Sunday, February 27, 2011

Virginia-Virginia Tech part II; JMU goes for 14th straight

Sunday's games

Delaware (16-11, 9-7 CAA) at Old Dominion (19-8, 13-3 CAA), 2 p.m.
Although the Blue Hens are 0-4 against the Lady Monarchs during the Elena Delle Donne era, the losses were by 1, 2, 1 (in overtime) and (this year) 3 points. But that's the way it has been for the Blue Hens against all the CAA heavyweights over the past two seasons. Last year, their 0-6 record against teams that finished in the top four of the CAA included three overtime defeats and all losses by 5 points or less. The streak reached 9 straight regular-season losses to CAA Top 4 teams until Thursday, when the Blue Hens thumped VCU 75-67. Does this mean Delaware has turned the close-game corner? If this game were in Newark, we'd be more inclined to buy that theory. Since it's in Norfolk, we suspect ODU will find a way to pay the proper Senior Day tribute to stalwarts Jasmine Parker, Russia Voronina, Shadasia Green and Kquanise Byrd. Especially after what happened on last year's Senior Day - ODU unraveled after Parker went out with injury, lost track of the score and held the ball instead of going for the win in the final seconds, then got blown out in overtime by Towson. The stunning finish sure put a damper on the post-game tributes to Jessica Canady and Vicki Collier. The majority of the current Lady Monarchs surely remember that feeling, so we can't imagine ODU going out like that this time. Still, it's worth noting that this year, the Senior Day festivities will commence before the game.  ODU 64, Delaware 61

Virginia (15-14, 4-9 ACC) at Virginia Tech (11-17, 1-12 ACC), 1 p.m.
We suspect Hokie fans are still picking confetti out of their hair after Saturday night's pulsating, NCAA Tournament-salvaging men's basketball victory over mighty Duke at Cassell. But their women's team will sober the fans up real quick if they turn in another performance like the one they produced the last time they met U.Va., a 72-37 no-show on Jan. 23 that may have represented the low point in Tech's highly disappointing season. Exactly one week ago, these Hokies also lost at Duke by 50. But they gave a pretty good account of themselves Thursday at Maryland and are capable of a much greater showing than they turned in last month in Charlottesville. They'd better, as their performance will be aired throughout ACC Country via Comcast Sportsnet. (check local listings). It will also be the final home game for Tech seniors Brittany Gordon, Nikki Davis and Elizabeth Basham. Virginia 61, Virginia Tech 51

James Madison (22-6, 14-1 CAA) at Hofstra (16-11, 8-8 CAA), 2 p.m.
We realized the Dukes were playing well, but we were blown away by how they went on the road Thursday and hung 93 points on Georgia State and won by 48. While our sense is that Hofstra is a better team than Georgia State, the Panthers beat Hofstra by 14 points when the teams met in Atlanta last month. Then again, we're not sure any of that matters. Not only have the Dukes won 13 straight, but they also appear to be operating at near-peak efficiency just when the games are starting to matter the most. We don't expect JMU to shoot the ball as well as they did against Georgia State again today - Kobe Bryant can't count on shooting the ball that well. But if the Dukes can even approach that level today, with the way Hofstra likes to push tempo, they may hit triple digits. JMU 89, Hofstra 79 

William and Mary (3-23, 2-14 CAA) at VCU (16-10, 11-5 CAA), 2 p.m.
The Rams are still in command of the No. 4 seed and first-round bye in the CAA Tournament but still need one win or a Delaware loss to clinch it. The Blue Hens kept themselves alive by handling VCU 75-67 on Thursday, a game in which Rams star Courtney Hurt made just 4 of 18 field goals. Delaware coach Tina Martin credited her guards for pestering Hurt when she got the ball in the high post, so it'll be interesting to see if this is some sort of blueprint for defending Hurt. Then again, given the way the Rams junior has dominated all season, the more likely scenario is Hurt simply had an off night and should be back to her usual self today. We really like the way the Tribe has played of late and see them as a dangerous out in the CAA Tournament. But the Rams are at home, really need this one and have Hurt due for a bounce-back. Sounds like a recipe for success to us. VCU 73, William and Mary 65

George Mason (12-15, 6-10 CAA) at UNC Wilmington (21-6, 13-3 CAA), 2 p.m.
Tough assignment for a Patriots team that has had its struggles on the road against a Seahawks club that has gone 11-1 at home and has won 10 straight at Trask Coliseum. And when UNCW wins, it tends to win big - its last four victories are by 19, 15, 25 and 24 points, and 10 of their 13 conference wins have come by at least 14 points. This includes a 67-51 win at George Mason on Jan. 13. UNCW 66, George Mason 52

Savannah State (14-10) at Longwood (6-20), 2 p.m.
It's payback time for the Lancers, who somehow managed just 34 points in a 26-point loss to this team two weeks ago in Savannah. Can't imagine Longwood won't be much more competitive today. In fact, at home we're just going to flat-out say it - this is a team they should beat. Prior to the game, the Lancers will honor their lone senior, guard Krystal Garrison. Longwood 55, Savannah State 49

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