Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bond still strong between VCU's Cunningham, Notre Dame's McGraw

Just stumbled across yet another writing gem from the keyboard of Richmond Times-Dispatch veteran Vic Dorr Jr. - the tale of the enduring relationship between VCU's Beth Cunningham and her former coach, Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw.

We especially enjoyed - and can relate to - how Cunningham still can't bring herself to call her old coach "Muffet."

"She'll call and say, 'Hi, Beth, It's Muffet.' And I'll say, 'Oh, hi, Coach. How are you doing?" I guess it's the ultimate sign of respect. It's like your parents, you know? I could never, ever call my mother and father anything other than 'Mom' or 'Dad.' It's the same situation here. To me (McGraw) will always be 'Coach'."

It's hardly unusual. Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, for example, is 64 years old and has 900 coaching victories, but he still says "Coach Knight" when referring to the man who led him in college, the irascible Bob Knight.

Our only disappointment was in learning that Notre Dame won't be coming to VCU anytime soon, as Cunningham can't bring herself to coach against McGraw. That's certainly understandable. But selfishly, we were hoping such a matchup would give us a chance to zip up I-64 and get an autographed poster of Skylar Diggins.

 Oh, well,  Longwood plays at Notre Dame on Dec. 28. Maybe new Lancers assistant and ex-Notre Dame star Lindsay Schrader can hook us up....

Related stories
VCU's Cunningham give birth to a baby girl
Muffett McGraw's near-miss on Sept. 11, 2001

Liberty's Warley, Hofstra's Evans in Pan-Am Games

Liberty star Avery Warley (the one with her arms full of Lady Flames coach Carey Green) will be among the 12 women's basketball players representing the United States in the Pan American Games Oct. 21-25 in Guadalajara, Mexico. The squad also includes Shante Evans of Hofstra and the Colonial Athletic Association.

Training camp for the U.S. team runs Oct. 15-18 in Houston. The team will then depart for Mexico and have practices on Oct. 19 and 20 before the competition starts the following day.

The coaching staff includes Debbie Ryan, who stepped down at Virginia last March after 34 years. Ryan will be an assistant to U.S. head coach Ceal Barry.

A redshirt senior, the 6-3 Warley averaged 12.0 points and 11.0 rebounds a game, led the Big South in rebounding and field goal percentage (62.0) and ranked ninth in the nation in double-doubles (19). She was also named the Big South Defensive Player of the Year.

Evans, a 6-0 junior forward, earned honorable mention All-America honors last season after averaging 18.4 ppg and 11.0 rpg while recording 16 double-doubles.

In addition to Warley and Evans, the U.S. team will consist of Gonzaga's Katelan Redmon and Kayla Standish, Missouri's Christine Flores, Eastern Michigan's Tavelyn James, UC Santa Barbara's Emilie Johnson, N.C. State's Marissa Kastanek, Oral Roberts' Kevi Luper, Mississippi's Valencia McFarland, Rutgers' April Sykes and high school senior Breanna Stewart, the nation's number one recruit (according to ESPN) who has verbally committed to UConn. In July, Stewart named to the five-player All-FIBA U19 World Championship team after leading the gold medal-winning U.S. team in scoring (11.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg).

Warley will be the third Liberty player to gain USA Basketball experience. Megan Frazee participated in the women's national team trials in 2007, and Katie Feenstra was on the 2007-08 women's national team roster and played for the silver medal-winning USA Select team in the FIBA world League Tournament in 2007.

Warley and Evans are part of a talented but eclectic roster that because of the timing - college practices can begin next week - could not have been easy to piece together. A USA Basketball spokesperson said the initial idea was to use pro players for the Pan-Am Games, but with the WNBA still running and overseas pro leagues about to begin, that plan was scratched.

According to Liberty ace spokesman Paul Carmany, Warley will miss about one-third of the Lady Flames' preseason practices, which officially begin Sunday. Her availability is expected to break down as follows - She'll be on hand for the first eight workouts, miss the next 10 and return for the final 12 practices heading into the Nov. 11 season opener at UNC Greensboro.

The Lady Flames will also be without 6-4 Kylee Beecher, who has opted to concentrate on her schoolwork. Fortunately, Liberty is well-stocked with freshman bigs, so with 6-5 Kateyln Adams, 6-5 Catherine Kearney and 6-4 Ashley Rininger on hand, there will be no shortage of bodies in the low box even when Warley's out of town.

"Avery has received a dream opportunity to play on the highest international stage," Carey Green said. "Every athlete aspires to represent their country in Olympic competition. Avery, as well as our university, team and coaching staff are elated for this challenging and exciting opportunity to represent the USA in the Pan Am Games. Who wouldn't want to fulfill the dream of earning a gold medal for the USA?"

Monday, September 26, 2011

Transfer tracker - where are they now?

Before we get immersed into the 2011-12 season, let's bid a fond farewell to the following 2010-11 players that, through transfers or various other reasons, will no longer be part of the drill in this here Commonwealth:


Shanel Harrison - dismissed for violation of team rules.
   - In terms of productivity, Harrison's absence is the most significant on this list as she led the Hokies in scoring (12.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.6 rpg) as a junior in 2010-11. Furthermore, Harrison would have been the team's only senior.

Kyani White - to East Carolina
   - Averaged 1.0 ppg in 17 games as a freshman. Her father and high school coach Nsonji White said his daughter preferred a more uptempo style than the one they believed new Tech coach Dennis Wolff would implement.

Abby Redick (left Tech after 1st semester of 2010-11 season) - to Drexel
   - Will have junior eligibility for the Dragons after sitting out the first semester. Unfortunately, it looks like her brother J.J. will wind up sitting out even more games.


Whitny Edwards - to East Carolina
   - Graduated from Virginia; has one year eligibility remaining and will play the 2011-12 season.

Britny Edwards - to East Carolina
   - Graduated from Virginia; has two seasons of eligibility remaining after redshirting in 2010-11 and will play the 2011-12 season.


Jackie Brewer - to Mount St. Mary's
   - A CAA All-Rookie team selection for the Rams in 2010-11.

Sonia Johnson
   - Started 29 games and ranked third in scoring (9.2 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (4.5 rpg) for the Rams last season.


Breanna Harris - to Texas A&M-Commerce
   - Appeared in 17 games for the Lady Pirates in 2010-11 (1.1 ppg).

Christy Willis -  to LSU-Shreveport
   - Junior-college transfer did not appear in a game during her lone season with Hampton.

