Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The great scoring race; No WNIT for Tech

- No freshman has ever led NCAA Division I in scoring, and Middle Tennessee State's Alysha Clark seems intent on keeping it that way. A few days ago, Clark, who led Division I in scoring last year, and Delaware rookie sensation Elena Delle Donne were tied atop this season's national scoring race at 26.9 ppg. Then Clark went absolutely nuts in the Sun Belt Tournament, breaking the single-game tournament record with 40 in the quarterfinals, breaking it again with 44 in the semifinals and raising the bar even further with 48 (the final two with 1.8 seconds left) in a 70-68 overtime victory over UALR in the title game. Clark is now averaging 28.7 ppg. Your turn, Elena.

- Strange decision (at least to us) out of Blacksburg, where the Roanoake Times' Kristina Waugh reports that Virginia Tech (15-15) will decline a WNIT bid because she and the administration "don't feel like we've earned the postseason." This sounds like something a Top 25-caliber team would say, not a group that went 12-18 last year. What exactly was Hokies leadership expecting? We kind of thought a team like Tech's underclassmen might have benefited from some postseason action. And that, away from the ACC teams that know their tendencies, the Hokies might even make a little WNIT run. Hope Tech's players were at least consulted.

- Norfolk State saw its season end Tuesday after the 11th-seeded Spartans (4-23) fell 76-66 to No. 6 Bethune-Cookman in a MEAC Tournament first-round game in Winston-Salem, N.C. Now comes the hard part. As we're sure Spartans coach Debra Clark will tell her players, offseason work is critical to making significant upgrades in one's game. If the Spartans want to avoid a repeat of the 2009-10 season, this spring and summer is when they'll need to pay the price.

Elsewhere in the MEAC Tournament, No. 2 Hampton (17-11) will open against No. 7 Maryland-Eastern Shore in quarterfinal action Wednesday at 10 a.m. UMES advanced courtesy of a 52-45 victory over No. 10 Delaware State in Tuesday's first round; the Lady Pirates drew a first-round bye. Hampton prevailed 64-48 in the teams' lone regular-season meeting on Feb. 1 in Princess Anne, Md.

- Finally, congratulations to Liberty forward Avery Warley and guard/forward Jelena Antic, who claimed the final Big South Player and Freshman of the Week awards. It's the second top player honor for Warley, a redshirt sophomore and the third time Antic has been tabbed top rookie.

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