Friday, October 29, 2010

Virginia teams to challenge Top 25 early, often

Hot off the wires, here's your Associated Press women's basketball poll. As expected, no Virginia teams cracked the list. But just so we can create a local angle, next to each team in parenthesis will be the state teams they're scheduled to play this season. Note that Virginia is scheduled to play nine of these teams and has 11 total matchups against preseason Top 25 squads. No wonder the Cavs were picked to finish 10th in the ACC.

1. UConn
2. Baylor (Liberty)
3. Stanford
4. Tennessee (Old Dominion, Virginia)
5. Xavier (Richmond)
6. Duke (James Madison, Virginia, Virginia Tech (2 meetings)
7. Ohio State (Virginia)
8. Texas A&M (Liberty)
9. Kentucky
10. Oklahoma
11. West Virginia (Virginia)
12. Notre Dame
13. Georgetown (Richmond)
14. St. John's (Liberty)
15. North Carolina (Virginia, Virginia Tech)
16. UCLA
17. Texas
18. Florida State (Virginia (2), Virginia Tech)
19. Georgia
20. Iowa State (Virginia)
21. Maryland (Virginia (2), Liberty is in Maryland's tournament)
22. Iowa (Virginia Tech, James Madison)
23. TCU (Virginia)
24. Vanderbilt (in Virginia Tech tournament)
25. Michigan State (Richmond)

O captain! My captain!

Clearly, selecting captains means different things at different schools. For example, seniority isn't a requirement at Norfolk State; the Spartans captains include one sophomore and one player who wasn't even in the program last year. Liberty has six "captains". And Hampton doesn't have any.

Some programs are still determining their within-the-team leaders, but here's what we know so far:

VIRGINIA
Captains: Seniors Paulisha Kellum and Jayna Hartig; junior Chelsea Shine

Coach Debbie Ryan: "Paulisha, Jayna and Chelsea are going to provide us with great leadership and a great example both on and off the court. I feel very confident that they will carry on the legacy of this program in the same way that recent captains and players like Monica Wright and Sharnee Zoll did."

HAMPTON
Coach David Six does not name captains.

LIBERTY
Leadership team: Seniors - Dymond Morgan, Rachel McLeod, Kit Maine (redshirt junior). Underclassmen: sophomore Brittany Campbell, junior Avery Warley, sophomore Devon Brown

Coach Carey Green: "We have a leadership team of six players, three seniors and three underclassmen. This allows us to continue to develop leadership year after year. This also stretches the players out of their comfort zone to help others. The purpose of the leadership team (captains) is to communicate, as an extension of the coaching staff, the expectations of the staff/team. They also serve to express the concerns, atmosphere, understanding and attitudes of the team to the staff. The major purpose is to develop unity through communication."

NORFOLK STATE
Captains: Juniors Sarah Daily and Tyisha Bridges, sophomore Recca Trice

Coach Debra Clark: "They are an extension of the coaching staff. It's their job to keep practice lively and fun and look out for the welfare of the team. They are expected to lead on and off the court in their behavior at all times."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Top 10 we're not looking forward to

A few days ago we told you the Top 10 things we're anticipating the most this season (with a Virginia bent). Here's 10 more things, only this is the kind of stuff we're rather do without. 

1. Talk about The Streak. The Streak. The Streak. If any women's hoops fan doesn't know that UConn has won its last 78 games, then they certainly haven't tuned into ESPN when the Huskies are on. Great accomplishment, we know. But we know, we know, we know.

2. Empty stands. We don't like to see them during the regular season, but we sure don't expect to see them during the NCAA tournament.

3. Virginia Tech's Beth Dunkenberger takes a beating on the message boards, and sometimes those Hokie fans can be downright nasty. Healthy debate, we encourage. Personal attacks, we don't.

4. Three letters: A-C-L. When those letters are in the news, it's never good.

5. Here's hoping the news about coaches in hot water is over. Shann Hart was fired at IUPUI after allegations of recruiting and practice violations. LaVonda Wagner was fired by Oregon State for what was termed "an abrasive coaching style" after seven players from last year's team left the program. Then there was UNC Wilmington assistant who had a player rolling up and down the floor as punishment despite the player vomiting three times.

6. More news about UConn and Tennessee not playing. The two premier programs in the game need to find a way to go head to head not in the media, but on the court.

7. The CAA tournament in Upper Marlboro, Md. Don't get us wrong. With the dog fight that's likely to go on in the CAA, the tournament should be memorable, and for the first time in a while, it's on a neutral court. But a neutral court in Maryland? We don't like it.

8. The words "focus" and "glass." We could do without them.

9. Any more talk of the punching incident between Baylor's Brittney Griner and Texas Tech's Jordan Barncastle. We hear it wasn't brought up during Big 12 media day (did we need a story on that). Let's hope it isn't brought up when the teams meet during the season, either.

10. A Top 25 that doesn't reflect the latest results. It's a weekly poll, folks. When the stalwarts lose, look for the upstarts.

Happy Birthday to us!

Can you believe it? We missed our own birthday.

LadySwish turned 1 year old on Oct. 24. We'd like to thank the coaches, fans and players who have kept us going this past year. We're fired up about our second season, and as always, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know what you like or what you don't, and we'll do our best to do more (or less) of it. And have a slice of cake -- on us.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

JMU, Liberty, ODU ranked in preseason mid-major poll

We thought James Madison had a shot at being No. 1. Turns out the Dukes are No. 3 in the inaugural mid-major Top 25 released Wednesday night by Collegeinsider.com (kudos to JMU for garnering seven first-place votes).

Liberty notched No. 18 and Old Dominion No. 11. Delaware slipped in at No. 24. VCU, Hampton and Hofstra each received votes (though for the Pride, it was received vote. They got one).

Yes, we did our own last week, picking Xavier as No. 1 (we had Gonzaga at 8). But turns out schools in the Atlantic 10 and Mountain West are not eligible for this poll (does anyone believe these are major conferences?).

Check it out for yourself and if you wish, compare it to ours.

