Sunday, December 18, 2011

Virginia romps; JMU, ODU, VCU also winners

Sunday's results:

James Madison 71, Central Connecticut 64
Nikki Newman only played 24 minutes, but that was enough time to secure her first double-double (a career-tying 10 points and 10 rebounds) to lead the Dukes (7-1) to their 15th straight home victory. "For us to be effective this year, she just has to bring it," said Dukes coach Kenny Brooks, and we couldn't agree more. Lauren Whitehurst's 17 made it a good day for JMU in the low post, but they weren't too shabby on the perimeter, either with 16 apiece from Kirby Burkholder and Tarik Hislop. As much as we like Brooks, we weren't that thrilled that he delighted in the Redskins beating the Giants only, we assume, because of what it meant for the Cowboys. "Sweet," he said upon hearing the score. "This is the first time in my life I've ever rooted for the Redskins." ...Brooks did give his team credit for winning what he called "the hardest game of the year. Their brain are fried," he said, noting that JMU is coming off exams. As for the 'Skins, we hope they beat the Giants and Dallas every time.

VCU 74, Coppin State 66
You'd like to see the Rams cruise in a game like this, especially given the 52-31 advantage they had on the boards. VCU (6-3) held an 18-point advantage with 5:35 to go, but the Eagles pulled within 72-64 with 1:21 left.  But Courtney Hurt, who shot 60-percent from the field, continued to inflict pain, restoring VCU's lead to 10 on the ensuing possession. Hurt finished with 30 and Andrea Barbour, off the bench, scored 12 with 11 rebounds. Jennifer Lane still MIA for the Rams (6-3).

Old Dominion 71, North Carolina A&T 58
We thought the Lady Monarchs (3-8) might have a few more problems with these Aggies, and indeed a 23-point lead did wither down to 10 late in the second half. But for most of the afternoon, ODU pressed and turned over NC A&T, forcing the Aggies to put up the kind of rushed shots that resulted in a 31 percent effort from the floor. ODU, meanwhile, got off to a fast start behind Tia Lewis (24 points, 13 rebounds) and Ashley Betz-White (11 points, 5 assists). We also single out the line from Jackie Cook (8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks). ODU played with the type of relentless on defense that was reminiscent of the teams of old. The question remains, can they do it in a CAA that is ranked seventh in the RPI?

Virginia 92, Radford 43
Somebody turned on the jets and the Cavalier offense poured out with 55 bench points, including Lexie Gerson's 19, Jazmin Pitts' 16 on 8-of-8 shooting and Telia McCall's 13. Noted Gerson, who didn't seem terribly stressed post finals, "It's amazing. We had 10 days to prepare. I personally had five days where I didn't have finals. I was getting in the gym a lot and having fun. It was really awesome to get out there again." The victory improved Virginia's record to 9-2, the program's best start since beginning the 2008-09 season. Juicy matchup awaits the Cavs on Tuesday night when JMU comes to town.

Central Florida 41, Virginia Tech 32
No, this isn't a halftime score; that was 17-13 in favor of the Knights (5-5). Neither team was exactly Aaron Rogers on offense as combined they shot 47 percent. The Hokies led 4-2 --- midway through the half. The Knights were up 36-21 with 5:36 on the clock. Tech went on a late run, cutting the Knights’ lead down to eight (38-30) with just under a minute to go, but UCF’s Andrea Hines went 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the final minute to help secure the ugly win, which coaches assure us is better than a pretty loss. It was a particularly tough game for Monet Tellier (no points, no assists, 3 turnovers). We doubt either team will be anxious to view this film any time soon.

Wright State 77, Longwood 44
Hard to find a highlight in here for the Lancers, who shot 23. percent (13-55) from the floor, including 18.2 percent (2-11) from behind the arc. Longwood didn't have a field goal in the final 9:48 of the first half and were outscored 20-3.

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