Friday, December 31, 2010

Delle Donne to see spine specialist, out indefinitely

Another update from the (Delaware) News Journal's Kevin Tresolini: it looks like Delaware will have to continue to do without star Elena Delle Donne for a while.

The university said today that Delle Donne has been referred to a spine specialist, whom she’ll see next week, to better diagnose and seek relief for the physical problem she said she began to experience in the Nov. 20 game at Yale.
Dr. Andrew Reisman, UD assistant athletic director/sports medicine, saw Delle Donne Wednesday and viewed results from a magnetic resonance imaging test performed Dec. 20. He said Delle Donne has been plagued by “deep muscle aches” in her arms and legs. UD offered no more specifics, pending further evaluation and lab work, and gave no timetable on a possible return.
Delle Donne said “nothing has been diagnosed,” but said something is causing nerve problems in her cervical spine (neck region). She has begun rehabilitation in UD’s physical therapy department and said possible treatments include cortisone or epidural injections.

Auriemma our overwhelming choice for Sportsman of Year

Geno Auriemma should be Sportsman of the Year. I write this one day after the Connecticut coach lost his first game of the year. That's right. One loss. 100 games. That's right. Auriemma is also the US National Team coach, which won the FIBA World Championships with a 9-0 sweep. Auriemma shared USA Basketball Coach of the Year honors with Mike Krzyzewski.

UConn looked human on Thursday night against a jacked up Stanford team that had won 51 first in its own arena. What's stunning about that is the Huskies haven't looked mortal for 90 games. They've come to your place, pitched their tent, taken your best shot, gone to work and gotten it done in the same methodical fashion night after night. That off night didn't happen for 90 games, and even when it did in major fashion, the Huskies were right there, down six with 2 1/2 minutes left.

Drew Brees was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. How inspiring it was when the New Orlean Saints rewarded their troubled city with a SuperBowl title last February. We take nothing away from Brees, though much of the work for that title was done in 2009. But nobody has ever had the year of Auriemma, whose team dominated the sport in 2010. Until Thursday night the Huskies -- minus the graduated Tina Charles, minus injured starter Caroline Doty, minus the player who was supposed to be carrying this team along with Maya Moore,  Elena Delle Donne, were untouchable.

More so, Auriemma is classy. Folks are taken aback by his honesty, which is so rare in just about any field these politically correct days. Auriemma says what's on his mind, and he's gracious. When the thing called The Streak ended on Thursday, the ESPN announcers didn't rush to Tara VanDerveer. They grabbed Auriemma immediately, and he was able to put into perspective just how remarkable the 90 straight wins were. He speaks eloquantly and effectively and is a refreshing change from an athletic world whose stars prefer cliches to candor.

I'm not a particularly big UConn fan or Auriemma apologist. I'm a sports follower, and I recognize when a person and an achievement merit a special commendation. This one is a no-brainer. Auriemma is Sportsman of the Year. By a landslide.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Virginia Tech roars past Vanderbilt

Hilton Garden Hokie Classic
Virginia Tech 74, Vanderbilt 68: A tale of two halves? Yeah, I know, it's a cliche. But what better way to describe what happened at Cassell Coliseum Thursday night? One minute, the Hokies (9-4) are getting routined by the vaunted Commodores, trailing 34-19 at the half. Then for the next 20 minutes, well, how 'bout 56-percent shooting, a 31-8 run over the first 10 minutes and a "Hello, World" performance from freshman Monet Tellier. Tellier scored the first six points after the break and 19 of her game-high 23 post intermission en route to tournament MVP honors (Can you say ACC Rookie of the Week?). She had plenty of help, though. Fellow all-tournament team member Shanel Harrison went for 17 points, 9 rebounds. Nikki Davis dished out 11 assists. Alyssa Fenyn tossed in 14 points. Brittany Gordon hauled down 10 rebounds. In short, everyone got into the act for, at least from an outsider's perspective, the first significant win of Tech's 2010-11 season. Let's face it, you can beat all the Presbyterians, Woffords and Elons you want. But if you want respect as a potential player in a league like the ACC, you need to bag some much bigger game. A team like, oh, say, Vanderbilt. So Tech fans, hold off on all those "wait 'til next year" whines and Beth Dunkenberger obituaries. If these Hokies are capable of an effort like Thursday night's, who know what else they may have in store once conference play commences? For the record, the victory gave the Hokies their own tournament title for the 17th time in 21 tries. Tech is 26-2 in the event over the last 14 years. The Hokies also scored their first win over an SEC program since 2004.

Hampton takes GSU title; ODU nipped at the wire

Georgia State Invitational
Hampton 77, Georgia State 44: Hampton was supposed to win this tournament, but who would have thought the Lady Pirates would crush the host school by 30 points? It was a complete 40-minute whuppin', too, as the Lady Pirates (8-4), opened the game with a 10-2 run, closed the first half with another 10-2 spurt, started the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers from Jericka Jenkins and Melanie Warner and ended by scoring 19 of the final 21 points. Tournament MVP Quanneisha Perry had 17 points and 7 rebounds for the Lady Pirates, who will take a seven-game winning streak into their final non-conference game on Jan. 6 at Wake Forest. Perry needs just 8 points to become the 21st Lady Pirate to reach 1,000 career points. Warner added 13 and also made the all-tournament team, and Choicetta McMillian chipped in 13 points as well.

Tulane DoubleTree Classic
Tulane 62, Old Dominion 59: Down 60-59 with less than 5 seconds to go and the ball in Jasmine Parker's hands, the Lady Monarchs had a shot. Problem was, they never got a shot. Tournament MVP Tiffany Aidoo poked the ball away from a driving Parker to resign the Lady Monarchs to title-game defeat. In a way, the final sequence was fitting, as it was ODU's 26th turnover. The Green Wave converted those into 24 points, and that's the biggest reason they got to hold up the big trophy. "That's 52 (potential) points," ODU coach Wendy Larry said. "That's a lot of points. We battled on the boards. We did a good job on the glass. We just didn't take care of the ball." Otherwise, Thursday's game capped a pretty successful trip to New Orleans. Wednesday's victory over Charlotte was huge, and turnovers aside, a lot of the strong play they exhibited against the 49ers carried over into Thursday's final. Tia Lewis in particular was a monster, turning in a line of 13 points, 17 rebounds and 4 steals to earn all-tournament honors (if ODU wins this game, she's your tournament MVP, folks). Strange team, this ODU squad. Games like Tennessee and Richmond leave you scratching your head. But efforts like the two they turned in this week remind us that Lady Monarch Pride isn't just the name of a booster club. "I think Old Dominion is really very good," Tulane coach Lisa Stockton said. "Their defense is tough and very physical. They're big and they've got some players that can really make plays. They don't have a lot of depth, but what they have they do a lot with. Again, I think Wendy Larry is one of the best coaches in the country and their program is one of the top programs. It was a good win for us."

Richmond 73, Radford 50: Another day, another rout for the Spiders, who scored 17 unanswered points early in the first half and never looked back. Brittani Shells contributed an efficient 22 points (8-15 FGs, 6-7 FTs),  5 assists and 3 of Richmond's 20 steals, and Abby Oliver added 14 points as the Spiders won their fifth straight. As for Radford, well, 34 turnovers are tough to overcome. Brooke McElroy had 19 points and 9 rebounds for the Highlanders (3-10), who closed non-conference play with their fifth straight loss.

James Madison 81, Western Carolina 47: On this night, Dawn Evans (15 points) was just part of the story instead of pretty much the whole show. Lauren Jimenez (14 points), Lauren Whitehurst (13), Courtney Hamner (10) and Jalissa Taylor (10 points on 5 of 5 shooting, 13 rebounds) joined Evans on center stage as the Dukes put on a clinic on how to share the ball (25 assists) without giving it away (9 turnovers).

