Thursday, March 28, 2013

WNIT: Could JMU meet Drexel again?

Hey, JMU fans, want another crack at the team that knocked your Dukes out of the CAA Tournament the past two years, those pesky Drexel Dragons?


Now there's still a lot of WNIT basketball to be played before such a rematch could go down. But if both teams keep winning, we could be looking at an all-CAA - or what's left of the CAA - semifinal about a week from now.

On Wednesday, the Dukes stormed into the WNIT quarterfinals by thumping Fordham 77-61. On Thursday, the Dragons will try to book its spot in the final eight at Bowling Green. If Drexel wins, the Dragons will face Auburn, again most likely on the road, with a semifinal berth at stake. Meanwhile, JMU will host Florida for a spot in the semis.

No easy tasks for either team, for sure. But if they both get through,, we're looking at a JMU-Drexel Final Four matchup, which would obviously be great news for a CAA that could really use some these days.

Not sure how excited the Dukes will be about it, though. It's not that JMU can't beat Drexel. It's just that bad things tend to happen to the Dukes, particularly on offense, when they're on the court with these Dragons.

Consider that in the past two seasons, JMU has lost five games by 16 points or more. Three of those losses have come to Drexel. Two years ago, the Dragons held JMU to just 43 points, the Dukes' lowest point total in three seasons. This season, JMU's two lowest point totals (34, 46) have come against Drexel, and the 34 points they produced in the CAA semifinals represented their most meager single-game output in coach Kenny Brooks' 11 seasons.

The fact that JMU has beaten Drexel twice over this span proves the Dukes aren't necessarily doomed to another defeat. But Drexel strangling the points out of a JMU team has happened too many times for our tastes. We have a lot of faith in Brooks so we're sure he'll figure it out eventually. But as far as this WNIT run goes, if the Dukes get past Florida - a tough assignment, no doubt - we'd just as soon see them play someone else.

Margin of defeat in JMU's losses the last two seasons

21 – at Virginia (78-57), Nov. 9, 2012
18 – vs. Minnesota (Cancun Challenge, 80-62), Nov. 23, 2012
17 – Drexel (home, 60-43), Jan. 12, 2012
17 – vs. Drexel (CAA Tournament), 67-50, March 10, 2012
16 – vs. Drexel (CAA Tournament) 50-34, March 16, 2013
12 – Liberty (60-48), Dec. 4, 2012
11 – at Northeastern (61-50), Feb. 19, 2012
8 – vs. Richmond (neutral site, 74-66), Dec. 29, 2011
7 – at Towson (65-58), Dec. 4, 2011
7 – Delaware (home, 72-65), Jan. 29, 2012
7 – at Oklahoma State (WNIT final, 72-65), March 31, 2012
7 – Delaware (71-64), Feb. 10, 2013
6 – at Virginia (59-53), Dec. 20, 2011
5 – at Duquesne (62-57), Dec. 16, 2012
5 – Quinnipiac (65-60), Nov. 11, 2012
4 – Richmond (70-66), Dec. 12, 2012
2 – Drexel (48-46), Jan. 10, 2013
1 – Delaware (61-60), Feb. 24, 2013

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