Thursday, March 17, 2011

Virginia is the state's sole survivor in the WNIT

VCU and Richmond ended their seasons on Thursday with first-round losses in the WNIT. That leaves Virginia as the lone state survivor in the tournament; the Cavaliers move on to play Loyola-Maryland, which dispatched Old Dominion on Wednesday behind a buzzer beater.

Virginia 69, Morgan State 56
As glad as we are that Debbie Ryan is going to be coaching another game, we're disappointed by one statistic in this box score, and that is attendance. A mere 1,124 turned out at John Paul Jones Arena for what could be the final game for Ryan in Charlottesville (the arena is hosting first and second NCAA Tournament rounds this weekend). The idea of Ryan finishing up her coaching days in the WNIT is disturbing enough, but this was an occasion that could have allowed the longtime Cavalier fans to show appreciation for the woman who molded the program for the last 34 years. We would have liked to have seen Virginia against Old Dominion here -- Wendy Larry and Debbie Ryan coaching on court for the last time -- but the Lady Monarchs lost to a Loyola team that had never won a postseason game. Cavs travel to Loyola for a 4 p.m. Sunday contest at Reitz Arena. We'd love to see them win another for Debbie.

St. Joseph's 72, VCU 66
Courtney Hurt scored 26 and Andrea Barbour had16, but the Rams couldn't overcome a 51 percent shooting effort by the Hawks (20-11). While this obviously isn't the result Beth Cunningham wanted, we have to think she's pretty pleased with a season that included a sweep of ODU and a loss to JMU in the CAA Tournament semifinals. Next year Hurt and Barbour are back, so watch out for the Rams (19-12).

UNC Wilmington 63, Richmond 54
We don't want to keep harping on attendance -- this is the WNIT -- but we hate that Brittani Shells and Crystal Goring played their final games as Spiders in front of 249. Richmond came in 4-0 versus CAA opponents this season, but the veteran-laden Seahawks muscled their way to a second round game against Eastern Michigan, taking advantage of 32 Richmond turnovers. Wilmington went to the line 27 times; Richmond (18-12) went there 11. As much as we like that the WNIT allows good teams to continue their seasons, some teams cannot muster up the fight to keep going. Shells ends her career as Richmond's second all-time leading scorer (2,042 points) and No. 1 in steals (300).


  1. JMU has already sold 1,200 for its NCAA game on Sunday. The Dukes are hoping that John Paul Jones Arena is in purple on Sunday!