Friday, March 5, 2010

Richmond opens A-10 tournament play

For the first time in the Atlantic 10 tournament's 28-year history, the event will be held at a neutral site - The Show Place Arena in Upper Marboro, Md. What kind of reception the event receives will bear watching, and not just for A-10 fans. On her weekly radio show this week, Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry said the CAA is considering the Show Place Arena, which seats about 4,500, as a potential home for its own women's tournament. Like Wendy, we're not sure the CAA Tournament is ready to move away from a city that doesn't include one of its members. But we'll all know the conference's plans next week when the league announces the winning bid to host the tournament next year and beyond.

Atlantic 10
First round
#8 Richmond (18-11) vs. #9 UMass (11-18), noon
On a handful of occasions this season the Spiders have turned in lights-out shooting performances, and one of those occurred on Jan. 16 in Amherst when Richmond hit 7 of 10 first-half 3-pointers and shot 69 percent overall in the opening 20 minutes en route to a 73-62 decision over the Minutewomen. Unfortunately, Richmond can't count on unconscious shooting again - no team can. The more likely path to victory involves Richmond creating havoc defensively and using their pressure to produce transition opportunities to go along with the 1-2 scoring punch of Brittani Shells and Abby Oliver. There's a giant roadblock in Richmond's path to winning this tournament - next up would be top-seeded and A-10 unbeaten Xaxier on short rest. But a Spiders team that closed the season strongly should have enough to survive for at least one more day.

Other first-round games
#5 St. Joseph's vs. #12 Fordham, 2:30 p.m.
#7 St. Bonaventure vs. #10 St. Louis, 5:30 p.m.
#6 Duquesne vs. #11 George Washington, 8:30 p.m.

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