Chikilra Goodman - Paris Junior College
   - Daughter of former Hampton star Tondalaya Goodman (the program's all-time leading rebounder) averaged 3.2 points in 25 games (1 start) as a Lady Pirates freshman last season.

Ryen Henry
   - Appeared in 11 games last season (0.2 ppg)


Jelena Antic - Partizan Belgrade (turned pro)
   - One of the most fun-to-watch offensive talents you'll find - and the one of the last we'd ever challenge to a game of H-O-R-S-E) made 30 starts and averaged 10.2 ppg and 6.3 rpg.  chose to return to Europe and play professionally.

Kylee Beecher - still a student at Liberty
   - Brainy 6-4 forward averaged 2.3 ppg and 2.8 rpg in 26 games; is on track to graduate in less than four years.


Bria White - to UMBC
   - White blew us away with her intense pre-college workout regimen, then went on to rank fourth in scoring (7.2 ppg) and hit a team-high 32 3-pointers for the Lancers as a freshman.

Emilee Dunton - to Francis Marion
  - Averaged 2.7 pgg in 27 games as a freshman for Longwood.


Hanka Musa - to Lincoln Memorial
   - Junior college transfer arrived with much fanfare (OK, we're stretching things here. But we made a big deal of it). But Musa appeared in just five games for Radford last season and has now joined her sister Edina, a transfer from Gardner-Webb, at Lincoln Memorial.


Destiny Spence
   - Owner of one of our favorite names, Spence appeared in 11 games as a freshman at NSU. She is still attending the school, and the possibility exists she could one day return to basketball. If not, with that name we hope she becomes a secret agent.

Sarah Daily
   - Junior college transfer averaged 8.9 ppg (third among Spartans) during the 2010-11 season.

Players that signed letters-of-intent for 2011-12 but did not enroll:


Kaneisha Atwater - Will remain in Florida
   - Parade All-American revealed that she is pregnant.

Achiri Ade - Attending Midland College
   - Ade was ranked among the top 100 recruits in the country by ESPN.


Dominique Powell - Attending Gulf Coast Community College

Transfers from a Virginia Division I school who sat out a season and will be eligible in 2011-12:

Also, Virginia's Sarah Imovbioh, a Parade All-American and ESPN Top 100 performer from St. Anne's-Belfield, is attending the school but is not eligible to play this season.


Abby Redick - to Drexel (2nd semester)


Carolann Cloutier - to UMass


Brittany Crowell - to UMBC

Kristine Mial - East Carolina


Joyous Tharrington - to George Mason


Jianni Jackson - to Cal State-Northridge (played last year at Mt. San Antonio College)

VCU lands a top-notch recruit in Daisy

Daisy sounds like a doozy for VCU.
Adaesa "Daisy" Alaeze, who averaged 15 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.8 steals for Roland Park (Baltimore) High, made a verbal commitment to attend VCU. Roland Park plays in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference. Alaeze has 969 career points.
"I really fit into the program and it has the rural area that I like," Alaeze told The Baltimore Sun. "I enjoy the girls. They were really welcoming when I was down there and the area’s just a perfect fit for me."

According to the Sun, Alaeze narrowed her list of about seven offers to VCU, Towson and James Madison. (We don't think of Richmond as rural, but maybe compared to Baltimore.....) Alaeze is considered one of the top athletes on the East Coast thanks to her standout basketball, track and soccer career.

The Rams also got a verbal commitment from Jenice Winter, a 5-10 forward from South Shore High in New York.

Alaeze wants to be a doctor (her other choices were reportedly law or engineering). In addition to being smart, she sounds like a lot of fun. Check out this profile on 659Hoops. We also like Gucci, Trey Songz, Music Soulchild,TI, Keri Hilson, Rick Ross, Yo Gotti and Wiz Khalifa!

Richmond's Shells slated for Israeli team

We're always happy to be writing about Brittani Shells. Richmond's now-you-see-her, now-you-don't point guard was as fun a player to watch as any in the country last year, just one of the reasons we're delighted she'll be continuing her playing career in Israel.

Shells will be playing for Eulizer Holon, whose first game is Oct. 17.

"I have no idea what to expect," Shells said. "However I know Israel is where a number of WNBA players play, so I am fortunate to get an opportunity to play against some great competition. People who played there in the past say it is an easy adjustment to living and that I would love it. ...I  am constantly working out and getting stronger and better, so I can compete at a higher level. I'm pretty excited, yet nervous, but for any Christian, it's a blessing because this is God's chosen place ... the holy land."
Shells is right about WNBA players finding a place there. Former Virginia Tech star Kerri Gardin (Connecticut Sun, too) led the team last year, averaging 16.8 ppg and 12.7 rpg. Also on last year's squad: Edwina Brown (Texas), Sherri Sam (Vanderbilt) and Shannon Bobbitt (Tennessee).
Former ODU star Tay Ransburg also played for Eulizer Holon for one season.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Old Dominion's Maiga ready for African Championships

We're obviously rooting for Maiga (middle) and Mali in the African Championships. Mali is 2-0!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hoops notes (ODU, Mason, Tech)

Been sleeping on the blog for a few days, but now we're back and more charged up than ever. So, still dazed and confused about the abject collapse of the once-mighty Boston Red Sox, here goes hoops....

OLD DOMINION: Former Lady Monarchs star Hamchetou "Mama" Maiga, who will be inducted into the Old Dominion University Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 15,  is leading her native Mali in the 2011 African Championships (Afrobasket) beginning Saturday in Bamako, Mali. In fact, she's the captain of her squad, and as such has made some bold proclamations regarding what's about to go down.

"We will win back the trophy," Maiga told the press on the eve of the event "The loss in the final against Senegal in Madagascar (2009) was a bitter pill down our throat. This is an opportunity to redeem ourselves."

Funny, we could never get such juicy copy out of Maiga when she played around here....

The winner of the African Championship secures a berth in the 2012 Olympic Games. Mali's victory in the 2007 Afrobasket (love that name) allowed Maiga and friends to participate in the 2008 Olympics. 

By the way, if you didn't bother to click on our initial link, the "Mama" reference is because in May, Maiga gave birth to an 8-pound, 11-ounce baby boy named Mamadou. 

GEORGE MASON: Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe former Patriots coach Simone Edwards and ex-GMU forward/center Angelee LaTouche will be ballin' with the Jamaica National Team at the FIBA Americas Championships beginning Saturday in Neiva, Colombia. The Jamaicans will open on Sunday against Mexico and, like Maiga's Mali, will be playing for a spot in the 2012 Olympics.

