Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ladyswish state rankings

1. James Madison (12-2, 2-1 CAA) Last week: 1
Won two CAA games and dropped two spots (to 33rd) in the AP Top 25 poll. Just shows how tough national attention is to come by when you play in a mid-major conference. Next: Thursday at Towson

2. Richmond (12-4, 0-1 Atlantic 10) Last week: 3
Why Richmond over Virginia? Simple. The Spiders are 2-0 against ACC teams; the Cavaliers 0-2. More importantly, right now Richmond is playing some of its best ball of the season. The Cavaliers are clearly struggling. Next: Saturday at UMass

3. Virginia (11-5, 0-2 ACC) Last week: 2
In 14 non-conference games, the Cavaliers shot 39.7 percent and averaged 73.1 points. In two ACC games, they're shooting 30.8 percent and averaging 55 points. Long-term we still like the Cavaliers' young players, and one of these days they're going to look back at some of the things they did against Maryland and laugh. They just weren't very funny Monday night. Next: Monday at Virginia Tech

4. VCU (10-5, 3-0 CAA) Last week: 4
The only 3-0 team in the CAA, the Rams have won five straight and have held their last four opponents to 54 points or less. Congratulations to D'Andra Moss on her second CAA Player of the Week honor this season. And brace yourselves, Rams, for beginning Thursday the schedule is about to get a bit tougher. Next: Thursday at Georgia State

5. Old Dominion (4-9, 2-1 CAA) Last week: 5
It's not always pretty, but the Lady Monarchs have attacked this CAA season with the tenacity and hunger they appeared to have lost midway through last year's conference slate. Both Delaware and Drexel have commented on how physically ODU is playing. Next: Thursday vs. George Mason

6. Liberty (9-4, 2-1 Big South) Last week: 6
Saturday's 67-38 victory over Winthrop marked the sixth time this season the Lady Flames have held an opponent to 45 points or less. Not surprisingly, Liberty is 6-0 in those games. Conversely, the Lady Flames are 0-4 when they allow 60 or more. Next: Tonight vs. Longwood, Saturday vs. Presbyterian

7. Virginia Tech (10-5, 0-1 ACC) Last week: 7
Talk about a murderer's row - the Hokies next four games are against No. 10 North Carolina, No. 23 (for now) Virginia, at No. 7 Duke and at No. 25 Miami. Even one victory during this sequence would be a significant achievement. Next: Thursday vs. No. 10 North Carolina

8. Hampton (5-9, 1-2 MEAC) Last week: 8
Remember when Hampton-Norfolk State games used to be toss-ups? Not any more. The Lady Pirates have won 13 of the last 14 meetings and six in a row, including all three last season. Next: Saturday vs. Norfolk State

9. William and Mary (8-6, 1-2 CAA) Last week: 9
Strange team, this Tribe. When they shoot poorly, they defend like crazy. And when the shots finally fall the way they did Sunday against UNC Wilmington, they allow the Seahawks to shoot 49 percent. Guess we should root for them to start missing shots again.... Tiffany Benson is nine blocks away from becoming the CAA's all-time leader. Next: Thursday vs. Northeastern

10. Radford (3-11, 2-1 Big South) Last week: 11
A few games ago, Highlanders star Kymesha Alston stood up in the locker room and announced, "I'm not leaving Radford without a Big South ring!" Now we'd have been like, "what are you going to do, Kymesha, steal one?" Fortunately for Alston, her teammates aren't wiseguys. And based on their play the last three games, it looks like they have Kymesha's back. Next: Saturday vs. UNC Asheville

11. George Mason (7-7, 0-3 CAA) Last week: 10
The young Patriots seemed spooked by the atmosphere at JMU Sunday and got taken apart by the Dukes in the first half before settling down after intermission and battling to a somewhat respectable 62-50 defeat. Mason is still looking for its first road win; ODU's Constant Center will be a tough place to find it. Next: Thursday at Old Dominion

12. Longwood (4-13) Last week: 12
Looks like all is well at Longwood as Kirstin Caruso is back on the sidelines after a short leave of absence for undisclosed personnel matters. Next: Tonight at Liberty, Saturday at Utah Valley

13. Norfolk State (2-9, 0-3 MEAC) Last week: 13
When the Spartans shoot 40 percent or better, they're 2-1 with the loss by two points in overtime. When they shoot under 40 percent, they're 0-8. So either the Spartans lack reliable scorers, or they're easy to defend. Unfortunately, it's probably a little of both. At least Whitney Long appears to have snapped out of her funk. After getting just three points Saturday at Bethune-Cookman and being held scoreless most of the way at Florida A&M, Long scored nine points in the final 6:05 against the Lady Rattlers. Next: Saturday at Hampton

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