Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ladyswish state rankings

1. Virginia (17-6, 6-3 ACC, 3rd-tie) Last week: 1
RPI: 14
The Cavaliers have won six of their last seven in large part because they appeared to have figured things out on offense - they've scored at least 70 points five times during this stretch and 82 points in each of their last two contests. Next: Thursday at Miami

2. James Madison (18-4, 8-3 CAA, 3rd-tie) Last week: 4
RPI: 37
With and without Dawn Evans, the Dukes finally resembled the team we thought they were last week with routs of VCU and Drexel. If JMU can maintain this level, the Dukes would be the clear favorites in a CAA tournament played on their own floor. And even if they get knocked off, JMU looks like the only CAA team with a realistic chance of landing an at-large NCAA tournament bid. Next: Thursday at William and Mary

3. VCU (16-7, 9-2 CAA, 1st-tie) Last week: 2
RPI: 97
The Rams' Jekyll-and-Hyde performances against JMU and Old Dominion leaves us wondering which VCU team are we dealing with. The one that hosted JMU lacked poise, rushed shots and generally disintegrated in the face of the hungrier Dukes. But the one that visited Norfolk Sunday was tough, fearless and talented enough to go the distance in the CAA. Next: Thursday at Hofstra

4. Old Dominion (11-10, 9-2 CAA, 1st-tie) Last week: 3
RPI: 66
Not sure what the deal is, but Tia Lewis has been awfully quiet - too quiet, in fact - on offense of late. Against VCU the lanky Lewis attacked the boards with passion but was just 2 of 6 from the field in 23 minutes. This after her 0-for-2 shooting effort in Thursday's 61-58 win at UNC Wilmington. Hardly enough trigger-pulling from the team leader in field goal percentage. Next: Thursday vs. Delaware

5. Richmond (15-8, 4-4 Atlantic 10, 8th) Last week: 6
RPI: 69
Oh, those Spider scoring droughts. They went the final 5:28 without a point in a loss to Charlotte, went nine minutes without a point (they were outscored 24-0) in a loss to Duquesne, missed their first 17 shots against Xavier and ended that game by going without a field goal over the final 4:15. Next: Thursday at George Washington

6. Liberty (17-5, 7-2 Big South, 2nd) Last week: 5
RPI: 102
Not sure if Lady Flames fans would be too thrilled about it, but the Big South would be lucky to showcase a Gardner-Webb-Liberty matchup in its tournament final. The show they put on Monday night - a 59-56 Gardner-Webb victory - was compelling television - for those of us willing to wait until 1 a.m. to tune in. Next: Feb. 15 at Winthrop

7. Hampton (12-10, 7-3 MEAC, 2nd-tie) Last week: 7
RPI: 154
Winners of six straight and eight of their last nine, the Lady Pirates are doing it with defense - Hampton has allowed 48 points or less in five of its last six games. Next: Saturday vs. Norfolk State

8. Virginia Tech (12-11, 2-7 ACC, 11th-tie) Last week: 8
RPI: 103
We're not big fans of home games against lower-tier teams in the middle of a conference season, but perhaps Thursday's game against Savannah State can be a confidence-builder for a Hokies team that has lost four straight. With Duke and Florida State next up on the schedule, Tech can use all the confidence it can get. Next: Thursday vs. Savannah State

9. William and Mary (10-11, 3-8 CAA, 10th) Last week: 9
RPI: 200
The Tribe has lost four straight and their remaining schedule isn't kind - the seven-game slate features two games with James Madison and one each against Old Dominion, VCU, Delaware and Drexel. Next: Thursday vs. James Madison

10. Radford (5-14, 4-4 Big South, 6th) Last week: 10
RPI: 251
After a promising start in the Big South (4-1), the Highlanders have dropped their last three and need to turn things around quickly to avoid ceding any more ground in the conference race, especially since five of their final seven games are on the road. Next: Wednesday vs. Gardner-Webb.

11. George Mason (8-14, 1-10 CAA, 12th) Last week: 11
RPI: 206
On Sunday the Patriots welcomed back Brittany Poindexter, who had missed two full games and most of a third with an ankle injury. The 5-8 junior and the Patriots' most versatile and complete offensive player had eight points and four assists in the Patriots' most competitive road showing of the season, a 67-63 loss at Delaware. Next: Thursday at UNC Wilmington

12. Longwood (5-17) Last week: 12
RPI: 270
Among the many problems in being a Division I independent - it's tough to schedule games in February when virtually everyone else is in the stretch run of a conference race. So it's not surprising that Wednesday's game against Troy will be Longwood's first since Jan. 31. Next: Wednesday vs. Troy

13. Norfolk State (3-16, 0-10 MEAC, 11th) Last week: 13
RPI: 341
The Spartans have spread out their victories, securing one in November, one in December and one in January. In other words, they're due for another. Statistical oddity - the Spartans have hit exactly two 3-pointers in each of their last four games. Next: Saturday at Hampton

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