Thursday, January 7, 2010

Friday dribble: ODU's reality check

Old Dominion fans, welcome to conference life as most teams know it, where every league game is of the knock-down, drag-out variety and nothing is a given, particularly on the road. For years the Lady Monarchs had been exempt from this reality; their combination of considerable talent and championship swagger overwhelmed most CAA teams before the opening tip. But the 2009-10 Lady Monarchs aren't those Lady Monarchs. This group produces high-volume turnovers and is littered with inexperienced players still learning what it takes to compete at an above-average Division I level, let alone the dominant standard of ODU teams past. So you know those streaks about how ODU has never lost here and won X many in a row there? Forget about 'em. For now ODU is just another CAA team trying to make its way in a league of relative equals. So if you're an ODU fan and want to see your team succeed, you need to get out to the Ted Constant Center Sunday when defending champion Drexel visits and scream your lungs out. These Lady Monarchs will need all the homecourt advantage they can get. As for whenever they go on the road, well, as Bette Davis famously put it, fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night.

Northeastern 100, Old Dominion 94 (3OT): No disrespect to Northeastern, but the Lady Monarchs actually beat themselves (40 turnovers); the Huskies merely finished them off. Northeastern scored 35 points off the ODU's miscues, many of which were unforced. The Lady Monarchs also wasted an 18-point, 12-rebound night by Jessica Canady, by far her most effective outing in an injury-plagued senior season. Still, the big-picture fact is the Lady Monarchs opened conference play with two road games and earned a split. In the new world of ODU hoops, that's probably all fans should have expected.

JMU 68, Georgia State 60: Neither team's star had it working - JMU's Dawn Evans had 26 points but needed 28 shots to get them and Georgia State's Danyiell McKeller had 16 on 8 of 26 shooting and missed all three of her free throws. But Evans had much better support, as Tarik Hislop and Lauren Jimenez - both missing-in-action offensively in Sunday's loss to Drexel - contributed 14 points apiece to help the Dukes (11-2, 1-1) shake the Panthers off.

VCU 67, UNC Wilmington 54: That's four straight wins for the Rams, who continued to do the job defensively by making 14 steals and forcing 26 Seahawks turnovers. The final score is a bit misleading, though, as Wilmington hung around throughout and was down by only three with less than three minutes to play before an 11-0 blitz by the Rams put things on ice. Courtney Hurt and Kita Waller scored all 11 of those points; Waller finished with 17 points and 7 steals and Hurt checked in with 14 points and 7 boards. D'Andra Moss led all scorers with 22 points.

Drexel 46, William and Mary 43: The precision Dragons (8-5, 2-0) are nearly impossible to catch from behind, but the Tribe (8-5, 1-1) nearly pulled it off with defense and Katherine DeHenzel, who splashed 3 3-pointers and assisted on two other scores over a six-minute span to help the Tribe cut a 13-point deficit to one (44-43) with 2:18 left. From there, however, the Tribe failed at one of their specialties - rebounding - as the Dragons hogged the ball by snatching four offensive boards down the stretch. Drexel star Gabriela Marginean finally converted a layup with one second left to close the Tribe out. Marginean now has a CAA-record 2,134 career points; she broke former JMU star Tamera Young's mark as 6:34 of the first half on a free throw after a technical foul on W&M coach Debbie Taylor.

No. 13 Florida State 68, No. 21 Virginia 50: The Cavaliers led 34-32 at the break, but their offense basically no-showed in the second half (16 points). For the game Virginia managed just six fast-break points, and with their running game stymied they simply couldn't find any other way to put the ball in the basket. At least they got balanced non-scoring - starters Simone Egwu, Paulisha Kellum and Ariana Moorer combined to brick 18 of 21 shots, and Whitny Edwards made 1 of 5 attempts in 28 minutes. Even the great Monica Wright wasn't immune, as it took her 20 shots to post 19 points in a disappointing ACC opener for the Cavaliers (11-4, 0-1 ACC).

Delaware 55, George Mason 44: Mason's offensive woes continued, this time costing the Patriots their seven-game home winning streak. Even the return of shooting guard Ashleigh Braxton (a team-high 11 points) didn't jump-start their attack - Thursday marked the fourth time this season the Pats have scored 46 points or less and second time in a row. Elena Delle Donne posted what for her is a relatively normal stat line - 25 points, 11 rebounds - for the Blue Hens, who held Mason to just 17 second-half points.

Wake Forest 66, Virginia Tech 63: This one will sting for a while, as conference victories have been tough to come by for the Hokies the past two years and they had one in their sights Thursday up 62-55 with 4:19 left. Who knew they'd only score one more point? Clearly the Hokies did a lot of things right to put themselves in a winning position. But with North Carolina, Virginia and Duke next up on the schedule, it sure would have been nice to have put Wake away.

1 comment:

  1. The sad thing for Virginia is that Monica Wright scored 13 of the 16 points in the 2nd half. Some has to step up and help out. I think the Hoos will miss Crosby more than they know this season.