Sunday, February 19, 2012

VCU rallies to beat ODU; Patriots win in OT; Oliver leads Richmond; Virginia cruises and yikes! JMU falls

The dog days of basketball are upon us with teams ready for the season to culminate in the conference tournament and beyond. The zany as ever CAA added another chapter with JMU falling to Northeastern for the first time in program history, and Delaware clinching the regular season despite a ragged effort against Drexel. The Blue Hens (24-0, 15-1) survived 40-39 after Elena Delle Donne (held to a season-low 12 points) sealed it with a leaner with 2 seconds left.

Speaking of EDD, the nation's leading scorer became Delaware's all-time leading scorer, surpassing 2,030 points. And she's just a junior ....

Sunday's results:

VCU 67, Old Dominion 56
If you've never been to the "pink" game at the Constant Center, you've missed. Nobody could watch the survivor walk and not be inspired by the breast cancer survivors -- with ODU's own Debbie White always the caboose -- circling the arena with the speakers blaring "I Will Survive." What great perspective that brings to an afternoon and to an athletic event.

You wondered if ODU (9-18, 6-9) might respond to an occasion like that, and coach Karen Barefoot said her team wanted it too much. Whatever the reason, ODU came out of the gates  in abysmal fashion, falling behind by 11 before Ashley Betz-White managed the Lady Monarchs' first field goal 7:05 into the first half. ODU's going to get blown out,  you figure. Nope. VCU (15-11, 8-7 CAA) trailed 24-22 at the break behind a spirited rally, fueled in part by Lady Monarch walk-on Brianca Washington seeing significant playing time that included a beauty of a reverse layup. But it wasn't enough, as the Rams turned into the VCU team we suspected they were capable of becoming at season's beginning. True to form, Courtney Hurt had 21 (plus 20 boards) and Andrea Barbour had 16, inspiring coach Beth Cunningham to say, "Courtney and Andrea were huge for us. They played like two first-team all-conference kids tonight." And they got help: eight points and nine assists from freshman point Christina Carter and 10 points from 6-6 Chelsea Snyder. ODU was gold from the free-throw line (15-of-15), but its offense sputtered and was unable to respond to a late 11-4 VCU run. Jo Guilford scored 13 and Jackie Cook, 12, while Tia Lewis had an unusually off game, with just four points (but a team-best nine boards).

The real winners? More than $3,000 was raised for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Northeastern 61, James Madison 50
Results like this one make you wonder just how crazy the CAA Tournament is going to be. The Huskies (6-20, 4-11) recorded their first win over the Dukes, who must be awfully disappointed given how the NCAA Tournament committee might view this outcome when deciding at-large berths. The Dukes (20-6, 11-4) could not overcome an offensive sluggishness that saw them shoot 28 percent. They were without a player in double figures with Tarik Hislop and Kirby Burkholder each contributing eight. Still, JMU remains in sole possession of second in the league. Kudos to Nikki Newman with a team-high 11 rebounds and Lauren Whitehurst for blocking a career-high 6 shots, but when it came down to points, there just weren't enough from JMU.

Richmond 63, Fordham 50
Everybody should have a Senior Day like Abby Oliver, who scored a game-high 23 with nine rebounds. Oliver, the lone senior on one of the youngest teams in the nation, was also 6-of-6 from the free-throwline to keep her atop the nation in free-throw shooting. Genevieve Okoro also had a dream game: 13 points 14 rebounds, and the Spiders improved to 21-6, 8-4. "Abby's terrific every day," said Spiders coach Michael Shafer.  "The reality of it is, I told her, 'You never let us down.  You just never let us down.' ... It's fitting that it's Senior Day, but I feel like every day is Senior Day for her. ... I hate to say it, but she can't leave. We've got to talk to the NCAA! She can't leave."

UNC Wilmington 78, William and Mary 71
The Tribe (10-16, 3-12) got itself into a hole and clawed back but not far enough despite 18 from Jaclyn McKenna, 15 from Taysha Pye and 12 from Taylor Hilton. But the Seahawks showed off their balanced offense that included five players in double figures, including 20 from Jessica Freeman off the bench and 11 points and 10 assists from Alisha Andrews.

George Mason 70, Georgia State 68 OT
Six times Taleia Moton has scored 30 or more, and the senior who we call the most improved player in the league, converted a pair of free throws with .1 second on the clock to clinch the victory over the Panthers (7-19, 1-14). In case you've noticed this is the second OT game in a row for the Patriots (13-13, 7-8), but marks their first win in the extra period since 2007.

Virginia 66, Virginia Tech 40
It was a banner effort from the free-throw line (24-of-25 including Ariana Moorer connecting on all 13 of hers), as the Cavaliers (19-9, 7-7 ACC) beat the Hokies (7-20, 3-11) for the 11th straight time. Moorer's effort from the line was a school record and completed a day that also included 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Tech shot just 25 percent and was led by Aerial Wilson's 13.


  1. What CAA teams will make the WNIT?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.