Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year from LadySwish!

Wishing all our players, coaches, SIDs, fans and readers a Happy 2015!

Two-minute drill with Richmond's Janelle Hubbard

We got our first request for two-minute drill and it's Richmond's Janelle Hubbard, who was kind enough to accommodate. She's close with Mom (who's pleased with the back-to-brunette hair color, gives a shout out to her BFF in Nigeria and tells us who the funniest Spider is.

See also:

Two-minute drill: Richmond's Gen Okoro
Two-minute drill: Liberty's Karly Buer
Two-minute drill: Longwood's Treasure Avery
Two-minute drill: Richmond's Liv Healy
Two-minute drill: Norfolk State's Rae Corbo

Wanna nominate someone for Two-minute drill? Email us at or tweet us @ladyswish

Monday, December 29, 2014

Hey, Virginia, stuff happens

Hey, the Davidson kids are on scholarship, too.

And when scholarship kids with good coaching catch fire, watch out. It hadn't happened a lot for these Wildcats, who packed a six-game losing streak for their weekend trip to Charlottesville. But it all came together Sunday, when Davidson sprinted off on a 29-4 run and stunned Virginia 67-57 at John Paul Jones Arena.

So let's start by giving credit where it's due - to the winners, particularly junior forward Hannah Early, who went off for 24 points - one shy of her career high - and nailed six of the Wildcats' 11 3-pointers.

As for Virginia, this wasn't about coming out flat and "not being ready to play." The Cavaliers were up 14 with less than four minutes to go in the first half. No, Virginia was ready to play. Virginia just got beat.

Now we'd be lying if we said we saw this coming. But for anyone that saw the Cavaliers' previous game against Howard, Sunday's result can't be totally shocking. The final score (74-53) against the Bison masked the fact that Virginia got away with doing a lot of things (25 turnovers) that typically get you beat.

Howard didn't have the weaponry to exploit the Cavaliers' mistakes. Davidson did.

Look, this isn't about what Virginia used to be, or what Virginia should be. It's about what Virginia is right now, and that's a promising group heavily dependent on first- and second-year players trying to learn how to collectively max out.

One look at Virginia's non-conference schedule - heavily weighted with home games against rebuilding/mid-tier foes - was coach Joanne Boyle's signal to the masses that she knew this was going to take time. So Cavaliers fans have spent November and December watching the sausage get made. And as we all know, that ain't always pretty.

Also - and this can't be overlooked - the fact that Boyle was away for 16 days during her adoption journey could not have helped. Now, Virginia has a crack staff of assistants, and that Twitter picture of Boyle and her new daughter brings tears of joy to our eyes every time we look at it. We could not be more happy for the two of them.

But in pure building-a-basketball-team terms, the Cavaliers had to have missed their leader.

That said, nothing that can't be overcome occurred with the loss to Davidson. In fact, it might actually speed the team's maturation process. I mean, it's one thing to acknowledge mistakes after a 21-point victory. It's another thing entirely to recognize them from the loser's locker room after a game many expected you to win going away.

Since we like to keep things on the optimistic tip here at LadySwish, that's the theory we're rolling with. So as strange as it may seem, we're actually more bullish on these Cavaliers today than we were heading into the Christmas break.

Prove us right, Cavaliers.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Scenes from Richmond at William and Mary

Scenes from William and Mary's game vs. Richmond: left, former W&M star Emily Correal, in town with her parents from Pennsylvania. Top: Coach Ed Swanson's nieces Gabrielle Fay-O'Hara and Kathryn Tolla and friend Jessica Manchak; bottom: the Charlotte Park neighborhood in Williamsburg shows off its support of the Tribe. The Spiders won 59-56.

A personal hello from William and Mary's Emily Correal

Great to see professional baller Emily Correal at William and Mary on Sunday taking in her alma mater's game against Richmond. Correal plays in Italy and is a member of the Italian National Team.

Two-minute drill: Liberty's Karly Buer

Karly Buer landed at Liberty this season after graduating from Missouri State. With one year of eligibility left, she wanted to pursue her master's in outdoor adventure sport -- a program Liberty offers and Missouri State does not. Get to know Karly and what's behind her unusual major, and she'll also give you tips for fun in her hometown Concordia, Kansas, in our latest two-minute drill.

See also:

Two-minute drill: Richmond's Gen Okoro
Two-minute drill: Longwood's Treasure Avery
Two-minute drill: Richmond's Liv Healy
Two-minute drill: Norfolk State's Rae Corbo

Wanna nominate a player for Two-minute drill? Email us at or tweet us @LadySwish.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

James Madison, Virginia, Liberty, Richmond atop LadySwish rankings

A look at the state's best teams as we approach the holiday break.

1. James Madison (9-1)

Never mind the AP voters, who still have Stanford sitting at No. 15 even though the Cardinal was beaten soundly by an "unranked" Chattanooga team. We know that JMU is nothing short of a Top 25 team, and the Dukes remain atop the LadySwish rankings.

