Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hofstra's Malone making two dreams come true in Denmark

Marie Malone dreamed of two things growing up: playing basketball and seeing the world.

Both dreams are coming true for the Virginia Beach native and Hofstra graduate, who will start her professional career when she leaves home for Denmark on Aug. 14. Malone has signed with defending Danish champion SISU. SISU finished 21-0 last season.

"I am so excited; I can't even explain it," says the 6-2 forward. "Ever since I started playing basketball, it was always my dream to play overseas. Even the WNBA players play over there. My other dream was to travel the world, so why not get two for one?"

The knee injuries that slowed her college career worried her, so, "I worked as hard as I could to get the chance." And she says with a huge smile. "I'm healthy now. Completely. ACL surgeries are no joke, especially two of them. I'm really in shape now."

Malone has never been overseas, although she's received reassuring advice from her former teammate Jess Fuller, a 2010 Pride graduate, named all-Danish League Defensive Player of the Year last season.

"She'll be close, so I'll have somebody there to hang out with," Malone says. "She's told me where I'm staying is a really nice city (Copenhagen), and everybody speaks English, so it's not that hard to adjust to. The food is a little different. They're really healthy over there!"

Since graduation, Malone has trained with former NBA and Norfolk State star Bobby Dandridge and is playing pickup regularly with the ODU Lady Monarchs.

"He really knows the game and he's taught me a lot of things," Malone says of Dandridge. "Since I've been working with Bobby, I've learned you don't have to have a lot of moves in the paint. You just need a few that will throw your opponent off a little bit. I think my inside game has definitely improved. At Hofstra, we didn't really play one-on-one in the paint. I've learned some different moves and can play strong now on the inside. Plus I've been shooting some 3s. I'm a lot more versatile."

Malone credits Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey for helping her find an overseas gig. She ultimately used the same agent as Hofstra's Candice Bellocchio.

"It worked out perfect," Malone says. "I'm looking forward to traveling, too, and seeing stuff during my down time."

Sweden and Germany are nearby countries, and Denmark has plenty of attractions of its own, including the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen (inspired by Hans Christian Anderson), Kronborg Castle (the setting for "Hamlet" and Lego Land, which includes a mini world made from Lego bricks.
Little Mermaid statue

College was already a cultural experience for Malone given how close Hofstra is to Manhattan, a place she would venture frequently.

"I loved SoHo and the fashion area," says Malone, a marketing major. "I loved seeing the fashion shows and going down there during Fashion Week."

Eventually Malone hopes to work in the fashion industry with marketing or merchandising. She also has her eye on design.

"When you're tall like me, you can't just go into a store and find clothes that fit -- especially jeans and pants," she says. "I'd like to design my own clothes."

Her basketball season, which begins in September and runs through April, will include EuroCup. She's going to soak it all in and is hopeful she'll match up against some of the game's best. The player she loves to watch? Candace Parker.

"When I was in high school I remember watching her play at Tennessee; I was a diehard Tennessee fan then," says Malone, a graduate of Virginia Beach's Kellam High. "I remember going to ODU when Tennessee was in the (NCAA) tournament. I got to meet her, too. I was at dinner for my junior prom and the team was there. I went over and told her I was a huge fan. The restaurant I was at had paper on the table, so I ripped off the paper and got her to sign."

LadySwish has no doubt Malone will be signing plenty of autographs in Denmark, too. She promises to keep us posted on her time in Denmark, and we'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

W&M, JMU mine WCAC for verbal commits

If a player can stand out in the rugged Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, that's pretty much all we need to know - that player must be really good.

So William and Mary and James Madison are no doubt thrilled to have three players from that ultra-rugged league give pledges to the CAA schools. According to All-Star Girls Report, the Tribe received commitments from Marlena Tremba, a high-scoring guard from Paul VI Catholic, and Kasey Curtis, a 6-2 center also from Paul VI. Both players are in the Class of 2013.

JMU is the choice of 2014 guard Chania Ray of St. John's College High.

