Friday, March 11, 2011

Should ODU decline WNIT bid?

Even though Old Dominion got spanked by Delaware 72-55 Friday the CAA Tournament quarterfinals, thanks to the WNIT, the Lady Monarchs can still have more basketball to play. The question is, do these Lady Monarchs really want to play more basketball?

We're not just asking this because the Lady Monarchs lost. Losing happens. But the Lady Monarchs got smoked by the Blue Hens. Just like they were smoked by James Madison in last year's CAA final. And just like they got smoked by Drexel in the 2009 CAA semifinals.

In each of these seasons, the Lady Monarchs got off to strong CAA starts. But when it came time to play for the crown, ODU didn't seem like quite the same team. Two years ago, injuries ravaged the group. Last year, they had to play JMU in Harrisonburg. But this year, without either of those factors in place, they got hammered again, by a Delaware team they had already beaten twice this season.

The nucleus of this team has been its four seniors - Jasmine Parker, Shadasia Green, Alena Voronina and Kquanise Byrd. Individually, all have had fine careers. Parker has developed into a player coach Wendy Larry calls one of the best defenders she's ever coached - an especially strong statement coming from defense-first Larry. Green has adopted to a variety of roles and will forever be remembered for making The Pass that led to The Shot by Jazzmin Walters that buried Virginia in overtime in the 2008 NCAA second round. Voronina morphed from non-factor to All-CAA caliber seemingly overnight. And Bryd appeared to get more comfortable in ODU's system by the dribble - imagine if the junior college transfer could have played in Larry's system four years instead of just two.

In fact, we're not pointing the finger at any of the players individually. But collectively, it's clear that over the past three years, the returns from Lady Monarchs teams have diminished as the CAA seasons have worn on. So we can't help but wonder. Does this group simply get tired of being around each other as the weeks go on? Do they get tired of listening to Larry? Do they just get tired, period?

Maybe none of this is the case. But before they attend another practice, the Lady Monarchs should take a hard look at themselves and consider these questions. Then, if they're convinced they can play the kind of cohesive, leave-it-all-out-on-the-floor basketball they've proven they have in them, then by all means continue on. We love watching that team play.

But if they look at themselves honestly and discover that they can't, well, there's no law that says a team has to go to the WNIT. And if the Lady Monarchs aren't convinced they want to bring everything to the court at this stage, they probably shouldn't.


  1. Very good point. After listening to the game last night, it might be a good idea to call it a season. Of course, ODU will play if invited, but which ODU team will show up?

  2. Fat man Mercurio said on the broadcast that a certain male CAA women's coach said that the Lady Monarch won with mirrors this year. I can't for the life of me figure out how a team with four returning starters can play with such lack of poise game after game and somehow finish 2nd in the league. The conventional wisdom is that the rest of the league has caught up with ODU, when it is actually ODU regressing towards everyone else in the CAA...

  3. WNIT is something that can bring a boost to the program -- even with ODU's four seniors, the other players get to experience the crucial minutes of playing in postseason tournament and it can carry into the next season's motivation.

    I say ... go for WNIT.


  4. I would like to see ODU go to the WNIT. If the Lady Monarchs have the will to win the entire thing, I believe it could leave this season on a truly positive note. However, as already stated, it really will depend on which ODU shows up to play.