2. Virginia (9-2)

We're not sold on the Cavs thriving in the ACC just yet, but the three freshmen led by Mikayla Venson, continue to impress as does veteran Faith Randolph. UVa., should close out the nonconference with an 11-2 mark given upcoming games in their own holiday tournament featuring Davidson and Drexel. Then the real test begins.

3. Liberty (6-5)

Three straight losses have taken the pretty out of the Lady Flames' record. One of the losses was to unbeaten and top-ranked South Carolina, a team we're convinced is up to the UConn challenge given our up-close look at them against Hampton last week. Wish Liberty had eeked out another for the win column over NC State. Big South play awaits, and we think Liberty will be fine, thank you.

4. Richmond (6-4)

Three straight wins for the Spiders means good tidings as Richmond heads into the holiday break. We look forward to seeing them up close on Dec. 28 at William and Mary.

5. Hampton (3-7)

Lady Pirates, we don't know what to do with you. We follow the philosophy that this is a weekly (OK, most times weekly) poll, and Hampton very well might be among the top three teams in the state. Playing the toughest schedule in the nation doesn't inflate your record, but what it does do is suddenly make the MEAC look manageable, inviting and winnable for the sixth year in a row.

6. Old Dominion (7-3)

Unlike Hampton, the record looks nice, but what does it mean? Like Hampton, we're going to find out with CUSA around the corner, but first a Dec. 29 date with a Cal team that just fell out of the AP rankings.

7. George Mason (8-4)

Three wins in four days leaves us feeling good about the new year for the Patriots, who wrap up the nonconference slate with Towson on Dec. 30.

8. Virginia Tech (8-4)

The Hokies have strung together four wins against Longwood, North Carolina Central, Western Carolina and Radford, and freshman Rachel Camp is a proven offensive threat, but like Virginia, like ODU, the real test is conference. A Dec. 30 date with Hofstra, which has  a win streak of its own of four, tunes these Hokies up for a loaded ACC.

9. William and Mary (6-4)

Lump of coal is all we have to say about that late trey from Maine that ruined the Tribe's chances for seven wins before the break. Richmond beware: These Tribe aren't the Tribe of Christmas past.

10. VCU (8-4)

Three nice wins followed the Rams lethargic performance at ODU, and a pair of MEAC foes await before daunting Atlantic 10 play.

11. Radford (3-8)

Disappointing losses to West Virginia State and Virginia Tech leave the Highlanders looking for consistency with Big South play awaiting.

12. Norfolk State (2-7)

The two-point loss to Marshall still stings, but NSU has to be feeling good about Rae Corbo, MEAC Player of the Week for the second straight time this week.

13. Longwood (0-11)

The new year can't get here fast enough for the winless Lancers.

Monday, December 22, 2014

RPI numbers and other fun stuff

It's still a bit early to take RPI numbers to the bank, but here's how Virginia's Division I teams stand through games of Dec. 21 according to official NCAA statistics:

JMU (9-1) 

RPI: 7

Non-conference schedule strength: 35

Home: 5-0; Road: 3-0; Neutral: 1-1

Opponents' combined record: 60-46

Opponents at .500 or better: 6 of 10

Best RPI win: home vs. Pittsburgh (8-3, RPI 23)

Worst (only) RPI loss: neutral site vs. Maryland (9-2, RPI 41)

Hampton  (3-7, 1-0 MEAC)

RPI: 57

Non-conference schedule strength: 1

Home: 1-2; Road: 2-5; Neutral: 0-0

Opponents' combined record: 76-26 (74-16 vs. non-conference foes)

Opponents at .500 or better: 9 of 10

Best RPI win: at Penn (4-4, RPI 122)

Worst RPI loss: at Kansas State (8-1, RPI 80)

Virginia (9-2)

RPI: 89

Non-conference schedule strength: 251

Home: 7-0; Road: 2-1; Neutral: 0-1

Opponents' combined record: 51-67

Opponents at .500 or better: 6 of 11

Best RPI win: home vs. Ohio State (7-4, RPI 50)

Worst RPI loss: neutral site vs. Toledo (6-4, RPI 64)

Old Dominion (7-3)

RPI: 93

Non-conference schedule strength: 119

Home: 4-2; Road: 1-1; Neutral: 2-0

Opponents' combined record: 60-50

Opponents at .500 or better: 7 of 10

Best RPI win:  home vs. VCU (7-4, RPI 113)

Worst RPI loss: home vs. Rider (3-8, RPI 287)

Liberty (6-5, 2-0 Big South) 

RPI: 108

Non-conference schedule strength: 57

Home: 3-1; Road: 2-3; Neutral: 1-1

Opponents' combined record: 66-53
   (last 3 opponents, N.C. State, Minnesota and South Carolina, are a combined 33-4)

Opponents at .500 or better: 6 of 10

Best RPI win; home vs. VCU (7-4, RPI 113)

Worst RPI loss: home vs. Charlotte (4-7, RPI 208)

VCU (7-4)

RPI: 113

Non-conference schedule strength: 221

Home: 5-0; Road: 2-4; Neutral: 0-0

Opponents' combined record: 58-61

Opponents at .500 or better: 7 of 11

Best RPI win: home vs. Texas-Pan American (7-7, RPI 143)

