Thursday, July 29, 2010

George Mason releases non-conference schedule

So what if it's not the most rugged slate? When last year's 10-20 season actually represents significant progress, what's the point of calling up UConn and Baylor? A manageable series of opponents is what's called for, and that's just what Patriots coach Jeri Porter has assembled. Eight of the 11 non-conference opponents finished the 2009-10 season with losing records, including all six of the squads Mason will play at home. Granted, there's no guarantee these will all be sub-.500 teams again. But it seems to us this schedule has at least 7-8 wins written all over it.

But hey, Coach, no pressure.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fenyn sizes up the low post

If Virginia Tech needs some emergency help at center this season, rising sophomore guard Alyssa Fenyn will be happy to pitch in. OK, maybe "happy" is a little strong. But at least she now has the experience.

Antic named MVP at Euro U20s

Her team won just one game and finished ninth in a 10-team tournament. But that didn't stop Macedonia's Jelena Antic (Liberty) from garnering MVP honors in last week's European U20 Division B Championships. Antic led all players in scoring (25.0 ppg) and rebounding (12.3 rpg) and led Macedonia in, well, everything.

Antic was also named the tournament's best forward by while Great Britain's Becca Allison (Old Dominion) was tabbed the best guard. Antic and Allison were both first-team all-tournament picks; Great Britain's Mairi Buchan - the leading scorer and rebounder on the championship team - was somehow relegated to a second-team choice.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ODU's Buchan savoring "best moment in my career"

If you've followed Ladyswish in the last couple weeks -- and surely you have -- you already know about Old Dominion's Mairi Buchan leading the Great Britain National Team to its first Division B title. The Brits edged Slovakia 47-46 at the U20 European Championships in Kavadarci, Macedonia.

Lady Monarch junior Buchan, whose new Facebook profile pic is above, had a fantastic tournament, scoring 13 points in the final, and her ODU teammate Becca Allison pulled down a team-best nine rebounds in the game. Great Britain, which has only played Division B at the women's and men's U20 level since 2006, allowed just 14 points in the first half. The victory means they will play in Division A next summer and who knows? Buchan, who averaged 10.7 points and 7.7 rebounds, just might be part of the Brits' Olympic team in 2012, and remember, The Games are in London.

For now, Buchan is cherishing the championship in Macedonia.

"It is definitely the best moment in my career so far, especially because no other Great Britain team, senior or age-group, has ever won gold before," she said. "It was an fantastic feeling to win and it was great to know that all of the hard work in the months after our season at ODU had paid off. I couldn't have asked for a better team to play with or a better coaching staff to play under. Just had a great time overall and wish I could relive the final all over again!"

We're hoping all that experience will pay off when Buchan returns to Norfolk for Lady Monarch season.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bum knee? What bum knee?

Victoria Hamilton
The bad news: Radford rising sophomore Victoria Hamilton suffered an ACL sprain during the Virgin Islands' bronze-medal game against Jamaica Friday during the Central American and Caribbean Games.

The good news: Hamilton didn't let it stop her from nearly shooting her team back in it. Jamaica took the bronze with a 69-58 victory. But judging from the way Hamilton performed after her injury, it appears as though the knee will be just fine.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Williams, U.S. downs France for U17 gold

Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne) had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks as the United States overwhelmed France 92-62 for the gold medal at the U17 World Championships in France.

Williams finished the tournament with team-leading averages of 13.5 ppg and 7.6 rpg and was second among U.S. players and third overall with 2.0 blocks per game. The Cavaliers rising senior also had the second-highest field-goal percentage (61.8) in the tournament.

We are the champions!

Mairi Buchan (Old Dominion) had 13 points and 8 rebounds and Becca Allison added 7 points and 9 rebounds as Great Britain nipped the Slovak Republic 47-46 for the gold medal at the European U20 B Championships in Macedonia.

By simply reaching the final the team became Great Britain's first age-group squad to qualify for the top level of European hoops. Great Britain will play in the A Division next year. And with Sunday's victory, they became Great Britain's first age-group team to clinch a FIBA Europe title.

For the tournament, Buchan led her team in points (10.7) and rebounds (7.7) while Allison paced Great Britain in assists (1.7) and steals (2.3). Allison's steals average was the 7th-highest in the tournament. Buchan ranked seventh overall in rebounding.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday's team results

Great Britain's women's basketball no longer fields a "B" team.

