Thursday, March 11, 2010

CAA recap: No offense, but....

"Anybody seen my offense?"

That was probably a popular lament from CAA coaches Thursday on the first day of the league's tournament in Harrisonburg.

In the first game, No. 8 Northeastern outlasted No. 9 Georgia State 46-42. The Panthers, who shot just 28 percent from the field, led 42-41 with 2:54 left but could not score another point. Now Northeastern's typically no defensive juggernaut, but we're sure they played pretty well at that end. But 28 percent? The Panthers had to have cooperated.

"The defense gave us a chance, but we certainly didn't shoot the ball well enough to win," Panthers coach Lea Henry said. "Our full court trap in the first half caused 15 turnovers, but we didn't get to use it much in the second half because we simply were not scoring to do so. We got a lot of shots, but just didn't get in to go in the hole today."

In Game 2, George Mason made it three out of four teams that failed to crack 50 points when the Patriots fell to Delaware 58-41. You can usually count on Elena Delle Donne to fill it up, but the newly crowned CAA Player of the Year managed just 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting, and even missed two free throws (she shoots 92 percent from the line). But when your opponent shoots 34 percent, you can get with it.

Towson would have killed for 34 percent, though. The 7th-seeded Tigers shot just 21 percent in a 50-30(!) loss to No. 10 UNC Wilmington. The 30 points established a new tournament low for fewest in a game.

With these three games as a backdrop, the nightcap, a 66-50 Hofstra victory over William and Mary, came off as a relative offensive free-for-all. The Pride actually executed well, with five players in double figures, 18 assists on 23 field goals and overall 43-percent shooting. The Tribe shot just 33 percent. But on a day like this, 50 points put them at the high end of offensive performances on the day.

Not sure if the problem was nerves, too much time between games or something else. And we understand that coaches can't be concerned with how it looks - they're too busy trying to figure out how to get a win anyway they can. But if you're a fan, you kind of hope for some entertainment value mixed in with your postseason basketball. Watching a succession of missed shots isn't very entertaining.

Here's hoping today's quarterfinals, filled with spicier matchups, pumps up the excitement. Notice how in each case the higher seed struggled mightily with the lower seed during the regular season.

Here's the lineup:

No. 8 Northeastern vs. No. 1 Old Dominion, noon
The Huskies prevailed in a wild triple-overtime affaif in the teams' lone regular-season meeting.

No. 5 Delaware vs. No. 4 Drexel, 2:30 p.m.
The Dragons, who come in on a four-game losing streak, needed overtime in both their victories over the Blue Hens.

No. 10 UNC Wilmington vs. No. 2 James Madison, 5 p.m.
The Seahawks scored a 70-67 upset victory at home the only time these teams met.

No. 6 Hofstra vs. No. 3 VCU, 7:30 p.m.
Almost a month ago to the day (Feb. 11), the Pride scored a 74-66 triumph over the Rams in Hempstead, N.Y.

Related posts
Your CAA Tournament guide
Delle Donne wins Player, Rookie of the Year awards
Form typically holds in CAA Tournament
CAA tourney Maryland bound
Oh, that wacky CAA!

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