Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hoops notes (JMU, Mason, VaTech, NSU, etc.)

James Madison: Are the Dukes headed for Cancun in November? Purdue seems to think so - at least that's what it says in a West Lafayette newspaper. Problem is, the official website for the Caribbean Challenge lists the competing teams as Virginia Tech, Purdue, Montana and Iowa, and that's what we've been going with. Now the official site has had this information for months, and the newspaper story came out Friday. Is it possible the field has changed and the website simply hasn't been updated? Sure. Is it also possible the newspaper simply got it wrong? Absolutely. So we're going to just sit tight and let Kenny Brooks have the last word on this one. I mean, that JMU schedule ought to be coming out any day now...right?

Congratulations to former JMU star Meredith Alexis, who last month was named an assistant coach at Division II Pitt-Johnstown.

George Mason: We were really looking forward to seeing what Ondrea Shaw, a promising high school post player from Kentucky, would do for the Patriots this season. We even wrote a post about her. So naturally we were disappointed to discover that Shaw's isn't listed on Mason's 2010-11 roster. Not sure what happened, but it appears as though Shaw will spent this year at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. Good luck, Ondrea, wherever you are.

We were also surprised to learn that Northeastern's Brittany Wilson, a third-team All-CAA pick as a sophomore last season, is no longer with the Huskies. In addition to leading Northeastern in scoring, rebounding and steals in 2009-10, Wilson was one of only four Division I players in the nation to post a 30-point, 20-rebound game. You may have heard of two of the others - UConn's Maya Moore and Stanford's Nnemkadi Ogwumike. The fourth? Louisiana Tech’s Shanavia Dowdell.

Old Dominion fans will no doubt remember Wilson's last play of the 2009-10 season, a sequence that ended with her getting knocked violently to the floor during Northeastern's CAA quarterfinal against the Lady Monarchs.

Virginia Tech: Two members of the Hokies' 2009-10 squad, Lindsay Biggs and Utahya Drye, will be playing overseas this season. Biggs, who ranks second all-time at Tech in 3-pointers made, is now with Autocad Amazone in Utrecht, Netherlands. Drye, one of only two Hokies in the program's 34-year history (along with Kerri Gardin) to eclipse 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 200 assists in her career, will join Cab Madiera in Madeira, Portugal.

Norfolk State: Ashley Bowman, who played two years for NSU and starred during the 2005-06 season, scored 15 points to help the All-Army team defeat All-Navy 56-53 and win the 2010 Armed Forces Basketball Championships on Aug. 22 at Fort Myer, Va.

It means a lot for me because I never even thought I was going to play basketball again,” said Bowman, who had 15 points and six steals in the title tilt. “That’s why I came into the Army. I needed some stability in my life. To be able to come and play basketball and represent the Army is a blessing, and for the game to be on in Afghanistan, where people are downrange, and for us to be representing what we’re doing in the world, to me, is a powerful feeling because it’s bigger than us. It feels great.”

Bowman averaged a team-leading 13.3 ppg - 7th in the MEAC - and led the conference in assists (5.1) for Norfolk State during the 2005-06 season.

Longwood: The Lancers will kick the season off by hosting a tournament Nov. 12-13 featuring Marshall (14-16) and Campbell (14-16) and Appalachian State (23-12, WBI champion). Longwood will play Marshall and Campbell.

Other schedule updates: Old Dominion will host North Carolina A&T (23-11, WNIT 3rd round) on Nov. 18 (Thursday)...William and Mary will visit Wisconsin (21-11, NCAA 1st round) on Nov. 14....Liberty will play Creighton (21-11, WNIT 2nd round) in opener of N.C. State's Raleigh Wolfpack Invitational on Nov. 12. Will play either College of Charleston (21-12, WBI semifinals) or host N.C. State (20-14, NCAA 1st round) in the championship or the consolation game on Nov. 13.

Click here for all the scheduling tidbits from Virginia's Division I schools.

The CAA - an early look

Someone's really on the ball at CAA headquarters. I mean, it's still August and already the league has put together its women's basketball preview for the 2010-11 season. Now, if we could just get a look at a few more of those schedules....

Friday, August 27, 2010

PA's Williams now No. 2 in ESPN rankings

For what it's worth, Princess Anne star Elizabeth Williams has slipped one notch to No. 2 in the ESPNU Hoopgurlz top 1000 rankings for the class of 2011. The new No. 1 is Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, the 6-0 shooting star from Mater Dei High in California who has committed to Connecticut. Obviously this is nice for Lewis, and it will allow UConn fans to puff out their chests a bit (more). And it's no biggie for Williams; we suspect a few schools, including UConn, remain interested in her services.