Mairi Buchan (Old Dominion) scored a team-high 10 points and added eight points while her Lady Monarchs teammate Becca Allison notched 8 points as Great Britain spanked Portugal  59-40 to advance to the gold-medal game at the European U20 B Championships Saturday in Macedonia. With the victory, Great Britain earned a promotion to the A Division for next season. Great Britain will face the Slovak Republic in Sunday's title game.

Macedonia's Jelena Antic (Liberty) closed out her tournament with 25 points and 14 rebounds in a 78-60 victory over Austria in a 9th-place game at the European U20 B Championships. Antic was the tournament's leading scorer (25.0) and rebounder (12.3) and was remarkably consistent with her production. Her point totals for her six games - 26, 25, 26, 23, 25 and 25.

Simone Edwards (George Mason assistant) had 20 points and Angelee LaTouche (George Mason) added 8 as Jamaica took the bronze medal with a 69-58 victory over the Virgin Islands at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Puerto Rico. Earlier in July, the Patriots duo helped Jamaica earn a silver medal at the Centrobasket Championships.

Alyssa Fenyn (Virginia Tech) is averaging 17.7 ppg through three contests in the women's open division at the Empire State Games. Fenyn scored 20 points for her Western team in Saturday's 71-68 loss to Central. Western is now 2-1 at the Games. The tournament concludes Sunday with medal rounds.

Williams, U.S. advance to final at U17 Worlds

Elizabeth Williams
Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne High) survived a blow to one of her eyes to finish with 14 points and 11 rebounds to help the U.S. wear down China 97-74 in the semifinals of the U17 World Championships Saturday in France. The Americans will face either France or Belgium in Sunday's championship game.

Williams sustained her injury with 2:43 left in the first half and had to leave the game, but she returned to help the U.S fight off a game challenge from the Chinese. Thanks to some deadly 3-point shooting, China trailed by just six points at halftime and seven through three quarters. The U.S. outscored China 24-8 in the fourth quarter. The Princess Anne rising senior wound up playing a tournament-high 25 minutes.

Through seven tournament games, Williams is averaging 13.3 points - second on the team to Breanna Stewart's 13.4 - and a team-best 8 rebounds.

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Virginia Union coach has familiar name

Barvenia Wooten-Collier
Barvenia Wooten-Collier, who had 25 points and 16 rebounds for Virginia Union in the 1983 Division II championship game, has returned to her alma mater as the head coach of the now-struggling program. Her first step - to erase the feeling of apathy she feels has permeated Union basketball in recent years.

"I get the feeling that the players, right now, think of basketball as just another thing they have to do," Wooten-Collier said. "I don't see excitement and enthusiasm. I want these kids to understand that the opportunity to play basketball at Virginia Union is a gift. I don't want them to be content merely to play. I want them to perform."

Vicki Collier
Wooten-Collier's daughter, Vicki Collier, just finished an injury-plagued career at Old Dominion and graduated in May with an accounting degree.

World U17 update: U.S. rolls over Spain in quarterfinals

Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne High) had 11 points, 4 rebounds and 4 blocks to help the U.S. torch Spain 86-57 Friday at the U17 World Championships in France. Next up: China in Saturday's semifinals.

Virginia: Erinn Thompson eager to return to court

Virginia forward Erinn Thompson, who played in just three games before a fractured tibia ended her season, told the Charlottesville Daily Progress the toughest part was being unable to help All-American Monica Wright as the Cavaliers flamed out in the postseason.

“During the N.C. State game in the ACC tournament and our game against Green Bay in the NCAA tournament, I kept looking at Moni — and that was when my injury was almost over with — and I could have done something in those games. I would have done anything to save Moni’s career for another two games. They were some of the hardest games that I have watched in a very long time.”

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Virginia Tech: Fenyn leads way at Empire State Games

Virginia Tech rising sophomore Alyssa Fenyn scored a team-high 20 points to lead her Western squad past Hudson Valley 77-60 to kick off open women's basketball play at the retooled Empire State Games Thursday at Niagara University. Founded in 1978 as the nation's first state games, the Empire showcase saw its wildly successful run interrupted last year when the games were canceled due to budget cuts. 

Fenyn, who earned ACC All-Academic Team honors last season, is an Empire State Games veteran as she helped Western win a gold medal in the scholastic division in 2007. That team also featured Shenise Johnson, who last season earned first-team All-ACC honors as a sophomore at Miami, and Joelle Connelly, who transferred from Hofstra midway through last season and will now attend Temple.

