Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 - the LadySwish year in review


Dawn Evans, James Madison
All the Dukes star did in 2010 was score seemingly at will, lead JMU to a CAA title, battle a kidney disease, become a national spokesman about her condition, become the program's all-time leading scorer, scorch Virginia for a school-record 42 points, sell popcorn during intermissions, engage in high-level Middle East peace talks...well, she did most of those things, anyway.


Won 11 of their last 12 regular-season games in 2009-10, then spanked three opponents by double figures to seize the MEAC Tournament title and reach the NCAAs. Opened 2010-11 by beating JMU in Harrisonburg, then stumbled after guard Jericka Jenkins got hurt. Jenkins' return marked a Lady Pirates' resurgence featuring victories at East Carolina and over Florida. Hampton ended 2010 on a seven-game winning streak.


JMU 88, Delaware 83 (2OT)
Blue Hens star Elena Delle Donne scores a CAA-record 54; Evans answers with a then-JMU record-tying 38 and, of course, the victory.

Records for games played in 2010 only, with winning percentage
Hampton                    24-8       .750
Liberty                       25-11     .694
Old Dominion             23-11     .676
James Madison          23-11      .676
Virginia                      21-12      .636
Richmond                  20-13      .606
VCU                         20-14      .588
Virginia Tech             15-15      .500
Longwood                 8-18        .307
George Mason           9-21       .300
Radford                     8-22       .266
Norfolk State             7-20       .259
William and Mary      6-23        .206



2010 theme: "No More Drama," Mary J. Blige
Only God knows where the story ends for me;
But I know where the story begins;
It's up to us to choose
Whether we win or lose
And I choose to win....

Big ups: Longwood 74, Wright State 70...all-independent team honors for Chelsea Coward and Brittanni Billups.

Low down: The Kristin Caruso carousel.

New Year's resolution: To play on the road as well as they (usually) play at home. And can somebody get these guys in a conference?


2010 theme: "Hurt's So Good" - John Mellencamp. OK, so we added the punctuation. But we're suckers for 1980s pop. And you have to admit, the title fits. 

Big ups: Two wins in the WNIT; the all-conference brilliance of D'Andra Moss and Kita Waller, a 19-point win at ODU, the Rams' first win over the Lady Monarchs in Norfolk since 1972-73, Courtney Hurt's emergence.

Low down: LaTavia Rorie's career-ending ACL tear.

New Year's resolution: To stay healthy, and to make opponents bow down to the trio of Hurt, Sonia Johnson and Andrea Barbour (could the 2011 theme be "The Barbour of C'Ville?).


2010: "Big Things Poppin,' " T.I.

Big ups: Tearing up the MEAC and winning all three conference tournament games by double digits...Quanneisha Perry: MEAC Defensive Player of the Year...Coach David Six: from interim tag to a three-year deal...Jericka Jenkins: the straw that stirs the drink...winning at JMU and routing Florida.

Low down: Duke 72, Hampton 37...The continuing physical struggles of guard Bernadette Fortune.

New Year's resolution: For Hampton reserves to rise up and stop letting the starters have all the fun.


2010 theme: "We're All In This Together"  It fits, because after leaning on Monica Wright so heavily, the Cavaliers now really do need each other. We're just not crazy about being outed as someone who's watched "High School Musical".

Big ups: Repeatedly hearing the following phrase during postseason awards time: And the winner is...Monica Wright!...Wright becoming the Cavs' all-time leading scorer...Chelsea Shine's emergence as a leader and on-court force...Debbie Ryan, er, I mean Sonny Bono, crooning for kids. We're glad we've got you, Babe.

Low downs: JMU 82, Virginia 80...flameouts in the ACC and NCAA tournaments...another injury setback for point guard China Crosby.

New Year's resolution: To keep China upright. Also, while balance is great, it would be nice if someone could emerge as a go-to scorer.


2010 theme: "We're Not Gonna Take It" - Twisted Sister. After that feeble  2009-10 season we were tempted to go with "All I Need Is A Miracle." But thankfully, this latest edition of Spartans hoops looks capable of fighting back.

Big ups: Two C.C. Chambers' free throws with 2 seconds left to boost NSU past Central State 70-69...the Spartans' 5th victory of 2010-11 (the Spartans won 4 all of last year)...Interim coach Debra Clark getting the full-time gig...

Low down: Ongoing losing streak in conference games extended to 20.

New Year's resolution: End the season as the MEAC's most improved team.


2010 theme: "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" - The Police

Big ups: Defending the home court and taking the CAA title...JMU 88, Elena Delle Donne 83 (2OT). At least that's how it seemed...Dawn Evans passing Tamera Young as JMU's all-time leading scorer...JMU 82, Virginia 80...Lauren Jimenez playing the way we wish all seniors would, like it's now or never...25 assists, 9 turnovers vs. Western Carolina. Wow.

Low downs: Evans' kidney issues...William and Mary 64, JMU 56 (No offense, Tribe)...CAA Player of the Year voting...Temple 65, JMU 53

New Year's resolution: To find that balance between everyone pitching in and Evans taking over. That is, until money time. Then hey, Dawn, go to work.