Other Virginia players in the ESPN rankings:

56 - Sarah Imovbioh, 6-2 F, St. Anne's-Belfield, has verbally committed to Virginia
68 - Linda Stepney, 5-5 G, Lake Taylor High, has verbally committed to West Virginia
82 - Ka'lia Johnson, 5-9 G, Thomas Dale High, has verbally committed to Duke

In addition, Bria Smith, the 5-9 guard from New York who has committed to Virginia, is at No. 8 and Achiri Ade, the 6-1 forward from Seton Keough School in Maryland who has committed to James Madison, is at No. 92.

ODU to visit Florida; Hampton to host Gators

Old Dominion will play its return game against Florida on Nov. 30 (Tuesday) in Gainesville. Last season, the Gators traveled to Norfolk and spanked the Lady Monarchs 81-67. The matchup will re-unite ODU's Mairi Buchan and Rebecca Allison with Florida's Azania Stewart. All have represented Great Britain in international play.

A couple of weeks later, the Gators will visit Hampton on Dec. 10. It's a terrific "get" for the Pirates; rarely do MEAC schools get to host a program from a power conference like the SEC.

The Gators went 15-17 last year and reached the second round of the WNIT. The team graduated five seniors, and three other players announced plans to transfer shortly after the season. So Florida will need to tap heavily into a six-player recruiting class ranked No. 21 nationally by one service.

Click here for an updated schedule tidbits from all other Virginia schools.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Muscle, fitness and some sweet shots

New York Times photo
As much as we love basketball, we're also huge fans of professional tennis. And we were blown away by the power, grace and artistry of Serena Williams (pictured), Kim Clijsters and several other top women's stars as captured by the New York Times in these amazing short video clips.

We can only hope one of these days the Times directs these same cameras on a basketball court. I mean, can you imagine seeing super slow-mo footage of Monica Wright making a steal? Ticha Penicheiro snapping off a no-look pass? Or Maya Moore doing, well, just about anything?

We have our fingers crossed.

Hoops notes (Richmond, Hampton, JMU etc.)

Richmond: If you didn't keep track of the Spiders during their recent Scandinavian trip (shame on you, but we'll let it slide this time), here's a quick-and-dirty recap courtesy of the school's sports information department. Notice how two freshmen, Kristina Puthoff-King (10.0 ppg) and Genevieve Okoro (7 ppg) ranked 2nd and 4th on the team respectively in scoring. And for more about the cultural, off-court adventures during the trip, be sure to check out Rachael Bilney's well-written blog.

- In other Richmond news, our schedule tidbits post has been updated to reflect the fact that the Spiders will host Boston University on Dec. 28.

Hampton: A pair of local players who went the junior-college route, Heritage High graduate Evany Dickerson and ex-Hampton High star Alyssa Bennett, plan to return home as both have verbally committed to the Pirates, the Daily Press reported. Dickerson, a 5-5 guard who helped Heritage High claim the 2008 Group AAA state title, played last season at Patrick Henry Community College and will attend Tidewater Community College this year. The 6-2 Bennett, who played for Pirates head coach David Six as a member of Hampton High's 2007 state championship team, averaged 4.6 ppg at Gulf Coast Community College last season.

Click here to see other school's verbal commitments to date.

Norfolk State: The Spartans' 2010-11 schedule post has been updated to include the team's three opponents in the Morehead State tournament - Houston Baptist, Central Arkansas and the host school.

James Madison: Check out the interesting tale of Andrea Woodson-Smith, a former Dukes player whose career was cut short by injury after she was undercut going for a rebound. Last month, Woodson-Smith was instrumental in helping the United States capture the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation world title.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another George Mason verbal - so what else is new?

Man, Jeri Porter and her staff's doin' work, aren't they? The George Mason coach/recruiter extraordinaire appears to have bagged her third verbal commitment of the summer. The latest to join the fold is Rachel McNair, a 6-2 forward out of New York who earlier this week told ESPN that she plans to become a Patriot.

Of course, we don't mean to suggest Porter's pitch is the sole reason these players are choosing Mason. But let's face it, a couple of years ago, the Patriots were a four-win team. Now players are lining up to head to Fairfax.