Hampton, Virginia Tech and ODU go for tournament titles

Thursday's games

Georgia State Invitational, at Georgia State
- Final: Hampton (7-4) at Georgia State (5-5), 4 p.m.
The Lady Pirates will be going for their seventh straight victory. We're somewhat concerned about Hampton's  reliance on its starters in the second day of a back-to-back situation such as this. But the Lady Pirates unveiled some unknown depth in Wednesday's win over Troy State with the debut of Nicole Hamilton. How unknown? Hamilton isn't listed on the website's roster or the team's official game notes (There was a pretty nice guard out of Phoebus a few years ago by that name. Wonder if it's her....). But while we're not sure who it is, we are sure she's not bashful. In her first game as a Lady Pirate, Hamilton jacked up 13 shots, 7 from 3-point range, in her 20-minute debut. Nope, not a bashful bone in her body. Hampton 58, Georgia State 48

Hilton Garden Classic, at Virginia Tech
Final: Vanderbilt (9-3) at Virginia Tech (8-4), 7 p.m.
A good opportunity for the Hokies, who got a good workout yesterday against Alcorn State and will be playing at home with (hopefully) a nice crowd spurring them on. They'll need it against these Commodores, who hiccuped a bit earlier this month with injuries but are healthy now and have won five straight behind a deep and diverse roster. Tech has won three straight, but those opponents (Alcorn State, William and Mary and Radford) are a combined 3-25 against Division I teams this season so they're stepping up in class big-time today. Simply put, these guys ain't those guys.  Vanderbilt 72, Virginia Tech 62

Tulane DoubleTree Classic, at Tulane
- Final: Old Dominion at Tulane, 4 p.m.
The victory over Charlotte makes this trip a success for the Lady Monarchs no matter what happens today. But why not get greedy? Tulane has a lot of weapons, can compete effectively with big or small lineups and will be comfortable playing in their own building. Still, the Green Wave turned it over 26 times Wednesday against Nicholls State, so the Lady Monarchs may be able to rattle them defensively. We don't really expect ODU to shoot and pass the ball (19 assists) as well as it did against Charlotte. Then again, what do we know? We picked Charlotte. So Lady Monarchs, this pick's for you....  Old Dominion 65, Tulane 63

Other games

Richmond (8-4) at Radford (3-9), 5 p.m.
Let's hope the Highlanders were distracted by the impending holiday break during last Wednesday's 79-49 home loss to VCU because if that kind of effort is all they have for these Spiders, they could lose this one by 50. Time to make a stand, guys. Richmond 68, Radford 53

Western Carolina (3-8) at James Madison (6-5), 7 p.m.
The Dukes return to action 10 days after their scintillating 82-80 victory over Virginia. Dawn Evans, who scored a school-record 42 points in that contest, will take the court as the nation's leading scorer (26.1 ppg). JMU 70, Western Carolina 58

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

UVa.'s Shine shines; ODU topples Charlotte

Wednesday's results

Old Dominion 81, Charlotte 75: Big-time result from the Lady Monarchs (6-4), who basically went off offensively to hand the 49ers (10-3) their first loss in eight games. Jasmine Parker (16 points), Kquanise Bryd (a career-high 14), Tia Lewis (14), JoNiquia Guilford (12) and Shadasia Green (11) all scored in double figures. In addition, the team dished out 19 assists and shot 9-of-18 from 3-point range in the type of efficient offensive performance we weren't sure they had in 'em, especially away from the Constant Center. The final score is a bit misleading as ODU led by 18 with 2:56 to play before Charlotte pressed and bombed their way back to within three. Fortunately for the Lady Monarchs, Byrd went 4-of-4 from the line in the final 18 seconds to close the 49ers out. The victory boosts ODU into Thursday's title game with host Tulane (9-2). The Green Wave advanced courtesy of an 84-65 decision over Nicholls State. And long-term, a win over Charlotte (RPI 32), coupled with the victories over Georgia Tech and Louisville, pretty much assures the Lady Monarchs will get serious at-large NCAA tournament consideration barring a complete collapse during Colonial Athletic Association play. Again, a big-time result.

Virginia 83, East Tennessee State 66: Cavalier Classic MVP Chelsea Shine continues to, well, shine for the Cavaliers. The junior scored 22, leading a 51 percent shooting effort played out in front of a pretty nice crowd (3,018) considering break. Virginia (9-5) won its own tournament for the seventh straight year. Cavaliers freshman Ataira Franklin also earned all-tournament honors.

George Mason 72, Norfolk State 45: The Patriots (6-5) rolled to a 39-19 halftime lead, shot 47 percent for the game and outdid the Spartans (5-4) at the free-throw line to win their fourth straight game. NSU, which hadn't played in 10 days, had trouble generating offense; Whitney Long was the lone player in double figures with 16 points. Meanwhile George Mason's Amber Easter scored 19 and Brittany Poindexter had a double-double 13 points and 10 rebounds, and the Patriot defense held a fourth straight opponent to fewer than 53 points.

Liberty 73, LaSalle 53: Devon Brown scored 19 and notched all-tournament hours in another great effort by the Lady Flames, who battled St. John's to the wire in Tuesday's first game of the Maryland Terrapin Classic. We're delighted to report Liberty (5-7) did hold it to under 20 turnovers (Flames had 19), and Avery Warley picked up the Liberty post presence with 10 points and 14 boards. You might say LaSalle (4-8) was a bit shorthanded though, as only seven players dressed.

Hampton 61, Troy 43: We can't say much for aesthetics as both teams shot in the 30s, but we are impressed by Lady Pirate Quanneisha Perry accounting for 14 points and 17 boards in the Georgia State Invitational. Perry was one of four players in double figures for Hampton, which played about as tidy a game as possible, turning it over just nine times. Hampton improves to 7-4 and the Trojans continue being winless in 11 tries against Division I opponents. Don't know if you're counting, but Hampton has now won six straight and Perry is 25 points shy of 1,000.

Longwood 82, William and Mary 77: The Tribe (1-9) put up some wonderful numbers in this game, shooting season highs in field-goal percentage (47 percent) and free throws (23-of-29). Taysha Pye scored 27, but W&M will go into CAA play with just one win (Norfolk State) after a terrific effort by the Lancers.As good as the Tribe was from the line, Longwood (3-9) was better (20-of-21) and Brittanni Billups had 19 to lead four players in double figures. The Tribe only dressed seven players and two of those , Kaitlyn Mathieu and Jaclyn McKenna, combined for 13 turnovers.

Virginia Tech 79, Alcorn State 40: The Hokies sizzled, shooting 51 percent including six 3s.  Virginia Tech (8-4) led 45-16 at the break against a hapless Alcorn State team that shot 29 percent and turned it over 29 times. Now for the hard part - the Hokies will take on Vanderbilt (9-3) in today's title game. The Commodores overwhelmed Delaware (minus Elena Delle Donne) 72-51. While the Hokies have eight wins, Tech lacks a signature win during this non-conference season. Taking down the Commodores would definitely qualify.

ODU, VaTech and Hampton kick off tournament play

A lot to get to today, so let's delve straight into the matchups:

Wednesday's games

Tulane DoubleTree Classic, at Tulane
Old Dominion (5-4) vs. Charlotte (10-2), 6 p.m.
The winner will play either Nicholls State (yeah, right) or host Tulane (bingo!) in Thursday's title game. Both teams are coming off a holiday break and rank 270th (ODU) and 277th (Charlotte) in turnovers per game so, well, let's just say this isn't likely the Mona Lisa of basketball games. But there's nothing wrong with an ugly win, right, Wendy? ODU's non-conference road struggles of late have been oft-documented here. A key bugaboo this season has been early foul trouble, particularly to Tia Lewis. Charlotte no doubt knows this, too, so we'd expect the 49ers to take it to Lewis early and try to draw a cheap foul or two. Lewis cannot take the bait. If everything breaks right, the Lady Monarchs will use 49ers turnovers to trigger a transition game, hang around for 39 minutes and watch Jasmine Parker make a couple of her patented game-winning plays in the last 60 seconds. We can see that. Problem is, we haven't seen that from the Lady Monarchs on the road in a long time. So until we do.... Charlotte 63, Old Dominion 58

Hilton Garden Classic, at Virginia Tech
Alcorn State (1-6) vs. Virginia Tech (7-4), 7 p.m.
The Lady Braves' record stems in part from the fact that they've only played only one home game (which they won). That said, this is the level of program an ACC team at home should beat, and handily the way Miami did on Dec. 11 (92-34). Tech doesn't need to win by 60. But the Hokies would be well-served to take control of this one quickly and decisively - something they've struggled to do this season - because they're going to have to really bring it on Thursday if they want to win their own tournament for the 12th time in 13 years. With a victory Tech will face either Delaware - which appears set to play without star Elena Delle Donne - or Vanderbilt. Virginia Tech 80, Alcorn State 52

