Thursday, January 6, 2011

VCU's Hurt goes off again; ODU, JMU earn CAA wins

Thursday's games

VCU 70, UNC Wilmington 58: Courtney Hurt is doing for the Rams (7-6, 2-0 CAA) what Elena Delle Donne did for Delaware a year ago during her fabulous freshman season - almost singlehandedly carrying her squad to victories. Hurt's number were spectacular by themselves - a school record-tying 35 points, 13 rebounds. But 25 of those points - 25 of VCU's 39 - came in the second half as she rallied her Rams past the dangerous Seahawks (9-4, 1-1 CAA). It was the latest in a string of sensational efforts from Hurt (24.9 ppg, 13.7 rpg), the most potent double-double force in the CAA since, well, Elena Delle Donne. Hey, ESPN, how 'bout some national pub for this kid? .

JMU 89, William and Mary 75: We love it when the Dukes (9-5, 2-0 CAA) get a lot of folks involved. So while you had Dawn Evans with 29 points and 6 assists (yawn) and a beastly Lauren Jimenez with a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds, you also had Lauren Whitehurst (12 points, 12 rebounds), Tarik Hislop (14 points) and Courtney Hamner (12 points) getting off, too. The Tribe (1-11, 0-2 CAA) got a career-high 25 points and 12 rebounds from sophomore Emily Correal and 15 points from fellow sophomore Taylor Hilton, and crept within three points with less than 6 minutes remaining. But at some point they needed to take something away from JMU; instead, virtually everyone the Dukes put on the floor got theirs. Taysha Pye also scored 15 points for William and Mary and now has 999 in her career.

Wake Forest 62, Hampton 49: The Lady Pirates (8-5) seem to have done enough defensively - although Wake got a lot done on the offensive boards - but couldn't make enough shots to prevent falling for the first time in eight games. The Demon Deacons didn't make many shots, either, but they did the job at the free-throw line in the second half, hitting 15 of 18 after making just 1 of 2 over the first 20 minutes. Not sure who to credit, but it appears as though someone from Wake did some nice work guarding Lady Pirates star Jericka Jenkins, who managed just 8 points on 3 of 13 shooting and was unable to put her usual stamp on the game. Former Phoebus High star Nicole Hamilton led Hampton with 15 points and Quanneisha Perry added 14, including the 1,000th career point. She now has 1,006. By the way, the game drew 279 fans to 14,665-seat Lawrence Joel Coliseum.

ODU 70, George Mason 66: Hey, ODU fans, remember the days when a home game against George Mason was another way of saying "30-point blowout win?" Well, these Patriots aren't those Patriots, and Thursday the Lady Monarchs had to dig really deep to open their conference home schedule in style. A cleaner, more efficient second half from ODU (8-5, 2-0  CAA) did the trick - the Lady Monarchs outrebounded the Patriots by 7 and had just 6 turnovers after the break. Tia Lewis also came alive, too, scoring 16 of her 24 points and grabbing 8 of her 10 rebounds after the break. It continued a string of outstanding efforts from Lewis in the wake of last month's Richmond debacle when Lewis had 2 points, 2 rebounds and 7 turnovers. In the five games since, Lewis is averaging 17.0 ppg and 10.2 rpg. From Old Dominion's perspective, the second-best news of the night - and it's a close second - came when Georgia Tech rallied past No. 8 and previously undefeated North Carolina 71-70. That season-opening win over the Yellow Jackets is looking better by the day. Brittany Poindexter (20 points), Taleia Moton (17), Ashleigh Braxton (15) and Evelyn Lewis (9 rebounds) led the way for George Mason (7-6, 1-1 CAA), which lost - albeit with honor - for the first time in six games.

Florida State 79, Virginia Tech 48: The Seminoles aren't 31 points better than the Hokies - they just were Thursday night. Brittany Gordon got the game's first two points, but 8 minutes and 55 seconds elapsed before the Hokies scored again. Meanwhile, the Seminoles (13-3, 1-0 ACC) seemingly couldn't stop scoring, as they shot 65 percent in the first half and 54 percent for the game in serving up a good old-fashioned butt-whuppin' at Cassell Coliseum. There's surely a lot Tech (9-6, 0-1 ACC) can learn from a game like this, but the Hokies shouldn't spend too much time beating themselves up about what went down. Florida State was that good Thursday. Tip your caps and move on.

Miami 82, Virginia 73: You can't stop scorers like Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams, but you'd better contain them a bit. So when Johnson goes for 30 points and Williams hits 22, well, looks like they broke contain. And while these Hurricanes (15-1, 1-0 ACC) don't need help scoring, the Cavaliers gave them some anyway, turning the ball over 20 times which led to 23 Miami points. It all added up to Miami's 14th straight victory and a disappointing ACC opener for the Cavaliers, who lost for the first time in eight games at John Paul Jones Arena. Paulisha Kellum had 19 points, Ariana Moorer 17, and freshman Ataira Franklin 15 points and 8 rebounds for Virginia (10-6, 0-1 ACC).

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