  1. Gonzaga (12) 0-0 709 -  
  2. Green Bay (11) 0-0 693 -  
  3. James Madison (7) 0-0 656 -  
  4. Arkansas-Little Rock (1) 0-0 606 -  
  5. Bowling Green 0-0 599 -  
  6. Princeton 0-0 517 -  
  7. Marist 0-0 461 -  
  8. Liberty 0-0 457 -  
  9. Middle Tennessee 0-0 440 -  
10. Hartford 0-0 395 -  
11. Old Dominion 0-0 369 -  
12. Lehigh 0-0 310 -  
13. Illinois State 0-0 297 -  
14. Florida Gulf Coast 0-0 284 -  
15. South Dakota State 0-0 276 -  
16. Toledo 0-0 241 -  
17. Chattanooga 0-0 233 -  
18. Vermont 0-0 228 -  
19. Oral Roberts 0-0 211 -  
20. Creighton 0-0 208 -  
21. Western Kentucky 0-0 173 -  
22. Butler 0-0 165 -  
23. Gardner-Webb 0-0 149 -  
24. Delaware 0-0 147 -  
25. St. Mary's 0-0 143 -  
 
OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES:  Missouri State 141, Boston University 139, Lamar 96, Montana 93, Eastern Illinois 73, East Tennessee State 73, Virginia Commonwealth 61, UC Davis 40, Appalachian State 37, Samford 33, Hampton 30, North Carolina A&T 25, Pepperdine 25, Central Arkansas 22, Iona 21, Eastern Michigan 20, Northern Iowa 20, Eastern Washington 18, Robert Morris 18, UC Riverside 17, American 14, Columbia 11, Southern University 11, Sacred Heart 10, South Carolina Upstate 9, Harvard 8, Oakland 7, High Point 6, Loyola Marymount 6, Kent State 5, Louisiana Tech 5, Portland State 5, Long Island University 2, UMBC 2, Stephen F. Austin 2, Cal Poly 1, Cleveland State 1, Hofstra 1.
 
VOTING PANEL: Joan M. Bonvicini (Seattle), Brian Boyer (Arkansas State), Tony Bozzella (Iona), Kristin Caruso (Longwood), Beth Couture (Butler), Ed Davis (Delaware State), Denise Dillon (Longwood), Brooks Donald Williams (McNeese State), Jim Flanery (Creighton), Beckie Francis (Oakland), Stephanie Gaitley (Monmouth), Bill Gibbons (Holy Cross), Carey Green (Liberty), Aaron Johnston (South Dakota State), Lori Jones (Southeastern Louisiana), Tasha McDowell (Western Michigan), Lynn Milligan (Rider), Faith Mimnaugh (Cal Poly), Jennifer Mountain (Santa Clara), Cathy Nixon (Utah Valley), Autumn Rademacher (Detroit), Brady Sallee (Eastern Illinois), Michele Savage (Davidson), Sandy Simpson (UC Davis), Karl Smesko (Florida Gulf Coast), Dayna Smith (Cornell), Phil Stern (UMBC), Colby Tilley (Kennesaw State), Sue Troyan (Lehigh), Altherias Warmley (Alabama A&M), Jamie White (Northern Colorado))

 

 
 

UConn at No. 5?

Gone are studs Tina Charles and Kalana Greene. Another valuable starter, Caroline Doty, is out for the season with an ACL injury. Even so, we figured most people would still rank Connecticut No. 1 heading into the 2010-11 season.

But No. 5? Full Court Press' Clay Kallam's got quite a pair, doesn't he?

Now we're big fans of Kallam's work and can vouch for the fact that he's not some rabble-rouser or serial UConn hater. Besides, we can see the logic in reasoning that a team that lost so much and is counting so heavily on freshmen and has UConn's danger-filled non-conference schedule might not be the nation's very best on Nov. 12.

But No. 5? Wow. To quote the great Chris Rock, we're not saying we would have done it.

But we understand.

The Full Court Press Top 25

1. Tennessee
2. Baylor
3. Ohio State
4. Duke
5. UConn
6. Stanford
7. Texas A&M
8. North Carolina
9. Xavier
10. UCLA
11. Kentucky
12. Dayton
13. West Virginia
14. LSU
15. Michigan State
16. St. John's
17. Georgetown
18. Vanderbilt
19. TCU
20. California
21. Maryland
22. Florida State
23. Green Bay
24. Notre Dame
25. Fresno State

Richmond picked fifth in A-10 preseason poll

Second team for Richmond's Brittani Shells? We don't think so, but the Atlantic 10 coaches have other ideas.

The league's top returning scorer received preseason second-team honors and was an all-defensive team selection as selected by the coaches at the league's media day. (We're banking the senior point guard will be on the postseason first team.)

Richmond was picked to finish fifth, with no surprise, Xavier, tabbed to win the A-10.

Selections are listed below.


PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH (First-Place Votes)
1. Xavier (12)
2. Dayton (2)
3. Temple
4. Charlotte
5. Richmond
6. Duquesne
7. Saint Joseph's
8. St. Bonaventure
9. George Washington
10. Saint Louis
11. Massachusetts
12. Rhode Island
13. Fordham
14. La Salle

FIRST TEAM
Shannon McCallum, Charlotte
Justine Raterman, Dayton
Kristen McCarthy, Temple
Amber Harris, Xavier
Ta'Shia Phillips, Xavier

SECOND TEAM
Kristin Daugherty, Dayton
Samantha Pollino, Duquesne
Brittani Shells, Richmond
Lauren Woods, Saint Louis
Special Jennings, Xavier

THIRD TEAM
Casey Nance, Dayton
Tiana Myers, George Washington
Jasmine Watson, Massachusetts
Megan Van Tatenhove, St. Bonaventure
Qwedia Wallace, Temple

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM
Shannon McCallum, Charlotte
Casey Nance, Dayton
Brooke Wilson, George Washington
Brittani Shells, Richmond
Ta'Shia Phillips, Xavier

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ODU to host NCAAs in 2012

In a move that should surprise no one, Old Dominion's Ted Constant Center was selected as one of the 16 sites for first- and second-round games in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The other institutions hosting opening-round games next season: ACC powers North Carolina, Florida State and Maryland, LSU, Iowa State, Fairfield (there's always one in UConn's vicinity, isn't there?), Bowling Green, DePaul, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Gonzaga and Purdue.

Chosing Norfolk seems like a no-brainer as during the 2010 NCAAs, the Hampton Roads/ODU coalition solidified its reputation as one of the handful nationally that's capable of generating a robust turnout for women's basketball with or without the home team. Here's hoping that this time, ODU can play its way into its own gym for the party.

Same thing for Virginia, which as noted here before will host first- and second-round games in the 2011 NCAA tourney. And if the Cavaliers needed any extra motivation (which we doubt), being picked to finish 10th in the 12-team ACC should suffice quite nicely.

No love for Virginia, Virginia Tech on ACC media day

The votes are in (and yes, we had one) from ACC media day in Greensboro.

No surprise that Duke is the favorite to win the league and Jasmine Thomas gets the nod for Preseason Player of the Year. Not much faith put in Virginia and Virginia Tech (picked to finish 10th and 11th, respectively), but we're thinking both teams will eek out a few wins to improve on that.