Georgia State Invitational, at Georgia State
Hampton (6-4) vs. Troy (2-10), 4 p.m.
The Trojans are actually 0-10 against Division I schools, in part because three players in their projected rotation, all at least part-time starters from a year ago, have been sidelined with injuries. Hampton needs to avoid playing down to the competition. The Lady Pirates are the favorites in this tournament, but they're at their best when they play as though they have something to prove. The winner will face either Mississippi Valley State or host Georgia Tech in Thursday's final.  Hampton 69, Troy 54

Marriott Cavalier Classic, at Virginia
Final: East Tennessee State (4-6) at Virginia (8-5), 7 p.m.
The Cavaliers are 6-0 at home and are coming off a season-high 88-point assault on North Carolina A&T. But the key today will be how well the Cavaliers perform defensively. In addition to the 90 points the Lady Bucs hung on Holy Cross in Tuesday's Classic opener, they also put up 96 on Richmond in November. If you let them run their stuff, the Lady Bucs have a lot of players that can score. So this is a team the Cavaliers will not want to trade baskets with. Holy Cross and North Carolina A&T will meet in today's 4:30 p.m. consolation game. Virginia 82, ETSU 62

Maryland Terrapin Classic, at Maryland
Consolation: LaSalle (4-7) vs. Liberty (4-7), 2 p.m.
Coming off an encouraging effort in Tuesday's 81-66 loss to St. John's, the Lady Flames need to avoid giving back the apparent gains they made by tossing in a stinker today. Devon Brown probably isn't going to shoot 3-for-14 again, but it would be nice to see the post players get a bit more involved in the offense as well. And it would be great if Liberty could hold it under, say, 20 turnovers. That's not too much to ask, is it? The court should be plenty warm by the time these teams hit the court as St. John's and Maryland will have already played the title game (11:30 a.m. tipoff).  Liberty 55, LaSalle 49

William and Mary (1-8) at Longwood (2-9), 4:30 p.m.
It's Youth Day at Willett Hall and fans ages 18 and under will get in free. The game is the opener of a women's-men's doubleheader; William and Mary and Longwood's men's teams will play at 7 p.m. As for the women's game, the Tribe's size meets the Lancers' speed in this matchup of two teams desperate for a win. If Longwood can hold its own on the boards and beat William and Mary up and down the floor, the Lancers have a chance. A few well-timed 3-pointers would help, too. But ultimately, we suspect the Tribe will be too big, too strong. Interesting tidbit from the W&M game notes: the Tribe have won their non-conference finale (which this is) in each of the last four years and in 12 of the past 13. William and Mary 72, Longwood 67

Norfolk State (5-3) at George Mason (5-5), 7 p.m.
In their last three games, all at home, the Patriots have held their opponents to 48, 53 and 45 points. Even better, this defense has translated into the Patriots' three highest point totals of the season (74, 69 and 73). We're eager to see if Evelyn Lewis can follow up her 17-point, 14-rebound effort against Ohio with another strong game in the low box. Meanwhile, the Spartans haven't played since Dec. 18, when they nipped McNeese State 75-70 in overtime. Whitney Long and Sarah Daily have supplied firepower from outside, and  Marian Brooks and Batavia Owens give the Spartans a presence inside. Now if only Rachel Gordon could get it going again. Gordon had 20 points and 11 rebounds in NSU's season opener, then sat out three games with injury and has scored only 9 points in the four games since returning. Gordon has still posted some solid rebounding numbers, but some more offensive punch would really help, too. George Mason 72, Norfolk State 68

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Orleans, here they are!

Purloined from the ODU Lady Monarchs Facebook page....

Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Lady Monarchs? 

Virginia rolls, Liberty gets 'A' for effort

We didn't think much of Liberty's chances Tuesday, and while they didn't win, the Lady Flames' performance came as a pleasant surprise.

By contrast, we were 99 percent sure of Virginia's chances Tuesday. Thankfully, there were no surprises in this one.

Tuesday's games

No. 17 St. John's 81, Liberty 66: That score doesn't do Liberty's Terrapin Classic effort justice. The Lady Flames led 37-34 at the half and were down by just two at 62-60 with less than six minutes to go. How'd they stay in it? By dominating the boards in vintage Liberty fashion (40-25), outscoring the Red Storm 20-6 in second-chance points. With a surprising 7 3-pointers. And with some huge contributions off the bench from Lakendra Washington (4 3-pointers) and Danika Dale, who each finished with 13 points. It would have been nice to see what Liberty could have done if Devon Brown (11 points on 3-of-14 shooting) could have found a hot hand, or if Avery Warley could have contributed more than 2 points before fouling out in 15 minutes. And turnovers continue to be a major issue- the Lady Flames had 24 of them, which led to 26 St. John's points. Still, this shouldn't be about what Liberty did wrong. Credit the Red Storm for making a late sprint the Lady Flames simply couldn't match. And credit the Lady Flames (4-7) for turning in, all things considered, arguably their best effort of the year. The key now will be to consolidate today's effort with another strong showing in Wednesday's 2 p.m. consolation game against LaSalle. Do that and the Lady Flames can return home feeling as though they're making progress. St. John's will face No. 18 Maryland at 11:30 a.m. in Wednesday's title game.

Virginia 88, North Carolina A&T 59:  Twelve of the 13 Cavaliers that saw action recorded at least one assist - with a high of 4 by China Crosby - as Virginia (8-5) dished out a season-high 22 dimes en route to a season-high point total. Freshman Jazmin Pitts celebrated her first career start with a career-high 17 points and Chelsea Shine added 14 points and 5 rebounds. No Cavalier played more than 25 minutes, so everyone should be fresh and ready for Wednesday's 7 p.m. Cavalier Classic title game against East Tennessee State (4-6). North Carolina A&T will face Holy Cross in the 4:30 p.m. consolation game.

Delle Donne to miss Virginia Tech tourney

The Delaware News-Journal's Kevin Tresolini reports that Delaware star Elena Delle Donne did not accompany the Blue Hens to Blacksburg and will miss Virginia Tech's Hilton Garden Classic beginning Wednesday at Cassell Coliseum. Delle Donne has been hampered by back trouble and apparently a viral infection of late, although specific information concerning her condition has been sketchy. Ernie Delle Donne, Elena's father, told Tresolini that the university would make a more detailed announcement later this week after Elena has been examined by the UD medical staff.

This news is a blow not just to Delaware but also Virginia Tech, as Delle Donne figured to be something of a draw to the Hokies' tournament. Even with her ailments, Delle Donne is averaging 26.0 points per game this season, second among all Division I players to James Madison's Dawn Evans. Evans and Delle Donne shared preseason CAA Player of the Year honors.

The Blue Hens (6-3, 0-2 without Delle Donne) will open in the Classic against Vanderbilt (8-3) Wednesday at 5 p.m.. In the 7 p.m. nightcap, the Hokies (7-4) will host Alcorn State (1-6).

Silent majority rankings #8

Not a lot of movement after a light week dominated by the Christmas break. This week should be more volatile, though, as several of these teams will get their last chances to make some national noise before settling into their conference races.


Previous weeks
Week 6
Week 5
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

1. Xavier (10-1)
Last week: 1
In their last two losses - by two points to Stanford in the Elite Eight last year and by one point at Duke last week - the Musketeers have gone down because of two missed layups, a Stanford layup at the buzzer and having their own layup blocked at the buzzer. Talk about torture. At least they get another crack at Stanford Tuesday.
UPDATE: Stanford 89, Xavier 52. Did not see this kind of result coming, at all. Can anyone out there explain it?

2. Marist (9-2)
Last week: 2
Would have loved to have seen what the Red Foxes could do at Arizona State this week, but winter storm issues forced the game to be canceled. No biggie, though. With wins over Louisville, Nebraska, Houston and at Villanova, Marist still got a whole lot done during its non-conference sked. Big props to senior guard and Duel in the Desert MVP Erica Allenspach, who earned MAAC player-of-the-week honors for the second time in a row.

