Sunday, February 12, 2012

JMU, ODU, Virginia come up big in games honoring Yow

Sunday's games were in support of former NC State coach Kay Yow (the WBCA initiative continues through Feb. 20). Support the Kay Yow Cancer Fund by giving at

James Madison 65, VCU 64
We can't rave about Tarik Hislop's shooting percentage (35.4 percent). But frankly if we need to make a play to win, we're handing the ball to the JMU junior. Hislop -- the same kid whose last-second shot lifted the Dukes over ODU, the same kid whose free throws sealed last week's OT win over Drexel -- came through again with a 12-footer with1:09 left to notch the fourth in a row for the Dukes. "If you judge her by the stat sheet, you're going to be wrong," said JMU coach Kenny Brooks. "She's got ice water in her veins. Even when things are not going well, she comes through in the clutch." It was anybody's game -- in the final nine minutes, the lead changed eight times -- and had Chelsea Synder's baseline jumper fallen, this one might have gone OT. But the missed shot followed by a Nikki Newman rebound allowed JMU to eat clock, and the Rams never got another shot off. It was another gritty performance for the Dukes (19-5, 11-3 CAA), who are putting themselves in good NCAA Tournament at-large position. Despite another monster effort by Courtney Hurt (17 points, 19 rebounds), VCU (14-10, 7-6) cannot seem to find the consistency to string together wins. We don't want to leave this post without a shoutout to Kirby Burkholder (15 points on 6-of-9 shooting including three 3s). Brooks affectionately called her "our little piece of putty," recognizing how coachable she is. "She's one of the smartest players I've ever had," he said.

Old Dominion 59, UNC Wilmington 57
It's a long bus ride back from Wilmington, but we doubt these Lady Monarchs mind after avenging their 22-point loss to the Seahawks (15-9, 8-5) on Jan. 22. UNC Wilmington got 20 from tiny Alisha Andrews, including 17 in the second half, but three shots in the final seconds failed to fall to secure the tie. Sophomore Shakeva Richards' team-high 13 points stemmed from 6-of-6 shooting, and Tia Lewis scored 11. In case you haven't noticed, ODU has picked up steam the second half of the season, though we're sure Karen Barefoot would like her frontrunner Lady Monarchs to keep on running in the second half when teams come achingly close. ODU (9-16, 6-7) has now won three of its last five, and it would be four of five if not for Tarik Hislop's final-second heroics. With Drexel and VCU on tap, nothing is easy, but the good news is ODU plays its next three at home. (By the way, Happy Birthday, Mama Barefoot. Karen says this one is for you!)

Drexel 78, William and Mary 59
As excited as Dragons coach Denise Dillon must be to have tied Lil Haas for all-time wins at Drexel (Sunday was No. 144), Debbie Taylor must be banging her head against the wall about this result. The Tribe was held to 11 points below its average, and after Taysha Pye's initial bucket of the game,  the Dragons (12-11, 8-5 CAA) embarked on an 18-3 run. The Dragons' 78 points was their best offensive output of the season behind 24 from Kamile Nacickaite and a career-best 18 from Tyler Hale. Drexel led 39-22 at the half and W&M could get no closer than 11  in the second half despite shooting 57 percent from the field. It was a tidy game for the Dragons, who buried eight 3s and turned it over just eight times. Pye finished with 25, but no other W&M player was in double figures. A year ago Drexel escaped Kaplan Arena with an 80-74 OT victory over the Tribe. This is a puzzling result for a Tribe team that is better than the final score.

Hofstra 82, George Mason 70
The Patriots  owned the glass (53-38), but the Pride (17-7, 9-4 CAA) owned the paint (46-26) behind 28 points from Shante Evans. Hofstra, still reeling from disappointing losses to VCU and ODU, led 49-41 at the break and held the Patriots (12-12, 6-7) scoreless for the first five minutes of the second half. Amber Easter finished with her sixth double-double of the season (19 points, 11 rebounds) and Janaa Pickard added her second double-double of the season (17 points, 10 rebounds).  But Taleia Moton, who averages 20.9 ppg, scored just 11, and the Patriots had no answer for a Hofstra offense that shot 49 percent for the game.

Virginia 68, Clemson 36
Yeah, the Cavs dominated as Chelsea Shine inched closer to the 1,000-point career mark by dropping 20 on the Tigers on Sunday (the senior has 986 points). Virginia (18-8, 6-6 ACC) spread the love around on offense with Ariana Moorer recording 13 and Kelsey Wolfe tying her career high with 12. As a team, Virginia's 26 steals tied the school mark (set against Wagner and ODU). The Cavaliers have won nine of their last 10 over Clemson (6-17, 2-10). Could an at-large berth be in the cards? Noted coach Joanne Boyle, "I guess it's up to the committee to decide. ... We have 18 wins, so we're right there. We just have to keep pushing." We'd like to see you come to Norfolk, Cavs, for first and second rounds.

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