Here are the ACC picks as selected by local and national media and selected representatives from the schools:


2010-11 Predicted Order of Finish (First Place Votes)
 1. Duke (24)
2. North Carolina (6)
3. Florida State (2)
4. Maryland
5. Georgia Tech
6. NC State (1)
7. Boston College
8. Miami
9. Wake Forest
10. Virginia
11. Virginia Tech
12. Clemson

Preseason Player of the Year
 Jasmine Thomas, Sr., G, Duke

2010-11 Preseason All-ACC Team
Jessica Breland, Sr., F, North Carolina
Shenise Johnson, Jr., G, Miami
Carolyn Swords, Sr., C, Boston College
Jasmine Thomas, Sr., G, Duke
Courtney Ward, Sr., G, Florida State

2010-11 Newcomer Watch List
Kristen Doherty, G/F, Fr., Boston College
Chelsea Gray, G, Fr., Duke
Natasha Howard, F, Fr., Florida State
Richa Jackson, F, Fr., Duke
Laurin Mincy, G, Fr., Maryland
Alyssa Thomas, F, Fr., Maryland

Monday, October 25, 2010

Women's basketball Top 10: We can't wait

Top 10 things we're looking forward to in the 2010-11 season (with a slightly Virginia bent)

1. Maya Moore, the senior. We've enjoyed watching players just as much (Taurasi, Parker, Penicheiro), but never more than Moore. One more year and the college game loses the UConn forward to the WNBA.

2. Brittney Griner, the sophomore. What heights can the Baylor center lift the Bears to?

3. Fun times in the ACC. Who ya picking? Duke looks awfully good, but what about the new kids at Maryland? A cancer-free Jessica Breland should put North Carolina in the hunt and the NC State youth, with three starters back,  is a year older after an NCAA appearance. Counting out Florida State and Georgia Tech? We wouldn't. Virginia doesn't have Monica Wright anymore, but the Cavs have a healthy China Crosby back. Should be a great conference race.

4. Remember the name Bilqis Abdul Qaadir (doesn't exactly roll off the tongue)? She broke Rebecca Lobo's high school scoring record in Massachusetts (3,070 points) but tore her ACL before ever playing a minute for the University of Memphis. The redshirt freshman makes her debut against at home against Missouri on Nov. 12.

5. Speaking of dynamic seniors, Dawn Evans has one more year at James Madison. We look forward to a healthy Evans vying to lead James Madison to back-to-back CAA tournament championships.

6. UConn at Stanford, Dec. 30 at Maples Pavilion.

7. The super sophs:
    *in state (Devon Brown, Liberty)
    *from the state  (Sugar Rodgers)
    *in the CAA (Elena Delle Donne)

8. ODU coach Wendy Larry will win her 600th career game this season (she's 12 victories shy). It will be pretty cool to see Larry join the 29 other Division I coaches in the 600-plus club.

9. Andrea Barbour scored 15 a night as a freshman at Virginia Tech. Two years later, she's at Virginia Commonwealth and we'll wouldn't be surprised to see her on the CAA's all-league team at the end of the year. Does anyone doubt she can do even more damage in the CAA?

10. Liberty vs. the big time. Talk about a tough nonconference schedule. The Lady Flames face Baylor, Texas A&M, James Madison, probably NC State and probably Maryland.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

LadySwish gets a Blue Ribbon

     We wanted to brag a bit about an honor the ACC has bestowed on LadySwish.
     
      LadySwish was nominated (and has accepted) to be a member of the inaugural 2010-11 Women's Basketball Blue Ribbon Panel, which will vote for the league’s preseason poll, weekly honors and postseason All-Conference teams.

     We quote the ACC in saying, "The honor has been extended to individuals who cover the ACC on a regular basis and who have an extensive working knowledge of the women’s basketball game. Each panelist is asked to serve a two-year term and will be held accountable to voting on a consistent basis, including Player and Rookie of the Week selections. This is an exclusive panel, comprised of the very best of ACC’s women’s basketball experts."

    Thanks, folks. We've already cast our first ballot. The ACC will release its preseason poll, all-league team and newcomers to watch on Tuesday in Greensboro. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Welcome home Lady Monarchs

We nabbed this from Twitter because we thought it was pretty cool to see the stars come back for homecoming at ODU. Recognize them? They're none other than former Lady Monarchs Ticha Penicheiro, Noelle (formerly Nicole Bellinghausen) and Aubrey Eblin.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Here yesterday, gone today, there tomorrow

Transfer list: some of the players who were on 2009-10 rosters for one of the state's teams but plan to continue their playing career at another school. Drop us an e-mail - ladyswishing@hotmail.com - if you know of any others.

Virginia Commonwealth
Bree'Ana Perry - South Carolina-Upstate
Old Dominion
Carolann Cloutier - UMass

James Madison
Brittany Crowell - UMBC
Kristine Mial - Frederick Community College

Norfolk State
Marquilla Evans - Virginia State
Tiora Hackley - Virginia State

Hampton
Quiana Kizer - Virginia State
Jasmine Williams-Hayes - Frances Marion

Richmond
Joyous Tharrington - George Mason

Let the games begin

OK, So Virginia Tech's Orange and Maroon scrimmage on Sunday isn't a real game. But it is the first time most fans can see their team - any team, for that matter - in action for 2010-11. So we figure this is a good time to roll out the master schedule for Virginia's 13 Division I schools (based on the schedules provided by the schools):

EXHIBITIONS

Sunday, Oct. 24

Virginia Tech: Orange & Maroon scrimmage, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 29

Old Dominion: Blue/White scrimmage, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 3

Davis & Elkins at William and Mary, 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 5

Indiana (Pa.) at James Madison, 7 p.m.

Davis & Elkins at Old Dominion, 7 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 8

Davis & Elkins at George Mason, TBA

Tuesday, Nov. 9

Elizabeth City State at Norfolk State, 6 p.m.

Bowie State at Old Dominion, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 10

Emory and Henry at Radford, 7 p.m.

REGULAR SEASON

Friday, Nov. 12

George Mason at UMass, 5 p.m.

Presbyterian at Virginia Tech, 5:30 p.m.

Virginia at Hofstra, 7 p.m.

Richmond at Western Carolina, 7 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth at High Point, 7 p.m.

Preseason WNIT

- Hampton at James Madison, 7 p.m.

Sheraton Raleigh Wolfpack Invitational at N.C. State

- College of Charleston at N.C. State, 2 p.m.

- Liberty vs. Creighton, 4 p.m.

Lancer Classic, at Longwood

- Marshall vs. Appalachian State, 5 p.m.

- Campbell vs. Longwood, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 13

Norfolk State at St. Paul’s, 2 p.m.

Sheraton Raleigh Wolfpack Invitational at N.C. State

- Consolation game, TBA

- Championship game, TBA

Lancer Classic, at Longwood

- Campbell vs. Appalachian State, 3 p.m.

- Marshall vs. Longwood, 5 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 14

William and Mary at Wisconsin, 1 p.m.