3. Bowling Green (11-1)
Last week: 3
Lauren Prochaska saw her consecutive free throw streak end at 70 during the Falcons' 82-59 thumping of Canisius. Guess you really can't make them all, although with Prochaska, we were starting to wonder. UPDATE: Bowling Green 73, Butler 64

4. Green Bay (10-1)
Last week: 4
The Phoenix remain the No. 1 team in the mid-major poll, and while we're comfortable with where we have them here, we won't argue with anyone that believes this is the best team.
UPDATE: Green Bay 70, South Dakota 53. UPDATE: Green Bay 69, Detroit 62. Senior Kayla Tetschlag cracks the 1,000-point barrier.

5. Florida Gulf Coast (9-0)
Last week: 5
Last week's 73-69 victory over Indiana gave the Eagles three wins over BCS-conference teams this season - FGCU has also beaten Virginia Tech and Seton Hall. The win was also their 28th straight at home, the third-longest such streak behind UConn and Stanford. And with Stanford hosting Xavier and UConn this week, the Eagles just might find themselves in that No. 2 slot.

6. Charlotte (10-2)
Last week: 6
The 49ers will put their 7-game winning streak on the line Wednesday against No. 21 Old Dominion in the Tulane DoubleTree Classic. A win will set up a likely meeting with the No. 15 host school. UPDATE: Old Dominion 81, Charlotte 75. UPDATE: Charlotte 80, Nicholls State 54

7. Gonzaga (10-3)
Last week: 8
In their current 8-game winning streak, the Zags have scored at least 90 points six times and cracked the 100-point barrier twice. Anything close to that kind of firepower against their next opponent - No. 14 Notre Dame Wednesday in Seattle - would be a major statement. UPDATE: Notre Dame 70, Gonzaga 61. UPDATE: Gonzaga 91, Seattle 64

8. Princeton (8-3)
Last week: 7
As women's basketball guru Mel Greenberg points out, an Ivy League team with an RPI of 28 (according to is pretty much unheard of. UPDATE: Princeton 67, Davidson 61. UPDATE: Princeton 71, Wake Forest 63. Tigers beating an ACC team on the road is particularly impressive since they did it without sophomore star Niveen Rasheed, who suffered a knee injury early in Wednesday's second half against Davidson. Hope it's nothing serious.

9. Houston (8-2)
Last week: 9
The Cougars have a major opportunity Tuesday night when No. 19 Georgetown visits Hofheinz Pavillion. Houston is 1-0 against Big East teams so far, having downed Louisville in the Duel in the Desert.
UPDATE: Georgetown 77, Houston 37. The Hoyas scored 35 of the game's first 41 points. Maybe the Cougars thought their break ended Wednesday, not Tuesday. To be fair, the Cougars played without Sr. F Courtney Taylor (15.8 ppg, 11.7 rpg), who sat out with a knee injury. But that doesn't explain a 40-point loss at home. Check out these extremely candid quotes from Houston coach Todd Buchanan

10. Middle Tennessee State (9-3)
Last week: 10
The Blue Raiders have already played the nation's 14th-toughest schedule, and the degree of difficulty will be ratcheted up a notch or two after Wednesday's visit to No. 11 Kentucky. UPDATE: No. 11 Kentucky 81, MTSU 72

11. UC Davis (9-2)
Last week: 11
The Aggies continue to rule at their Pavilion. Last week's 70-54 victory over Santa Clara improved their record to 5-0 at home this season and was their 13th straight in their own building. No secret as to how they pulled their latest triumph off - the Aggies scored 35 points off 34 Santa Clara turnovers. UPDATE: Cal State  Fullerton 58, UC Davis 56: Aggies see their 13-game homecourt winning streak snapped.

12. Drexel (7-2)
Last week: 12
The Dragons made a nice statement last week by going on the road and knocking off Penn State. Junior guard Kamile Nacickaite earned shared the CAA weekly top player honors after her career high-tying 27-point effort against the Nittany Lions. The game also included the 1,000th career point by Dragons senior Jasmina Rosseel. UPDATE: No. 5 Texas A&M 74, Drexel 45. UPDATE: Drexel 64, UTSA 37

13. Central Michigan (8-3)
Last week: NR
We'll admit it, we were sleeping on these guys. Their 16-point victory over Ole Miss woke us up, and after they followed that up with a 25-point pasting of Wichita State, we now have both feet planted firmly on the Chippewa bandwagon. It's also opened our eyes to multi-talented senior forward Kaihla Szunko, a 3.84 grade-point average student who over the past two weeks had one double-double, one triple-double (21 points, 16 rebounds and 10 steals vs. Ole Miss) and two MAC Player of the Week awards. Oh, and she also became the 20th member of the program's 1,000-point club. Other than that....  UPDATE: Pittsburgh 94, Central Michigan 78. Sizzling Panthers shot 12-of-17 from 3-point range, 14-of-18 from the free throw line.

14. Louisiana Tech (6-4)
Last week: 14
Two of the most tradition-rich programs in the sport will square off when the Lady Techsters meet Georgia on Wednesday in the opening round of Florida International's Fun & Sun Classic. Georgia and Louisiana Tech rank No. 2 and No. 3 respectively in all-time NCAA Tournament bids and weeks ranked in the AP poll. Not a  lot of history between the two, though, as they've only met six times and the most recent meeting was 1996. UPDATE: Louisiana Tech 77, Georgia 62. Adrienne Johnson (30 points, 11 rebounds) was a beast. UPDATE: Marquette 83, Louisiana Tech 75. Marquette shot 65.3 percent from the field. Or, as Lady Techsters coach Teresa Weatherspoon put it, "We didn't defend."

15. Tulane (8-2)
Last week: 16
Ideal set-up for Tulane in its own DoubleTree Classic beginning Wednesday - a tune-up to work out the kinks against Nicholls State (RPI 272) followed by a quality Silent Majority matchup against either Old Dominion or Charlotte. UPDATE: Tulane 84, Nicholls State 65. UPDATE: Tulane 62, Old Dominion 59

16. Richmond (8-4)
Last week: 19
Another casualty to the winter storm - the Spiders' home game Tuesday against Boston University, which has been postponed indefinitely. Richmond will now put its four-game winning streak on the line Thursday at Radford. UPDATE: Richmond 73, Radford 50

17. Hampton (6-4)
Last week: 17
Interesting tests this week for the Lady Pirates, winners of five straight. On paper Hampton looks to be the class of the Georgia State Invitational beginning Wednesday (Troy, Mississippi Valley State and Georgia State round out the field). But it's not easy to come off a break and win two games on the road, with one potentially on your opponents' home floor. UPDATE: Hampton 61, Troy 43. UPDATE: Hampton 74, Georgia State 44. Lady Pirates dominate Panthers to win Georgia State Invitational.

18. Fresno State (8-4)
Last week: 18
Bulldogs will look to pick up a quality win Wednesday when USC (7-3) visits the Save Mart Center. Here's hoping their 3-point shots are falling. UPDATE: USC 82, Fresno State 78: Bulldogs fall despite 29 points from Jaleesa Ross (7 of 12 3 pointers) and 13-of-28 shooting from 3-point range. USC's Jacki Gemelos, the oft-injured former No. 1 national recruit, had a career-high 27 points.

19. Duquesne (9-2)
Last week: 20
The Dukes have won six straight road games, one shy of the program record. But stop the presses if they go on and collect consecutive victory No. 7 - next up is Tuesday's visit to No. 13 Ohio State.
UPDATE: Stop the presses - Duquesne 71, Ohio State 67

20. James Madison (6-5)
Last week: 22
Boosted by her school-record 42-point effort against Virginia, senior guard Dawn Evans now leads Division I in scoring (26.1 ppg). A reigning CAA Co-Player of the Week, Evans also broke two conference records against the Cavaliers, for 3-pointers made and attempted. Her career totals of 325 and 951 surpassed the old CAA standards of 323 and 941 set by Old Dominion's T.J. Jordan from 2004-08. UPDATE: JMU 82, Western Carolina 47

21. Old Dominion (6-4)
Last week: 23
The Lady Monarchs haven't won a non-conference game outside of their own Constant Center since Nov. 16, 2008 when they topped Dayton 70-58 at the World Vision Classic hosted by the University of Texas. They'll almost certainly snap that streak in one of the two games at this week's Tulane DoubleTree Classic, but the Lady Monarchs would love to get this gorilla off its back in Wednesday's opener against Charlotte. UPDATE: Old Dominion 81, Charlotte 75. UPDATE: Tulane 62, ODU 59