2010 theme: "Get Back," The Beatles
Get back, get back
Get back to where you once belonged

Big ups: CAA regular-season title...Injury-plagued guard Vicki Collier making it through the entire season on her feet...CAA Tournament semifinals: Old Dominion 50, Elena Delle Donne 49. At least that's how it seemed...ODU 65, Georgia Tech 63

Low downs: The Senior Night debacle against Towson...790 fans in the Constant Center for ODU-American WNIT action...The NCAA Tournament in Norfolk, the Lady Monarchs in Providence (WNIT).

New Year's resolution: Master the art of playing well away from the Constant Center.


2010 theme: "I Turn Everything Over" - Switchfoot  We kid because we care.

Big ups: Devin Brown's dazzling (redshirt) freshman year...Brown's jumper off glass with 4 seconds left for a 68-66 victory over Gardner-Webb in the Big South title game......1st-team all-conference honors for Brown and Avery Warley...Led the nation in rebounding margin...Great effort in an 83-77 loss to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.

Low downs: Creighton 40, Liberty...35? Really?...Brown missing the first several games due to injury...North Carolina Central 50, Liberty 48...Averaging 23.6 turnovers through 12 2010-11 games.

New Year's resolution: To stop giving the ball to the other guys.


2010 theme: "Why's It So Hard?" Madonna. We're convinced there's a pretty good team in there somewhere.

Big ups: Highlanders score 23 of the final 31 points to stun Gardner-Webb 68-53 and win their sixth straight Big South opener...Scored 31 of the final 39 points to stun George Mason and former coach Jeri Porter...A 4-1 start to last year's Big South season...All-conference honors for Kymesha Alston (2nd team), Da'Naria Erwin Spencer (all-freshman) and Kaylyn Crosier (all-academic)

Low downs: Closing 2009-10 with losses in 11 of their last 12 games...A pre-holiday (Dec. 23) no-show at home against VCU (a 74-44 loss).

New Year's resolution: To start games faster to avoid having so much second-half ground to make up.


2010 theme: "It Don't Come Easy," Ringo Starr

Big ups: Tiffany Benson, the CAA's all-time leading shot blocker...William and Mary 63, James Madison 56...all-conference honors for Benson (Defensive Player of the Year), Taysha Pye (2nd team), Emily Correal (all-rookie), Robyn Barton (all-academic) and Lindsey Moller (all-academic)...The emergence of freshman Kaitlyn Mathieu, already a 2-time CAA Rookie of the Week winner.

Low downs: An 0-6 start to the 2010-11 campaign...blowing an 11-point lead over the final 5 minutes in a double-overtime home loss to Virginia Tech

New Year's resolution: To defend without fouling so much.


2010 theme: "One Step Closer", Linkin Park

Big ups: Four straight wins to close out 2010...Amber Easter became the first Patriot since 2001 (Jen Derevjanik) to earn CAA All-Rookie team honors. Three Patriots also earned conference all-rookie plaudits - Angelee LaTouche (1st team), Rashauna Hobbs (honorable mention) and Brittany Eley (honorable mention).

Low downs: The Patriots' early season propensity to blow second-half leads, with the most notable meltdown coming at home to Radford...10-game losing streak during last year's CAA season...Are 2-16 in road games since the start of the 2009-10 season.

New Year's resolution: Like ODU, learn to get it done on the road. Then again, the Lady Monarchs' road problems were strictly a non-conference issue, as they went 8-1 in CAA road games. Mason has trouble winning everywhere except the Patriot Center.


2010 theme: "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nivana. Underclassmen (10 freshmen and sophomores) have infused the Hokies with youthful energy...OK, it's a stretch. But hey, we love the song and wanted it to be part of the package. Indulge us.

Big ups: Virginia Tech 74, Vanderbilt 68, featuring a masterpiece by Monet (Tellier): 19 of her 23 points during the Hokies' brilliant second half...Shanel Harrison's 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left to force overtime; the Hokies went on to prevail in double-OT...Virginia Tech 79, No. 10 North Carolina 64...Utayha Drye earning All-ACC honors (honorable mention).

Low downs: Shani Grey leaves team; Abby Redick transfers...Hokies lose by 14 at home to Robert Morris...Porschia Hadley's season-ending ACL tear...Hokies withdraw their name from WNIT consideration.

New Year's resolution: Stop waiting 'til the second half to make your move.


2010 theme: "This Is How We Do It" - Montell Jordan. The Spiders seem to know exactly what their strengths are and how to play to them. 

Big ups: Brittani Shells: 1st-team All-Atlantic 10 and All-Defensive team again...Abby Oliver: A-10's Sixth Player of the Year...Richmond 81, N.C. State 75...Spiders go 4-0 against the CAA (ODU, VCU, William and Mary and Towson, all by double figures) and 5-0 vs. Virginia schools (ODU, VCU, William and Mary, Hampton and Radford, all by double figures).

Low down: Dayton 83, Richmond 31. The loss sent the Spiders into a tailspin and they dropped 7 of 9 games.

New Year's resolution: Don't let one loss turn into three. Of course, we felt the same way at this time last year, until they dropped the ball and couldn't pick it back up. Coach Michael Shafer believes they'll respond better to adversity this time, so we'll believe, too.

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