Click here for an updated list of verbal commitments from all Division I schools in Virginia.

Monday, August 23, 2010

George Mason adds another verbal commitment

ESPN is reporting that Talisha Watts, a 6-2 forward from Brookeville, has given a verbal commitment to George Mason for the 2011 season. ESPN has been high on Watts for a while; here's how they evaluated her after the Deep South Classic AAU tournament in April:

At 6-2, the junior from Virginia is all arms and legs, with and incredible wing span. What makes you take notice of Watts is her ability to finish in transition, which she does well with both hands. Though her ball handling needs improvement, she is quick enough to grab a rebound and dribble the ball up the floor to start the fast break. Watts is a very strong defender, she doesn't shy away from contact despite her slight frame. Opposing players tend not to attack her side on defensive for fear of having their shot blocked. Adding a consistent mid-range jumper well help her become even more of a scoring threat.

Watts becomes the second 2011 player to choose the Patriots, joining New York point guard Karin Robinson.

Click here for an updated list of other schools' verbal commitments.

ODU bound for the Big Easy

Old Dominion will travel to New Orleans on Dec. 28-29 for the Tulane Christmas Tournament. The Lady Monarchs will open against Charlotte (18-14, WNIT 2nd round last season) on Dec. 28, then face either Nicholls State (4-24) or host Tulane (26-7, Sun Belt regular-season and tournament champs, NCAA 1st round loss to Georgia) on Dec. 29.

Charlotte will also host VCU on Dec. 11 and Virginia Tech on Jan. 2.

Click here for updated tidbits on other teams' schedules.

PA's Williams to visit Tennessee

Dan Fleser of reports that Princess Anne High star Elizabeth Williams, the nation's No. 1 recruit for the class of 2011, will make an unofficial visit to Tennessee this weekend. And Fleser has a great source - Cierra Burdick, Williams' friend, a teammate on both the Boo Williams' AAU squad and the U.S. U17 team and a player who has already verbally committed to the Lady Vols.

Tennessee has certainly done its part to court Williams. We remember running into Pat Summitt last February at Ocean Lakes High School while Williams' Cavaliers were en route to winning the Beach District title game. And Fleser notes that last month, Lady Vols coaches traveled to Spain and France to watch Williams help the U17 team capture the gold medal at the world championships.

The only thing that's somewhat confusing is that Williams has repeatedly stated that one of her main objectives in choosing a college is being able to play close to home so her family and friends can see her play.

“It is a big deal because my family literally comes to all my games,” Williams told the New Haven Register last month. “They are coming to France (for the U -17 World Championship for Women), they have sacrificed a lot and I think it would only be right for me to stay close to home. There are a lot of good schools close to me.”

For the record, Knoxville is 444 miles from Virginia Beach.

Then again, Tennessee is Tennessee.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Richmond: Wann starts off with a bang

Not sure what kind of impact soccer star/basketball walk-on Becca Wann will make on the court, but if it's half as great as the one she's already making on the pitch, Richmond hoops fans are in for a treat.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Norfolk State releases 2010-11 schedule

No one can accuse Debra Clark of over-scheduling.

Then again, why should she? The Norfolk State coach is directing a team that went 4-23 last year, and 10 of the 12 players on the current squad are either freshmen or sophomores. The idea should be to spoon-feed these baby Spartans a succession of reasonable matchups with similarly rebuilding teams. In that respect, NSU's 2010-11 schedule is just about perfect.

This may seem obvious, but NSU hasn't always followed this script. Two years ago - before Clark took office - the Spartans followed up a 5-23 season by scheduling non-conference opponents from the ACC (Miami) and Big East (Seton Hall) along with perennial NCAA qualifiers Old Dominion and Utah. Predictably, NSU got crushed in all of those games and went on to finish with a 1-27 record.

The Spartans figure to be much more competitive with their 2010-11 foes. Their non-conference opponents include St. Paul's (an old rival from the Division II CIAA that went 8-20 last season), McNeese State (7-22), Wofford (8-21) and Houston Baptist (3-25). NSU defeated St. Paul's last year and lost to Wofford in overtime.