Tremba, who transferred to St. Paul from South Lakes after her freshman year, averaged about 18 points per game as a junior and teamed with super sophomore Ariana Freeman to lead the Panthers to their sixth straight Virginia Independent Schools state title (It's a testament to the quality of the WCAC that the state champs finished just fourth in the own conference). Tremba splashed seven 3-pointers in the title game, and she knocked down eight bombs in one game earlier in the season. She finished the year as a first-team All-WCAC selection, joining among others Good Counsel guard and Virginia-bound Faith Randolph, the conference player of the year..

Curtis, who averaged about 7 ppg on the loaded Panthers, figures to be groomed to fill the void created by Tribe post standouts Emily Correal and Jaclyn McKenna, soon-to-be four-year starters who will be entering their final season this November.

William and Mary now has three verbal commitments for the Class of 2013. Latrice Hunter, a 5-7 guard who is already the leading scorer in Norfolk Christian history, chose the Tribe in April.

Ray, a 5-9 combo guard who has also earned raves for her defensive ability, was a third-team All-WCAC pick as a sophomore. Her Cadets finished second to Good Counsel in the WCAC.

Star recruit picks Virginia

Highly coveted forward Sydney Umeri, a Top-20 recruit for the Class of 2013 (ESPN) and a member of the 2011 USA Basketball U16 National Team, announced on Twitter today that she has verbally committed to Virginia.

The 6-2 Umeri, an Atlanta native and a rising senior at the Lovett School, is the most acclaimed recruit in Cavaliers coach Joanne Boyle's year-long tenure - and first non-guard. She's also one of the brightest, and a look at her college choices indicates she's just as serious about books as she is about ball. At one point this year she was seriously considering Stanford. Umeri also visited Vanderbilt during spring break and reported chose Virginia over Harvard.

Barring a change of heart between now and the November signing period, Umeri will join Miami combo guard Tiffany Suarez and Forest Park High star Breyana Mason in Virginia's Class of 2013.

VCU's Hurt bound for Israel

Courtney Hurt is back in the game.

VCU's all-time leading scorer and Division I's leading rebounder the last two years has signed with Elizur Netanya in Israel. Richmond's Abby Oliver will be one of her teammates. Former ODU guard Okeisha Howard was also on the roster last season.

Hurt will leave for Netanya, which is about 18 miles north of Tel Aviv, in late September. In addition to being a seaside city, Netanya is the home of paragliding in Israel. Hurt's season will begin on Oct. 15.

"I have never been overseas before, so I am very excited and blessed to have this opportunity," Hurt said. "I don't know much about Israel, but I know that Netanya is located on the Mediterranean Sea, so I will definitely be hanging out on the beach and exploring as much as I can. I've heard there is much to do in Israel, and it's an easy transition for an American, so that's a plus."

Currently Hurt is playing for the Ben Hill Women's Summer League in Atlanta and the Piney Grove Church League, which allows her to compete alongside Ebony Brown (Norfolk State), Kerri Gardin (Virginia Tech) and Quanneisha Perry (Hampton).

"If I'm not playing ball, I'm at LA Fitness, lifting weights or spending time with my family before I leave," Hurt said.

As for her brief time in the WNBA, it only made Hurt hungry. She was drafted in the third round by the Indiana Fever and cut on her fourth day of training camp. Jobs are scarce in the WNBA and almost unheard of in a league that cuts its first-round picks, but the quick release was jarring.

Hurt admits, "Playing in the WNBA was never a dream of mine growing up. I'm just being honest. After being drafted by the WNBA and being invited to the Indiana Fever training camp, it is now. Competing against Tamika Catchings and two experienced overseas players in Erlana Larkins and Jenna Smith for a power forward spot was no easy task. I knew making the team was a long shot, but I still came in with high hopes. When I was cut, I was upset, not entirely because I didn't make the team, but because I felt like I was getting better, and I didn't want to stop. How can you not get better going against the WNBA's MVP?! All in all, it was one of the best experiences in my life, and I hope to get another shot at the league in the future."

LadySwish is hopeful, too. For now, we're excited for Hurt and will keep you posted on her first overseas experience.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Liberty to visit Texas A&M; ODU Las Vegas-bound

Thanks to the just-released Texas A&M non-conference schedule, we now know that Liberty has a date with the powerful Aggies on Nov. 20 in College Station. It will be the Lady Flames' second visit to A&M in three years. On No. 20, 2010, Texas A&M rolled up Liberty 81-49. The 32-point margin of defeat was the Lady Flames' largest in four years. That is, until two nights later, when they lost at Baylor by 39.

