Thursday, February 17, 2011

VCU crushes ODU; JMU expands CAA lead

CAA standings
James Madison         20-6   13-1
UNC Wilmington      19-6   11-3
Old Dominion           17-8   11-3
VCU                        15-9   10-4
Delaware                  15-10   8-6
Drexel                      15-10   7-7
Hofstra                     14-11   7-7
George Mason         12-13   6-8
Georgia State           10-15   5-9
Northeastern             8-17    3-11
Towson                    8-17    2-12
William and Mary     2-22    1-13

Thursday's results

VCU 74, Old Dominion 53: The Rams needed a huge effort Thursday and man, did they get it. Courtney Hurt had 27 points and 19 rebounds and Andrea Barbour added 17 points as VCU rolled to a surprisingly convincing win and a two-game sweep of the season series. The Lady Monarchs actually led by 5 in the early going, but the Rams closed the first half with a 12-4 run to take an 10-point lead into intermission. VCU continued to pour it on the second half and led by double digits for all but 26 seconds over the final 20 minutes. ODU crippled itself with 15 first-half turnovers and were unable to corral rebounds in the second (VCU won the 2nd-half battle of the boards 30-16 and gave up 16 second-chance points after the break). But this was more about VCU, and how the Rams rose up and performed in a big spot.

James Madison 71, Towson 61: As expected, the Tigers made the Dukes work for their 11th straight victory. Towson pulled to within 2 points with 7:21 left before a 3-point play by Lauren Jimenez sent the Dukes off on a decisive 9-0 run. Dawn Evans led JMU with 23 points, Jimenez posted 14 points and 10 rebounds and Lauren Whitehurst chipped in 14 points. With the victory the Dukes clinched a first-round bye in the conference tournament and it would take a significant collapse at this point for JMU to be seeded anything but No. 1 when the 12 teams meet to decide the conference title in March.

George Mason 67, Delaware 56: Impressive home win by the Patriots. Delaware actually led by 4 with just over 3 minutes to play in the first half, but the Patriots took control of things by forcing 5 Blue Hen turnovers in closing the half on a 14-0 run. Brittany Poindexter (15 points), Amber Easter (14) and Ashleigh Braxton (12) all scored in double figures for Mason, which moved the ball well with 16 assists. The Patriots also held Elena Delle Donne held to just 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting and 5 rebounds in 40 minutes. Delle Donne had scored at least 18 points in every game this season save for a Nov. 28 games at LaSalle in which she played only 6 minutes before checking out with an injury.

Drexel 80, William and Mary 74 (OT): No question the Tribe players have heart. Problem is, other teams keep breaking it. The Dragons are the latest to stick the dagger in and twist, as they handed William and Mary its second straight overtime loss and dropped the Tribe to 0-4 in overtime games this season. And this doesn't include the Tribe's previous encounter with Drexel, a game in which they lost by a point on a Kamile Nacickaite buzzer-beater. Nacickaite did a lot of damage in the rematch, too, scoring 6 of her game-high 25 points in overtime to rally the Dragons from a 4-point OT exit. Then again, the Tribe wouldn't have even been in the extra period were it not for guard Katy Oblinger, who drained a 25-footer at the regulation buzzer to tie things at 66. It was one of 10 3-pointers for the Tribe, who have connected on 19 from long range in their last two games. For the game William and Mary shot 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range - and still came up short. It's been that kind of season.

Other CAA scores
Hofstra 80, Northeastern 61
UNC Wilmington 74, Georgia State 49

N.C. State 81, Virginia Tech 65: Tough outing for the Hokies, who were unable to build on the momentum generated by Monday's first ACC win at Clemson. But huge props to Hokies freshman Monet Tellier, who almost singlehandedly - no, make that singlehandedly - kept Tech in it by scoring 17 straight points for the Hokies in the second half. Tellier finished with a career high-tying 23 points.

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