In fact, NSU will only see opponents coming off successful seasons in Morehead State's Comfort Inn and Suites Classic, where they will face Morehead State (22-11 and advanced to the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitational) and Central Arkansas (21-8). By the way, Central Arkansas provides proof that the kind of transformation the Spartans are hoping to achieve is possible. Sugar Bears were just 6-23 two years ago - their 15-win improvement was the biggest in Division I last season - and they did it despite a roster featuring six freshmen, two sophomores and a junior. To be fair, one of those freshmen was among the best in the nation - Megan Herbert averaged 21.8 ppg and 13.8 rpg in her debut season.

The Spartans also figure to have chances to win against the two newcomers to the MEAC, Savannah State (9-21) and North Carolina Central (11-18). NSU won by 12 at Savannah State last season.

“This will be a very competitive schedule for us,” Clark said. “Our non-conference opponents will help us prepare for the teams in our league. Our ultimate goal every year is to compete with each and every team in the MEAC, and this schedule affords us that opportunity.”

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hoopin' in Brazil

Jasmine Greene
They grow their women's basketball players big in Brazil. Or at least that's the way it seemed to 5-foot-5 Jasmine Greene, the Hampton native and soon-to-be ex-Hollins University star (more on this later) who was part of a Division III all-star team that posted a 2-3 record during a five-game exhibition series in the cities of Jundai and Rio de Janeiro earlier this month.

"Their girls were like seven feet tall!" Greene said.

Seven feet? C'mon Jasmine.

"Hey, I'm little. Everybody looks big to me."

More of Greene's impressions about the trip:

On her feelings prior to the team's departure

"I was nervous about the food, but definitely excited about going. I mean, I have never even been out of this country before."

On the beauty of Brazil

"At night, the lights were amazing. We saw these incredible mountains - we went to the top of Sugarloaf. And the water was so blue! It's funny because when I was driving home from Norfolk International Airport and saw our water, I was like, Oh, my God!. I didn't realize how blue their water was until I saw ours.

On her Brazilian diet

I basically ate beans and rice every time. My stomach couldn't take they way they cooked and everything they ate.

On the Brazilians' physical play

When we thought we were getting fouled, they just laughed at us. They were like, 'That's not a foul around here.'

On how she celebrated her 19th birthday (Aug. 9)

After one of the games the team surprised me with a birthday cake. Really nice.

Overall thoughts

An unbelievable experience. Definitely once-in-a-lifetime.

Now, about this leaving Hollins business....

Basketball at Hollins wasn't fun to me. It was like a job. Plus I had to play some at all five positions. They even had me doing the jump ball. I won some, too! I'd just like to go somewhere where I can play my position and just have fun.

Greene, who averaged 19.2 ppg last season as a freshman at Hollins, said she will spend the fall tightening up her GPA at Thomas Nelson Community College. She then plans to enroll at Virginia State, possibly for the second semester.

"It will be nice to be closer to home," she said.

For more on the D-III all-star team's experiences in Brazil, check out Hendrix College's Christina Byler's daily blog on the trip.

The all-star roster:
Christina Byler (Hendrix College)
Courtney Carroll (University of Redlands)
Alisa Dickerson (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology)
Jasmine Greene (Hollins University)
Molly Martin (Hanover College)
Erica Nord (Concordia College)
Monique Salmon (Baruch College)
Melissa Teel (Western Connecticut State University)
Head Coach – Jon Prevo Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Ind.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cavaliers land major recruiting target

Debbie Ryan and her staff sure does know how to recruit. A year ago, they bagged the nation's No. 5 incoming class according to ESPN. And on Thursday, the Cavaliers secured a verbal commitment from New York City guard Bria Smith, the No. 8 player in the country for the class of 2011.

And the Cavaliers may not be done yet. Smith was a member of the United States' U17 team that recently won the gold medal at the FIBA World Championships in France. One of Smith's teammates on that squad was Elizabeth Williams, the Princess Anne High star, the No. 1-ranked player in the 2011 class and a major Virginia recruiting target.

Could landing Smith help the Cavaliers in their pursuit of Williams? Who knows? And from everything we know and have heard about Williams, this is a young lady who will definitely make up her own mind.

But it certainly can't hurt.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hey, Virginia, who made this schedule?

Here's hoping the Virginia Cavaliers are having a strong and productive offseason.

They'll need it the way their schedule is shaping up. The latest heavyweight confirmed to take on the Cavaliers is Tennessee, which released its schedule Wednesday. The Lady Vols will host Virginia on Nov. 18 (a Thursday).