Still, it's easy to see why Liberty schedules these trips to Texas. Four Lady Flames - Tolu Omotola, Reagan Miller, Emily Frazier and incoming freshman Sadalia Ellis - all hail from the Lone Star State. But hey, coach Carey Green, Texas has schools that aren't in the Top 25, too, you know?

The game against Liberty will be A&M's fourth of the season, following contests at Louisville and against Penn State and UConn. All are potential Top-10 teams - UConn will almost certainly start out ranked No. 2 - so there's a fair chance the Aggies will be 0-3 and downright ornery when Liberty comes to town.

As for Liberty, the Lady Flames will open the season on Nov. 9 in the 16-team Preseason WNIT, an event that also includes defending CAA champion Delaware. The first-round pairings will be announced next week.

   - Also courtesy of A&M's schedule, Old Dominion will be one of six teams competing in the Duel in the Desert Dec. 19-21 in Las Vegas. The Lady Monarchs will play three games in a field that includes the Aggies, Notre Dame, Kansas State, UNLV and a sixth team still to be determined.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Coyer sisters, Mickens lead West in all-star game

Angela Mickens
Former Oakton stars and soon-to-be Villanova performers Caroline and Katherine Coyer combined for 38 points and JMU-bound Angela Mickens from Lee added 14 as the loaded West squad thrashed the East 98-75 in the VHSCA girls basketball all-star game Monday at Christopher Newport.

   EAST: Alisha Mobley 12, Jazzmin Dabney 11, Lisa Saunders 11, Sierra Leacock 9, Anika Trent 9, Denell Fox 7, Tatyana Calhoun 6, LaQuanda Younger 6, Sara Mead 2, Taiyanah Scott 2.
   WEST: Caroline Coyer 21, Katherine Coyer 17, Angela Mickens 14, Krista Cox 13, Cadence Wilmouth 10, Kemani Crawford 9, Mikal Johnson 6, Chaney Forbush 5, Jessi Strom 3.
   MVPS: East: Jazzmin Dabney. West: Caroline Coyer.

The rosters:


Katie Anderson, 5-10 F, Patrick Henry - Colonial District Player of the Year and a first-team All-Central Region pick. Averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds and led Patrick Henry to a 23-3 record. Scored 1,509 career points, second-most in school history. Will play at Randolph-Macon.

Tatyana Calhoun, 5-9 G/F, Sussex Central - Region A Player of the Year led Sussex to the Division I state title game in 2011 and the D-2 state quarters in 2012. Scored 1,105 points in her career. Will play at UDC.

Jazzmin Dabney, 5-8 G, Highland Springs - Capital District Player of the Year averaged 14 points and 15 rebounds and led Highland Springs to the state semifinals. Will play at Virginia State.

Denell Fox, 5-10 F, Nansemond River - Averaged 13.3 points and 9.7 rebounds for the Warriors and turned in a handful of monster games, most notably a 23-point, 21-rebound effort against city rival Lakeland.

Sierra Leacock, 5-6 G, James Monroe - Transfer from Caroline and an alternative school earned second-team All-Battlefield District honors in her lone season at James Madison, averaging 10.7 ppg and helping the Yellow Jackets advance to the Division 3 state quarterfinals. Will play at Hagerstown Community College for new head coach Vicky Bullett, the former Maryland All-American, Olympic gold medalist and WNBA all-star.

Sara Mead, 5-6 G, Millbrook: Brainy point guard for a team that went 105-3 during her four seasons, won a state title in each of its final three seasons and finished on a state-record 80-game winning streak. Will play for Columbia University.

Alisha Mobley, 6-0 F, Millbrook: A first-team all-region selection and one of three college-bond seniors from the Millbrook juggernaut - along with Sara Mead (Columbia) and Courtni Green (Delaware). Will play for Lenoir-Rhyne.

Chase Raynes, 5-7 G/F, East Rockingham - Group A Division I Player of the Year (VHSCA) first-team all-state pick who led the Eagles to a 30-1 record and the Division I state title in the school's second year of existence.