Will we be pulling for Jamaica? Jah mon. Of course, we have no idea how they'll fare in this tournament - although William and Mary's Emily Correal might because, well, she's psychic. But if they're looking for a theme song, we know just the joint

VIRGINIA TECH: Loudon County High School athletic director Ken Wright is spreading the word that Kerry Sarver, a point guard who helped the Raiders win state titles in basketball and volleyball  before graduating in 2009, has successfully walked onto the Tech women's basketball team. Said Wright (via the vivaloudon.com blog): 

"Kerry decided to attend Virginia Tech upon completion of high school, where she joined the VT women's basketball club team and has competed at that level during her time in Blacksburg. The Hokies staff, led by new Coach Dennis Wolff, extended the offer to walk on after watching Kerry and her team in a club tryout this fall. After discussing the offer with her parents, Dave and Jane Sarver, Kerry accepted and will be a Hokie Basketball Player for 2011-12."

The Hokies can certainly use Sarver's help - particularly in practice - as they currently have just nine scholarship players.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dawn Evans' "Winning Edge" video online

Did you catch former JMU star Dawn Evans on "The Real Winning Edge" Saturday morning? We didn't either; 7:30 a.m. is a pretty rough airtime for us on weekends. Fortunately, the show has posted the video, so now everyone is just a mouse click awary from hearing Evans re-count her inspiring story of battling kidney disease.

The video starts out with some footage of WNBA star Tamika Catchings, which initially had us thinking they'd posted the wrong video. But it turns out they use Catching to introduce Evans, which is actually a really nice touch.

Friday, September 16, 2011

JMU fans: Tune in Saturday morning to see Dawn Evans

Remember when we told you about JMU's Dawn Evans being featured on the television show "The Real Winning Edge"?

We're back with updated info. The show, which profiles young role models, will air on Sept. 17 and 18. It can be seen in Harrisonburg on WTTG (Channel 5 on Comcast cable) at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. The segment, introduced by WNBA player Tamika Catchings, profiles Evans' success as an NCAA Division I athlete while battling kidney disease.

Check WAHU in Charlottesville and WHSV in Richmond on Saturday and Sunday for times.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The schedule report: George Mason

Another in our serious of breakdowns on recently released 2011-12 schedules:

On the marquee

Maryland at George Mason, Dec. 11

   - A rare opportunity for the Patriots to host a (likely) Top-25 team; in fact, it's the first time since Maryland came to the Patriots Center on Dec. 22, 2005 and left with a 70-33 victory. Patriots fans had better come out in force, too, or the Terrapins' hefty fan base (5,161 per game in 2010-11) will have that building sounding like a mini-Comcast Center.

Get your tickets early for....

Old Dominion at George Mason, Dec. 4

- The Patriots were extremely competitive in both meetings with ODU last season (the games were decided by a combined 5 points) and will be catching the Lady Monarchs less than a month into their regular-season life with a new coach. Not saying it's going to be easy - far from it - but the Patriots should go into this game with more confidence than any Mason team has ever felt against a program that has won 48 of the 49 meetings.

Food for thought

- Mason plays its first two, four of its first six and six of its first nine non-conference games at home. The Patriots are 12-1 in non-conference home games the past two years.

- The Patriots' second opponent, Oakland (Nov. 13), will also tour the nation's capital as part of a political learning experience. The previous week, the school is hosting a Republican presidential debate.

- The season opener is Nov. 11 against American. Last season, the Eagles rallied from a double-digit deficit to nip the Patriots 46-43 at American.

- Patriots freshman Rachel McNair won't mind the trip to Stony Brook (Nov. 21), as the school is about 70 miles from her Nyack, N.Y. home. If Stony Brook plays anything like it did at the Patriot Center last season, the Patriots won't mind, either - Mason rolled to a 74-48 victory.

- The CAA Tournament runs March 8-11 at the neutral-site Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. for the second straight year.

Debbie Ryan returns to coaching

Now that didn't take long.

Women's Basketball Hall of Fame coach Debbie Ryan, who emotionally retired from Virginia in March after 34 years in charge of the Cavaliers, will return to the sidelines next month as an assistant coach for USA Basketball's Pan-American Games team. The head coach will be another veteran, longtime former Colorado coach Ceal Barry. Jennifer Gillom will be the other assistant.

Ryan has coached several USA Basketball squads since her first stint in 1987. Teams coached by Ryan have won two gold medals and one silver.

"It is the highest of honors to be chosen to coach USA Basketball, and I am very proud to be representing our country in the Pan Am Games,” Ryan said in a release. “USA Basketball is the pinnacle of our sport and it is very humbling to be a part of the team again."

The women's basketball portion of the Pan American Games runs from Oct. 21-25 in Guadalajara, Mexico. The team's roster will be announced soon after a process that will unite Virginia's past with its present and future. Because the team will be comprised primarily of college players, USA Basketball's Player Selection Committee will be assisted by a Junior National Team Committee that includes current Cavaliers coach Joanne Boyle.

In other words, Boyle will help choose the players Ryan will coach.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

So far, William and Mary has all the right answers

We don't know how William and Mary will do on the basketball court this season. But thanks to the Tribe's entertaining "20 Questions With...." series, we have learned that:

Emily Correal (pictured above) is psychic.

Janine Aldridge dreams of being the quarterback of the New York Jets.

The No. 1 item on MacKenzie Morrison's bucket list is to wrangle an alligator.

One of Katherine DeHenzel's favorite team activities is something called Jackson 5. Just curious: who gets to play Michael, and who gets stuck being Tito?

At the start of her freshman year, Kaitlyn Mathieu was dubbed "Baloo" by Tribe coach Debbie Taylor after the laid-back sloth bear from "The Jungle Book." Not sure if Mathieu knew what to make of it then, but now? "I actually feel like it fits my personality."

Jazmen Boone hates talking to people that have chapped lips.

Correal is a Belieber.

Taylor Hilton, who has serious DJ skillz, is afraid of spiders. Hmmm...perhaps this explains why Hilton had just 2 points with 3 turnovers last year against Richmond.

Jaclyn McKenna fears great white sharks.

Taysha Pye is so terrified of snakes she'll occasionally recoil at the mere sight of a stick on the ground. "Sad, I know," Pye said.

