Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ladyswish state rankings

1. Virginia (15-6, 4-3 ACC, 4th-tie) Last week: 1
RPI: 16
Sunday's loss at Wake Forest stung - not to mention cost UVa. one half of its national ranking - but given the Cavaliers' youth, well, mama told us there'd be days like that. Let's not get too dramatic about that loss, as the Cavs had won four straight - including victories at Boston College and against Georgia Tech - before throwing in that clunker. Besides, check the Top 25 poll. The only smooth ride is in Storrs. Every other team has nights that leave fans, coaches and probably even the players themselves scratching their heads. Next: Thursday vs. Clemson

2. VCU (15-6, 8-1 CAA, 1st-tie) Last week: 2
RPI: 94
Tell us your secret, Kita Waller. Five-hour energy? Wheaties for breakfast? Finding love? We're not sure what made you go off for 35 and 28 points in two games last week, but whatever it was, Ms. Co-CAA Player of the Week, keep doin' what you're doin' - and you might have to given the way your schedule toughens up. Next: Thursday vs. James Madison

3. Old Dominon (10-9, 8-1 CAA, 1st-tie) Last week: 3
RPI: 63
We're allowed to be giddy with anticipation for Sunday's showdown against VCU at the Constant Center, but the Lady Monarchs can't afford that luxury. So what if they've won seven straight, UNC Wilmington is just 2-7 in the league and ODU has won all 40 meetings between the two? Given the nailbiter nature of CAA play this year, this sets up as a classic trap game. Here's hoping the Lady Monarchs don't fall for it. Next: Thursday at UNC Wilmington

4. James Madison (16-4, 6-3 CAA, 4th) Last week: 4
RPI: 44
Seems like the Dukes got their groove back Sunday against Towson. Then again, the Dukes still missed quite a few shots. And we're not sure how much of the Tigers' 19.7-percent shooting was JMU defense and how much was Towson ineptitude. So let's wait and see how the Dukes negotiate this week's VCU-Drexel double before we pronounce JMU all the way back. Next: Thursday at VCU

5. Liberty (16-4, 7-1 Big South, 1st-tie) Last week: 7
RPI: 98
Given that she's the Big South's leading scorer (17.9), its No. 2 rebounder (8.9) and has just received her second Big South Player of the Week honor, it would appear as though Devon Brown is halfway through ending her rookie season as that rare freshman to be named her conference's player of the year. Next: Thursday vs. North Carolina Central

6. Richmond (14-7, 3-3 Atlantic 10, 8th) Last week: 5
RPI: 68
The absence of center Crystal Goring, who has yet to play in an Atlantic 10 game because of injury, is definitely a factor. But it fails to fully explain the dramatic downturn Richmond's season has taken after three straight losses by an average of 28 points. There's still time for the Spiders to pull out of this, but they need to start now. They don't want to still be stumbling with a visit to Xavier looming Saturday. Next: Wednesday vs. Fordham

7. Hampton (10-10, 6-3 MEAC, 3rd-tie) Last week: 8
RPI: 161
The best team in the MEAC? North Carolina A&T is the defending champion, is undefeated in league play and nipped Hampton by a point a couple of weeks ago. But as that result suggests, the Pirates are making up ground on the Lady Aggies by the dribble. Next: Saturday at South Carolina State

8. Virginia Tech (12-9, 2-5 ACC, 9th-tie) Last week: 6
RPI: 83
In two games without starting point guard Nikki Davis, the Hokies have averaged 45.5 points while shooting 29.9 percent from the field. Meanwhile, pressed into service running the team, Lindsay Biggs has gone from the team's second-leading scorer to a player who made just 1 of 16 shots in those two games. Bottom line - hurry back, Nikki. This team really needs you. Next: Friday vs. Wake Forest

9. William and Mary (10-10, 3-6 CAA, 7th-tie) Last week: 9
RPI: 194
Tribe missed an excellent opportunity to become a factor in the CAA race by dropping back-to-back home games to ODU and UNC Wilmington last week. Tribe have now lost four of their last five and six of their last eight, and their schedule won't cut them much slack the rest of the way. Next: Thursday at Delaware

10. Radford (5-14, 4-4 Big South, 4th) Last week: 10
RPI: 246
Radford opened the season by going 1-10, then shot off to a 4-1 mark from Jan. 4-18 and now have dropped three straight. Let's hope the roller coaster is ready to starting going up again - and soon. Next: Saturday vs. Gardner-Webb

11. George Mason (8-12, 1-8 CAA, 12th) Last week: 11
RPI: 202
Credit Jeri Porter for upgrading the roster and praise this year's Patriots for attacking their schedule as though anything was possible. They're still a bit undermanned against most CAA teams, though. Also, at this stage of the rebuilding effort, key injuries are a killer. Next: Thursday vs. Hofstra

12. Longwood (5-17) Last week: 12
RPI: 275
The Lancers don't play again until Feb. 10 and have just five regular-season games left. But save for a visit to Virginia it's a very manageable slate, and we wouldn't be surprised if Longwood closes with victories in four of its last five. Next: Feb. 10 vs. Troy

13. Norfolk State (3-14, 0-8 MEAC, 11th) Last week: 13
RPI: 340
Circle Feb. 22 on your calendar as the most likely date for an NSU MEAC victory. This isn't to say the Spartans won't prevail against someone before that; they've certainly had their share of near-misses. But as they learned last year, if all else fails, host South Carolina State. Next: Saturday vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore

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