Thursday, January 13, 2011

Towson stuns VCU; ODU alone in 1st in CAA

Thursday's results

Towson 65, VCU 58: Didn't see this one coming. Courtney Hurt delivered as usual - 27 points and 15 rebounds - and Sonia Johnson added 16 points. Problem was, the six other Rams that saw action were a combined 5 of 33 from the field, including a 2-for-13 result from Andrea Barbour. VCU led by four with less than 10 minutes to go but were outscored 15-3 over the next six-plus minutes. Tanisha McTiller scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting to lead Towson (7-8, 1-3 CAA); the Rams (8-6, 3-1) lost for the first time in five games and fell out of a first-place tie with ODU in the CAA .

Current CAA standings
Old Dominion          4-0     10-5
UNC Wilmington    3-1      11-4
Delaware                3-1      10-5
James Madison       3-1      10-6
VCU                      3-1        8-6
Drexel                    2-2       10-5
Hofstra                  2-2        10-5
George Mason       1-3         7-8
Towson                 1-3         7-8
Georgia State         1-3        6-9
Northeastern         1-3         6-9
William & Mary    0-4        1-13

James Madison 77, Drexel 73: The Dukes survived a brick and a bomb in turning back the resilient Dragons. The brick came from Dukes guard Tarik Hislop (sorry, Tarik), who missed the front end of an one-and-one that would have pretty much sealed things in regulation with the Dukes up three and 14 seconds left. The bomb came 7 seconds later from Drexel's Hollie Mershon, whose desperation 3-pointer from about 30 feet hit nothing but net. A less mature team might have cursed the fates at this point and let an OT victory slip away. But the Dukes regrouped thanks to one of their biggest weapons on the night, the offensive rebound. The Dukes (10-6, 3-1 CAA) hauled down 18 offensive boards on the night, none bigger than the one Jalissa Taylor pulled down and stuck back as part of a three-point play with 24 seconds left in the extra period that turned a one-point JMU advantage into a four-point lead. Taylor and Lauren Whitehurst were responsible for most of JMU's boardwork as well as a healthy chunk of JMU's scoring. Whitehurst finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds and Taylor checked in with 12 points and 12 rebounds. The Dukes mauled the Dragons on the boards 48-32, an all-the-more impressive stat given the injury absence of JMU center and leading rebounder Lauren Jimenez. Missed free throw aside, Hislop turned in a strong effort with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting (4 of 5 from the line), and Courtney Hamner added 9 points and 5 boards. Let's see, did we forget anyone? Oh, yeah. Someone named Dawn Evans led the Dukes in scoring with 27 points. Kamile Nacickaite matched Evans and her own career high with 27 points and Mershon added 13 for the Dragons (10-5, 2-2).

Georgia Tech 68, Virginia 48: You knew the Cavaliers were in trouble when they turned the ball over five times before the game was four minutes old, as these Yellow Jackets feast on turnovers. As a result, they feasted on the Cavaliers, leading by double digits over the final 27-plus minutes. Can't understand why Georgia Tech (15-4, 3-0 ACC) isn't ranked in the AP poll. Thursday's victory was the Yellow Jackets' 12th straight - they haven't lost since Nov. 26 - and just last week they upended then-No. 8 North Carolina. Heck, there are seven teams ahead of GTech in the "others receiving votes" pile, including a Georgia team the Yellow Jackets spanked by 17 points last month. As for Virginia (10-8, 0-3), China Crosby continued to impress as she notched a career high-tying 12 points. But there were precious few other positives for the Cavaliers as they were simply outclassed by one of the hottest teams in the country. The Cavaliers figure to rebound nicely on Sunday when Penn visits. But when's that first ACC win coming? No. 13 Maryland will be in Charlottesville on Jan. 21, and two days later, Virginia Tech comes calling. We sincerely hope that latter contest isn't a battle of ACC winless teams.

Old Dominion 66, Georgia State 62: It started out as an ordinary night for Alena "Russia" Voronina. Actually, it was occasionally a frustrating night for the senior foward as she missed a few bunnies at the rim. Then with less than two minutes to play and ODU down five, the Lady Monarchs turned up their defense, and Voronina went off. She scored eight straight points in the game-closing 9-0 run over the final 1:54 that allowed the Lady Monarchs to escape icy Atlanta with their fourth straight CAA victory. Voronina finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds - her first career double-double - in just the latest chapter in a remarkable senior season that has seen her transform from fan-favorite deep reserve to one of the most potent weapons in ODU's arsenal. Voronina also played a huge role in the extended trapping defense the Lady Monarchs (10-5, 4-0 CAA) unleashed down the stretch. We expected ODU to force turnover-prone Georgia State into mistakes, but, perhaps because guard Kquanise Byrd and Jo Guilford were under the weather, the Lady Monarchs weren't at their disruptive best most of the night. But with ODU staring at imminent defeat, Wendy Larry turned 'em loose. The result was three straight Georgia State turnovers to trigger the game-clinching run. Jasmine Parker added 14 points (4 3-pointers and 2 free throws) and Shadasia Green chipped in 12 for ODU, which offset (barely) 24 turnovers with 53-percent 3-point shooting and a 13-of-16 effort from the free throw line. Freshman Kendra Long, the reigning CAA Rookie of the Week, put in an early claim on next week's award by posting a game-high 21 points for the Panthers (6-8, 1-3).

Delaware 60, William and Mary 51: The hard-luck Tribe (1-13, 0-4 CAA) cut a 20-point second-half deficit to five with 8:52 left on a 3-pointer by Taylor Hilton, and again at 7:31 on a Taysha Pye layup. But the Blue Hens scored the next eight points and kept W&M at least 9 points back the rest of the way. Pye finished with 19 points and 7 rebounds but also had 10 of the Tribe's 20 turnovers. Hilton added 10 points, but despite an inspired second half effort, the Tribe couldn't overcome the 20.6 percent first-half shooting that shoved them into a 17-point hole at the break. Jocelyn Bailey scored 17 points to lead four players in double figures for the Blue Hens (10-5, 3-1 CAA), who won for the fourth time in five games without an on-court minute from injured star Elena Delle Donne.

Wake Forest 62, Virginia Tech 54: Shanel Harrison had 16 points and 8 rebounds and freshman Monet Tellier delivered 11 points and 10 boards but couldn't prevent the Hokies (9-8, 0-3 ACC) from remaining winless in ACC play. Sandra Garcia scored 17 points to lead Wake Forest, who notched the 100th career victory for coach Mike Petersen. 

UNC Wilmington 67, George Mason 51: You know how we always point out how much Mason enjoys playing at the Patriot Center. Well, these Seahawks apparently love the ol' place, too, as they shot 55.6 percent from the field and made all 5 of their 3-point attempts to leave the Patriots in their wake. Brittany Blackwell led the way with 25 points as the Cynthia Cooper-Dyke's Seahawks (11-4, 3-1 CAA) continue to prove they're for real. One of these days we're going to stop picking against these guys.... As for the Patriots (7-8, 1-3), Taleia Moton had 15 points and Brittany Poindexter added 14, but it wasn't nearly enough.  

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