Victoria Willems can see herself as the editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine in New York City some day. Right now, though, her best non-athletic skill is taking professional naps.

If Anna Kestler could have lunch with anyone in the world, she'd choose...Anna Kestler. "I would like to see the other side of me and get to know myself better."

If she wasn't playing basketball at William and Mary, Correal believes she'd have a shot at being the Tribe's quarterback. "My dad coached me up and now I have a wicked spiral." Don't laugh. Correal's father, Chuck, was an All-American center at Penn State who spent three years in the NFL.

Willems and Chanel Murchison would choose volleyball. "They get to wear costumes to practice on Halloween, and (there's) not much running involved," Murchison said. And from Willems: "I love the spandex."

Murchison dreams of one day hosting a talk show. She's already knows what to call it - "Oh Hey Chayyy!" or "That's What Chay Said!"

Kestler loved the "Wizard of Oz" skit the team performed for the incoming freshmen.

Kyla Kerstetter, who likes to laugh, believes the animal that best describes her is a hyena.

And finally, Murchison said the biggest obstacle she's had to overcome is tearing both ACLs. "Never in a million years would I wish any injury on an athlete, but especially this one."


The schedule report: Virginia

The latest in our series of looks at the 2011-12 schedules:

On the marquee

Tennessee at Virginia, Nov. 20
   - Not only do you have the vaunted Lady Vols, but you also have the only scheduled visit to the Commonwealth by Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, who recently disclosed she's been diagnosed with early signs of dementia. But while this game sells itself, the right promotion can turbo-boost attendance. Two years ago, the attraction of Tennessee combined with the lure of a free hot dog and 12-oz. soda for each fan drew a record 11,895 to John Paul Jones Arena. Alas, the Lady Vols prevailed anyway, 76-63. A side note: In addition to winning the game, the Lady Vols also won back the use of their plush locker room at Thompson-Boling Arena. Summitt had barred the team from that space after the "spoiled'' Lady Vols fell 66-56 at Kentucky in February of the previous season. 

Get your tickets early for....

James Madison at Virginia, Dec. 20
Outside of her parents, we doubt anyone was happier to see Dawn Evans graduate JMU than Cavaliers fans sick and tired of watching the former Dukes star shoot down UVa. In 2009, Evans dropped 38 points on the Cavs in a 75-73 victory in Charlottesville. And last season, with Virginia leading by 13 and less than four minutes to play, Evans scored 13 of her school-record 42 points to rally JMU to an 82-80 victory in Harrisonburg. Virginia has the resources and pedigree to be the state's premier women's basketball program, but it's hard to rightfully claim that title while continually losing to JMU. With Evans finally gone and (hopefully) a strong crowd behind them, this sets up as an excellent chance for the Cavs to regain the upper hand.

Food for thought

- It's almost as though the non-conference schedule was designed to pit the Cavaliers against anyone that has coached with, played for or employed new Virginia coach Joanne Boyle. Among the Cavs opponents:

   - Texas (Nov. 25 in Hawaii) - coached by Gail Goestenkors; Boyle was an assistant for nine years under Coach G at Duke.
   - California (Nov. 27 in Hawaii) - Boyle was the head coach at Cal the last six seasons. The Golden Bears new head coach, Lindsay Gottlieb, was the "right-hand person" assistant to Boyle at Richmond and Cal before a three-year stint as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara.
   - High Point (Nov. 16) - New Panthers coach Jennifer Hoover was an assistant to Boyle for three seasons at Cal (Hoover also spent four years as a Cavaliers assistant under Debbie Ryan). In addition, High Point assistant DeUnna Hendrix was recruited by and played for Boyle at Richmond.
   - Richmond (Dec. 4) - Boyle was the Spiders head coach from 2002-05.

- The Cavaliers will open their season on Nov. 11 at home against Appalachian State (25-7 last season). The game will mark the college debut of Appalachian State's Maryah Sydnor, who scored 2,041 points in high school and led Radford High to the 2011 VHSL Group A Division II state title. Sydnor had signed with Longwood but was granted a release after the Lancers changed head coaches.

- The Cavaliers will host Indiana in the 5th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Virginia is 3-1 lifetime in this event. The loss came last season, a 74-46 setback at Ohio State.

- Virginia has won eight straight Marriott Cavaliers Classic titles. This season the Cavaliers will open its own tournament against Wagner and then face either Elon (with new coach Charlotte Smith) or UMass (featuring Old Dominion transfer Carolann Cloutier).

- The ACC schedule has been bumped up from 14 to 16 games. Virginia will play home-and-home series with Clemson, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Maryland and North Carolina.

- The ACC Tournament runs March 1-4 at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

JMU locks up Brooks through 2015-16

Hmmm.... That headline makes it seem as though Kenny Brooks broke the law or something. But it's nothing that sinister; if fact it's the best possible news for James Madison fans - the Dukes have extended the contract of their highly successful women's basketball coach for an additional year through the 2015-16 season. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but whatever he's making, Brooks sure seems happy with it.

"It's an honor in itself to be the head women's basketball coach here at JMU," Brooks said in a release.  "The fact that the administration has extended my contract for an additional year shows the commitment and support that we have received over the years.  That, combined with the support from the community, truly makes this one of the best jobs in America."

Given that JMU's success in recent years has raised the possibility that a bigger school might try to spirit Brooks away, that last line has got to be music to Dukes fans' ears.

The schedule report: Old Dominion

We chill out from women's basketball for a few days to lock in on the U.S. Open (Way to go, Sam! Holla, Novak! Ouch, Fed!) and bam! - 2011-12 schedules all over the place. So now, slowly but surely, we're taking a look at them one-by-one. Our series continues with....

(click on the link for the school's release)

On the marquee

Old Dominion at Tennessee, Dec. 28
  - The Lady Monarchs' annual showdown with the sport's signature program and coach continues. The Lady Monarchs have dropped 15 straight in the series and haven't won in Knoxville since a 78-72 overtime victory in 1982. But in this post-Wendy Larry world, at least the series lives on.

Get your tickets early for....

Virginia Tech at Old Dominion, Nov. 11
   - New coach, new style vs. new coach, new style in this eagerly anticipated (by us) season opener for both. Lady Monarchs fans better come out strong, too, because there are a ton of Hokies fans in the Hampton Roads area. Tech also likes to stick its flag in the ground in the 757 for recruiting purposes (in all sports save men's basketball, evidently), which surely was part of Tech's thinking in agreeing to a four-year series with ODU.

