Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hofstra stuns JMU; ODU defeats Delaware; VCU secures top four seed, and in the ACC, Virgina/Tech need OT

Sunday's results:

Hofstra 75, James Madison 73
As much as you want to give the Pride (17-11, 9-8 CAA) credit for pulling this one out on Senior Day in Long Island, it's hard not to say the word "collapse." The Dukes (22-7, 14-2) led by 23 in the second half and 62-49 with 10:41 to play, but the Pride scored the next 14. Dawn Evans drained her fourth 3 of the game to put the Dukes on top 71-70, but JMU didn't muster another point. Shante Evans tied it with 14 seconds left, and Candace Bond blocked a shot by Lauren Jimenez with 6 seconds on the clock. Racing down the court, Bond, an 80 percent free-throw shooter, was fouled by Tarik Hislop with 1.9 seconds left and converted both free throws for the Pride's second straight win over JMU. This one puts Hofstra alongside ODU as the two CAA teams to defeat a JMU team that appeared to be surging into next week's conference tournament. Evans scored all of her points in the second half; Hofstra alternated three guards on the senior, who went 0-for-10 in the first half. "We were geared up for them," said Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey, a former assistant to Kenny Brooks. "We've had a lot of tough ones that didn't fall our way, so this one is really sweet."

Virginia 73, Virginia Tech 71 OT 
Coming into this game, these teams had five ACC wins between them, so credit both teams with showing plenty of spunk for this instate rivalry. The teams traded leads throughout the second half and with 3 seconds left in regulation Shanel Harrison's jumper forced the extra period. Harrison had a chance to tie it with free throws with under a minute left, but only made 1 of 2. China Crosby's free throw added one more to Virginia's total and Harrison's final jumper was off the mark. Crosby's 15 led the Cavaliers (16-14, 5-9), whose tidy effort included a mere five turnovers. Eight 3s kept the Hokies (11-18, 1-13) in it, including three by Harrison.  Virginia is now 2-1 in OT games, with a loss to Maryland and a 4 OT defeat of NC State. ACC Tournament is next and Cavaliers need to win it to have any shot of being part of the NCAA Tournament first and second rounds in their own building.

Old Dominion 70, Delaware 61
Given how these teams like to keep things close, this time it was a virtual rout by the Lady Monarchs, whose seniors shined on Senior Day. Down 7 in the first half, senior Shadasia Green fueled the Lady Monarchs rally that put them up 34-30 at the break. ODU was up by 19 before Delaware closed to seven, and twice had possession to eek closer, but turned it over both times. Alena Voronina scored 15, Tia Lewis 12 with 11 rebounds, Jasmine Parker 12, Kquanise Byrd, 13 and Green, 9 with 6 boards. Know what keeps Wendy Larry up along with visions of Dawn Evans hitting halfcourt 3s? All of those players could be gone next year, as in addition to the four senior starters, Lewis is graduating and could opt not to return. Larry will worry about that later, as ODU looks to put itself in the best possible position to win the CAA crown for the first time in three years. Elena Delle Donne got hers with 22 points, as ODU assured itself a top three seed going into the CAA tournament.

VCU 62, William & Mary 56
Courtney Hurt's 21 points makes her single season total of  621 points the best in school history. "It's a great achievement to be in the record books," said the junior.  "But it's a real testament to my teammates for believing in my ability. This year I have had to step up and be a leader and they have trusted that I can knock down shots when they give me looks." VCU (17-10, 12-5) secured a first-round bye in next week's CAA tournament, but had trouble shaking off the Tribe, who pulled to within three behind a 16-5 run with 1:48 left. The Rams scored seven of the final nine points. W&M is 3-24, 2-15, but we still think they're dangerous. Jaclyn McKenna led all scorers with 24 points and Katherine DeHenzel had a career-best 10 assists.

UNC Wilmington 74, George Mason 56
Typical Seahawks, whose habit is to win big and win at Trask Coliseum, where they did not drop a conference game this season. The Patriots offered little resistance and trailed by double digits the entire second half. Four Seahawks finished in double figures, including sure-to-be CAA first-teamer Brittany Blackwell, who had 22. The Seahawks (22-6, 14-3) vaulted out to a 43-24 lead, sizzling at 63 percent from the field. The 22 wins ties a school record for most in the season, just one of the reasons why no CAA team wants Wilmington, tied for second with ODU, in its half of the tournament bracket.

Longwood 47, Savannah State 37
Neither team could reach 30 percent shooting, giving the Lancers an ugly win on Senior Day. These teams combined for 55 turnovers and 52 free throws. Did we mention the four technical fouls? One word. Yuck.

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