Richmond at East Tennessee State, 1:30 p.m.

Wofford at Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.

Georgia Tech at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.

Mount St. Mary’s at Virginia, 7 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 15

George Mason at Fairfield, 7 p.m.

Ferrum at Radford, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 16

Virginia Union at Liberty, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 17

Appalachian State at Richmond, 7 p.m.

Winthrop at Virginia Commonwealth, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 18

Virginia at Tennessee, 7 p.m.

Elon at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m.

North Carolina A&T at Old Dominion, 7 p.m.

Radford at Howard, 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 19

High Point at Longwood, 7 p.m.

William and Mary at Davidson, 7 p.m.

Comfort Inn and Suites Classic, at Morehead State

- Norfolk State vs. Houston Baptist, 4 p.m.

- Central Arkansas at Morehead State, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 20

Lafayette at Liberty, noon

North Carolina State at Richmond, 2 p.m.

George Mason at Wichita State, 2:05 p.m.

Comfort Inn and Suites Classic, at Morehead State

- Houston Baptist at Morehead State, 5 p.m.

- Norfolk State vs. Central Arkansas, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 21

Virginia Commonwealth at Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.

Radford at Pittsburgh, 2 p.m.

Longwood at Virginia, 2 p.m.

William and Mary at Wake Forest, 2 p.m.

Comfort Inn and Suites Classic, at Morehead State

- Central Arkansas vs. Houston Baptist, 1 p.m.

- Norfolk State at Morehead State, 4 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 22

Liberty at Texas A&M, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 23

Richmond at Hampton, 6 p.m.

Old Dominion at North Carolina State, 7 p.m.

UMBC at George Mason, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 24

Longwood at Monmouth, 4 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 25 (Thanksgiving)

Paradise Jam, the Virgin Islands

- TCU vs. West Virginia, 2 p.m.

- Virginia vs. Iowa State, 4:15 p.m.

Caribbean Challenge, Riviera Maya, Mexico

- Iowa vs. James Madison, TBA

- Florida Gulf Coast vs. Virginia Tech, TBA

Friday, Nov. 26

Old Dominion at Louisville, 7 p.m.

Radford at George Mason, 7 p.m.

Liberty at Baylor, 8 p.m.

Paradise Jam, the Virgin Islands

- Virginia vs. West Virginia, 2 p.m.

- Iowa State vs. TCU, 4:15 p.m.

Caribbean Challenge, Riviera Maya, Mexico

- Montana vs. James Madison, TBA

- Iowa vs. Virginia Tech, TBA

Cancun Thanksgiving Classic, Cancun, Mexico

- William and Mary vs. Bradley, 5 p.m.

- Michigan vs. Buffalo, TBA

- Texas A&M vs. Arizona, TBA

Central Florida Thanksgiving Classic, at Central Florida

- Western Kentucky vs. Michigan State, noon

- Richmond at Central Florida, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 27

Jacksonville at Hampton, 2 p.m.

Wofford at Norfolk State, 4 p.m.

Paradise Jam, the Virgin Islands

- Virginia vs. TCU, 2 p.m.

- Iowa State vs. West Virginia, 4:15 p.m.

Cancun Thanksgiving Classic, Cancun, Mexico

- William and Mary vs. Buffalo, 5 p.m.

- Bradley vs. Arizona, TBA

- Texas A&M vs. Michigan, TBA

Central Florida Thanksgiving Classic, at Central Florida

- Richmond vs. Michigan State, noon

- Western Kentucky at Central Florida, 2:30 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 29

Hampton at Radford, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 30

Glenville State at Liberty, 7 p.m.

Old Dominion at Florida, 7 p.m.

Duke at James Madison, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 1

Richmond at Georgetown, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 2

George Mason at American, 7 p.m.

James Madison at Longwood, 7 p.m.

East Carolina at Virginia Commonwealth, 7 p.m.

ACC/Big Ten Challenge

- Virginia at Ohio State, 7 p.m.

- Virginia Tech at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 4

Norfolk State at North Carolina A&T, 2 p.m.

Howard at Hampton, 6 p.m.

Drexel at Virginia, 7 p.m.

Radford at Davidson, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 5

George Mason at George Washington, 1 p.m.

Liberty at James Madison, 2 p.m.

Winthrop at Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.

Gardner-Webb at Longwood, 2 p.m.

Tennessee at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.

Seton Hall at William and Mary, 2 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth at Richmond, 2 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 6

Radford at Virginia, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 8

Hampton at East Carolina, 7 p.m.

George Washington at Old Dominion, 7 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth at Coppin State, 7 p.m.

Hampton at East Carolina, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 9

Stony Brook at George Mason, 7 p.m.

Southern Virginia at Radford, 7 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 10

Florida at Hampton, 6 p.m.

Wright State at Longwood, TBA

Saturday, Dec. 11

Virginia Commonwealth at Charlotte, 1 p.m.

Robert Morris at Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.

Radford at UNC Greensboro, 2 p.m.

Wright State at Longwood, 2 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 12

Old Dominon at Richmond, noon

Ohio at George Mason, TBA

James Madison at Middle Tennessee St., 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 15

Norfolk State at William and Mary, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 18

James Madison at Monmouth, 1 p.m.

Virginia Tech at William and Mary, 1 p.m.

Liberty at North Carolina Central, 2 p.m.

McNeese State at Norfolk State, 4 p.m.

Longwood at Virginia Commonwealth, 4 p.m.

Radford at South Carolina-Upstate, 4:30 p.m.

UMBC at Virginia, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 19

IPFW at Hampton, 2 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 20

Virginia at James Madison, 7 p.m.

Richmond at William and Mary, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 21

IPFW at Longwood, 4 p.m.

Liberty at Virginia Commonwealth, 7 p.m.

Radford at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m.

Stony Brook at Old Dominion, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 22

Longwood at George Mason, TBA

Richmond at Towson, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 23

Virginia Commonwealth at Radford, 3 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 28

William and Mary at Longwood, 4:30 p.m.

Boston University at Richmond, 7 p.m.

Maryland Terrapin Classic, at Maryland

- LaSalle at Maryland, noon

- Liberty vs. St. John’s , 2:30 p.m.

Tulane DoubleTree Classic, at Tulane

- Nicholls State vs. Tulane, 7 p.m.

- Old Dominion vs. Charlotte, 9 p.m.

Marriott Cavalier Classic, at Virginia

- Holy Cross vs. East Tennessee State, 4:30 p.m.

- North Carolina A&T vs. Virginia, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 29

Norfolk State at George Mason, 7 p.m.

Maryland Terrapin Classic, at Maryland

- Consolation game, noon

- Championship game, 2:30 p.m.

Georgia State Invitational, at Georgia State

- Mississippi Valley State at Georgia State, 2 p.m.

- Hampton vs. Troy, 4 p.m.