This year, Fenyn is one of three Division I players on the Western team, along with Megan Shoniker (Rhode Island) and Liz Flooks (Niagara). Shoniker had 19 points in the win over Hudson Valley.

The basketball tournament continues through Sunday's noon gold medal game.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday's national team updates

Elizabeth Williams
Elizabeth Williams went 7-for-7 from the field during a 16-point, 8-rebound performance during the United States' 133-71 flogging of Japan in the World U17 Championships in France. Why such a large spread? The Americans' 66-27 rebounding advantage may have had something to do with it. The U.S. concluded group play with a 5-0 mark and will and face Spain (2-3) in Friday's quarterfinals.
Prior to Wednesday's game, Williams chatted briefly with about the U.S. team. As interviews go, this one is about as shallow as the lyrics to Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive." But we'll pass it along just the same.

European U20 B Championships

Talk about a one-woman team. Macedonia's Jelena Antic (Liberty) scored 23 of her team's 41 points in a 72-41 loss to Hungary that dropped the host squad to 0-4. Antic continues to lead all players with 25 ppg and 12 rpg. Macedonia will face Belgium in a 9th-place game on Thursday. Friday's quarterfinals: Great Britain (featuring ODU's Mairi Buchan and Becca Allison) vs. Israel; Czech Republic vs. Greece; Slovak Republic vs. Hungary and Portugal vs. Belgium.

Central American and Caribbean Championships

The Virgin Islands pummeled St. Vincent and the Grenadines 80-44 to advance to the medal round. Victoria Hamilton (Radford) chipped in 6 points for the winners. Stacy Griffith (UDC, ex-VCU), is also representing the Virgin Islands.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday's national team update

European U20 B Championships

 - Macedonia's Jelena Antic (Liberty) had 26 points and 18 rebounds in a 64-63 loss to Belgium. Antic leads the tournament with 25.7 ppg and 14 rpg through three games. It was the second straight one-point loss for Macedonia (0-3), which is hosting the tournament.

- Great Britain's Mairi Buchan (Old Dominion) had 12 points and 6 rebounds and Becca Allison (Old Dominion) added 9 points and 6 steals in a 72-58 loss to the Czech Republic. The loss was Great Britain's first in four games; the Czech Republic improved to 4-0. Buchan is averaging 25.0 minutes, 10.8 points and 8.3 rebounds in the tournament. Allison's numbers: 19 minutes, 5.8 points, 2.5 steals and 1.0 assist.

Central America and Caribbean Games

- Jamaica (1-1) fell to the Dominican Republic 72-62 despite a 19-point, 15-rebound effort from Simone Edwards (George Mason assistant coach). Angelee LaTouche (George Mason) added 4 points and 7 rebounds in a 29-minute stint for Jamaica.

- Victoria Hamilton (Radford) had 4 points and 5 rebounds for the Virgin Islands (1-1) in an 82-55 loss to host Puerto Rico 82-55.

U17 World Championships

Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne High) scored 8 points in an 82-55 rout of Turkey as the United States (4-0) locked up a spot in the quarterfinals while remaining the only unbeaten team in the tournament. The U.S. will conclude pool play on Wednesday against Japan. Williams leads the U.S. with 13.0 ppg and 8.2 rpg despite averaging just over 18 minutes per game.

Monday, July 19, 2010

George Mason: Too bad Simone Edwards is out of eligibility

Simone Edwards
Angelee LaTouche
So what if she'll turn 37 in November? Former University of Iowa star, WNBA champion and current George Mason assistant Simone Edwards is still a baller. Edwards proved she's still got game last week by averaging 17 points and a tournament-best 11.2 rebounds per game in leading her native Jamaica to a silver medal at the Centrobasket Championship for Women in Puerto Rico.  

Patriots senior Angelee LaTouche (17 points, 19 rebounds in 5 games) also represented Jamaica, which defeated the Virgin Islands, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago before falling to Puerto Rico in the title game.

On Monday, Jamaica opened play in the Central American and Caribbean Games (also in Puerto Rico) with a 63-56 victory over Guatemala. Jamaica will face the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Liberty: Antic on fire at Euro U20 B Championships

Her Macedonia team may be still looking for its first win, but Liberty University's Jelena Antic has been a dominating individual force through two games of the European U20 B Championships. Antic leads the tournament with 25.5 points and 12 rebounds per game and is second among all players with 4.5 assists. One can only imagine how much Antic will score if her 3-point shot starts falling. Liberty's rising sophomore is 0-11 from long distance so far in the tournament.

