Saturday, November 9, 2013

JMU's Burkholder heads up Friday's standouts

Player of the night

Kirby Burkholder, JMU - The Preseason Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year flat-out went off on Virginia with 24 points and 16 rebounds in the Dukes' 63-46 pummeling of the Cavaliers Friday night at a raucous Convocation Center in Harrisonburg. The performance also allowed Burkholder to poke her head over the 1,000 career-point barrier (1,019). And on a personal note, it helped make us look good in our preseason rankings - for a change.

Special shoutouts

Olivia Healy, Richmond: The Spiders freshman reacted to her college debut as though she were still hoopin' at Reading (Mass.) High School (Go Red Sox!) while lighting up Georgetown for 17 points and 10 rebounds. Welcome to the big time, Liv.

Emily Frazier, Liberty: Her team didn't win, but the fact that Frazier was able to start, log 29 minutes and dish out a team-high four assists after suffering a season-ending knee injury last February made her personal battle a real triumph.

Raven Williams, Longwood: The Lancers sophomore poured in a career-high 20 points in a 63-46 loss at Seton Hall. Quote the Raven, indeed.

Kristina King, Richmond: Double-K narrowly missed a double-double but still checked in with a robust 21 points, 9 rebounds and 5 steals at Georgetown.

Faith Randolph, Virginia: About the only Cavalier that could get anything to fall in Harrisonburg, Randolph finished with 18 points, one shy of her career high.

Quineisha Leonard, Norfolk State: Notched 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Spartans fought the good fight before falling by six at Morehead State. Also, welcome back, Rae Corbo (17 points in her first action since tearing an ACL in the second game of the 2012-13 season).

By the numbers

Brick city: Friday night's losing teams' shooting percentages

Richmond - 31 percent
Norfolk State - 30 percent
Virginia - 28.3 percent
Longwood - 24.1 percent

We're sensing a pattern here. Even victorious JMU did its share of misfiring, as the emphatic nature of the Dukes' victory masked the fact that the winners shot a measly 33.9 percent. Then again, when you dominate the boards (49-26) and rack up a 26-8 advantage in second-chance points, 33.9 percent ain't all that measly.

By the way, while the game highlighted how little margin for error undersized Virginia has to be competitive on the boards against a team with JMU's length, skill and want-to, we're confident the Cavaliers will regroup and recover from Friday's debacle - just like JMU did after getting whipped by 21 in Charlottesville to open the 2012-13 season.

To be fair, one team was reasonably accurate from the field as Liberty fell despite 44.7 percent shooting. Problem was the Lady Flames offset this with 30 turnovers, which Charlotte turned into 28 points. It marked the third time in four years Liberty opened a season in defeat after a 30-plus turnovers effort:

2010 - 30 turnovers in a 40-35 loss to Creighton
2012 - 35 turnovers in a 63-46 loss at Duquesne
2013 - 30 turnovers in a 66-56 loss at Charlotte

The good news is it can only get better from here...right?

Finally, while it's pretty cool that 5-foot-3 Daeisha Brown grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds for Longwood, the fact that the smallest player in the building collected the lion's share of the boards helps explain why the Lancers got killed on the glass 64-36. Of course, the best way to keep opponents off the glass - make more shots.

Saturday's games

Delaware State at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.

VCU at Youngstown State, 2:05 p.m.

Howard at Virginia Tech, 3 p.m.

Emory and Henry at Radford, 6 p.m.

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