Hilton Garden Classic, at Virginia Tech

- Delaware vs. Vanderbilt, 5 p.m.

- Alcorn State vs. Virginia Tech, 7 p.m.

Marriott Cavalier Classic, at Virginia

- Consolation game, 4:30 p.m.

- Championship game, 7 p.m.

Tulane DoubleTree Classic, at Tulane

- Consolation game, TBA

- Championship game, TBA

Thursday, Dec. 30

Richmond at Radford, 5 p.m.

Western Carolina at James Madison, 7 p.m.

Georgia State Invitational, at Georgia State

- Consolation game, 2 p.m.

- Championship game, 4 p.m.

Hilton Garden Classic, at Virginia Tech

- Consolation game, 5 p.m.

- Championship, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 2

Longwood at Morehead State, 2 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth at William and Mary, 2 p.m.

Northeastern at James Madison, 2 p.m.

Old Dominion at Towson, 2 p.m.

Virginia Tech at Charlotte, 3 p.m.

Savannah State at Norfolk State, 4 p.m.

Georgia State at George Mason, TBA

Monday, Jan. 3

Radford at UNC Asheville, 5 p.m.

Liberty at High Point, 7 p.m.

Richmond at Virginia, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 6

Hampton at Wake Forest, 7 p.m.

Miami at Virginia, 7 p.m.

Florida State at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m.

James Madison at William and Mary, 7 p.m.

George Mason at Old Dominion, 7 p.m.

UNC Wilmington at Virginia Commonwealth, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 8

Richmond at George Washington, 2 p.m.

Hampton at Coppin State, 2 p.m.

Gardner-Webb at Radford, 3 p.m.

Bethune-Cookman at Norfolk State, 4 p.m.

Liberty at Presbyterian, 5 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 9

Longwood at Cornell, 2 p.m.

Virginia at Florida State, 2 p.m.

Miami at Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.

James Madison at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.

George Mason at Virginia Commonwealth, 2 p.m.

William and Mary at Northeastern, 2 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 10

Florida A&M at Norfolk State, 6 p.m.

Hampton at Morgan State, 6 p.m.

High Point at Radford, 7 p.m.

Liberty at UNC Asheville, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 12

UMass at Richmond, 8 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 13

Virginia at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m.

Virginia Tech at Wake Forest, 7 p.m.

Drexel at James Madison, 7 p.m.

Old Dominion at Georgia State, 7 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth at Towson, 7 p.m.

William and Mary at Delaware, 7 p.m.

UNC Wilmington at George Mason, TBA

Friday, Jan. 14

Liberty at Longwood, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 15

Norfolk State at Hampton, 4 p.m.

Radford at Winthrop, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 16

Richmond at Rhode Island, noon

Penn at Virginia, 2 p.m.

Duke at Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.

James Madison at George Mason, 2 p.m.

Old Dominion at Delaware, 2 p.m.

Northeastern at Virginia Commonwealth, 2 p.m.

Drexel at William and Mary, TBA

Monday, Jan. 17

Norfolk State at Howard, 6 p.m.

North Carolina A&T at Hampton, 6 p.m.

Radford at Liberty, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 19

Richmond at Duquesne, 7 p.m.

Longwood at South Carolina-Upstate, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 20

William and Mary at James Madison, 7 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth at Old Dominion, 7 p.m.

Drexel at George Mason, TBA

Friday, Dec. 21

Maryland at Virginia, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 22

Charleston Southern at Liberty, 2 p.m.

Hampton at Bethune-Cookman, 2 p.m.

Presbyterian at Radford, 3 p.m.

North Carolina Central at Norfolk State, 4 p.m.

Dayton at Richmond, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 23

Virginia Tech at Virginia, 2 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth at James Madison, 2 p.m.

Towson at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 24

Hampton at Florida A&M, 5:30 p.m.

South Carolina State at Norfolk State, 6 p.m.

Coastal Carolina at Liberty, 7 p.m.

Longwood at UNC Asheville, 7 p.m.

Charleston Southern at Radford, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 26

Charlotte at Richmond, noon

Thursday, Jan. 27

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m.

James Madison at Drexel, 7 p.m.

Old Dominion at William and Mary, 7 p.m.

Georgia State at Virginia Commonwealth, 4 p.m.

George Mason at Delaware, 7 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 28

Virginia at North Carolina, 6:30 p.m.

Davidson at Longwood, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 29

Norfolk State at Morgan State, 2 p.m.

Richmond at Temple, 2 p.m.

Coastal Carolina at Radford, 3 p.m.

Delaware State at Hampton, 4 p.m.

Liberty at Winthrop, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 30

Virginia at Clemson, 2 p.m.

Longwood at Maryland, 2 p.m.

Virginia Tech at North Carolina, 2 p.m.

James Madison at Towson, 2 p.m.

Georgia State at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.

Drexel at Virginia Commonwealth, 2 p.m.

William and Mary at UNC Wilmington, TBA

George Mason at Northeastern, 2 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 31

Maryland-Eastern Shore at Hampton, 4:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

Norfolk State at Coppin State, 5:30 p.m.

Liberty at Gardner-Webb, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 2

Richmond at Fordham, noon

Cal State-Bakersfield at Longwood, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 3

Wake Forest at Virginia, 7 p.m.

Virginia Tech at Boston College, 7 p.m.

Georgia Tech at James Madison, 7 p.m.

Old Dominion at George Mason, 7 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth at UNC Wilmington, 7 p.m.

William and Mary at Hofstra, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 5

St. Bonaventure at Richmond, 2 p.m.

Norfolk State at Maryland-Eastern Shore, 2 p.m.

UNC Asheville at Radford, 3 p.m.

South Carolina State at Hampton, 4 p.m.

High Point at Liberty, 7 p.m.

Longwood at Winthrop, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 6

Wake Forest at Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.

Old Dominion at James Madison, 2 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth at Northeastern, 2 p.m.

Hofstra at George Mason, 2 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 7

Norfolk State at Delaware State, 5:30 p.m.

North Carolina Central at Hampton, 6 p.m.

Florida State at Virginia, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 8

UNC Asheville at Longwood, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 9

Xavier at Richmond, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 10

Northeastern at Old Dominion, 5:30 p.m.

Virginia at North Carolina State, 7 p.m.

Longwood at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m.

James Madison at Virginia Commonwealth, 7 p.m.

George Mason at Georgia State, 7 p.m.

UNC Wilmington at William and Mary, TBA

Saturday, Feb. 12

Richmond at St. Joseph’s, 2 p.m.

Hampton at Norfolk State, 4 p.m.

Gardner-Webb at Liberty, 5 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 13

Longwood at Savannah State, 1 p.m.

Virginia at Maryland, 2 p.m.

George Mason at James Madison, 2 p.m.