Antic scored 26 points in Macedonia's 71-62 loss to the Czech Republic on Saturday, then dropped 25 on Great Britain in a 70-69 defeat on Sunday. Macedonia will continue pool play on Monday against Belgium.

It's a good thing Antic is staying sharp, because the way Liberty's schedule is shaping up, the Flames are going to need all the practice they can get. On Nov. 22, the Flames will travel to College Station to take on Texas A&M, the defending Big 12 champion. Four days later, Liberty heads to Waco to face Baylor, a 2010 Final Four team featured 6-8 force-of-nature Brittney Griner.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

ODU lands point guard

Ashley Betz-White
Looks like Old Dominion's point guard concerns have been addressed - for 2011 and beyond.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

ODU: Allison to start for Great Britain?

Hate to turn this site into the PR firm for the Scottish wing of the Old Dominion roster, but according to this report, Lady Monarchs redshirt freshman Becca Allison may have worked her way into the starting lineup as Great Britain begins play in the Women's Euro B Under-20 Championships beginning Friday in Austria.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Richmond: 10 days, 5 cities, one team

Richmond will embark on a four-game 10-day Scandinavian tour through Sweden and Norway August 10-19. The Spiders will travel to five cities during their stay.

Under NCAA regulations, a team is allowed a foreign trip every four years. In addition, the Spiders will receive 10 practice days to prepare for the tour. The new NCAA ruling will now allow freshmen the opportunity to play.

The overseas roster will include the eight returners from last year's squad plus the 2010 freshmen. Injured reserve Sam Bilney will travel but not play. Brittani Shells and Rachael Bilney will provide a daily blog about the Spiders' stay.

NSU and NCAA women's hoops tournament in the same sentence?

Debra Clark
Hey, we kid because we care. Besides, on Friday and Saturday those two entities will have something in common - sort of - when Norfolk State coach Debra Clark will be one of 19 head coaches participating in a mock selection exercise hosted by the Division I women’s basketball committee and members of the NCAA staff in Indianapolis.

Fans can follow the exercise via a Cover It Live blog on Friday and Saturday. Both blog sessions beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern time, and accounts of the exercise will also be provided on the women’s basketball championship Facebook and Twitter pages.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ODU's Buchan is a beast in Bulgaria

Bulgarian sweep for the British under-20 team with Old Dominion's Mairi Buchan lighting it up! Buchan's team-high 15 points allowed  the British team to cruise past Bulgaria 65-45 in the final game of warmups prior to the European Championships, which begin later this week.

Buchan amassed 38 points in the three-game sweep played in Bulgaria.

Next up: the B Division European Championships in Macedonia. The Brits take on Belgium on Friday.

We're rooting for Buchan and Lady Monarch Becca Allison, who is also part of the U-20 team.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The folks in Falkirk love them some Mairi

Treated like a star wherever she goes, planes chartered to fly her around the country and at the top end of her class....

Maya Moore? Brittney Griner?

Mairi Buchan.

A bit over the top? Perhaps. But if you can't get love from your local newspaper, where can you get it? And the folks at the Falkirk Herald - the "biggest-selling local weekly newspaper in Scotland" - are clearly proud of one of their own getting it done in America.

A Stirlingshire, Scotland native, Buchan earned first-team CAA All-Academic honors and was one of the heroes of the Lady Monarchs' improbable 50-49 comeback victory over Delaware in the CAA Tournament semifinals.

Soon there will be two Buchans playing stateside, as Mairi's younger brother, Cameron, is set to enroll at the Kent Prep School in Connecticut.

"She's told me all about the people, all the overenthusiasm and the cheesy chat," Cameron explained. "It'll be a laugh, I'm really looking forward to it. But it'll be a challenge too because basketball is much tougher over there than it is here. It's a step up and it's come at the right time."

We're looking forward to asking Mairi about Cameron's progress this fall. That is, if we can fight through all the fans mobbing her on campus.

21 questions for Kim Rodgers

It hasn't been the smoothest of rides for ex-Princess Anne High star Kim Rodgers at Maryland, but judging from this interview, it seems as though "Fia" is determined to make the 2010-11 season her best yet.

