Monday, November 26, 2012

Saunders, Hislop among stars of holiday hoops

Liberty's Devon Brown
All-Turkey Team
The five top players from last week's Thanksgiving holiday hoops extravaganza

Rahneeka Saunders, George Mason: Usually content to defend, run the offense and set up others, Saunders decided to get hers Saturday in Las Cruces, New Mexico and torched Drake for a career-high 33 points, or the same number she'd scored in her previous four games combined. A sign of things to come?

Tarik Hislop, JMU: ESPNW's Player of the Week went for 32 points in the Dukes' remarkable Cancun Challenge overtime victory over Green Bay, then came back two days later and went for 30 in JMU's win over Wichita State. Just as notably, Hislop, a career 33.7 percent shooter entering the season, made 56 percent of her shots in the two games (23 of 41).

Devon Brown, Liberty: In road games at two of the toughest teams in the country, Brown delivered the following numbers: at Texas A&M: 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting; at Baylor: 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting. Oh, and Brown shot 50 percent from 3-point range in the two games and made 8 of 9 free throws.

Genevieve Okoro, Richmond: Went for 12 points and 17 rebounds as the Spiders snapped a three-game losing streak with a 58-46 victory over Minnesota in the Cancun Challenge. The 17 boards were the most by a Richmond player in 10 years (Kate Flavin had 22 rebounds in 2002).

Jazmin Pitts, Virginia: Notched a career-high 20 points in the Cavaliers' 73-66 victory over then-No. 17 Vanderbilt in a satisfying San Juan Shootout opener.

But let's not forget about....

Janine Aldridge, William and Mary: Lit up Austin Peay for five 3-pointers and 22 points on Saturday, and on Sunday became just the 15th Tribe performer to crack the 1,000 career-point barrier in a loss to host Texas-San Antonio.

Robyn Parks
Robyn Parks, VCU: The reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Week notched her third straight double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds in a 24-point victory at Maine. Remember, folks, this is a player who averaged 6.6 points and 3.2 rebounds last season.

Ashley Buckhannon, Radford: Scored a team-high 17 points in a win over Southern Illinois, then led the Highlanders again with 15 points in a strong showing against tournament host Miami - yet somehow failed to make the all-tournament team. Happy to see those honors did go to Radford's Sarah Tabb and Ayana Avery, though.

Sarah Imovbioh, Virginia, The Cavaliers' beast-in-training singed Syracuse for 20 points - the second time she's reached the 20-point plateau in her five-game college career.

Monet Tellier, Virginia Tech: The talented Hokies junior finally caught fire Sunday against George Washington, posting 19 points in a 50-31 victory. Tech's leading scorer last season, Tellier had opened the 2012-13 campaign with just 16 points in her first three games combined.

Rachael Bilney, Richmond - Led the way in Saturday's victory over Wichita State with a season-high 20 points.

Other highlights from the week that was:

Best game
JMU 89, Green Bay 86 (OT). There were 239 Division I games played from last Wednesday through Sunday. It's hard to imagine any of the other 238 being more exciting.

Team of the week
First Radford hung 85 points on Southern Illinois in a 23-point victory. Then the Highlanders played Miami to a 46-46 tie after nearly 30 minutes on the 'Canes' own floor before things got away. The rest of the Big South had better recognize - this is shaping up to be the most dangerous Radford team in years.

- DePaul 68, Hampton 67: The Lady Pirates led by 13 with a little over 9 minutes remaining and never trailed in the second half until Anna Martin's free throw with 3 seconds left.
- Syracuse 74, Virginia 73 - After two Kelsey Wolfe free throws put the Cavs up 73-72, Pitts was whistled for a foul with 0.4 seconds left. Syracuse's Elashier Hall drained both free throws.
- New Mexico State 55, George Mason 52: A Saunders layup got Mason to within two with 1:01 to play, but the Patriots missed their final two shots and were unable to get off a third in the final 10 seconds.

Whatever happened to....
After starring in Richmond's first two games, Okoro did not play in Saturday's 79-48 loss to Green Bay. (Update: Okoro tore an ACL in Friday's victory over Wichita State and is out for the season)...Hampton's Alyssa Bennett (11.2 points, 5.8 rebounds) also did not appear in the Lady Pirates' 70-59 loss to Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday. It was the second time in less than a week Bennett was out of the lineup. She also sat out Hampton's 87-35 home victory over Chicago State on Nov. 18. (Update: According to the Virgin Island Daily News Bennett suffered a broken toe on Nov. 16 against LSU and has been trying to play through the pain). Also from Hampton, center Verdine Warner has missed the Lady Pirates' last four games. The junior college transfer posted 17 points, 18 rebounds and 4 blocks in Hampton's season opener but saw just 24 combined minutes in HU's next two games...JMU played all three of its Cancun Challenge games without sophomore forward Toia Giggetts, who was held out after she sustained a concussion...Norfolk State continues to be without starting guard Rae Corbo, who suffered an ACL injury on Nov. 15 against South Carolina-Upstate and is out for the season.


  1. FYI: Knee injury shelves UR's Okoro for remainder of season (

  2. Thanks. We posted it on our Facebook page yesterday. Extremely sad news.