UNC Wilmington at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.

Hofstra at Virginia Commonwealth, 2 p.m.

Delaware at William and Mary, 2 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 14

Hampton at North Carolina A&T, 4:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

Howard at Norfolk State, 6 p.m.

Radford at Coastal Carolina, 7 p.m.

Winthrop at Liberty, 7 p.m.

Virginia Tech at Clemson, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 17

N.C. State at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m.

Towson at James Madison, 7 p.m.

Old Dominion at Virginia Commonwealth, 7 p.m.

William and Mary at Drexel, 7 p.m.

Delaware at George Mason, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 19

George Washington at Richmond, 2 p.m.

Norfolk State at North Carolina Central, 2 p.m.

Liberty at Radford, 3 p.m.

Bethune-Cookman at Hampton, 4 p.m.

Longwood at Cal State-Bakersfield, 5 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 20

Virginia Tech at Duke, noon

Boston College at Virginia, 1 p.m.

Old Dominion at Hofstra, 1 p.m.

James Madison at Delaware, 2 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth at Drexel, 2 p.m.

Georgia State at William and Mary, 2 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 21

Norfolk State at South Carolina State, 5:30 p.m.

Florida A&M at Hampton, 6 p.m.

Winthrop at Radford, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 23

Longwood at Gardner-Webb, 7 p.m.

Richmond at LaSalle, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 24

William and Mary at Old Dominion, 7 p.m.

James Madison at Georgia State, 7 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth at Delaware, 7 p.m.

George Mason at Hofstra, 2 p.m.

Duke at Virginia, 7 p.m.

Virginia Tech at Maryland, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 26

Saint Louis at Richmond, 2 p.m.

Liberty at Coastal Carolina, 2 p.m.

Radford at Charleston Southern, 2 p.m.

Morgan State at Norfolk State, 4 p.m.

Hampton at Delaware State, 5 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 27

Virginia at Virginia Tech, 1 p.m.

Savannah State at Longwood, 2 p.m.

James Madison at Hofstra, 2 p.m.

Delaware at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.

William and Mary at Virginia Commonwealth, 2 p.m.

George Mason at UNC Wilmington, TBA

Monday, Feb. 28

Coppin State at Norfolk State, 6 p.m.

Liberty at Charleston Southern, 7 p.m.

Radford at Presbyterian, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, March 2

UNC Wilmington at James Madison, 7 p.m.

Old Dominion at Drexel, 7 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth at Georgia State, 2 p.m.

Northeastern at George Mason, 7 p.m.

Hofstra at William and Mary, TBA

Thursday, March 3

ACC Tournament, Greensboro, N.C.

CAA Tournament, Upper Marlboro, Md.

North Carolina A&T at Norfolk State, 6 p.m.

Hampton at Howard, 6 p.m.

Friday, March 4

ACC Tournament, Greensboro, N.C.

CAA Tournament, Upper Marlboro, Md.

Atlantic 10 Tournament 1st round, Lowell, Mass.

UNC Asheville at Liberty, 7 p.m.

Radford at High Point, 7 p.m.

Florida Gulf Coast Tournament, at FGCU

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville vs. Longwood, 5:15 p.m.

Saturday, March 5

ACC Tournament, Greensboro, N.C.

CAA Tournament, Upper Marlboro, Md.

Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinals, Lowell, Mass.

Florida Gulf Coast Tournament

Longwood vs. Florida Gulf Coast, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 6

ACC Tournament final, Greensboro, N.C.

CAA Tournament final, Upper Marlboro, Md.

Atlantic 10 Tournament semifinals, Lowell, Mass.

Florida Gulf Coast Tournament

Seattle vs. Longwood, 2 p.m.

Monday, March 7

Atlantic 10 Tournament final, Lowell, Mass.

Presbyterian at Liberty, 7 p.m.

Radford at Gardner-Webb, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, March 8

MEAC Tournament, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Wednesday, March 9

MEAC Tournament, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Thursday, March 10

MEAC Tournament, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Friday, March 11

Big South Tournament quarterfinals, at High Point

MEAC Tournament, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Saturday, March 12

Big South Tournament semifinals, at High Point

MEAC Tournament, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Sunday, March 13

Big South Tournament final, at High Point

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CAA Media Day: JMU picked to win; Evans, Delle Donne share top honor


The votes are in from CAA media day and we're shocked we tell you, shocked. Not exactly -- we'd just like you to keep reading.

Preseason polls mean absolutely nothing, but we share the CAA's because it's the thing to do this time of year. Here is how the coaches voted predicted order of finish and all-conference teams.
1. James Madison
2. Old Dominion
3. Delaware
4. Hofstra
5. VCU
6. Drexel
7. William & Mary
8. UNC Wilmington
9. Georgia State
10. George Mason
11. Towson
12. Northeastern

CAA first teamers:
Brittany Blackwell, UNCW
Elena Delle Donne, Delaware
Dawn Evans, JMU
Shante Evans, Hofstra
Taysha Pye, William and Mary

Second team:
Shadasia Green, ODU
Tia Lewis, ODU
Jasmine Parker, ODU
Tarik Hislop, James Madison
Courtney Hurt, VCU

CAA Preseason Co-Players of the Year: Elena Delle Donne, Delaware and Dawn Evans, James Madison

So what do we think, you ask? First of all, two preseason Players of the Year seems absolutely ludicrous. This year's voting was done by coaches only -- no media, no sports information directors -- and I suppose you could argue they were split downt the middle on the voting, but doesn't this kind of smell of, "OK, folks. Let's not decide."

Pick one. One player of the year. It's preseason. Make a decision. Nobody will remember come March. Had Marginean not graduated, would we have three?

We'd have given the nod to ODU's Parker over Blackwell for first team honors, also. Blackwell averaged 12.9 points and 7.7 rebounds for the 12-19 Seahawks. Parker was behind her in points (11.1), but nobody would argue she was the MVP of an ODU team that won the regular season and advanced to the CAA championship game.

As for the order of finish, we have no real qualms, though we're already sick of hearing about the parity in the conference before the first tipoff. We see a JMU team that looks like the clear favorite. ODU is a good bet for second, though the Lady Monarchs  lost a lot, including graduated senior Jessica Canady, who never rediscovered her form after injury last year but was still able to be a contributor. The Lady Monarchs are also without Carolann Cloutier (transferred to UMass) and Pryncess Tate-Dublin (working on her grades in community college with the intent of playing for UMBC). Neither was an impact player, though dismissing Cloutier's potential would be premature. Coach Wendy Larry noted that Mairi Buchan and Kquanise Byrd had significant summers. Let's hope, otherwise the Lady Monarchs will weather a similar season to last year's when yes, they won the regular season, but they also lost games they should have won (Towson at home, for example) and lacked the intensity of a Larry-coached group.