Lisa Saunders, 5-10 G, Hampton - Former Phoebus star who transferred to Hampton for her final season and averaged 8.3 points for the Lady Crabbers. Will play at Lincoln University.

Taiyanah Scott, 6-0 F/C, Warwick - Ranked second on her team in scoring (behind fellow all-star LaQuanda Younger) with 10.2 ppg. Will play north of the border at St. Mary's University in Nova Scotia.

Anika Trent, 5-8 F, Courtland - First-team all-region pick and her team's only senior who led Courtland to an undefeated season all the way to the state title game, where they finally fell to fellow unbeaten Millbrook. Averged 14.8 points and 8.7 rebounds.

Keyontae Williams, 5-9 G/F, James Monroe - Versatile Region I, Division 3 Player of the Year averaged 20.2 points and 7 rebounds in leading Monroe to the Division 3 state quarterfinals. Signed with Albany University.

LaQuanda Younger, 5-9 G, Warwick. High-scoring guard averaged 22 points last season and finished her career with just a shade under 2,000 (1,936). Will play for Old Dominion.


MaKenzie Cluesman, 5-8 G, Lee. Rebounded from an ACL injury her junior year to average 14.7 points and 2.3 steals as a senior. Finished her career with 1,237 points. Signed to play basketball and golf at Virginia-Wise.

Krista Cox, 5-4 G, Floyd County - Three-year starter at point guard averaged 12 points, 4 assists and 2 steals as a senior. Signed with Virginia Intermont.

Caroline Coyer, 5-10 G, Oakton - Gatorade Player of the Year for Virginia Has already had her jersey retired by Oakton. Combined with her twin sister Katherine to lead Oakton to a 110-5 record in four seasons and the 2012 Division 6 state title. The sisters have both signed with Villanova.

Katherine Coyer, 5-11 G, Oakton - The less-heralded of the twins turned out to be the star of Oakton's emphatic 59-38 rout of defending state champion Princess Anne in the state title game with a game-high 24 points. The victory capped a perfect 31-0 season. Will join sister Caroline at Villanova.

Kemani Crawford, 5-8 F, Robert E. Lee - Will play at Ferrum. Post presence on the senior-dominated Lee squad that captured the Division 3 state title. Notched a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) in the state semifinal victory over Woodbridge. Will play at Ferrum.

Chaney Forbush, 6-0 F, Centreville - Centreville's  leading scorer and a first-team All-Concorde District pick. Scored a school-record 33 points (with 11 rebounds) in a regular-season victory over Freedom. Will play at Lynchburg College.

Te'Shya Heslip, 5-5 G, Potomac. Dynamic point guard averaged 15.8 points and fueled Potomac to a 25-3 record and the program's first Northwest Region title since 1987. Co-Northwest Region Player of the Year (with Forest Park star and Dayton-bound Lexi Carpenter). Signed with Howard University.

Mikal Johnson, 5-8 G, Osbourn. Prolific 3-point shooter and Osbourn's all-time leading scorer (1,417 points). An All-Cedar Run District pick and a second-team All-Northwest Region selection. Signed with Rider University.

Lindsay Martin, 5-7 G/F, Carroll County - Deadly 3-point shooter and all-around force who earned Group AA first-team all-state honors from the VHSCA. Averaged 13.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in leading the Cavaliers to the Group AA, Division 4 state semifinals. Signed with Catawba College.

Angela Mickens, 5-4 G, Robert E. Lee. All-everything guard and Top-100 national recruit (ESPN)who powered Lee to a 44-37 victory over Liberty in the Division 3 state title game by scoring 32 points, assisting on her team's other four field goals and hauling down 10 rebounds. Signed with James Madison.

Jessi Strom, 5-5 G, Glenvar - First-team All-Region C performer who cracked the 1,000-point barrier for her career and led the Highlanders to the Division 2 state semifinals for the first time in 10 years. Scored 25 points in a 62-50 victory over Virginia High in the state quarterfinals.

Cadence Wilmoth, 6-1 C, Patrick Henry. Named VHSCA state player of the year after averaging 24.6 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks and leading the Rebels to the Division 2 state quarterfinals. Had 33 points, 13 rebounds and 7 blocks in her final game, a 61-49 loss to Gate City. Scored more than 2,000 points in her career. Will play for Mars Hill College.