Monday, January 3, 2011

Virginia, Liberty and Radford(!) score victories

Monday's games

Virginia 75, Richmond 62: Looks as though the Cavaliers learned their lesson from that 82-80 loss to JMU. Virginia blew a 13-point late-second-half lead in that one, and on Monday, it appeared as though history might be repeating itself when the Spiders cut an 18-point deficit to two (60-58) with 5:41 left. But this time, Whitney Edwards calmly drained a 3-pointer. A Genevieve Okoro layup made it a one-possession game again, but Edwards and Ariana Moorer led the Cavaliers on a game-closing 12-2 run to improve Virginia to 8-0 at John Paul Jones Arena. The Spiders came in riding a five-game winning streak and battled gamely throughout, but the Cavaliers (10-5) continually held them at arms length most of the way. And whenever Virginia really needed to make a play, the Cavs continually got a Simone Egwu offensive rebound, a Chelsea Shine steal or a score from Moorer (18 points) or Edwards (14). Brittani Shells led all scorers with 22 points - 16 in the second half - Abby Oliver had 15 and Crystal Goring 12 points and 9 rebounds for the Spiders (9-5). But Richmond also committed 20 turnovers - the Cavaliers had just 14 - and you got the sense that the Spiders are capable of a much better performance. Of course, the Cavaliers surely had a lot to do with making sure they didn't give one.

Radford 81, UNC Asheville 69: Amazing. The Highlanders have done it again, turning from  lambs to lions as soon as they hear the words "Big South opener." Radford has now won its first conference game seven straight years - five of them on the road - with this one snapping a five-game losing streak. And the final score doesn't do Radford's domination justice - the Highlanders (4-10, 1-0) built a 17-point lead in the first half and were up 21 midway through the second. Senior Kaylyn Crosier led the way with a career-high 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting. In addition, Brooke McElroy had 14 points, Erica Rivera scored 11 and Da'Naria Erwin Spencer added 10 for the Highlanders, who shot a season-high 53 percent from the field, handed out 21 assists and committed only 12 turnovers. All of which leaves us with two questions:
a) Where's the level of play been?
b) Is there any way you can keep it up?

Liberty 68, High Point 60: Typically stout 3-point defense from the Lady Flames (6-7, 1-0), who limited High Point to 6-of-28 shooting from distance in another successful Big South opener. Typical Liberty rebounding dominance, too (a 48-30 advantage on the boards). And a big night for the Lady Flames starters: Devon Brown 17 points, Avery Warley 12 points and 16 rebounds, Jelena Antic 12 points and 9 rebounds, Tomu Omatola 9 points and 12 rebounds, and Emily Frazier 8 assists.

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