Sunday, January 2, 2011

The CAA report

With Colonial Athletic Association play set to begin Sunday, let's get up to speed on how the teams fared during their non-conference battles. For a more in-depth look at today's CAA openers, check out the conference's gameday report.

2011 storylines
*What's up with Elena Delle Donne? The Delaware sophomore's career continues to play out like a soap opera. She's missed the past three games with what appears to be a deep muscle ache in her back and will see a spine specialist this week. When will she return?

*JMU's Dawn Evans Player of the Year? Delle Donne (if healthy) Player of the Year? Well how about VCU's Courtney Hurt, who leads the conference in scoring and rebounding? Heading into Sunday, Evans (25.1) and Hurt (24.6) rank 1-2 in Division I scoring while Delle Donne, although she hasn't played enough games to qualify for the official stats, is at 26.0.

* Now that Andrea Barbour has been cleared to play, how big of an impact will she make for the Rams?

*When will the Tribe get it going? William and Mary's lone win is over Norfolk State.

*Drexel lost the best player in school history in Gabriela Marginean. We thought they'd be in rebuilding mode, but behind Nacickaite, the Dragons are a showy 8-3.

*They beat Virginia; they lost to Hampton and Monmouth. Who are these (JMU) Dukes, anyway?

*Speaking of unpredictable, the Lady Monarchs have shown us their grit in wins over Georgia Tech and Louisville. But the Lady Monarchs were routed by Richmond and continue to struggle with turnovers (26 at Tulane). Still, at 7-5 they've got to be pleased with their nonconference results and could get a boost with the expected return of Mairi Buchan and Alena Voronina sometime this month.

*Will the CAA get more than one NCAA tournament bid? Defending champion James Madison is 75 in the RPI, Old Dominion is 48 and Drexel, 29. Mel Greenberg has a good breakdown of all conference's NCAA prospects.

Best nonconference wins
Old Dominion 65, Georgia Tech 63
James Madison 82, Virginia 80
Drexel 83, Penn State 74 (in Happy Valley)
Old Dominion 69, Louisville 65

 Almost but.....
San Diego State 85, Hofstra 83 OT
Cincinnati 65, Hofstra 63
Syracuse 72, Northeastern 69
NC State 62, Old Dominion 60
Iowa 71, James Madison 67
Virginia Tech 63, VCU 61 OT

First-team all (non-)conference
Dawn Evans, James Madison
Courtney Hurt, VCU
Shante Evans, Hofstra
Elena Delle Donne, Delaware
Brittany Blackwell, UNCW

Impact transfers (became eligible in-season)
Christine Huber, Northeastern - 6-4 Rutgers transfer has been a rebounding force
Andrea Barbour, VCU - Projects as someone capable of getting 20 points any night.
Sarah Acker, Delaware - former St. Joseph's standout gives the Blue Hens a presence underneath.
Marcquitta Head, Georgia State: Well-traveled 6-3 senior - Head made the CAA All-Defensive team and recorded a triple-double for the Panthers in 2006-07 before transferring to UCF - has returned.

Frosh on the rise
Kaitlyn Mathieu, William and Mary
Kate Loper, Hofstra
Alisha Andrews, UNCW
Kendra Long, Georgia State
Shakeva Richards, ODU

LadySwish predicted order of finish
1. Drexel
2. Old Dominion
3. James Madison
4. VCU
5. Hofstra
6. Delaware
7. UNC Wilmington
8. Northeastern
9. George Mason
10.Georgia State
11. William and Mary
12. Towson

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