Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thursday dribble: Evans may need kidney transplant

James Madison's Dawn Evans may need a kidney transplant as early as this summer according to this AP story. The point guard missed one game in December related to testing for the disease. The kidney disorder affects her blood pressure and leaves her with a low energy reserve, which is why coach Kenny Brooks rested her at William and Mary last week.

We had an eerie feeling upon reading the reports of that game, as the official word was that Evans sat out for "medical reasons." Everyone knew Evans was playing on a gimpy ankle; she sprained it during a regionally televised game two weeks ago. If it had been just the ankle that was keeping Evans out, "medical reasons" would have been unnecessarily vague. Now we understand why JMU's language was so cryptic.

Tough hombre that she is, Evans is determined to play out this season, telling the AP's Hank Kurz that leading the Dukes to the NCAA tournament "is a huge goal, at the top of my list." And don't think she's not capable. Since sitting out that game in December for the kidney testing, Evans has had six games of 30 points or more.

Ladyswish is thinking and praying for Evans and her family during this difficult time. And here's hoping that the junior star can have an uninterrupted run through the rest of the season before gearing up for the much bigger battles that lie ahead.

Wednesday's game

St. Bonaventure 58, Richmond 45: No shame in losing on the road to the tough Bonnies. But we're not sure what happened to Brittani Shells. The Atlantic 10's scoring leader finished with two points in a meager 12 minutes. It wasn't foul trouble, as Shells collected just one of those. And it doesn't appear to be injury because Shells was on the floor at the end of the game; she scored her only basket with 12 seconds left. Whatever the case, Shells finished 15 points under her average in a game the Spiders lost by 13. And a Spiders team that thrives on turning defense into offense finished with just six steals; Shells is also the A-10's steals leader. Strange. Can't wait for the explanation.

Thursday's games

Delaware (16-8, 8-5 CAA) at James Madison (18-6, 8-5 CAA), 7 p.m.
A week ago at this time, the Dukes looked like solid candidates for an NCAA tournament at-large bid. Two upset losses later, their main concern now is avoiding a first-round game in the CAA tournament. The top four seeds earn first-round byes and these two teams are tied for fourth. As difficult as her kidney problems must be for Evans, she's proven she can still dominate games despite her condition. She's also one of the best clutch players in the country; just the type of performer capable of dealing more heartbreak to a Blue Hens team that has continually been nosed out at the finish line. The Blue Hens will counter with Elena Delle Donne, the nation's leading scorer who is coming off a 35-point outburst Sunday against Georgia State. The Dukes have the kind of guards who can frustrate Delaware's not-always-sure ballhandlers and thwart the Blue Hens' offense before the ball gets in Delle Donne's hands. Now if the 6-foot-5 Delle Donne heats up from 3-point range, there isn't much JMU - or anyone else for that matter - can do about it. But if JMU can "hold" Delle Donne in the 25-point range, the Dukes at home should have just enough to pull this out. JMU 63, Delaware 61

Virginia Tech (13-12, 2-8 ACC) at No. 10 Florida State (22-4, 8-2 ACC), 7 p.m.
Tech's last trip to Florida turned out quite well, thank you. But beating Miami and taking down FSU's defensive juggernaut are two different deals, particularly for a Hokies team prone to offensive droughts. Consider this: Florida State is 17-0 when holding an opponent under 40 percent shooting; the Hokies haven't shot 40 percent since that stunning victory over the Hurricanes on Jan. 24. Tech is 0-5 in ACC play since, and while the Hokies acquitted themselves well Sunday against ACC leader Duke in the friendly confines of Cassell, it's hard to see them scoring enough points to do much more than keep things competitive in Tallahassee. Florida State 62, Virginia Tech 48

Old Dominion (13-10, 11-2 CAA) at Georgia State 13-11, 4-9 CAA), 6 p.m. Only two road games left? We used the "it's getting late early" line a few days ago, but wow, it's almost March. (A caveat: Did you see Charlie Creme's latest bracketology? He's got ODU as a 13 seed versus No. 4 Kentucky in the NCAA tournament, with no at-large bid going to any CAA team.) OK, back to this game. ODU lost in this spot a year ago and escaped the Panthers by two a few weeks ago. Doesn't help that Georgia State has the CAA's best defense, holding teams to 56 ppg, and ODU has averaged a mere 59 ppg in its last four. We're going with ODU, but just barely. And we're not betting the house. ODU 62, Georgia State 57

George Mason (8-16, 1-12 CAA) at Hofstra (14-11, 7-6 CAA), 2 p.m. It's Family Fun Day in Long Island, and we have no doubt that the Pride and the kids in attendance will have a pretty good time. Hofstra is living the good life these days, having won three of its last four, including a defeat of VCU. Last time GMU played the Pride, the Patriots scored 39. And the last time was two weeks ago. Go offense! Hofstra 66, George Mason 41

William and Mary (11-13, 4-9 CAA) at VCU 16-9, 9-4 CAA), 7 p.m. It's hard to say a team is living large when it has dropped five of six, but we bet the Tribe is still giddy over upsetting James Madison a week ago. If Taysha Pye stays hot (the sophomore averaged 29 ppg last week), VCU could be in for a bigger test than the records reflect). The Rams need the win to remain relevant in the CAA race. In its last four games, VCU has lost to Drexel, Hofstra and JMU while beating first-place ODU in Norfolk. So what does that say? We're not sure. At home, we like the Rams, but the short bench might be taking its toll. VCU 68, William and Mary 59

No comments:

Post a Comment