JMU verbal commit earns raves from ESPN

Looks like the recruiting staff at JMU has uncovered another gem. At least that's how ESPN's Mark Lewis is calling it after watching Class of 2011 verbal commit Achiri Ade perform during last week's USA Invitational at Penn State:

When a player is as eye catching as this 6-foot forward from Baltimore, Md., and you're still tempted to say she's just scratching the surface, great things are on the horizon. Ade is impressive both physically and in her playing performance. She utilizes her size, strength and explosiveness to make plays that might have a rough edge to them now but will suit her well at the next level. Her first step covers a lot of ground and created a lot of opportunities for her off the drive. Inside she got off the floor both on her shot as well as her rebounding efforts. The key words in describing her game are effort and attack. On either end of the floor she's relentless and refuses to be outworked. There are fundamental skills that need refinement but the potential is limitless and should keep the folks at James Madison smiling.

Postcards from ODU's Buchan, Allison and Virginia Beach's Williams

   It's a big week for Old Dominion's Mairi Buchan and Becca Allison, who will vie for a European Championship title starting Friday in Kavadarci, Macedonia. The two Lady Monarchs and native Scots -- Buchan is a junior and Allison a redshirt freshman -- are part of Great Britain Standard Life Under-20 team competing for a European Basketball Division B title.

Last week Allison scored nine in a 70-35 exhibition victory over Austria in Baden, Austria - a feat considering the team departed Britain for Austria at 3 a.m., 12 hours prior to tipoff. In a second game against Austria,  Buchan led the scoring with 10 points, though the British team lost 49-48.

Buchan aad Allison scored 12 apiece against Bulgaria on Friday in another tuneup won by the Brits 55-44.

The real test begins Friday against Belgium, followed by games against Hungary on July 17, host team Macedonia on July 18 and the Czech Republic on July 20.

Buchan and Allison are the lone collegiate players from Virginia on the U20 team. Other teammates from American Division I programs are Mary Durojaye (Robert Morris), Kashmere Joseph (Seton Hall), Katrin Chiemeka (Davidson), Charlotte Stoddart (Fordham) and Kathryn Taylor (Colgate). 

Also in international competition, Princess Anne High School's Elizabeth Williams (Virginia Beach) led the way for the 2010 USA U17 Women's World Championship team, which finished its exhibition schedule over the weekend as the winner of a round-robin, pre-world championship event in Alagon, Spain.

The 6-3 Williams ranked fourth among all participants in scoring (11.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg), tied for third in blocked shoots (1.3 bpg) and tied for fifth in shooting percentage (50 percent) in the three-day tournaments. Her efforts earned her MVP honors; the USA team finished 2-1.

Noted Williams: "It's cool to be named MVP, but I still think it's better we won the tournament as a team. It's a nice feeling, but at the same time, we still need to get better if we want that world championship trophy."

On Monday the team heads to Rodez France, for the start of the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship for Women, which begins Friday.

The rising senior at Princess Anne, considered the top prospect in the class of 2011, remains mum about her college decision, though speculation has centered around Duke, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia as her favorites.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

VHSCA all-star recap

Georgetown fans reading this Daily Press report ought to be pretty excited, because Lancaster High's Andrea White sounds like a real beast. Nice effort by locals Dashera Boone and Cassandra Morgan, too, in the East's 88-81 victory. By the way, Morgan, like Boone a recent Menchville High graduate, will attend Old Dominion but will focus on academics instead of hoops.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Who's who primer for Tuesday's VHSCA all-star game

Plan on checking out this week's VHSCA all-star girls basketball game (Tuesday, 6 p.m. at Hampton Coliseum) but concerned you might not know who's who on court? You certainly can't count on the game's program for help. Sure, it's as thick as a phonebook, but 99 percent of its pages contain ads and/or well-wishes for the various players. What good is that?

 That's where we come in. The following is a primer on the players scheduled to take part in the all-star festivities, complete with their uniform number and college of choice.

But first, a couple of disclaimers:

- Note the phrase "scheduled to take part". Many a year I've been disappointed to learn upon arrival that one or more of the players I've come to see has pulled out for some such reason. Not saying this will definitely happen on Tuesday. Just don't be surprised.

- As best we can determine, Lacey Harris is attending Old Dominion and Kayla Osborne will enroll at Virginia Tech. What we're not sure of is whether they're going to these schools by invitation, to try and walk on or simply because these are such outstanding universities. Hopefully, someone - preferably Lacey or Kayla themselves - will drop us a note and clear things up.

Now, on to the list....


10 - Lacey Harris, 5-6 G, Millbrook
- Helped the Pioneers to an undefeated season (22-0) and the Group AA, Division 3 title. Will attend Old Dominion University.