We like Delaware because of the obvious. Question for the Hens: Is EDD going to get some help this year? Senior Tesia Harris, their No. 2 scorer, transferred as a senior out of the program. Delaware needs some chemistry to go along with the best player in the league.

Hofstra behind Evans and a veteran backcourt is probably the most dangerous team in the league. Don't expect them to win it, but bet nobody is looking forward to a date with the Pride.

After that, we see a toss-up. Typically strong VCU and Drexel have a ton of talent to replace. The CAA race looks to be among the top four. Anything else would be a surprise. That's not exactly the parity coaches gush about every season at this time of year.

CAA is just getting cranked up. So are we. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Methods to the Madness

A last-minute guide to the various basketball tipoff celebrations on tap for tonight (Oct. 15):

Virginia Tech
"Late Night With The Hokies", 9 p.m., Cassell Coliseum
    - Along with introductions of the men's and women's team, this year’s lineup of activities includes many entertaining acts and skits by members of both teams. Also, this year, there will be a Seth Greenberg impersonation contest. The first 3,000 fans will receive a special “Late Night with the Hokies” t-shirt.

Hampton
"Midnight Madness" , 9 p.m., Holland Hall.
   - Meet the Pirates and Lady Pirates, a student-faculty exhibition game and other activities.

William and Mary
"Tribal Tipoff", 9 p.m., Kaplan Arena
   - Players from both teams will compete in a three-point contest and a shooting competition called knockout. The evening will conclude with the always exciting dunk contest. Door prizes will be handed out and the Tribal Fever, the Griffin, W&M pep band and Tribal dancers will also provide entertainment.

George Mason
"Mason Madness", 9:30 p.m., Patriot Center
   - Fans will be treated to performances by a number of entertainment groups, headlined this year by street bucket drummer Peter Rabbit. This phenomenal talent has performed with the Neville Brothers/Summer Stage, Kanye West Dropout Tour. He was also part of the Broadway & first national touring company of the 5 time Tony Award winning smash hit "Bring In Da Noise Bring In Da Funk" for 7 years. Mason groups scheduled to perform also include the dance group UrbanKnowology as well as the Masonettes, the Patriots cheerleading squad and Doc Nix and the Green Machine. Fans will hear from both head coaches before each member of the 2010-11 Patriots is introduced and the teams will take part in on-court basketball activities.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A different kind of Top 25

Don't get us wrong, we love that CollegeInsider.com is introducing a women's basketball Top-25 mid-major poll, and it's nice to see two of this state's coaches, Liberty's Carey Green and Longwood's Kristin Caruso, as part of the 31-member voting panel.

But can we lose the term "mid-major"? Enough of this splitting the Division I baby. A D-I school is a D-I school, period. And schools that aren't in the Big Six conference fraternity should stop allowing themselves to be defined as something less. You know, there are many, many more schools outside of the BCS conferences than there are within them. They just don't make nearly as much noise. Perhaps instead of mid-majors, they should call themselves the "Silent Majority"....

We digress. Now we're sure Coach Green and Coach Caruso don't need our help with their initial poll. But, guys, just in case you need a few ideas, we're kind of thinking that initial poll ought to look something like....

1. Xavier (30-4) - With Amber Harris and Ta'Shia Phillips, these Musketeers have Final Four potential.

2. TCU (22-9) - Meet Helena Sverrisdottir. Name is a mouthful, game is a handful.

3. Dayton (25-8) - Doesn't it seem as though Justine Raterman  has been around for years? In fact, she's just a junior, and three other seasoned starters return from last year's NCAA 2nd-round team.

4. Green Bay (28-5) - Phoenix returns its top 11 players from a squad that came within five points of reaching the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. Top 11? Maybe these guys should be higher....

5. Temple (25-9) - Ask James Madison (see 2010 NCAA Tournament) how tough these guys are.

6. James Madison (26-7) - Dawn Evans and every other key contributor save Sarah Williams is back, and it sounds as though BC transfer Lauren Whitehurst will contribute from the get-go.

7. Fresno State (27-7) - Jaleesa Ross (17.4 ppg) and four other seniors look to close their careers with a 4th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

8. Gonzaga (29-5) - Granted, the Zags lose a lot. But since two-time WCC Player of the Year Courtney Vandersloot is back, the Zags still have a lot.

9. UALR (27-7) - Preseason Wooden Award nominee Chastity Reed (24.8) and 3 other starters return from a Trojan team that spanked Georgia Tech in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament.

10. Bowling Green (27-7) - Lauren Prochaska's legit. And if basketball games were held in classrooms, these Falcons would be ranked even higher.

11. San Diego State (23-11) - Arizona transfer Courtney Clements should help Beth Burns' Aztecs challenge TCU for MWC supremacy.

12. Tulane (26-7) - Four starters return and 8 letterwinners are poised to challenge for a return to the NCAAs.

13. Princeton (26-3) - All five starters (led by the sensational Niveen Rasheed) and 10 of 12 letterwinners are back. Shouldn't these guys be even better in 2010-11?

14. Old Dominion (19-14). Call it a homer hunch. But we just think Wendy Larry is sick of watching other teams play in the NCAA Tournament and this season, she'll pass that virus on to her players.

15. Brigham Young (23-10) - Returns 4 starters and the MWC's Sixth Player of the Year (Coriann Wood Fraughton).

16. Marist (26-8) - Rachel Fitz and the most successful class in school history has (finally) departed, but the Red Foxes still have a whole lot of players that have won a whole lot of games.

17. Liberty (27-6) - Carey Green is one heck of a coach, but we wonder about him as a schedule-maker given the brutal non-conference slate he's lined up. Then again, if it doesn't kill 'em, it should definitely make these loaded Lady Flames stronger.

18. Florida Gulf Coast (24-7) - The preseason Atlantic Sun favorites continue to script a textbook in how to seamlessly transition into Division I.

19. Hartford (27-5) - This isn't the same team as the one that dominated America East last year. But they still have the same coach, and this program's history of success is too strong to ignore. Look for a breakout year from Richmond's own Ruthanne Doherty.

20. South Dakota State (22-11) - OK, so we're not quite sure how the Jackrabbits will churn out another successful edition. But given the team's 3.622 GPA (2nd among all Division I teams), we are sure they're smart enough to figure it out.

21. Lehigh (29-4) - A host of returners and a souped-up non-league schedule could allow the Mountain Hawks to prove that gaudy record wasn't just a product of feasting on Patriot League foes.

22. Oral Roberts (23-10) - Talk about fun to watch. Four starters return led by the remarkable sophomore Kevi Luper (24.6 ppg), who took home Summit League Player, Newcomer and Defensive Player of the Year honors.