Food for thought

- Tennessee isn't the only powerhouse ODU will visit. On Nov. 17 the Lady Monarchs will travel to Stanford, another team with legitimate national title aspirations. It occurs to us that since Stanford's next game after ODU is at UConn, it's possible the Lady Monarchs might catch the Cardinal with Huskies on the brain. But wth Hall of Fame coach Tara Vanderveer running the Stanford show, we wouldn't bet on that...and neither should ODU fans.

- The Lady Monarchs have yet another tough road game on Nov. 13 at Georgia Tech. The Lady Monarchs upended the Yellow Jackets 65-63 in Norfolk last season. It was one of three victories ODU posted a year ago against NCAA Tournament-bound teams, as the Lady Monarchs also knocked off Louisville and James Madison.

- ODU's three-game schedule in the Virgin Islands Nov. 25-27 features matchups with Alabama, Louisiana Tech and Seton Hall, which is led by Lady Monarchs great Anne Donovan. 

- In addition to the Virginia Tech game and contests against CAA rivals William and Mary, George Mason, VCU and James Madison, the Lady Monarchs also have an in-state showdown with Richmond on Nov. 20 at the Constant Center. A year ago, the Spiders mauled the Lady Monarchs 65-41 in Richmond.

- ODU's release touts the Lady Monarchs as one of the youngest teams in America, and with nine underclassmen, we can see why they say that. On the other hand, suppose ODU trots out a lineup of Tia Lewis, Mairi Buchan, Jo Guilford, Jackie Cook and Michelle Brandao. That's a fifth-year senior, two redshirt juniors, a true junior and a 20-year-old sophomore from Portugal with loads of international experience. 

- The CAA Tournament will run March 8-11 at the neutral-site Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. for the second straight year. 

C. Viv to speak at Richmond

Get your tickets early!

OK, so we don't know about a sellout but Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer (gotta love the C) is coming to Richmond to speak on Sept. 22.

Stringer's talk at the Modlin Center for the Arts is part of the Jepson Leadership School Game Changers: How Women Lead and Change the World speaking forums. Stringer's forum, Reflections On and Off the Court, is the first of four Jepson Leadership Forum events.

If you've ever heard Stringer talk, you know she's got plenty to say and a wonderful way of representing her school and sport thanks to her unabashed candor.

A reception and book signing will immediately follow the forum.Tickets are free but required and open to the public two weeks before the event.

The schedule report: Liberty

We chill out from women's basketball for a few days to lock in on the U.S. Open (Way to go, Sam! Holla, Novak! Ouch, Fed!) and bam! - 2011-12 schedules all over the place. So now, slowly but surely, we're taking a look at them one-by-one. Our series continues with....

(click on the link for the school's release)

On the marquee

Liberty vs. Oklahoma, Nov. 25
   - We love it when the teams test themselves against heavyweights and Oklahoma, led by the talented (and fashionable) Sherri Coale, is about as heavyweight as women's basketball gets this side of Storrs. The teams will meet in the first round of  the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament; the winner gets either Vandy or Lipscomb. For what it's worth, we like Vandy in that matchup.

Get your tickets early for....

James Madison at Liberty, Dec. 1
   - The Dukes have won three straight in the series and are 6-1 lifetime against Liberty. Two years ago, JMU snapped Liberty's 12-game home winning streak. This time, maybe a strong turnout at the Vines Center can help the Lady Flames do something about all that.

Food for thought

- The Lady Flames currently have home games against Virginia-Wise (NAIA) and Division II opponents Glenville State and Virginia Union. We were all set to tease Liberty coach Carey Green about a weak schedule, but then we took another look at the Lady Flames' conference record over the years and figured the man obviously knows a few things about getting a team ready for league play. Having said that, we reserve the right to toss in a wisecrack or two when these games come around.

- Other games against schools in Virginia: vs. VCU on Nov. 15; at Virginia on Dec. 7; at Richmond on Dec. 20 and twice against Big South rival Radford (away on Dec. 31, home on March 2).

- The Lady Flames open their season on Nov. 11 at UNC Greensboro. The game will mark the head-coaching debut of former Virginia great Wendy Palmer, who in April replaced longtime Spartans head coach Lynne Agee. 

- Liberty fans will definitely want to highlight the two games against Gardner-Webb (Jan. 30 away, Feb. 25 home), as the two teams have staged dramatic battles in the last three Big South title games. The Lady Flames won the first two, but Gardner-Webb prevailed 67-66 in the 2011 title game to deal Liberty its first loss in 14 trips to the Big South final.

- Instead of the usual 16-game conference schedule, Big South teams will play an 18-game slate with the addition of new league member Campbell.

- The Big South Tournament will be held March 9-11 at High Point for the fourth year in a row.

The schedule report: Richmond

We chill out from women's basketball for a few days to lock in on the U.S. Open (Way to go, Sam! Holla, Novak! Ouch, Fed!) and bam! - 2011-12 schedules all over the place. So now, slowly but surely, we're taking a look at them one-by-one. Our series continues with....

(click on the link for the school's release)

On the marquee

Virginia at Richmond, Dec. 4
   - Game features the return of new Cavaliers coach and former Spiders leader Joann Boyle, who led Richmond to a 67-29 record and the 2005 NCAA Tournament in her three seasons.

Get your tickets early for...

Richmond at VCU, Dec. 1
   - Actually, there's probably no rush as the "Battle of Richmond'' hasn't been a big draw of late. But we're excited about the matchup, and shoot, if we're excited, the entire city of Richmond should be excited, right? Richmond is retooling while the Rams are loaded with talented returners so it will be interesting to see if VCU can reverse a trend that has seen it drop three straight and 10 of the last 12 in the series. 

Food for thought

- The Spiders are playing seven games against in-state opponents, and no wonder - last year Richmond went 5-1 against schools in Virginia with each of the victories coming by at least 10 points and three of the wins coming by at least 22 points. 

- Richmond's Dec. 29 game against James Madison will be played in Bethlehem, Pa. as part of the Lehigh Christmas Classic. The Spiders will play the host school the following day.

- The Spiders open their season on Nov. 11 at Navy and one of our favorite coaches, Stephanie Pemper. A few years ago, Pemper wowed us with her approach to coaching during her stint with the Division III Bowdoin Polar Bears (love that name). Last year, in her third season at Navy, she guided the Mids to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. 

