Sunday, March 28, 2010

We'll get 'em next year!

The 2009-10 season still has a few more dribbles left, but for the programs in Virginia, it's time to begin prepping for next season. Here's an extremely early look at each of the state's Division I teams in order of their final Ladyswish state ranking. We don't have complete data on all the incoming classes - none at all for Hampton, Longwood and Radford - but as we get their signing information, we'll pass it along. We'll also update any late signings/transfers for all the other schools.

The links under "incoming" direct you to the schools' official releases on their signings. Links under individual players provide more information about each one. Finally, if you know of any other signings/recruiting news regarding one or more of the teams, please pass it along.

1. Virginia
Season recap
: 21-10, 9-5 ACC (3rd), lost in quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament (N.C. State), No. 5 seed in NCAA Tournament, lost in first round (No. 12 Wisconsin-Green Bay)
Outgoing: Monica Wright (23.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, ACC Player of the Year)
Incoming: Ataira Franklin, 5-10 G, Riverdale Baptist (Md.); Jazmin Pitts, 6-1 F, Cosby (Va.); Kelsey Wolfe, 5-9 G, Seneca Valley (Md.)
And don't forget about: China Crosby, 5-6 G, played in 13 games (5.9 ppg) before suffering a season-ending ACL injury at Colorado; Erinn Thompson, 6-4 C, appeared in just 3 games (2.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg) before shutting it down with a leg injury
Early prognosis: Loads of good and potentially good players on hand. But someone needs to emerge as a difference-maker. Having two or three difference-makers would be even better.

2. James Madison
Season recap: 26-7, 13-5 CAA (2nd), won CAA Tournament, No. 9 seed in NCAA Tournament, lost in first round (No. 8 Temple)
Outgoing: Sarah Williams (8.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
Incoming: Debbie Smith, 5-10, Hampton (Va.); Kirby Burkholder, 5-11 G/F, Turner Ashby.
And don't forget about: Lauren Whitehurst, 6-2 F, Indian River/Boston College (transfer, sat out 2009-10 season); Nichelle Glover, 6-1 forward and junior-college transfer played in 14 games, starting 7 (5.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg), but none after Jan. 10; Brittany Crowell, 5-9 G(1.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg) appeared in 7 games but none after Jan. 3. JMU said both Glover and Crowell were out for "personal reasons".
Early prognosis: Assuming the players take their offseason conditioning seriously, this loaded roster has Sweet 16 potential. But an awful lot rides on the health of star Dawn Evans.

3. Old Dominion
Season recap: 19-14, 14-4 CAA (1st), lost in CAA Tournament final (James Madison), lost in second round of the WNIT (at Providence)
Outgoing: Jessica Canady (9.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg); Vicki Collier (2.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg)
Incoming: Shakeva Richards, 6-1 F, Spalding High (Ga.); Brittany Campbell, 6-3 C, Brebeuf Jesuit (Ind.)
And don't forget about: Becca Allison, 5-8 freshman G from Scotland who redshirted the 2009-10 season
Early prognosis: If regaining the CAA title is the goal, a whole lot of work needs to be put in between now and Oct. 15

4. Richmond
Season recap: 20-13, 7-7 Atlantic 10 (8th); lost in Atlantic 10 quarterfinals (Xavier), lost in WNIT second round (at Syracuse)
Outgoing: Danielle Bell (6.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg), Nikita Thomas (2.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
Incoming: Leah Johnson, 6-0 F, Patterson Catholic (N.J.); Kristina King, 5-10 G, Milton High (Ga.); Genevieve Okoro, 6-0 F, Eastern Regional (N.J.); Lauren Shute, 6-2 F, Dana Hills High (Calif.)
And don't forget about: Sam Bilney (medical redshirt, missed the last 12 games of the 08-09 season and all of 09-10 with a knee injury)
Early prognosis: The Spiders appear set for another nice season, but if they want more than that, more toughness, both physical and mental, will be required.

5. VCU
Season recap: 22-13, 12-6 CAA (3rd), lost in CAA Tournament semifinals (JMU), lost in third round of the WNIT (at Syracuse)
Outgoing: D'Andra Moss (17.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1st team All-CAA); Kita Waller (15.8 ppg, CAA Defensive Player of the Year, 2nd-team All-CAA; La'Tavia Rorie (13.8 ppg, played in 15 games before suffering career-ending ACL injury); Stephanie Solomon (1.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg)
Incoming: Andrea Barbour, 5-10 G, Charlottesville High/Virginia Tech (ACC All-Rookie team)/Patrick Henry CC; Jacqueline Brewer, 5-10 G, Martinsburg (W.Va.); Shekina Henry, 6-2 F, Vidalia High (Ga.); Sonia Johnson, Heritage High/Delaware State(MEAC Rookie of the Year in 2009)/Patrick Henry CC; Robyn Parks, 6-0 G/F, North Point High (Md.); Zakia Williams, 5-7 G, Northside High (Ga.)
Early prognosis: Major transition year for the Rams. The good news is Beth Cunningham is bringing in lots of promising newcomers. The trick will be to getting them to gell quickly.