12 - Holly Morgan, 5-6 G, Buffalo Gap
- Shenandoah Valley District Player of the Year helped the Bison win back-to-back Group A, Division 1 state titles in 2008 and 2009. Will play at Bridgewater College. "She's capable of playing the 1, 2 or 3 for us," Bridgewater assistant coach Cyndi Justice said.

13 - Chantal Thomas, 5-6, George Mason
- Defensive ace, floor general and a first-team Group A all-state selection (AP) who led Mason to back-to-back Group A, Division 2 state titles. Will play for Christopher Newport.

14 - Kirastin Cole, 5-6 G, James Monroe
- Averaged 6.7 rebounds and 4.8 steals and an area-best 24.4 points despite facing junk defenses designed to shut her down. A first-team All-Region I pick for James Monroe, which fell to Bruton 50-43 in the Region I Division 3 quarterfinals.Will play for Patrick Henry Community College.

15 - Andrea White, 6-0 F, Lancaster
- Averaged 29 points, 14.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 5.6 steals and 2.9 blocks to lead Lancaster (20-2) to the Group A, Division 2 state final. Posted 29 points, 22 rebounds, five assists, seven blocks and seven steals in a 62-53 double-overtime win over Lee in the state semis. Signed with Georgetown.

20 - Kendra Holmes, 5-9 F, Loudoun County
- Second team Group AA all-state pick (AP) and the VHSL coaches' Division 3 Player of the Year in 2009. Holds school records for single-game blocks (9) and rebounds (31) and single-season rebounds (373, 12.4 rpg). Cracked the 1,000 career-point barrier (1,004) in her final game. Will play for Lincoln Memorial University, a Division II school in Harrogate, Tenn. which plans to move up to D-I in 2011.

22 - Alissa Kain, 5-9 G, Loudoun County
- Averaged 13.4 ppg and tended to play her best in the biggest games. Had 23 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in a 63-47 victory over Turner Ashby in the 2009 Group AA Division 4 title game. Scored more than 1,000 points in her career. Has signed with Navy; will spend her first year at the Naval Academy Prep School.

24 - Dashera Boone, 5-9 G/F, Menchville
- Averaged a team-leading 14.9 ppg for the Monarchs and earned first-team All-Peninsula District honors. Will attend Elizabeth City State.

25 - Debbie Smith, 5-10 G, Hampton
- Led the Peninsula District in scoring (21.2 ppg) and was named the Peninsula District and the Daily Press Girls Basketball Player of the Year. A second-team Group AAA all-state pick (AP). Has signed with James Madison.

30 - Cassandra Morgan, 6-0 F, Menchville
- Averaged 11.6 ppg and helped the Monarchs win a share of the Peninsula District regular-season title. A second-team All-District pick.

32 - Jessica Escorza, 5-11 G/F, Freedom
- Returned to Freedom as a senior after playing her sophomore year at Notre Dame Academy and her junior year at Paul VI Catholic. Helped the Eagles capture a second straight Group AA Division 4 state title. Has signed with Wofford.

40 - Gabby Tyler, 6-2 C, Greensville
- Southside District and Region I (Division 3) Player of the Year averaged 18 points and 17 rebounds in leading Greensville to a 27-0 record before falling to also-unbeaten Millbrook in the Division 3 state title game. Has signed with Charlotte.

42 - Kelsey Buchanan, 6-3 C, Freedom
- Group AA state player of the year (AP) averaged 19 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks in leading the Eagles to a second straight state title. Posted a triple-double (11 points, 21 rebounds, 10 blocks) in the 2009 state title game and had 25, 16 and 9 in the 2010 championship game. Has signed with Delaware.

East coaches: Maze Toomer, Surry County; LaBryan Thomas, George Mason; Debbie Sanders, Millbrook; Jason Eldredge, Freedom; Saundra Sawyer, Lake Taylor


10 - Sheniqua Woods, 5-2 G, John Burton
- Speedy defensive standout averaged nearly 5 assists per game and helped the Raiders go 28-0 before suffering a 3-point loss to Surry County in the Group A Division 1 state title game. Will play for Emory and Henry.

11 - Carter Williams, 5-5 G, Spotswood
- Averaged 13.6 ppg and led the Trailblazers to the Group AA Division 4 state title game. Has signed with High Point.

12 - Ti'Asia McGeorge, 5-4 G, William Fleming
- Western Valley District Player of the Year averaged 12.2 points and 6.3 assists for the Colonels. Has signed with American.