- Boston University was supposed to visit Richmond last season, but the game was postponed because of a winter storm. The teams will now meet on Nov. 18 at the Robins Center. The Lady Terriers roster includes junior guard and Richmond native Kristen Sims.

- A first-ever visit to Richmond by Hartford on Dec. 22 brings Hawks junior forward Ruthanne Doherty home for Christmas. Doherty amassed 1,615 points and 1,083 rebounds during a four-year career at L.C. Bird High.  

- Richmond's 14-game Atlantic 10 schedule features a home-and-home series with George Washington and single games against everyone else. The conference home games are against Temple, LaSalle, Rhode Island, St. Joseph's, Fordham and Duquesne in addition to GW.

- After a two-year experiment with playing the Atlantic 10 Tournament at a neutral site, the championships will return to campus this season as the event will be held on March 2-5 at St. Joseph's Hagan Arena in Philadelphia. The tournament was held at the Show Place Arena in Maryland in 2010 and the Tsongas Center in Massachusetts in 2011.

The schedule report - Hampton

We chill out from women's basketball for a few days to lock in on the U.S. Open (Way to go, Sam! Holla, Novak! Ouch, Fed!) and bam! - 2011-12 schedules all over the place. So let's take a look at 'em one-by-one, starting with....

(click on the link for the school's release)

On the marquee

Hampton at Florida, Nov. 22
   - A year ago at Hampton, the Lady Pirates whipped Florida so fiercely we'll bet the Gators' backsides are still sore. Think the Gators will be a bit focused for the rematch?

Get your tickets early for....

East Carolina at Hampton, Jan. 2
   - Pirates vs. Lady Pirates and a homecoming of sorts for former Hampton head coach Fred Applin, now an ECU assistant. ECU's staff also features director of operations Kitara McMoore, a Virginia Beach native, and Ann Hancock, the former head coach at UNC Wilmington. And the roster includes Virginia transfers Britny and Whitny Edwards and James Madison transfer Kristine Mial.

Food for thought

- Of the Lady Pirates' 11 non-conference games, nine are on the road or at neutral sites in seven different states.

- The Lady Pirates don't debut at the HU Convocation Center until Dec. 3 against MEAC rival South Carolina State.

- Hampton opens its season on Nov. 12 at Pitt, a team whose 11 players are all freshmen or sophomores.

- The addition of Savannah State and a fully Division I accredited North Carolina Central gives the MEAC 13 teams for a 16-game conference schedule. As a result, the Lady Pirates will play home-and-home series with Howard, Morgan State, Coppin State, Norfolk State and Delaware State and one game against six other league schools but no games against perennial MEAC power North Carolina A&T.

- The Lady Pirates will play their one game against Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, where Hampton has lost in each of the past two seasons. Last year's 55-51 loss to the Lady Pirates was Hampton's only MEAC defeat.

- The MEAC Tournament is set for March 5-12 at the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Remembrance

I sometimes wonder what the world was like on Sept. 10, 2001.

What were we afraid of? What were the headlines in the newspaper? What did TV news talk about?

I was at home with my toddler when my husband called and told me a plane hit the World Trade Center. Embarrassed to say this now, I blew it off. Private plane, I thought. I didn't remove the Baby Einstein video from the VCR.

A few minutes later he called back. Another plane struck. My first thought wasn't terrorism. How had the air traffic control system turned into chaos?

Fire at the Pentagon? A lost plane in Pennsylvania?

I called my mother in Arlington. What's going on?

Terrorism never entered my mind.Even in the wake of the Oklahoma City tragedy, I had to believe there were other explanations.

The real explanation -- that those four planes were a deliberate act -- was too horrific to stomach.

In many ways life has changed since that day; in other ways it has stayed the same. We take our shoes off in the security line. We understand the message behind the sign "No jokes" at the airport. We don't flinch at having our belongings searched at a public event.

We sing "God Bless America" between innings.

But we still go to work each day, deal with bills, worry about our health. Our kids go to school. We celebrate holidays. We laugh and we cry. The horror that unified the nation that day is but a distant memory while we watch the politicians turn the debt ceiling debate into a political referendum.

We are not a unified nation; we are a polarized one. Those with jobs and those without. Those with financial security and those without. Those who believe in Obama and those who wish he would fail.

But today all of us remember. All of us pause. All of us share the stories of where we were when we heard the news.

All of us watched George Bush throw out that first baseball after Sept. 11, and we cheered. I didn't vote for George Bush. But on that night, he was my president. Our president. One nation. Under God.

Ten years later, the remembrances will bond us, and for 24 hours we will share in national mourning.

My hope is that the lesson we learn from today doesn't escape us on Sept. 12, 2011.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

JMU's Evans coming to a TV near you

Remember how we told you a few weeks ago that Dawn Evans could be Hollywood bound? Looks like her television career has already started.
The former James Madison point guard will appear in the reality TV show "The Real Winning Edge," which will air on Sept. 17 and 18. We don't have a list of regional stations yet where the program will air, but as soon as we know, you'll know where to watch Dawn.

The half-hour show features young athletes and performers who have overcome real-life problems.Dawn is featured in a seven-minute segment filmed in Harrisonburg earlier this year that chronicles her battle with kidney disease.

Stay tuned to LadySwish for more details.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Imovbioh ineligible to play for Virginia in 2011-12

We kept getting the sense something was up at Virginia. Now it's official - the school announced Friday that Parade All-American freshman Sarah Imovbioh will not be eligible to play for or practice with the Cavaliers in 2011-12.

Read it and weep: "The ruling is a result of a gap in her high school enrollment while living in Nigeria. NCAA bylaw requires prospective student-athletes to complete their core-curriculum requirements within four consecutive years of their initial date of high school enrollment."

The good news is Imovbioh is currently enrolled at Virginia, and if she meets school and NCAA academic requirements through 2011-12, she will be eligible to play four years beginning with 2012-13.

Still, in the short term this is clearly a blow to the Cavaliers, as not only was Imovbioh a promising talent but she was also Virginia's only incoming recruit. And from a state perspective, this means that none of the three most highly-touted recruits supposedly bound for Division I programs will actually play for their intended schools. Kaneisha Atwater, another Parade All-American who had signed with Old Dominion, is pregnant and will remain in Florida. And Achiri Ade, a Top 100 player according to ESPN, was not eligible to enroll at James Madison and will instead attend Midland College in Texas.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Longwood braces for rigorous 2011-12 schedule

We like Bill Reinson. Good man, good coach, diehard Boston Red Sox fan....