22. Nevada (9-2)
Last week: NR
Wolfpack guard Tahnee Robinson earned Caribbean Classic MVP honors after averaging 24.2 points in victories over Illinois State and Ball State. Nevada is off to the best start in program history. UPDATE: Nevada 74, Weber State 72

23. St. Joseph's (8-3)
Last week: 24
The Hawks' 50-45 victory over Delaware comes with a caveat, as Blue Hens star Elena Delle Donne sat out the contest after feeling fatigued. That's not St. Joseph's fault, though, and the victory was their fifth straight.
UPDATE: St. Joe's 67, New Hampshire (2-8) 66: Whew! The Hawks may have enjoyed their break a little too much. Michelle Baker's layup with 4.2 seconds left saved St. Joe's from an embarrassing first-round loss in their own tournament. UPDATE: St. Joseph's 75, Lafayette 40

24. Monmouth (8-2)
Last week: 25
The Hawks' opening-round opponent in their own tournament this week, Brown, may not sound too threatening. But Ivy League programs have bared some surprising teeth this non-conference season. In addition to Princeton's heroics, Yale shocked Florida State and Brown owns a win over Florida. Having said that, you have to like Monmouth's chances to extend its winning streak to eight. UPDATE: Brown 75, Monmouth 71. Like we said, you have to like Brown's chances.... UPDATE: Monmouth 60, Binghamton 51

25. Missouri State (9-3)
Last week: NR
The Bears sprinted off on a 30-2 run in last week's 66-39 demolition of Morgan State to wrap up their best non-conference performance in seven years. Can't understand why these guys fell out of the rankings in the first place. UPDATE: Missouri State 82, Southern Illinois 50. Lady Bears roll in MVC opener.

Hey, what about us?

St. Bonaventure (8-4): Won 5 of their last six, including a win over Marist. Loss by 5 to MTSU. UPDATE: St. Bonaventure 62, Sacred Heart 54. UPDATE: No. 6 West Virginia 62, St. Bonaventure 53

Gardner-Webb (7-4): Heartbreaking 59-58 loss to Purdue. UPDATE: Gardner-Webb 88, Tennessee Temple 40. UPDATE: No. 10 North Carolina 83, Gardner-Webb 62

Hofstra (8-1): Eight straight wins since a season-opening loss to Virginia. UPDATE: San Diego 85, Hofstra 83 (OT). Love the SD site's headline: "Conners, Mason Swallow the Pride". UPDATE: Cincinnati 65, Hofstra 63

Memphis (9-3): Six straight wins since losing at Kansas on Nov. 27. UPDATE: Memphis 62, McNeese State 47. UPDATE: Memphis 83, Jackson State 64

Dayton (7-5): Have a feeling this team is about to get on a roll. UPDATE: Dayton 101, Harvard 80. Flyers top 100 points for the third time this season.

Temple (7-5): Didn't see that loss to Eastern Michigan coming. UPDATE: No. 3 Duke 71, Temple 64

TCU (6-6) - Came oh-so-close before falling by 3 to Georgia. UPDATE: TCU 76, Texas Southern 55

San Diego State (5-5): Fell off our radar after dropping 4 of first 5 but have gone 4-1 since. UPDATE: San Diego State 72, UTSA 52. UPDATE: No. 7 Texas A&M 96, San Diego State 52

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lake Taylor, Princess Anne head elite field at Boo Williams tourney

If you live in the Hampton Roads area and enjoy girls basketball, some of the best in the country will be on display Tuesday - we hope - in the Boo Williams/Ronald Curry Christmas Classic at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton.

The eight-team elite division could lead to a rematch of last year's Virginia Group AAA state championship game between Princess Anne and Lake Taylor. But the field is so deep it wouldn't be shocking if neither of these teams even reach the final. Five of the eight teams are included among the nation's top 50 in the latest ESPN/Powerade rankings: No. 12 Riverdale Baptist (Md.); No. 20 Lake Taylor; No. 27 Princess Anne; No. 29 Overton (Tenn.) and No. 47 Oak Hill Academy.

Not surprisingly, however, the winter storm has played havoc with travel plans and tournament arrangements. The event was supposed to begin Monday. Today's schedule is also subject to adjustment, and according to a story in the Newport News Daily Press it's possible Overton may have to be replaced.

As of now: here's a look at Tuesday's first-round pairings along with some of the featured players. We'll try to post any changes as soon as we hear them.

5 p.m. - No. 12 Riverdale Baptist - Lauren Chase, 5-6 G (UMBC); Tyonna Williams, 5-7 G (Temple); Diana Logan 6-0 F (Georgetown); Jonquel Jones, 6-1 F; Maya Singleton, 6-0 F; vs. Reynolds (N.C.)  - Whitney Knight, 6-1 G (de-committed from Duke in Nov., will sign late)

6: 30 p.m. - No. 27 Princess Anne - Elizabeth Williams, 6-3 C (Duke); vs. Columbia (Ga.)

8 p.m. - Bishop McNamara - Taylor Brown, 6-8 G (Georgetown); vs. No. 20 Lake Taylor - Linda Stepney, 5-8 G (West Virginia); Crystal Leary, 6-1 F (West Virginia); Toia Giggetts, 5-11 F (James Madison)

8 p.m. - No. 47 Oak Hill Academy - Mallory Jones, 6-0 F (St. John's); Candace Ball, 6-4 C, Jr. (Wake Forest); Nirra Fields, 5-9 G, Jr. (No. 16 ESPN Super 60 for 2012); vs. No. 29 Overton (Tenn.) - Caselia Campbell, 6-2 F, Carson-Newman; Cornelia Fondren, 6-2 G, Jr.

Cavaliers host Classic; Liberty faces St. John's

This was a meatier schedule 24 hours ago, before weather-related issues forced Tulane to push its tournament  (featuring Old Dominion) back one day and Richmond to postpone its home game with Boston University. Thankfully, the two ACC schools hosting their own tournaments were able to get everyone to their sites, and so at least we have a streamlined edition of post-Christmas action.

Tuesday's games

Marriott Cavalier Classic, at Virginia
North Carolina A&T (3-5) at Virginia (7-5), 7 p.m.
Let's face it, the Cavaliers wouldn't have scheduled the Lady Aggies in the first round of their own tournament if they didn't expect to beat them. The Lady Aggies will battle, and they've played enough quality teams that they won't go weak in the knees at the sight of the Cavaliers. But they have just one player taller than 6-0 and were outrebounded by 28 in their last game, a 76-51 loss at Memphis. Virginia's inside players can and should put up big numbers against these guys. In addition, the Cavaliers are 5-0 at home this season and have won this tournament six straight years since dropping a 73-53 decision to Minnesota and Lindsay Whalen in the 2003 Classic final. In the tournament's first game, Holy Cross will face East Tennessee State at 4:30 p.m. Virginia 78, N.C. A&T 56

Maryland Terrapin Classic, at Maryland
Liberty (4-6) at No. 17 St. John's (11-1), 2:30 p.m.
The Red Storm knows how to do a lot with a little - on Dec. 18, they played the final 2:13 of a 31-point victory over Southern Mississippi with just four players after foul problems and a series of injuries. We like the fact that Liberty has now had plenty of time to work leading scorer Devon Brown into shape and into the system. But we hate this matchup for the Lady Flames. Liberty has had trouble scoring, and St. John's allows just 49.3 points per game. And Liberty has been turnover-prone this season, and the Red Storm has outscored its last four opponents 151-63 off turnovers. We won't completely rule Liberty out, but clearly the  Lady Flames will have to find a level they've yet to reach to pull off an upset. The winner will face either LaSalle (4-6) or host No. 18 Maryland (10-1) on Wednesday. St. John's 74, Liberty 55

Tuesday's Richmond game vs. Boston U postponed

More weather-related issues have forced the postponement of Tuesday's Boston University at Richmond contest as the Terriers were unable to get into Richmond. No make-up date has been set. This is especially bad news for BU sophomore guard Kristen Sims, a Richmond native who starred at Clover Hill High. Then again, maybe Sims was home on break and was to leave with the team after the game. If so, here's hoping Sims gets to kick back at home for an extra day or two. Sims is one of two Virginia natives on the BU roster, along with freshman Melissa Gallo of Fairfax and W.T. Woodson High.

