Friday, March 23, 2012

Sunday. WNIT. Virginia at JMU. Be There.

Get ready for Round Two.

JMU's 72-45 beatdown of South Florida sets up a WNIT quarterfinal that doubles as a Commonwealth Classic - the Dukes hosting Virginia on Sunday at 2 p.m. The good news is that no matter what happens, one of these teams will advance to the WNIT Final Four. The bad news, at least for us, is that one of the teams we enjoy rooting for has to lose.

As for which team that will be, we have no idea. The regular-season meeting between these teams - Dec. 20 in Charlottesville - showcased a lot of good on both sides. The Dukes controlled things for first 32 minutes or so; the Cavaliers dug in and bum-rushed a foul-plagued, mistake-prone over the final eight en route to a 59-53 victory.

The win was bittersweet for the Cavaliers, though. A mere 36 seconds into the contest, Virginia point guard China Crosby went down with yet another knee injury. She later learned it was her second torn ACL.

That Virginia and JMU have made it this far in the WNIT should surprise no one as both teams have NCAA Tournament resumes. Each team also seems to be playing better by the round. On Thursday, the Cavaliers (25-10) made quick work out of Appalachian State 74-58. And on Friday, the Dukes (27-7) annihilated South Florida before 2,345 at the Convocation Center, limiting the Golden Bulls to just 12 first-half points on 4-of-30 shooting.

Sunday's winner will face either Toledo or Syracuse in the WNIT semifinals. Those two teams will meet Saturday in Toledo, where the defending WNIT champion Rockets have won nine straight WNIT games. The other quarterfinals: San Diego at Washington and Colorado at Oklahoma State.

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