23. Delaware (21-12) - Elena Delle Donne is a transcendent talent, and she's got a little more help this year.

24. Hampton (20-12) - Virtually every key contributor is back from a group that dominated MEAC competition over the second half of the 2009-10 campaign.

25 (tie): Lamar (26-8) - Jenna Plumley, best player in the Southland Conferene, has already proven she can lead the Lady Cardinals a long way.

25 (tie): Central Arkansas (21-8): The Sugar Bears (love that name!) improved by 14 games a year ago despite a 9-player roster features six freshmen and two sophomores. Now those kids are a year older - and most likely better.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Whatever happened to .....Richmond's Kate Flavin?

We take a break from looking forward to looking back at another state great in our occasional series of "Whatever happened to?" Today we catch up with former Richmond forward Kate Flavin, who led the Spiders to their first NCAA tournament at-large berth in 2005. Flavin, Richmond's all-time leader in field-goal percentage (57.7 percent), amassed 1770 career points and 1079 career rebounds.

The Spiders promoted Flavin for All-American via the slogan "Flavor of the Year."

In her words, "After graduating from Richmond in 2005, I played overseas in Sprimont, Belgium and Terceira, Portugal from 2006-2007. It was an amazing opportunity to play basketball throughout Europe, but it couldn't compete with my basketball experience at UR.

"I returned to the United States to try out for the Washington Mystics in May 2007. Unfortunately, things didn't work out, so I started a new chapter in my life. I returned to Richmond to obtain my teaching certification. I then began a job with Hershey's in Northern Virginia. In February 2010, I was inducted into the University of Richmond Athletic Hall of Fame. Unfortunately snowmagedden ruined the big basketball reunion, but we'll try again next year! I recently got engaged; Andrew and I are getting married next summer.

"I still shoot around once in awhile. While the competitive edge is still there, my skill level is not quite what it use to be. I hope to coach in the future and become a positive role model to aspiring basketball players like so many of my coaches were to me."

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Meet the players, Vol. I

A few weeks ago, we served up a roundup of the current Division I players that graduated from a Virginia high school. Now, in this first of what we hope is a series of installments, we let them fill in a few more details.

CAROLINE NICHOLSON, Penn
6-2 senior center
High school: West Springfield
Last year: 3.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg in 28 games (26 starts); led Penn in rebounding 3 times

Best thing about playing at Penn: "The challenge. I not only have to compete as hard as I can on the court but I am also equally if not more challenged in the classroom. Also, I love my teammates. They make the experience completely worthwhile and most of all worth all the time, energy and sweat I put into this game."

What she did in the offseason that should make her better in 2010-11: "This previous summer I most importantly gave myself a few weeks off. I believe that this is a necessity in order to appreciate the game more when you get back into it. After that I followed a rigorous lifting schedule since one of my goals was to add muscle and weight for my senior year. I also worked on taking the ball off the dribble and on my footwork so I could take advantage of players who are slower than me in the post. In addition to that I also worked out with my trainer and a lot of girls who were either in college or about to go to college in order to get some live play in. And I obviously participated in a summer league where I got the opportunity to play with one of my future teammates and a sophomore on my team. Overall, I believe adding the muscle and working on my footwork will make me a bigger threat in the league this year."

Best college player she's ever faced: Probably Katie Rollins, who graduated from Harvard two years ago. She was extremely calculated and did not waste any movement. She always used her size to her advantage and was extremely aggressive. She was a no-nonsense player who always came in with the right attitude.

RAKIA RODGERS, Florida International
5-9 junior guard/forward
High school: Princess Anne (Known then as Britne' Rodgers)
Last year: 11.7 ppg in 10 games. Sat out the first semester after transferring from Hofstra, and also missed 10 games with a knee injury.

Best thing about playing at FIU: "It is really teaching me more than just basketball."

What she did in the offseason that should make her better in 2010-11: "I added a killer 3-point shot to my arsenal. That should definitely help in the 2010-11 season."

Best college player she's ever faced: "No single player stands out right now, but the best team would probably be Florida Gulf Coast. Believe it or not. They do the best job I've ever seen a team do at concealing their weaknesses."

KIM BROWNING, UMBC
6-2 sophomore forward
High school: Hanover
Last year: 4.3 ppg in 12 games

Best thing about playing at UMBC: "At UMBC, Coach (Phil) Stern allows players to use their greatest abilities and incorporates them into the game plan. We focus a lot on offense and transition during practice; this allows us to become comfortable and creative on the offensive end in games. As important as defense is, I like how many choices we are given on offense and the freedom to shoot."

What she did in the offseason that should make her better in 2010-11: "I worked on the quick turn-around jumper in the paint. Strength is not my greatest asset, so the fadeaway quick jumper has been really working for me. I think it will improve my game this upcoming season"

Best college player she's ever faced: "Elena Delle Donne. She has so much versatility anywhere on the court. She is quick, can shoot, post up, dribble, and get down the court fast. Even though she is 6'5, her guard skills are just as good as (or even better than) smaller guards. Her grace on the court is what makes a stunning performance. She can take on any opponent on any part of the floor.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Midnight Madness: The betwitching hour comes and goes with little fanfare

It's almost midnight, and it's maddening. Midnight Madness has gone the way of the Midnight Special; it's a thing of the past, not just in the state, but in the country, too. We applaud the schools in Virginia -- Norfolk State, George Mason, Virginia Tech -- that have make an attempt to kick off the season with some type of traditional Midnight Madness. But what about everybody else?

Coaches apparently hate the idea of players and fans mingling in a gym counting down the seconds till midnight. They worry about players getting hurt, but then again, when aren't coaches worried about that? But here's what we know. Attendance around the state is nothing to brag about and basketball practice essentially begins in oblivion. Midnight Madness is a great way to jumpstart the fans into anticipating the season to come. ( Geez, if UVa. added hot dogs to Midnight Madness, who knows how many might show?)

 Forget a scrimmage. Have the players come out, do a few drills, sign some autographs, mix with the fans. Maybe have a 3-point contest between a female and a male player (good thinking last year, Spartans). Nobody comes to these things looking for real basketball. But hey, how does China Crosby look after the injury? Wouldn't it be great for folks to pat Mairi Buchan and Becca Allison on the back after their great summer? Wonder who's been in the weight room during the offseason. Dawn Evans and Brittani Shells are seniors; can't wait to see how they look.

We'll have to wait, and admittedly, it's not like it used to be. NCAA rules have changed this season, and most teams are practicing already, before the traditional Oct. 15 date.

We'd like to see the schools bring back the Madness, have some fun and find a way to get the students involved with women's basketball. Midnight Madness with good music, free food and some fun contests just might attract a few folks who will want to come back for that home season opener.

What's the harm? Where's the fun? The clock is ticking toward midnight, but for most it will just be another hour that passes by.