So it was with considerable respect that, after looking at Longwood's 2011-12 women's basketball schedule, we dialed up Lancers headquarters and asked the head man:

"Are you trying to kill those young women with that lineup?"

At Notre Dame. At Miami. At Georgetown. All three of those teams will likely open the season ranked in the Top 10, with the Fighting Irish possibly among the first five. That trip to N.C. State is no breather, either (hey, that rhymes!), nor is the visit to Big East member Cincinnati.Gardner-Webb made the NCAA Tournament last year. Appalachian State qualified for the WNIT. So did Richmond. So did Central Michigan.

Is this any way to treat a team coming off a 7-win season?

Reinson acknowledged that financial considerations were in play, as teams like Longwood can raise a fair bit of cash with guarantee games. Also, it's pretty tricky for an independent to find opponents in January and February. Still, Reinson insists this is pretty much the type of schedule he wanted.

"Those first three teams (Notre Dame, Miami, Georgetown), obviously they're at the top level," said Reinson, who took over the Lancers on an interim basis last December and got the job full-time in the spring. "But that next level, that's where we're trying to get, and so that's who we need to play. We need to recruit at that level, play at that level and, ultimately, win at that level."

It would help if the Lancers can collect a few wins on the road, at any level. Over the last two seasons, Longwood has actually been a better-than-average Division I team in its own building (13-12 record). But the Lancers were just 3-33 outside of Farmville over that span (3-27 road, 0-6 neutral).

Only nine of Longwood's 30 games will be at home in 2011-12.

To reverse this trend, the Lancers will employ a tactic widely used in ice hockey - play wide-open at home, then adopt a more conservative, mistake-free posture on the road.

"If you look at our assist-to-turnover ratio at home, it was pretty close to even," Reinson said. "On the road, we had something like 240 more turnovers than assists. So we've talked about it, and we're going to try and scale it back a bit on the road. Basically, just play smarter."

Will it work? Well, it did wonders for the Boston Bruins. Besides, it has to be better than whatever the Lancers were doing on the road the past two years.

Of course, the best solution would be improved performance, and the early indications are promising. Unlike last year, when the players had to learn Reinson's motion offense on the fly, the Lancers will have a full preseason to get the system down.

In addition, Reinson said every returner has showed up in better physical and mental form. Now, we weren't thrilled with that "every returner" stuff and pressed Reinson to give us a few names. Impressed by our boldness - or perhaps just eager to get us off the line - Reinson acquiesced and offered up:

Chelsea Coward: "She much more prepared," Reinson said. "When we're doing conditioning, she's absolutely killing people. She's lapping people."

Brittany Jones: "Really taking a leadership role."

Crystal Smith: "She's gotten a lot stronger, and she's smiling more now. We're a better team when Crystal Smith is on the floor, and with the work she's put in, I see her on the floor a lot."

A four-player cast of newcomers should also help. All figure to contribute in time, but junior-college transfer guard Mieke Elkington ("very high motor, very high basketball IQ") might be a factor right away.

The group's hard work has continued in strength and conditioning workouts with the Longwood softball team and coach Kathy Riley, a woman Reinson calls "the best coach on campus." Sounds good, although we'll like this even better if the Lancers can convince Georgetown, Miami and Notre Dame to play nine innings instead of 40 minutes.

Still, no matter what happens in those games, Reinson's nothing-but-the-best scheduling has already been a big hit on the recruiting trail.

"I've already had 5 or 6 kids say, 'Coach, I love that schedule, all the places you go!' " Reinson said.

And why not? It's not like it's going to kill 'em, right?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tennessee guard verbally commits to Hampton

A few years ago, James Madison recruited an under-the-radar player from Clarksville, Tenn. Turned out OK - all Dawn Evans did was re-write the school's record book.

Now Hampton has mined that same territory. Blake Jenkines, a 5-10 guard from Clarksville's Kenwood High, has verbally committed to the Lady Pirates for 2012, according to the Leaf-Chronicle.

"(Hampton has) a great team and they're really serious about their basketball," Jenkines, who visited Hampton last weekend, told the newspaper. "That's what struck me about them. I'm really excited about the opportunity to go up there and learn and hopefully compete for playing time."

The Leaf-Chronicle reported that Jenkins had scholarship offers from UAB, Florida A&M and Austin Peay and had piqued the interest of several other schools. She averaged 18 points per game playing in the post for Kenwood last season, but is a natural perimeter player and projects as a big guard in college.

Jenkines is the second known 2012 player to commit to Hampton, joining Stonewall Jackson's Ryan Jordan.
Click here for a rundown of 2012 verbals from across the state.

Millbrook's Courtni Green picks Delaware

Delaware struck again on the 2012 recruiting front over the weekend when Millbrook High senior guard Courtni Green announced she will sign with the Blue Hens.

Virginia Tech appeared to have the inside track on Green, a two-time state player of the year who averaged 25.8 ppg last season and has led Millbrook to back-to-back state titles. She has long cited a desire to play close to home, and she has a tight bond with her brother Erick, who plays men's basketball at Tech.

Courtni Green acknowledged to the Northern Virginia Daily that as recently as last week, she was leaning towards Tech. And during a decision ceremony at her home Saturday, she faked out onlookers by picking up a Hokies hat - only to hand it to her brother before revealing Delaware as her choice.

"I felt like Delaware offered everything I wanted in a school," the 5-8 Green told the newspaper. "I felt like they wanted me."

Green also cited the lure of playing one season with Blue Hens All-American Elena Delle Donne. Delle Donne will be eligible to leave Delaware after the 2012 season, when she will be four years removed from high school. But according to women's basketball guru Mel Greenberg, Delle Donne currently intends to stay at Delaware through the 2012-13 season, when Green will be a freshman.

Unless Green changes her mind - she can't sign a binding commitment until November - this means that all three of the state's Associated Press 2010-11 players of the year will be leaving Virginia for college. Elizabeth Williams, the Group AAA player of the year, is at Duke and Maryah Sydnor, the top player in Group A, is at Appalachian State.

It will also give Delaware the last three Group AA players of the year; Green has won it the last two years and Blue Hens sophomore and former Freedom High star Kelsey Buchanan copped the award for 2008-09.

