Sunday, January 29, 2012

Delaware-JMU: As good as it gets

A prime-time tipoff, with television cameras rolling. A nationally  ranked juggernaut (Delaware) vs. the two-time defending conference champions (James Madison). The nation's most dynamic offensive player against those defensive wizards in Harrisonburg.

Oh, and if you get there soon enough, a free bobblehead of former JMU great Dawn Evans.

For a Colonial Athletic Association regular-season game, does it get any sexier than this? No titles will be on the line when No. 15 Delaware (17-, 8-0 CAA) visits JMU (15-4, 6-2) Sunday night at 7 p.m. (Comcast TV, check your local listings). But in terms of storylines, star power and the anticipation factor, we can't imagine a better way for the CAA to wrap up the first half of conference play.

As an appetizer, here are a few things you should know about this tantalizing matchup:

  - The Dukes have won six straight in the series and all four with Blue Hens star Elena Delle Donne in the lineup.

   - The last time Delaware beat JMU, on Feb. 22, 2007, Delle Donne was a junior at Ursuline Academy (Del.).

  - The last time Delle Donne played at the JMU Convocation Center, she poured in a program-record 54 points.

   - JMU won anyway (88-83 in overtime).

   - Said Dukes coach Kenny Brooks after that game: "I now know what it's like to coach against Kobe Bryant."

- In the teams' most recent meeting, JMU held off Delaware 67-61 in the 2011 CAA Tournament final.

 - Delaware has won all eight of its CAA games this season by double figures, with the closest spread being 11 points against Drexel.

  - Although this year's JMU team has a well-earned reputation for playing defense, Delaware actually allows fewer points per game (54.8 to 55.4).

   - In two meetings against JMU last season, Delle Donne shot a combined 27.7 percent from the field (10 for 36).

   - Delle Donne is shooting 55.2 percent from the field this season.

   - The Dukes enjoyed rebounding advantages of plus-7 and plus-10 against the Blue Hens in the two games last season.

  - Delaware currently leads the CAA in rebounding margin (10.1), nearly double that of the next-best conference team (VCU, 5.5).

- JMU has won four straight games since a Jan. 12 loss to Drexel.

   - Delaware has won seven straight games since a Dec. 29 loss at Maryland.

As you can see, recent history favors the Dukes, recent form points to Delaware. A Dukes victory would no doubt send shock waves throughout the women's college basketball world - not to mention raise JMU's profile considerably for a potential at-large NCAA Tournament berth. But we doubt anyone wearing a Dukes uniform will be too surprised.

For them, beating Delaware is all they know.

1 comment:

  1. good luck today JMU ladies!! get this W!!