Monday, January 11, 2010

Tuesday dribble: Down goes UVa.

We were wondering how much Virginia missed China Crosby. Well, we got our answer Monday night. In fact, thanks to ESPN2, the whole world got the answer - a whole heck of a lot.

Monday's games

Maryland 61, No. 23 Virginia 60: It was the night Monica Wright surpassed Dawn Staley as UVa.'s all-time leading scorer (2,140 points and counting). But the lasting image is of Wright face down on the floor after her forced potential game-winner at the buzzer was deflected out of bounds by Maryland's Lynetta Kizer. Cavs coach Debbie Ryan pleaded for a foul call, but replays appeared to confirm Kizer got her paw on the ball, not Wright. And it was just as well, too, because frankly, Virginia didn't deserve to win this game. Not with 30.5 percent shooting and often-dreadful offensive execution. Ariana Moorer scored 15 points and has some nice positives, but the sophomore struggles in some of the duties of a point guard. Wright finished with 20, but most came through her own initiative; too often it was as though the Cavaliers (11-5, 0-2 ACC) were determined not to feature the top player in the ACC. Maryland's talented but extremely raw cast of characters actually tried to hand the game back to UVa. (28 turnovers). But the Cavaliers handed it back, and the result was a loss that could sting even more in March than it did Monday night. ESPN2 analyst Carolyn Peck opined that these two teams could be fighting to get off the NCAA tournament bubble. We'd love to remember Jan. 11 as the night Wright became UVa.'s top scorer. Let's hope it doesn't also go down as the night the Cavaliers' bubble burst.

Hampton 74, Morgan State 37: Apparently the Lady Pirates like being on television. How dominant was Hampton? In the first half, guard Jerika Jenkins outscored the Lady Bears all by herself (17-14). Jenkins finished with a season-high 22 and Quanneisha Perry added 21 points and 11 rebounds in a resounding show of force from the often offensively-challenged Lady Pirates (5-9, 1-2 MEAC). Add in their always-stingy defense (Morgan State coughed up a season-high 27 turnovers) and it's easy to see why this one turned into an ESPNU rout.

Radford 57, Winthrop 48: Just when things were getting sticky early in the second half with the Highlanders (3-11, 2-1 Big South) nursing a one-point lead, junior Denay Wood splashed three straight 3-pointers to re-establish a working margin. Winthrop never fully recovered Wood finished with a career-high 17 points as the Highlanders successfully defended their home court.

Florida A&M 58, Norfolk State 47: A respectable showing by the Spartans, who gave a much better account of themselves against the powerful Lady Rattlers than they did in their previous MEAC games against North Carolina A&T and Bethune-Cookman. The search for consistent scoring continues, however - 24 percent shooting isn't going to get it done no matter how hard you compete.

Tuesday's game

Longwood (4-13) at Liberty (9-4), 7 p.m.
As far as we know, Longwood coach Kristin Caruso remains on indefinite paid leave of absence while the university reviews undisclosed personnel issues, so all indications are that first-year assistant coach Mike Davis will run the team for the third straight game. Longwood is just 1-10 away from home this season, but the one victory should get Liberty's attention - a 76-68 triumph over the Lady Flames' Big South rival High Point.

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