Click here to see the 2012 verbal commitments from around the state.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Muffet McGraw's near-miss on Sept. 11, 2001

Just finished reading the Jeff Goldberg book "Bird at the Buzzer: UConn, Notre Dame and a Women's Basketball Classic," a well-crafted and insightful look at the riveting 2001 Big East final. Ironically, though, one of its most compelling tales had nothing to do with basketball. In the epilogue, Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw recounts how at the last minute, she canceled her seat on a Sept. 11 flight out of Boston on United Airlines Flight 175. That plane would later be hijacked and flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. USA Today's Mike Lopresti also details McGraw's situation here.

The Notre Dame coach was in Boston to recruit Nicole Wolff, the daughter of new Virginia Tech coach Dennis Wolff and the 2002 McDonald's National High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Nicole Wolff would wind up signing with UConn.

In the 10 years since, McGraw has sought to put the incident behind her and has declined most requests for comment about her near-miss, including Lopresti's. But among the thoughts she shared in Goldberg's book:

"I had a hole in one in there, too, that year. You know how people say good things come in threes. They say, you won the (NCAA) championship, you had a hole in one, and you didn't get on that plane. It was a good year for me."

ODU's Russia rocks in half marathon

Congrats to Alena Voronina (ODU's Russia) for completing her first half marathon (the Rock 'N' Roll) on Sunday in two hours, three minutes. Way to go, girl!

VCU recruit Winter: ballin' and bloggin'

South Shore High (N.Y.) senior and VCU verbal commit Jenice Winter says she's considering a future in journalism, which endears her to us before she even sets foot in the Commonwealth. Last month, she displayed her passion for writing by blogging about her experiences on the AAU summer circuit for the Brooklyn Daily.

She also detailed why she's so stoked about playing for VCU next fall:

"I committed because what they were offering me was something I just couldn't pass up, and the chemistry between me and the coaches on the visit just clicked. Another reason for my commitment was that every player that attends VCU, their game has developed from when they first arrived. Also, the facility was amazing. Words can't explain. I'm very excited and I'm looking forward to my years in that VCU uniform."

Hmmm.... Potential player-blogger for LadySwish, perhaps? Hey, Jenice, let's talk.

Tribe talk: William and Mary notes

Brooke Stewart didn't like William and Mary's record. But she did like Williamsburg, head coach Debbie Taylor and the idea of helping the team rebound. So much so that she plans to join the Tribe in the fall of 2012.  The Salem (Mass.) News has full details.

A 6-0 guard/forward from Masconomet Regional School in Boxfield, Mass, Stewart averaged 20.2 points and 6.2 rebounds as a junior last season. She chose the Tribe over CAA rival Northeastern, although she admits that William and Mary's 3-26 record last season gave her pause.

"I mean, it really bothered me," Stewart told the newspaper. "It made me nervous and a little shaky. Then I talked to coach Taylor. First, she's a New Yorker, which I like. She told me they had three knee injuries and a concussion on the team last season. They have a great guard coming in next season (Anna Kestler) who will be a sophomore when I get there. Hopefully I can help them out."

Click here for a rundown on 2012 verbal commitments from all the D-I schools in Virginia.


In 2008-09, the Tribe ranked last in Division I, 328th out of 328 teams, in free throw shooting. The following year, the Tribe were 330th of 332 D-I teams. So naturally, in 2010-11 we can find the Tribe at...55th overall? A 73-percent free-throwing shooting team, after two straight seasons in the mid-50s? What gives?

The natural tendency is to cite the Tiffany Benson Effect. Benson was a defensive marvel and one of the best players in school history - until she toed a free throw line. The former Princess Anne High star made just 26.1 percent from the stripe (43 of 165) as a junior in 2008-09, then followed that up with a 28-percent effort (35 of 125) as a senior in 2009-10.

Subtracting Benson was just part of the story, though; improvement by virtually everyone else was also key to driving the numbers up. Taysha Pye, the team leader in free throw attempts, connected on 73.9 percent of her shots, up from 66.8 the previous season. Emily Correal, second on the team in attempts, went from 62.3 percent in 09-10 to 71.6 percent in 10-11. Jaclyn McKenna's spike was nearly 14 percentage points to 78.0. Katherine DeHenzel improved from 75 percent to 80.4. Clearly, the whole team took this deficiency seriously. Now, it's a team strength.

By the way, if you're wondering how your favorite team ranked at the line:

55  - William and Mary  - 73.0
76  - Richmond  - 72.1
113 - Longwood - 70.7
132 - James Madison - 70.0
133 - Virginia - 70.0
167 - George Mason - 68.9
167 - Hampton - 68.8
195 - Old Dominion - 67.8
200 - VCU  - 67.6
217 - Radford - 66.8
321 - Norfolk State - 61.0
324 - Liberty  - 60.5
325 - Virginia Tech - 60.1


Former Davidson star Janell Crayton is the Tribe's new director of basketball operations. According to the school's release, Crayton's duties will include film exchange (they still do that in this technology age?), coordinating team travel, on-campus recruiting, team promotional activities and other administrative functions.

Crayton was a first-team All-Southern Conference performer as a senior at Davidson in 2006 and has been an assistant coach at three different schools, most recently last season at Colgate. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

And baby makes four for ex-ODU assistant

In case you haven't heard, Nikita Lowry Dawkins, former assistant to Wendy Larry at Old Dominion, and husband Tony are expecting -- twins!

"Yes, this rumor is true I cannot deny this one," said Dawkins, who plans to remain in the Chesapeake area   until next season. "My plan is to figure out what I can and can't do with twins and then get back in (coaching)  if I can find the right fit. Time will tell."

For now she's ecstatic about her new boy and girl, expected to arrive 11-11-11.

"We are looking forward to opening a new chapter," Dawkins said.

LadySwish is so happy for both of you and we can't wait to meet the babies!

Stunning news out of Christopher Newport University

OK, we're mystified by the latest bomb from Division III Christopher Newport University in Newport News. Coach Carolyn Hunter "resigned" on Friday.

"I wouldn't believe anything you hear" about Hunter's departure, CNU athletic director C.J. Woollum told the Daily Press. "Coach Hunter resigned. The speculation runs wild, but 99.9 (percent) is inaccurate. I wouldn't put any stock in any of the rumors you hear."

If you're wondering why the news is so shocking, remember it was Hunter who led the Captains to their first-ever Final Four last season and a 30-4 record. The year before that CNU was 30-4, advancing to the Sweet 16. Hunter was 265-103 in 13 seasons with the Captains.

And by the way, practice starts in six weeks. Senior associate athletic director Jon Waters is the interim coach.