This means that, over a 15-day span, the Cavaliers will face Tennessee (32-3), Iowa State (25-8), West Virginia (29-6), TCU (22-9) and Ohio State (31-5). That's five NCAA tournament teams, five 20-win teams, two 30-win teams and two major conference champions (Tennessee: SEC; Ohio State: Big Ten).

Oh, and zero home games. In addition to traveling to Tennessee and Ohio State, the Cavaliers will face the other three teams during the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

Keep working, Cavs.

Other tidbits from the Tennessee schedule:

- The Lady Vols' annual matchup with Old Dominion is set for Sunday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. in Norfolk.

- Georgetown, featuring Suffolk's own Sugar Rodgers, will get its first-ever shot at Tennessee on Nov. 27 in the Virgin Islands during the Paradise Jam.

Click here to see what we know about the state's other team's schedules.

Dolgoff bolsters Old Dominion roster

Thank you, Monarch Nation.

For the past several days, some folks on the excellent Old Dominion message board have been buzzing about a new player, Ashley Dolgoff, becoming a Lady Monarch. Given the recent transfers by guards Pryncess Tate-Dublin (seemingly inevitable) and Carolann Cloutier (ouch!), it certainly made sense that ODU would be in the market for a late-summer addition.

But was it true?

"Yes, Ashley did sign with Old Dominion last Monday (Aug. 2)," Dolgoff's mother, Marilyn, said in an e-mail. "Ashley is a long wing from Ellicott City, Md. Her AAU coach, Otto Jett, matched Ashley up with ODU. With such a strong program, sense of tradition; and after spending the day with their friendly and knowledgeable staff it was an easy decision. Ashley hopes to bring versatility to the Lady Monarchs because she can score in a multitude of ways and defend several different positions."

Marilyn Dolgoff sounds like a coach, doesn't she? Not to mention one proud momma. But if Ashley's such a stud, how come it took until August for a school to snap her up?

"Ashley had a ACL tear after her junior year, in the spring of 2009," said Jett, who for the past six years has specialized in molding and developing unsigned seniors/under-the-radar talents and re-inserting them into the recruiting pool. "So she missed her big recruiting summer."

Dolgoff did recuperate in time to resume being the go-to girl at tiny Glenelg Country School (285 students in grades 9-12), where she averaged 27.3 ppg as a junior. But Jett estimates "it wasn't until probably about late May when Ashley began feeling like her old self."

Even then, Jett said schools such as Delaware, Loyola and American maintained a wait-and-see approach with Dolgoff. Midway through the summer, only one D-I offer was on the table - from New Mexico State.

Then ODU entered the picture.

"I just said to Ashley, 'Do you want to go to the desert, or do you want to go to the beach?"

So what kind of player is ODU getting?

"Well, she's a 6-2 guard, lefthanded, and a slasher," Jett said. "Can play the 2 or the 3. Very creative, and has a nice midrange jumper. She's not as consistent from 3, but she can shoot it from there. Has long arms and will block some shots. Just needs a little more upper-body strength.

"Plus she's hungry. Loves to play and compete. She's very quiet and has a high-pitched voice. But don't let that fool you. She can get a little nasty out there."

So there really will be another fresh lion in the Lady Monarchs' den. Welcome to ODU, Ashley. Thanks for the head-ups, Marilyn and Otto.

And thanks again, Monarch Nation.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Shells, Richmond ready to go

  Brittani Shells can't wait -- even if it means turning off her cell phone for 10 whole days. Shells and the rest of the Richmond team leave for a 10-day Scandinavian tour on Tuesday. The freshmen are coming, too, thanks to a new NCAA rule that allows freshmen to play abroad.

Shells plans to blog and put together a video for the Richmond website, a natural idea for her given she wants a career in film. (Click here for insight from Shells and junior Rachael Bilney throughout the trip).

"Actually I've never been outside of the United States, so I'm really not sure what it will be like," said the Spiders senior guard. "Coach has been giving us a few trivia questions."

Seems like Coach (and that would be Michael Shafer) went a tad easy on the questions. Example.

"What's the capital of Sweden?"

Shells knew that one. "Stockholm. That's where we play our first game."

While playing four games will be part of Richmond's five-city tour (Stockholm, Oslo, Lillehammer, Uppsala, Bergen), checking out the sights is what it's all about.

"I was watching this 'Millionaire' show today and they were talking about the queen of Sweden," Shells said. "Coach said we're going to be able to see where she lives."