The Spiders' next scheduled game is Thursday at Radford.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tulane tournament featuring ODU pushed back a day

Due to travel issues forced by inclement weather, the Tulane DoubleTree Classic featuring Old Dominion will now start on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. Three of the four teams in the tournament appear in our latest Silent Majority rankings of the top 25 teams in non-BCS conferences: Charlotte at No. 6, Tulane at No. 16 and Old Dominion at No. 23.

The tournament's new schedule:

Tulane (8-2) vs. Nicholls State (5-6), 4 p.m.
Old Dominion (5-4) vs. Charlotte (10-2), 6 p.m.

Consolation game, 2 p.m.
Championship game, 4 p.m.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays from LadySwish

Happy Holidays to all who coach women's basketball, play women's basketball and love the sport the way we do.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Andrea Barbour's back!

VCU got a great early Christmas present Thursday when guard Andrea Barbour made her Rams debut with 10 points and 6 rebounds in a 79-49 victory over Radford. Barbour, who starred at Virginia Tech and Patrick Henry Community College before transferring to VCU, had to sit out the first semester to work on her academics.

Courtney Hurt had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Rams (5-5). It's the first time Hurt has scored less than 20 points in a game this season. But it's not as though Radford shut her down, as Hurt played only 21 minutes. Sonia Johnson chipped in 16 points and 8 rebounds.

As for Radford, well, the Highlanders shot 30 percent, made 25 turnovers and got outrebounded 49-28. Other than that....  The Highlanders did have 17 steals, but it sounds like once they stole the ball, the Rams stole it back. Erica Rivera had 11 points and 5 steals and Da'Naria Erwin Spencer added 10 points and 5 steals as Radford (3-9) lost its fourth straight.

VCU, Radford wrap up pre-holiday sked

Call this the last roundup as after this game - one of only six on today's Division I schedule - the gyms will be silent, at least for games, until Monday's extremely light 3-game slate. None of the teams in Virginia will return to action until Tuesday. 

Virginia Commonwealth (4-5) at Radford (3-8), 3 p.m.
The Highlanders' record is a bit misleading as they are actually a 2-1 team in the rare instances when they've played at home. True, those victories were over Ferrum and Southern Virginia, but the loss was a 52-51 squeaker against Hampton. And while the atmosphere figures to be minimal in the Dedmon Center today unfortunately, women's basketball teams are used to that. Rams star Courtney Hurt (25.6 ppg, 13.6) rpg has been so consistently excellent that when evaluating VCU games, we've taken to focusing on everyone else. VCU players other than Hurt made only 11 of 41 shots in Monday's 59-57 loss to Liberty. That obviously needs to improve. Motivation may be an issue on both sides as the players all have tickets in hand, family to see and gifts to exchange. But both teams are also coming off losses so each one should want to go into the break in style. VCU 65, Radford 59

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ex-Lady Monarch gets the start for Gardner-Webb

She was a little rusty from the free-throw line, but former Old Dominion forward Sierra Little made her debut on Wednesday for Gardner-Webb. Little transferred to the North Carolina school a year ago. This was the first game the junior was eligible to play due to NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-2 forward, who started for the Bulldogs (7-4), scored seven points to go with six rebounds in 27 minutes. Gardner-Webb fell to Purdue by a point after the Boilermakers drained a 3 with 16 seconds remaining. Little was 1-of-6 from the free-throw line and 3-of-14 from the floor. She also blocked a pair of shots.

Richmond rolls, Mason mashes

Wednesday's games

Richmond 66, Towson 50: The 16-point spread only hints at the Spiders' domination, as they led 18-2 before the game was 10 minutes old and were up by 33 midway through the second half. But that shouldn't be surprising, though, as Richmond is rolling while Towson is in serious rebuilding mode. The Tigers have some nice pieces coming in next season. But this year, all signs point to them finishing last in the CAA. Meanwhile, the Spiders would probably win the CAA, as their four-game winning streak has come at the expense of VCU, Old Dominion, William and Mary and now Towson, all by double digits. Brittani Shells led the way with 17 points in 24 minutes as the Spiders substituted liberally. Enjoy the holidays, guys. You've earned some time off.

George Mason 73, Longwood 45: We've been waiting for that breakout game from forward/center Evelyn Lewis, the former Hampton High star/Penn State transfer, and tonight we got it - 17 points, 14 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Lewis hasn't been bad this season (5.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg heading into the game), but we thought the world of her at Hampton and figured she's make a much bigger impact. Now we're not going to hold her to 17 and 14 every night, but, heck, it'd be nice, right? If nothing else, at least Lewis has shown what she's capable of. The former Lady Crabber had plenty of help Wednesday, as Amber Easter went for 15 points and 13 rebounds while Brittany Poindexter added 16 points as the Patriots won their third straight. It wasn't that long ago that we fretted about the Patriots inability to score. But in their three-game winning streak, they're averaging 72 points a game. Now we're sure coach Jeri Porter will say it's the defense that's responsible, and we don't doubt she's right. We're just happy to see the ball going through the net. As for the Lancers (2-9), they were playing for the second straight night and third time in five days, so we feared this might not be their best effort. They went on to shoot 19.2 percent in the first half. Credit Mason's defense for some of that, we don't want to make excuses for Longwood and independents have to take games when they can get them. Let's just say that their schedule did them no favors tonight.

Richmond, Longwood vs. Mason on tap

We bet these players can't wait to get home for the holidays, but it's game time first.

Longwood (2-8) at George Mason (4-5), 7 p.m.
If it seems like yesterday when the Lancers played, that's because it was (loss to IPFW). Meanwhile, the Patriots have had 10 days off, but we suspect they will be able to rid themselves of the rust in a hurry. George Mason owns all five meetings between these teams in the Patriot Center, though Longwood was the victor the last time the teams met in 2008. Coach Jeri Porter has enjoyed the last week and a half of practices, stressing defense, which we suspect will keep the Lancers at bay on Wednesday. George Mason 63, Longwood 52

Richmond (7-4) at Towson (5-4), 7 p.m.
The Spiders have beaten up on their CAA foes this season by an average of 15 points. We don't think the Tigers have the speed and athleticism to keep up with Brittani Shells and Crystal Goring. Shells has been in double figures in eight games and Goring recorded her first double-double of the season against ODU. These are not the same Tigers from a  a year ago. Most notably they graduated Shanae Baker-Brice. Instead Towson has four starters averaging better than 10 ppg. Richmond is playing as well as any team in the state, so we like them here, but be aware that the Tigers have taken two of the last three in this series. Richmond 77, Towson 68

One streak lives, another one....

Bowling Green's Lauren Prochaska finally missed a free throw Tuesday night, snapping her NCAA Division I record streak at 70. Richmond assistant Ginny Doyle had the previous record (66), and we wouldn't have objected to her keeping it a while longer. But the more we read about Prochaska, the more we're convinced that the new mark is in good hands, too.

"It's been fun to have the streak, but it had to come to an end sometime," Prochaska told the Toledo Blade after Tuesday's 82-59 victory over Canisius. "It's been exciting, and it's been an honor. I actually received a letter from Ginny Doyle, the person who had the record. That was really neat that she took the time to do that."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Liberty, ODU, Tech head into break with wins

Games over, time for break, and Liberty, Old Dominion and Virginia Tech head into the holiday on a win streak.

Liberty 59, VCU 57
The Flames (4-6)  eeked out their first road win of the season and survived a furious Rams comeback. VCU whittled a 13-point halftime deficit to one behind Courtney Hurt's layup with two seconds left. But Devon Brown hit 1 of 2 free throws, and the Rams (4-5) didn't get off another shot. The win spoiled another amazing effort by Hurt  (26 points, 15 boards). The Flames, meanwhile, got theirs by committee behind Jelena Antic (12 points, 10 rebounds), Emily Frazier (12 points) and Brown (10 points). After a tough nonconference road, this is exactly the kind of win the Flames needed before they enjoy their Christmas cookies.

Old Dominion 71, Stony Brook 47
We didn't think the Lady Monarchs (5-4) would have much trouble with Stony Brook (3-8), and they didn't behind a season-high 22 points from Tia Lewis, who added 11 boards. Our only quibble is 28 turnovers including 5 apiece by Lewis and Shadasia Green and four by Jasmine Parker. The Lady Monarchs head into the break without a road win and that's where they'll be after the holidays when they take on Charlotte in New Orleans in the Tulane/DoubleTree Classic.