6. Liberty
Season recap
: 27-6, 14-2 Big South (2nd), won Big South Tournament, seeded No. 13 in NCAA Tournament, lost in first round (No. 4 Kentucky)
Outgoing: Amber Mays (8.4 ppg, 3.8 apg)
Incoming: Emily Frazier, 5-7 G, Magnolia, Ga. (homeschooled); Jasmine Gardner, 6-2 F, Mitchell High (Tenn.)
Early prognosis: Mays was an important piece, but with everyone else returning, the Lady Flames should be able to pick up pretty much where they left off.

7. Hampton
Season recap
: 20-12, 12-4 MEAC (2nd), won MEAC Tournament, seeded 15th in NCAA Tournament, lost in first round (No. 2 Duke)
Outgoing: Whitney Hill (7.8 ppg)
Incoming: Unavailable
Early prognosis: Love this group of returners. Like Liberty, the Lady Pirates are in position to build on last year's success right away.

8. Virginia Tech
Season recap: 15-15, 4-10 ACC (tied for 10th), lost in first round of the ACC Tournament (Boston College), declined WNIT bid
Outgoing: Lindsay Biggs (11.2 ppg), Utahya Drye (11.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, All-ACC honorable mention), Lakeishia Logan (2.1 ppg)
Incoming: Latorri Hines-Allen, 6-1 F, Montclair High (N.J.); Nia Evans, 6-0 F, Cedar Grove High (Ga.); Brittni Montgomery, 6-3 F, Ft. Pierce Central (Fla.); Monet Tellier, 5-11 G, East Mecklenburg High (N.C.) and Kyani White, 5-6 PG, Stonewall Jackson High (Va.)
And don't forget about: Elizabeth Basham, 6-2 Jr. F, who missed the entire 2009-10 season with a left shoulder injury
Early prognosis: A second straight dynamite recruiting class should make it realistic for the Hokies to move into the middle of the ACC pack

9. George Mason
Season recap: 10-20, 3-15 CAA (12th), lost in first round of the CAA Tournament (Delaware)Outgoing: RaShauna Hobbs (3.3 ppg)
Incoming: Ondrea Shaw, 6-4 C, Oak Hill Academy (Va.); Cierra Strickland, 5-10 G, Bishop McNamara (Md.)
And don't forget about: Evelyn Lewis, the 6-4 former Hampton High star who transferred from Penn State, and guard Taleia Moton, a 5-5 transfer from Radford. Both will be eligible to play for the Patriots in 2010-11
Early prognosis: The addition of much-needed size should allow the Patriots to pose many more challenges to opposing teams.

10. William and Mary
Season recap: 12-18, 5-13 CAA (11th), lost in first round of the CAA Tournament (Hofstra)
Outgoing: Tiffany Benson (8.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg, All-CAA Defensive team), Kelly Heath (2.0 ppg), Robyn Barton (1.5 ppg)
Incoming: Kaitlyn Mathieu, 6-2 C, Worcester Academy (Mass.); Victoria Willems, 6-2 G/F, MacArthur High (Texas)
Early prognosis: Benson was a terrific talent, but we actually expect the Tribe to be a better, more cohesive team next season.

11. Longwood
Season recap: 9-20 (Independent)
Outgoing: Becky Fernandes (6.1 ppg, 3.5 apg)
Incoming: Unavailable
Early prognosis: With so many returners, more improvement is likely from a team that by the end of the season was playing much better than that overall record.

12. Radford
Season recap: 6-22, 5-11 Big South (7th), lost in first round of Big South Tournament (Liberty)
Outgoing: Kymesha Alston (12.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2nd team All-Big South)
Incoming: Unavailable
And don't forget about: Erica Rivera, 5-8 Jr. G, a transfer from George Washington who will be eligible to play for the Highlanders in 2010-11.
Early prognosis: Honestly, we're not sure. On ability alone the Highlanders should be able to do much better than 6-22, especially in a league like the Big South. But we thought the same thing last year.

13. Norfolk State
Season recap: 4-23, 0-16 MEAC, lost in first round of MEAC Tournament (Bethune-Cookman)
Outgoing: None
Incoming: Carlon Chambers, 6-0 C, Herndon High (Va.), Raeshonn Corbo, 5-6 G, Paramus Catholic (N.J.), Rachel Gordon, 5-11 F, Osbourn Park High (Va.), Destiny Spence, 6-0 F, Massac County High (Ill.)
Early prognosis: Here's hoping the newcomers are ready to go. And is it too late to pick up a junior-college transfer or two?

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