The Royal Castle is what's pictured above (and here's a bit of fun trivia. With 605 rooms, it is the largest castle still used by a king. The Royal Guard has protected the castle since 1523.) The Spiders will also get to see City Hall and the Opera House in Stockholm and the Winter Olympic ski jump in Oslo.

"We know it's going to be something like 70 degrees during the day and at night something like 50," Shells said. "I'm packing some jeans and sweat shirts and definitely some dress gear."

As for the cell phone, that will make the trip, but Shells doesn't even want to chance the temptation to text, so she's turning hers off. "My godmother told me once I get in the airport to turn it off. It cost a lot of money just to open a text," she said. "They're telling us all to have watches. Nobody wears watches anymore."

Kos deg, Spiders!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

2011 verbal commitments

Bria Smith, 5-8 G, Christ the King (N.Y.)
Sarah Imovbioh, 6-2 F, St. Anne's-Belfield (Va.)

Virginia Commonwealth
Melanie Royster, 6-2 F, Elizabeth Seton High (Md.)

James Madison
Achiri Ade, 6-1 F, Seton Keough School (Md.)
Jazmon Gwathmey, 6-2 F, Liberty High (Va.)
Briana Jones, 6-2 C, Whitfield Academy (Ga.)
Toia Giggetts, 5-11 F, Lake Taylor (Va.)

Old Dominion
Kaneisha Atwater, 5-7 G, Fort Pierce Westwood (Fla.)
Queen Tiye Jackson, 5-11 F, Trenton Catholic (N.J.)
Myeisha Hall, 5-7 G, Palm Beach Lakes (Fla.)
Ashley Betz-White, 5-5 G, Trinity High (Pa.)
Tiffany Minor, 5-11 F, Maret High (D.C.)

George Mason
Annie Lawler, 6-0 F, South Kingston (R.I.)
Rachel McNair, 6-2 F, Blessed Sacrement (N.Y.)
Talisha Watts, 6-2 F, Brookeville High (Va.)
Karin Robinson, 5-6 G, Mary Louis (N.Y.)

Miah Register, 5-9 G/F, Trenton Catholic (N.J.)
Amber Battle, 6-2 F, Middle Creek (N.C.)

Catherine Kearney, 6-5 C, Gloucester County Christian (N.C.)
Ashley Rininger, 6-5 C, GlenOak (Ohio)

Benee' Glanton, 6-3 C, Jefferson High (Fla.)
Kenia Cole, 5-6 G, Paint Branch High (Md.)
Evany Dickerson, 5-5 G, Heritage High (Va.)/Patrick Henry CC
Alyssa Bennett, 6-2 F, Hampton High (Va.)/Gulf Coast CC

Maryah Sydnor, 6-1 F, Radford High (Va.)

Virginia Tech
Larryqua Hall, 5-10 F, Hillgrove High (Ga.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Duke to invade Harrisonburg

Fresh scheduling nugget: Mighty Duke will visit James Madison on Nov. 30. The Blue Devils went 30-6 last season, won the ACC and reached the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. In addition to three returning starters, the 2010-11 Blue Devils will feature the nation's No. 1 recruiting class and could be a Top-5 ranked team when the season begins.  

When the teams met in Durham last season, Duke rolled to a 79-65 victory despite 31 points from JMU's Dawn Evans. The Blue Devils lead JMU 4-1 in career meetings. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Richmond wins Battle

That's Amber Battle, a 6-2 post player from North Carolina who verbally committed to the Spiders for the 2011-12 season earlier this week. Not to be confused with New Mexico's Amber Battle, a 5-9 guard who is ranked No. 60 nationally by ESPN. That Battle's headed to Texas Tech.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Scheduling tidbits slowly trickling in

Complete schedules
Norfolk State

Non-conference schedules
George Mason

Other teams so far:

Nov. 12 - at Hofstra (20-14, WNIT 2nd round)
Nov. 18 - at Tennessee (32-3, SEC champs, NCAA Sweet 16)
Nov. 25 - vs. Iowa State (25-8, NCAA Sweet 16) in Paradise Jam (Virgin Islands)
Nov. 26 - vs. West Virginia (29-6, NCAA 2nd round) at Paradise Jam
Nov. 27 - vs. TCU (22-9, NCAA 1st round) at Paradise Jam (Virgin Islands)
Dec. 2 - at Ohio State (31-5, Big Ten champs, NCAA 2nd round) in ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Dec. 28 - vs. TBA at UVa.'s Cavalier Classic (field: North Carolina A&T, 2 teams TBA)
Dec. 29 - vs. TBA at Cavalier Classic
Jan. 3 - vs. Richmond (20-13, WNIT 2nd round)

