Thursday, March 18, 2010

Road no problem for VCU, Richmond in WNIT

A couple of days ago, we made a big deal about how teams rarely win on the road in the WNIT. After what happened Thursday, we're kind of sorry we brought it up.

VCU, Richmond and Hofstra all won in their opponents' gym in WNIT first-round play. Also on Thursday, Old Dominion learned that they will travel to Providence (17-14) for a second-round game on Monday at 7 p.m. The Friars advanced with a 64-58 victory over Boston University. Naturally, Providence was the road team.

VCU 74, St. Joseph's 63: Courtney Hurt established herself early at St. Joe's Hagan Arena, scoring 8 of the Rams' first 10 points and continuing to light the place up en route to a 29-point performance. Meanwhile, D'Andra Moss was doing a little bit of everything - 27 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. And while those two were handling most of the scoring, everyone chipped in on defense. The Rams (21-12) forced 24 St. Joe's turnovers and conspired to shut down Hawks center Ashley Logue, who scored 15 points in the first half but just two in the second. The result was VCU's second WNIT victory in three years, and it set up an all-CAA second-round showdown with Hofstra at VCU on Sunday at 4 p.m. It'll be the second Hofstra-VCU game in a little over a week - on March 12 the Rams topped the Pride 51-38 in the CAA quarterfinals at JMU. In the teams' other meeting, Hofstra prevailed 74-66 in Hempstead, N.Y. on Feb. 11.

Richmond 67, Delaware 49: Terrific effort by the Spiders (20-12), who shot 54 percent from the field, hit 9 of 16 3-pointers and enjoyed 9-rebound advantage on the boards. Richmond led by as many as 25 in the second half and cruised to a second-round matchup Monday at 7 p.m. at Syracuse, which crushed Harvard 87-68. Abby Oliver and Brittani Shells led Richmond's scoring assault with 18 points apiece. As for Delaware (21-12), the Blue Hens' effort to protect their homecourt took a severe blow well before tipoff as star Elena Delle Donne spent the day battling flu-like symptoms. Delle Donne hit just 1 of her 7 shots during a first half in which she shuttled in and out of the starting lineup and at one point retreated to the locker room. She still finished with 25 points, but much of that came after the Spiders were up by 20-plus. The effects of Delle Donne's injury were most noticeable on the defensive end, as she appeared to be a step slow contesting Richmond's forays to the hoop and wound up corralling only 3 rebounds.

Hofstra 76, Penn State 68: The Pride (20-13) scored exactly twice as many points Thursday night as they did in their offensively challenge CAA quarterfinal loss to VCU. Shante Evans: 14 points, 17 rebounds. She's a beast.

In one other WNIT result of note, North Carolina A&T ripped Wake Forest 73-49. Embarrassing performance by the Demon Deacons, in their own gym no less. No knock on A&T, but ACC teams shouldn't get slapped silly by anyone from the MEAC.

Finally, the CAA's lone representative in the WBI, Towson, fell at Fairfield Thursday night 69-55.

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