12 - Julia Scales, 5-6 F, Bassett
- Focal point of a Bengals team that advanced to the Group AA Division 4 quarterfinals. Honorable mention VHSCA all-state pick. Will attend Lynchburg College.

14 - Kayla Goins, 5-6 G, Carroll County
- Led the Cavaliers with 15.9 ppg and 9.6 rpg while setting a single-season school record for steals (122). Scored a game-high 23 points in the Cavaliers' 62-46 loss to Spotswood in the Group A Division 4 state quarterfinals. Will play at Ferrum.

15 - Kyana Jacobs, 5-6 G, Potomac
- A four-time team MVP, Jacobs earned Washington Post All-Metropolitan Honorable Mention honors as a senior, capping her career by earning All-Cardinal District Player of the Year honors, All-Northwest Region First Team honors and News & Messenger All-Area Second Team honors. Has signed with USC Upstate.

20 - Krystal Patton, 5-6 G, Chilhowie
- Led the Warriors to the Group A Division 2 state semifinals, then scored 26 of her team's 42 points in a loss to George Mason. "She gave us fits. We tried double-teaming her. At one point, we even triple-teamed her. She took all our focus defensive-wise," Mason coach LaBryan Thomas said. Also a Group A all-state first teamer in volleyball. Will play for Lenoir-Rhyne.

22 - Lauren Burford, 6-1 G/F, Fairfax
- Averaged 20.2 ppg, 10.8 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.3 blocks. A second-team Group AAA all-state pick (AP). Has signed with Villanova.

24 - Melissa Gallo, 5-10 G/F, W.T.Woodson
- A three-time first-team All-Liberty District honoree. Averaged 13.7 ppg as a senior. Has signed with Boston University. "Melissa has very good skills at the guard position. She knows how to score, and I think her game is perfect for our up-tempo style of play," BU assistant coach Michael Leflar said.

25 - Kayla Osborne, 5-6 G, Hidden Valley
- Scored a team-high 24 points in a two-point Region IV semifinal loss to Carroll County than denied the Titans a fifth straight trip to the state tournament. River Ridge District Player of the Year. Will attend Virginia Tech.

40 - Salesse Stovall, 6-1 C, William Fleming
- Second-team All-Northwest Region pick led Fleming and scoring and rebounding. Has signed with Marshall.

42 - Kirby Burkholder, 5-11 F, Turner Ashby
- Averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds and leaves Turner Ashby as the school's all-time leading scorer. Older sister Jordan, a junior at Bridgewater College, finished third in the ODAC in scoring at 16.8 ppg. Kirby has signed with James Madison.

West coaches: Michael Goforth, John Burton; Mark Halsey, Chilhowie; Jeremy Hartman, Robert E. Lee; Chris Dodson, Spotswood; Fred Priester, Oakton.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Whatever happened to ... JMU's Jess Cichowicz

Jess Cichowicz,a four-year starter at point guard for James Madison, holds several school records, including career assists (670), season (5.86) and career (5.29) assist average, assists in a game (17) and season steals (82). The 2003 graduate is also a former member of the Dukes staff as director of operations (2007-08).

In her words, here's how she spent her time since graduating in 2003.

After graduating from JMU, I returned home to Australia. I had decided to go back to school to get a teaching degree but since the school year is different over here I had to wait about nine months before I could begin my course. I worked with my mum until my course began and, after a year of intense study, received my postgraduate teaching degree in primary education (K-6).

During this time I returned to my old basketball team, the Nunawading Spectres to play in the SEABL (the league below our professional league). I also played for the Dandenong Rangers in the WNBL (the Australian professional league) and was a member of the 2004 championship team and went on to compete in the FIBA World Championships in Taiwan. Unfortunately I reinjured my knee (I had previously needed surgery after my senior season at JMU) and had to go through another surgery. I played another season in the SEABL but decided at the end of the season to take a break from basketball.

I worked as an emergency teacher for a little over a year before deciding to return to the U.S. I arrived back in Virginia with intentions of teaching but ended up working with a civil engineering company. I had a fantastic learning experience working as a civil designer for about a year and a half until a position came open at my alma mater. I took on the Director of Operations position at JMU in 2007-2008 and was thrilled to be back involved with the Women’s Basketball team. At the conclusion of my first year I re-evaluated and decided it was time to move back to Australia. I had missed the birth of my first niece and almost didn’t make it home for my sister’s wedding. I decided family was too important to me to be so far away from them.