James Madison
Nov. 12 - vs. Hampton (20-12, MEAC Tournament champion, NCAA first round), Preseason WNIT
Nov. 25 - vs. TBA at Caribbean Challenge in Cancun
Nov. 26 - vs. TBA at Caribbean Challenge in Cancun
Nov. 30 - vs. Duke (30-6, ACC champs, NCAA Elite Eight)
Dec. 5 - vs. Liberty (29-6, Big South Tourney champs, NCAA 1st round)
Dec. 12 - at Middle Tennessee St. (25-6, NCAA 1st round)

Virginia Tech
Nov.. 14 - vs. Wofford (8-21)
Nov. 21 - vs. VCU (22-13, WNIT 3rd round)
Nov. 25 - vs. Florida Gulf Coast (24-7, WNIT 1st round) at Caribbean Challenge in Cancun
Nov. 26 - vs. TBA at Caribbean Challenge in Cancun
Dec. 2 - at Minnesota (13-17) in ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Dec. 29 - Virginia Tech Tournament (field: Delaware, 2 teams TBA)
Dec. 30 - Virginia Tech Tournament
Jan. 2 - at Charlotte (18-14, WNIT 2nd round)

Nov. 21 - at Pitt (16-15, WNIT first round) on Nov. 21
Nov. 26 - at George Mason (10-20)
Nov. 29 - vs. Hampton (20-12, MEAC Tourney champs, NCAA 1st round)
Dec. 23 - vs. VCU (22-13, WNIT 3rd round)
Dec. 30 - vs. Richmond (20-13, WNIT 2nd round)
Jan. 17 - at Liberty (29-6, Big South Tourney champs, NCAA 1st round)
Feb. 19 - vs. Liberty (29-6, Big South Tourney champs, NCAA 1st round)

Dec. 5 - vs. Gardner-Webb (28-5, WNIT 1st round)
Dec. 11 - vs. Wright State (11-19)
Dec. 18 - at VCU (22-13, WNIT 3rd round)
Dec. 21: vs. IPFW (13-17)
Dec. 22 - at George Mason (10-20)
Jan. 14 - vs. Liberty (29-6, Big South Tourney champs, NCAA 1st round)
Feb. 2 - vs. Cal State-Bakersfield (16-13)
Feb. 19 - at Cal State-Bakersfield (16-13)

 Old Dominion
Nov. 14 - vs. Georgia Tech (23-10, NCAA 1st round)
Nov. 18 - vs. North Carolina A&T (23-11, WNIT 3rd round)
Nov. 30 - at Florida (15-17, WNIT 2nd round)
Dec. 5 -  vs. Tennessee (32-3, SEC champs, NCAA Sweet 16)
Dec. 8 - vs. George Washington (6-22)
Dec. 12 - at Richmond (20-13, WNIT 2nd round)
Dec. 28 - Charlotte (18-14, WNIT 2nd round) in Tulane Christmas Tourney
Dec. 29 - vs. Nicholls State (4-24) or Tulane (26-7, Sun Belt champions, NCAA 1st round) in Tulane Christmas Tourney

William and Mary
Nov. 14 - at Wisconsin (21-11, NCAA 1st round)
Nov. 26 - vs. Bradley (17-14, WBI quarterfinals) in Cancun Thanksgiving Classic
Nov. 27 - vs. Buffalo (7-23) in Cancun Thanksgiving Classic
Dec. 20 - vs. Richmond (20-13, WNIT 2nd round)

Nov. 12 - at High Point (17-14)
Nov. 17 - vs. Winthrop (13-18)
Nov. 21 - at Virginia Tech (15-15)
Dec. 2 - vs. East Carolina (23-11, WNIT 2nd round)
Dec. 5 - at Richmond (20-13, WNIT 2nd round)
Dec. 8 - at Coppin State (10-19)
Dec. 11 - at Charlotte (18-14, WNIT 2nd round)
Dec. 18 - vs. Longwood (9-20)
Dec. 21 - vs. Liberty (29-6, Big South Tourney champs, NCAA 1st round)
Dec. 23 - at Radford (6-22)

Have any other scheduling details? E-mail 'em to us at

Kobe or LeBron?