IPFW 78, Longwood 62
The Lancers (2-8) didn't have the offense to match IPFW (7-4), which nailed nine 3-pointers on the night. Chelsea Coward scored 17 for Longwood, which could overcome three IPFW players in double figures and a minus 13 rebounding disadvantage.

Virginia Tech 78, Radford 62
With both teams shooting in the 30s, this one was about as pretty as Duke/Xavier. But in addition to the win, the bright spot for Tech (7-4) is the play of freshman Nia Evans (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Monet Tellier (17 points). Da'Naria Erwin Spencer led Radford with 14 and Brooke McElroy came through with 10 points and 10 rebounds, but the Highlanders (3-8) couldn't keep pace at the free-throw line. The Hokies went there 32 times to Radford's 14.

VCU-Liberty and Radford-VaTech highlight Tuesday's games

Tuesday's games

IPFW (6-4) at Longwood (2-7), 4 p.m.
The Lancers appear to be a bit more explosive offensively under new coach Bill Reinson, which is good because they'll likely need the extra firepower to keep up with IPFW (Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne). Longwood had no answer for VCU's Courtney Hurt (31 points, 16 rebounds) in Saturday's 79-69 loss, and the Mastodons also have a post player that can dominate in Stephanie Rosado (18.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg). IPFW gave Hampton all it could handle Saturday, so even at home this looms as a tough assignment for the Lancers. IPFW 77, Longwood 71

Liberty (3-6) at Virginia Commonwealth (4-4), 7 p.m.
The Lady Flames have already seen Brittany Griner, so perhaps Courtney Hurt won't seem quite as imposing to them as she does to other teams. Then again, Griner doesn't score the way Hurt does, either. As good as Hurt is, though, Liberty's greatest concern will be find a way to generate more offense. The Lady Flames are averaging less than 50 points per game against Division I opponents. If that keeps up, it won't matter how well they defend. VCU 62, Liberty 55

Radford (3-7) at Virginia Tech (6-4), 7 p.m.
The Hokies won by 27 points when these teams last season in Radford, but this year's Tech team has struggled to get that kind of separation and has often needed second-half surges to escape. The Highlanders are better than they were a year ago, and Da'Naria Erwin Spencer seems to be able to get hers against just about anyone. So while we think Tech should be able to pull away from these guys that's not how this team has operated. And if you allow Radford to hang around, the Highlanders proved against Hampton and George Mason that they can become extremely dangerous. Sidenote: Radford assistant Fran Recchia, a former Hokies player, actually began her coaching career as a quasi-assistant  to Tech coach Beth Dunkenberger during Recchia's redshirt senior year in 2005-06.  Virginia Tech 69, Radford 59

Stony Brook (3-7) at Old Dominion (4-4), 7 p.m.
The Lady Monarchs haven't played in eight days so this one might not be pretty early on. But ODU has bagged much bigger game on its home floor so we expect the Lady Monarchs to find their form in plenty of time to subdue these Seawolves. Fans that bring a new stuffed toy will receive discounted admission. The toys will be thrown onto the court at halftime, then donated to the Marine's Toys for Tots before Christmas. Old Dominion 73, Stony Brook 53

Silent majority rankings #7

Previous rankings
Week 5
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

1. Xavier (10-0)
Last week: 1
Critics of the Musketeers schedule to date will have to quiet down for a while as the Musketeers will put their 25-game regular-season winning streak on the line Tuesday night at Duke. A week later, they visit Stanford.

2. Marist (9-2)
Last week: 9
No disrespect to Bowling Green and Green Bay, but no team has had a better three-day stretch this season than the Red Foxes' string of wins over Louisville, Nebraska and Houston at the Duel in the Desert. On Monday, senior guard Erica Allensbach earned MAAC Player of the Week honors for averaging 16.5 points in the wins over Louisville and Nebraska. A few hours later, she dropped a career-high 34 on Houston. Guess no one told her she already had the award.

3. Green Bay (10-1)
Last week: 3
Evansville has a solid team - the Lady Aces nipped Bowling Green by a point in the teams' season opener - so Green Bay's 24-point win showed the Phoenix have gotten themselves back on track after the disappointment of their loss at Marquette.

4. Bowling Green (10-1)
Last week: 2
Life isn't always fair as the Falcons did nothing wrong to drop two spots; in fact they didn't even play. That's how much we think of what Marist did. The Falcons get back to building their case Tuesday against Canisius with two impressive streaks intact - the team's 10-game winning streak and senior foward Lauren Prochaska's NCAA-record 67 straight free throws.

5. Florida Gulf Coast (8-0)
Last week: 5
We're not emotionally committed to the idea of the Eagles being the fifth-best team in this poll because frankly, they haven't played anywhere near the level of competition of several other teams. But hey, 8-0 is 8-0, and the Eagles sure have looked impressive in building that resume. They'll step up in class a bit Tuesday when Indiana visits. Should be interesting: Last week, the Eagles drained 16 3-pointers against Florida International. Three days later, Indiana made 11 3s against FIU. The Eagles have won 27 straight at home.

6. Charlotte (9-2)
Last week: 9
The 49ers came out of their exam break with a sluggish but highly effective 62-44 road suffocation of Arkansas State for their sixth straight victory. Big ups to freshman Gabby Tyler, an Emporia, Va. native who earned Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Week honors delivering 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting and 7 rebounds in a highly efficient 18-minute stint against Arkansas State.

7. Princeton (8-3)
Last week: 4
Highly impressive effort in Friday's 62-54 win over Drexel, as the Tigers rallied even after star Niveen Rasheed fouled out after playing just 16 minutes. Didn't see Sunday's double-overtime loss at St. Joseph's coming, but we're not going to hold that too much against the Tigers. Just means we need to start paying more attention to St. Joe's.

8. Gonzaga (8-3)
Last week:
In addition to jumpers, layups and nifty passes, add half-court shots to Courtney Vandersloot's repertoire as the star guard drained on at the first-half buzzer in last week's 93-62 torching of Idaho. That's six straight wins for the Zags heading into Tuesday's home showdown with BYU.

9. Houston (8-2)
Last week: 11
The Cougars had nearly as good a time at the Duel in the Desert as Marist, scoring decisive victories over Nebraska and Louisville before falling by 8 to the Red Foxes in the title game. Senior forward Courtney Taylor had 10 points and 12 rebounds in the contest for her 8th double-double of the season and school-record 48th of her career.

10. Middle Tennessee State (8-3)
Last week: 14
The Blue Raiders backed up last week's decision over James Madison with another quality decision, this one a gritty 58-53 triumph over St. Bonaventure in the UTSA Holiday Classic. Freshman Ebony Rowe led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Another challenge in San Antonio looms Tuesday as the Blue Raiders will take on Kansas State.

11. UC Davis (8-2)
Last week: 12
A 25-0 first-half run helped the Aggies win big at Wichita State, and Heidi Heintz led a balanced effort with 14 points in a 75-55 pounding of Sacramento State. The 8-2 start in UC Davis' best since the 2001-02 season.

12. Drexel (6-2)
Last week: 7
The Dragons missed an opportunity for a quality win against Princeton as they had a second-half lead against a Tigers team without Niveen Rasheed (fouled out) but couldn't close the deal. We think that says more about the Tigers' depth and how well-coached they are than any weakness with these Dragons. But for the Dragons to stay up relatively high in this poll - and we're sure that's what's driving them - they'll need to bounce back with a strong effort Tuesday at high-scoring Penn State. Tough assignment.

13. Temple (7-4)
Last week: NR
Looks like the Owls have figured things out. Sunday's 55-43 win over Villanova was their fifth straight, and it marked the third game in a row the Owls have held an opponent under 50 points. 

14. BYU (8-3)
Last week: NR
The Cougars will take a 5-game winning streak into Tuesday's showdown at Gonzaga. The game will feature one of the best passers in the nation in Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot against one of Division I's best passing teams. The Cougars average 20.5 assists per game.

15. Louisiana Tech (6-4)
Last week: NR
Props to the Lady Techsters for going into Tulane, ripping down 19 offensive boards and generally using a team approach to take down the Green Wave. Tech's record is in part a reflection of its schedule, which ranks as the 29th toughest in Division I (and tougher than all but two of the teams on this list). The grind will continue next week when the Lady Techsters take on Georgia in Florida International's Fun and Sun Classic.