I returned home to Australia in 2008 and went back to emergency teaching. In 2009 I received a position teaching grade 1 at Springvale Heights Primary School and have continued teaching at the new merged school, Springvale Rise Primary School, with a grade 5/6 class this year. I thoroughly enjoy what I do and have ambitions of returning to school to undergo a masters degree in teaching within the next few years.

As for basketball, I have not returned to competition since re-injuring my knee. I miss the game I love so dearly and am in the process of finding a local team to play socially where I can forget about the stress of high level sports and just enjoy playing. I keep track of the Dukes online and had a feeling that 2009-2010 would be their year. I would have loved to have been at the tournament to experience their accomplishment of becoming CAA Champs, but unfortunately could not due to work commitments.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The hardest-working girl in the game?

We're already huge fans of soon-to-be Longwood guard Bria White, and not just because she has a world-class last name. You see, several weeks ago, we asked a bunch of incoming freshmen what they would be doing this summer to get ready for their debut season. All of the responses were strong (and greatly appreciated). But Bria's blew us away. So much so that we can't wait to see her in action for the Lancers this season. Because while some opponents may wind up outplaying her (remember, she's just a freshman), we find it hard to believe anyone will outwork her.

Here's Bria's version of "How I'll Spend My Summer":

I workout everyday at my nearby Community center that I've gone to throughout my entire basketball career. I am assigned specific workouts on certain days. I am also on a jumping program to increase my vertical and restrengthen my ankle. Along with my jumping workout, my trainer and I go out to the field where I use my parachute. This is for my endurance and power. I run the field (50 yards) 6 times then go inside to lift weights. I lift While I am tired to ensure that I get the most out of the parachute. After I lift weights I go into the gym to shoot. So, basically with all that said I am on a very strenuous workout, my trainer puts me through very extensive drills, some of which are that of the NBA. Having trainers that have played college basketball and have come from a long line of basketball, Frank Peterson and Sean Tracy are going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure I am ready for division I college basketball. My Schedule is as follows:

Mondays: I alternate weeks where run a mile or use the parachute. Even weeks I run a mile, odd weeks I use the parachute. With the parachute we increase how many up and backs I do. Each week an up and back is added. After I run, my trainer and I go straight to the weight room as a cool down, concentrating on legs and biceps. After our lift, we proceed to the gym where I start my ball handling drills. After ball handling we jump right into our quick release shooting (ranging for about 150 to 200 shots). After shooting we do alot of moves going left (Sweep and go, 1 dribble getting to the basket, 1 dribble pull-ups) Right side we go into NBA moves (Snatch back, Euro Step, ShamGuard, Killer Crossover). On driving to the basket moves, my trainer uses either a pad or a bag to ensure I can get all the way to the basket even with a hit. After our on the go moves I do my 28 week jump program in which we increase reps each week. Even Weeks its Monday, Wednesday Friday. Odd Weeks they are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Tuesday: Parachute or Mile Depending on which week it is, Weight room, Gym (mikans, ball handling, moves, backboard touches, touch the rim the run to half court, shoot repeat 10 times). Post work, Jump Pro workout.

Wednesday: 2 Ball dribbling, All-Americans, post work, defense, dribble pull-up, jab step, Rip Hamilton (catch pump fake shoot or catch pump fake go to the basket) Heavy rope, speed and agility ladder, speed rope, backboard taps with heavy ball. Post work (drop steps, up and unders, turnaround jumpers, high post work).

Thursday: Speed and agility ladder (Heavy rope series) ball handling, game speed moves (cross over, hesitation, stop and go, between the legs) Post work, Jump Pro (depending on what week it is).

Friday: Parachute, Weights, Court work (ball handling, jump shots catch and shoot jab, sweep and go) Post work*Fridays are concentrated on defense so after all of my court work I go on the field and slide down and back 8 times (staying low, or I start all over)

Saturday: Defense lane slides, down and backs, around the gym, stutter step quick slide, back pedal). Post work, Jump Pro (depending on week) court work.

Sunday:  Specially left hand, strength and defense.

You go, girl.

Bria is one of three players in the incoming class the Lancers announced earlier this week. She will be joined by Emilee Dunton, a 5-8 guard out of Forest, Va. whose 526 career assists ranks third in Virginia High School League history, and Mina Jovanovic, a 5-9 guard from Serbia by way of Salt Lake Community College.