Is Kobe a better baller than LeBron? What's the top smartphone on the market? And is Team Edward really hotter than Team Jacob?

Beats us. Fortunately, we were able to assemble a quality panel of basketball/pop culture experts (a thousand thanks, guys!) to help us out.

The panelists

Destiny Spence, Norfolk State: Promising newcomer, diehard Celtics fan (we're getting Shaq!) and owner of one of the great names in the game (Sounds like a secret agent, right? I mean, forget James Bond. Send in Destiny Spence!)

Mairi Buchan, Old Dominion: Scotland-born European U20 Championships gold medalist (Great Britain) and (cross your fingers) potential 2012 Olympian.

Victoria Willems, William and Mary: Brainy Lady Brahma (high school team nickname) with a Texas-sized upside.

Recca Trice, Norfolk State: Exciting young point guard who, at least in this exercise, is a young woman of few words.

Chikilra Goodman, Hampton: Instant offense (just add basketball) baller who led the nation in scoring as a high school senior last year.

And now, the questions

Kobe or LeBron?

Destiny - Kobe-plain and simple, he's just amazing. He has multiple MVP awards and championships. He works hard to be the best. I admire his drive.

Mairi - LeBron

Victoria - Kobe all the way, he's classic.

Recca - Kobe

Chikilra - LeBron because I look up to him and that's my favorite player!

Candace (Parker) or Diana (Taurasi)?

Destiny - Candace- she brought so much joy and a new fan base to women's basketball.

Mairi - Diana Taurasi

Victoria - Diana Taurasi. I used to watch her as a kid growing up and I idolized her.

Recca - Diana

Chikilra - Candace, because I love her game.

Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Destiny - Without a doubt, Team Edward- He is so ROMANTIC and beautiful.

Mairi - Neither: Never seen Twilight!

Victoria - Team Jacob because he is sooooo much hotter haha.

Recca - No answer (apparently not a Twilight follower)

Chikilra - Team Edward, because I like Team Edward!

Drake or Taylor Swift?

Destiny - Drake- he is an awesome lyricist.

Mairi - Taylor Swift

Victoria - Drake all the way. I can't stand listening to Taylor Swift.

Recca - Drake

Chikilra - Drake, because I can relate to Drake's music.

iPhone or Droid?

Destiny - Droid-It's the phone I have. I blame Verizon for this choice since they don't have the iphone 4.

Mairi - iPhone

Victoria - I would have to say Droid since I actually have that phone, although I wouldn't mind an iPhone haha.

Recca - Droid

Chikilra - iPhone, because I have one and I love it!

"Jersey Shore" or "The Real Housewives of New Jersey"

Destiny - Jersey Shore! I absolutely love it. It's so funny. But makes me a little stereotypical; I assume everyone in jersey fist pumps, has really tan skin, and has dark hair. Oh, and a lot of girls probably have Snooki humps in their hair. :)

Mairi - Neither: Never seen either!

Victoria - Neither, I don't really watch either of them, but if i had to pick i would say Jersey Shore because I'm always hearing outrageous stories about the show.

Recca - Jersey Shore

Chikilra - Jersey Shore, because I love that beach!

Want to play along? E-mail your responses to

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Richmond preps for overseas trip

Two practices down, eight more to go for the Richmond Spiders as they prepare for their Scandinavian tour Aug. 10-19. What have we learned so far? That the Spiders apparently have some pretty smart newcomers. Thanks to a new NCAA rule, incoming freshmen are now eligible to make these summer trips.

Obviously, we are ahead of the game at this point, but I have been impressed with the freshmen's ability to pick up specific concepts," Spiders coach Michael Shafer said.

Becca Wann
The Spiders will take all their newcomers except walk-on Becca Wann, the Cosby High two-sport star who is on scholarship with a Richmond women's soccer team that begins its season on Aug. 20. Last week, Wann was named to the women's soccer preseason All-Atlantic 10 rookie team.

As for the basketball team, time will tell how much this Scandinavian adventure will serve as a prelude to a successful regular season. But if recent Richmond history is any indication, the Spiders could be poised for a big year. The last time Richmond ventured overseas, to Spain and Portugal in the summer of 2004, they finished the 2004-05 season with a 23-8 record and the Spiders' first-ever at-large NCAA tournament bid. And after a 2000 summer trip to England and France, the Spiders' posted 16 victories, four more than the previous season and tied for the most since the 1996-97 campaign.