16. Tulane (8-2)
Last week: 6
The Green Wave did a nice job silencing Louisiana Tech star Adrienne Johnson (8 points) but got absolutely killed on the boards (53-26) in a 78-72 home loss that snapped a three-game winning streak. 

17. Hampton (6-4)
Last week: 19
In the five games she's played start to finish, Jericka Jenkins is averaging 19.8 ppg and the Lady Pirates are 5-0 with wins over James Madison, East Carolina and Florida. In the five games she either didn't play (4) or couldn't finish due to injury (1), Hampton is 1-4, with the victory a one-point escape from Radford.

18. Fresno State (8-4)
Last week: 13
A sluggish first half - we see this a lot coming out of an exam break, particularly on the road - doomed the Bulldogs to a 64-62 loss to 5-6 UC Santa Barbara that robbed Fresno of a chance to face the nationally ranked host school in the St. John's Holiday Classic. Draining 15 3-pointers and burying Southern Mississippi by 37 offered some consolation. But where was that the previous night?

19. Richmond (7-4)
Last week: 15
The Spiders continued their dominance of Virginia teams on Monday with a 67-57 win at William and Mary. In addition to the Tribe, Richmond has also scored double-digit victories over Hampton, VCU and Old Dominion.

20. Duquesne (8-2)
Last week: 16
Surprised the Dukes couldn't offer a bit more resistance in last week's 80-59 home loss to Vanderbilt. The defeat snapped Duquesne's seven-game winning streak.

21. James Madison (6-5)
Last week: 20
A scintillating 42-point night from Dawn Evans rescued the Dukes from a 13-point late second-half deficit in an 82-80 win over Virginia. But the Dukes will need more consistent performances from her supporting cast if they want to maximize the potential of a roster which on paper appears significantly deeper and more multi-dimensional that it often shows.

22. TCU (6-5)
Last week: 21
Iceland native Helena Sverrisdottir went for 18 point, 10 rebounds and 7 assists in Sunday's 94-76 rout of Sam Houston State. But it was far from her most impressive feat; last Saturday; Sverrisdottir graduated with a degree in communications in just three-and-a-half years.

23. Old Dominion (4-4)
Last week: 22
The Lady Monarchs have struggled on the road but have been money at home - one ugly showing against Tennessee notwithstanding - and should be able to solve Stony Brook Tuesday at the Constant Center. A considerably more formidable test looms next week when they open against Charlotte in Tulane's tournament.

24. St. Joseph's (7-3)
Last week: NR
After losses at Drexel, Lehigh and Tulane knocked them out of the conversation, the Hawks have come on to win four straight including Sunday's 70-61 double-overtime decision over Princeton.

25. Monmouth (8-2)
Last week: NR
Seven straight victories, but given the quality of their opposition, we weren't sure what to make of it until Saturday, when the Hawks downed James Madison 69-66. Monmouth's losses are at Maryland and at Marquette.

Whatever happened to.... 

Missouri State (8-3) - A 13-point loss at Georgetown snapped the Lady Bears' winning streak at five. But falling to a team of that caliber shouldn't diminish what else this team has done against a solid schedule.

Dayton (6-5) - The Flyers' two most recent games, a 74-62 loss to San Diego State and a 70-50 win over Colorado, sum up their season perfectly. When the Flyers have been good (their six wins, all by double-digits, are by an average of 22 points), they've been really good. But about half the time, they really haven't been that good.

Appalachian State - Ouch! The Mountaineers fell by a point to Furman when senior Kendra Berry, who had never made a 3-pointer in her career, rattled home a bomb at the buzzer.

Hofstra (7-1) - The Pride has won 7 straight, but we're still looking for that one quality victory.

Delaware (6-2) - Tough outing in Sunday's 66-54 loss at Penn State.

Nevada (7-2) - Injected themselves into the discussion with Sunday's 9-point win over Illinois State.

Illinois State (5-3) - Slid lower in the discussion with Sunday's 9-point loss to Illinois State.

The ACC Review


Shanel Harrison, Virginia Tech

Why Shanel: The junior from Washington D.C. scored a career-high 25 points (11 of 14 from the field) and a career-high 3 3-pointers, including the game-tying 3 with 3.4 seconds left in regulation, during the Hokies' 94-78 double-overtime victory at William and Mary.


Monet Tellier, Virginia Tech

Why Monet: Tellier recorded her first career double-double with career highs of 14 points and 10 rebounds in the double-OT win at William and Mary. 

Alyssa Thomas, Maryland

Why Alyssa: In the Terps' 79-49 win at Delaware State Sunday, Thomas led all scorers with a career-high 17 points. She was 7-of-11 from the field and 3-of-4 from the foul line. She added 7 rebounds and 2 steals. Thomas also won this honor the week of Nov. 29.


Its not about how you deal with what just happened, its about how you prepare and ready yourself for what is about to happen next. - Florida State's Cierra Bravard, about an hour after the Seminoles were upset at Yale on Saturday. Florida State plays at UConn Tuesday.

Really happy another 1 of our former players became a home owner today. Amazing to think they're doing it 2 yrs out of MD. We're beaming! When I was 2 yrs out of college, I think I was a poor staff member at Kent St and waiting tables at Little Caesars to earn some extra cash. - Maryland coach Brenda Frese

We won the game by my mentor C. Vivian won over the crowd! Coach Stringer addressed our crowd after the game. Classy L - Boston College coach Sylvia Crawley after her Eagles' victory over Rutgers.


During last year's NCAA Tournament,'s Gene Wojciechowski served up this compelling, all-access peak at Florida State preparing to take on mighty UConn. With the two teams set to meet again Tuesday, the story is worth a second look. 


Tuesday: No. 4 Xavier (10-0) at No. 3 Duke (11-0), 7 p.m. - The Musketeers have won 25 straight regular-season games; the Blue Devils have won 13 in a row at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Tuesday: Florida State at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) - Perhaps you've heard a bit about this one.


1. Duke (11-0): After a nine-day break, we kind of wish the Blue Devils were facing such a formidable foe (Xavier) right out of the box. At least it's at home. 

2. North Carolina (11-0): Tar Heels coach Sylvia Hatchell makes no apologies for her team's less-than-daunting schedule to date. "I try to plan it so they peak in March," the coach said.

3. Boston College (11-0): The Eagles haven't faced the toughest opposition, either. But remember, this was a 17-15 team a year ago.

4. Maryland (10-1): Sunday's 79-49 victory at Delaware State marked the second straight game and fifth game this season the Terps allowed less than 50 points.

5. Miami (10-1): Here's hoping the Hurricanes haven't forgotten how to pack - Tuesday's game at Ole Miss will mark Miami's first road game in nearly a month (Nov. 17). 

6. Georgia Tech (7-4): It's been a long time between drinks for the Yellow Jackets, who last took the court on Dec. 5. Tech retuns to action Tuesday at Portland State.

7. Florida State (9-2): Not saying we saw Saturday's loss at Yale coming. But with Tuesday's game against UConn looming, we can understand how the Seminoles could have taken their eye off the ball.

8. Virginia (7-5): The Cavaliers were doing a great job of winning the games they were supposed to win until Monday, when they blew a 13-point lead with less than 5 minutes to play in an 82-80 loss at James Madison. Dukes star Dawn Evans scored a school-record 42 points in the win; last year, she tied the school record with 38 in a 75-73 win at Virginia.

9. N.C. State (6-6): Thursday's 47-point pummeling of Presbyterian - their largest margin of victory since 2004 - and Monday's 26-point rout of Florida A&M had to feel good given the team's early struggles.

10. Virginia Tech (6-4): Saturday's exciting double-overtime win at William and Mary - which featured Tech rallying from a 12-point second-half deficit, was just the latest example of the post-intermission tenacity this team has shown all year. Now if they could just stop digging those early holes....

11. Wake Forest (6-5): The Deacs shot better than 40 percent for the first time since Nov. 27 in downing Maryland-Eastern Shore 60-51 to snap a four-game losing streak.

12. Clemson (6-6): A 24-point loss at home to Oakland? Good time to head to the Bahamas, right? Too bad Baylor - which hammered Clemson 82-40 Monday - and Syracuse await.