VCU has won eight straight; Drexel was won 16 straight on its home court. Last time they met, the Dragons pulled out an OT victory. Moss is the big name for VCU, but we know Courtney Hurt (12.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg) can hurt you. Rams lead the series 9-5. As hard as it is to pick VCU, we give the Dragons and their excellent ability at the free-throw line the nod at home. Drexel 66, VCU 64
The Cavaliers have won 26 of their 27 meetings in Charlottesville against Georgia Tech. Monica Wright is fresh off a career-high 39 points that lifted the Cavs over Boston College 70-68. Georgia Tech has been holding opponents to 56.3 ppg, so we expect a nailbiter. But it's awful hard to beat Virginia in JPJ. For extra incentive, they're celebrating National Women and Sports Day in Charlottesville and specifically honoring gold medalist Lindsay Shoop, an All-American rower for the Cavaliers. Virginia 70, Georgia Tech 67
Frankly, we don't know what to make of either team. JMU has made a habit of sluggish starts that Dawn Evans continues to pull them out of. Georgia State nearly upset the Dukes in the first meeting before JMU prevailed 68-60. JMU has won all five meetings, but a jacked up GSU team at home can make life difficult for an opponent. Panthers nearly upset ODU on Thursday before Shadasia Green's jump shot broke the final tie with 21 seconds left. GSU nearly beat JMU in Atlanta last season, falling 63-62, but Dukes played without Evans. High octane transition game and a quick-handed defense (allowing a CAA-best 55.6 ppg) will make it close. As tempted as we are to pick the upset, we don't think Evans will let it happen. James Madison 60, Georgia State 54
Make what you will of this. The Hurricanes have won 6 of 9 in this series; Hokies have won two of the last three. Miami is fresh off an upset of Maryland on its home court, while Tech is hurting, having dropped its last two to ranked foes Virginia and Duke. Hurricanes dominate every offensive category, but Tech has a hand up on defense, limiting opponents to 58 ppg and 29 percent FG from long range. This one looks winnable for the Hokies, but earning an ACC road win is no easy feat. Miami 69, Virginia Tech 60
Tigers are the lone CAA team that has never beaten ODU. They have come a long way from the team that could break 30 points when the teams first played in 2004, but remain 0-13. Tigers have been up in a season that included their first-ever Top 25 win (Maryland) and taking James Madison to OT. They only average 59 ppg and they shoot the 3 worst than ODU (26 percent). But their Dawn Evans is the Tigers' all-time leading scorer Shanae Baker-Brice, a 5-6 engine-that-could guard that dumped a game-high 32 on JMU. ODU has showed its resolve in the league this far, surviving Georgia State and walloping Drexel. They had trouble finding their shooting touch against the Panthers and this game is hardly a cakewalk, but we think ODU will win its fifth straight. Old Dominion 67, Towson 58
Fun matchup today as Tribe tries to snap a two-game slide and pick up its first CAA road win. If they win, we suspect sizzling Katherine DeHenzel will have something to do with it; the sophomore shoots better from behind the arc (53 percent) than from the field (52 percent) in six league games. Tribe battled VCU well a week ago before laying an egg against Hofstra on Thursday. Patriots have dropped four of their last five to W&M, but with an 8-1 mark at home this season, we like them in this matchup. Either way Patriot Center will sparkle as it's Princess Day (young girls are encouraged to wear their favorite princess outfit). The first 300 receiving a green tiara and Mason students get a chance to win a flat screen TV. George Mason 59, William and Mary 56