Worst RPI loss: at William and Mary (6-4, RPI 162)

Richmond (6-4)

RPI: 160

Non-conference schedule strength: 258

Home: 4-1; Road: 2-1; Neutral: 0-2

Opponents' combined record: 47-66

Opponents at .500 or better: 4 of 10

Best RPI win: at Eastern Kentucky (5-5, RPI 177)

Worst RPI loss: neutral site vs. Central Michigan (4-5, RPI 96)

William and Mary (6-4)

RPI: 162

Non-conference schedule strength: 263

Home: 3-1; Road: 3-3; Neutral: 0-0

Opponents' combined record: 51-59

Opponents at .500 or better: 6 of 10

Best RPI win: home vs. VCU (7-4, RPI 113)

Worst RPI loss: at N.C. A&T (7-5, RPI 221)

Virginia Tech (8-4)

RPI: 180

Non-conference schedule strength: 263

Home: 7-2; Road: 1-2; Neutral: 0-0

Opponents' combined record: 60-71

Opponents at .500 or better: 6 of 12

Best RPI win: home vs. East Tennessee State (7-6, RPI 132)

Worst RPI loss: at George Mason (7-4, RPI 263)

Radford (3-8, 0-2 Big South)

RPI: 231

Non-conference schedule strength: 87

Home: 2-5; Road: 1-3;  Neutral: 0-0

Opponents' combined record: 66-47

Opponents at .500 or better: 8 of 11

Best RPI win: at Appalachian State (4-4, RPI 118)

Worst RPI loss: home vs. Coastal Carolina (7-3, RPI 279)

Worst overall loss: home vs. Division II West Virginia State (3-5)

George Mason (7-4)

RPI: 263

Non-conference schedule strength: 346

Home: 3-2; Road: 1-1; Neutral: 3-1

Opponents' combined record: 46-68

Opponents at .500 or better: 5 of 11

Best RPI win: Neutral site vs. Winthrop (5-5, RPI 135)

Worst RPI loss: at Navy (6-5, RPI 286)

Norfolk State (2-7, 1-0 MEAC)

RPI: 314

Non-conference schedule strength: 225

Home: 1-3; Road: 1-3; Neutral: 0-1

Opponents' combined record: 46-51

Opponents at .500 or better: 4 of 9

Best RPI win: at Tennessee State (3-7, RPI 248)

Worst RPI loss: at Radford (3-8, RPI 231)

Longwood (0-10, 0-2)

RPI: 328

Non-conference schedule strength: 87

Home: 0-2; Road: 0-8; Neutral: 0-0

Opponents' combined record: 64-48

Opponents at .500 or better: 8 of 10

Best RPI loss: at Virginia (9-2, RPI 89)

Worst RPI loss: home vs. UNC Asheville (3-8, RPI 343)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Two-minute drill: Richmond's Gen Okoro

What's in her name? Richmond's Genevieve Okoro tells us along with her thoughts on becoming a doctor, what coach Michael Shafer repeats all the time and why she's not over the top about the new Harry Potter book.

Also see:
Two-minute drill: Longwood's Treasure Avery
Two-minute drill: Richmond's Liv Healy
Two-minute drill: Norfolk State's Rae Corbo

Wanna nominate someone for two-minute drill? Tweet us at @LadySwish or email us at

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hampton visits JMU again

The date - November 12, 2010 - doesn't just mark the last time Hampton and JMU met. It was also the date the reputation of the modern-day Lady Pirates was born.

The previous year, David Six's first in charge, had ended with the Lady Pirates hoisting a MEAC title. But that team did nothing special out of conference and was crushed at Duke (71-37) in the first round of the NCAAs.

So when the 2010-11 season opened with the Lady Pirates visited defending CAA champion JMU - featuring CAA Player of the Year Dawn Evans and a host of other talented returners - few had reason to suspect Hampton would keep up.

Then the teams tipped off, and the Lady Pirates opened eyes everywhere by engineering a stunning 69-64 win in a Preseason WNIT first rounder.

The loss hardly crippled JMU, which went on to claim its second straight CAA title. But it was clearly a sign of things to come for the Lady Pirates, who have obliterated the tag of "just another MEAC team" with a series of quality non-league wins ever since.

Can they pull off another one Saturday? Well, we stopped betting against the Lady Pirates a long time ago. That said, in five-plus years of giant-killing we're not sure they've toppled a team as strong as this year's Dukes.

Frankly, we don't see it happening for Hampton in Harrisonburg today. Just remember that we didn't see it happening four years ago, either.

Today's schedule

Hampton at JMU, 2 p.m.
The Lady Pirates (3-6) continue their mega-tough schedule. A big key for Hampton will be finding a way to at least stay competitive on the boards. On Tuesday, the Lady Pirates were out-rebounded 48-21 by No. 1 South Carolina, and these Dukes actually clean the glass just as well, if not better, than those Gamecocks. High-flying JMU has won four straight this season, is riding a 14-game winning streak at home and has taken 13 straight against in-state opponents.

George Mason vs. Louisiana-Monroe, 1:05 p.m.
Second of two games in the Wichita State Winter Classic. On Friday, the Patriots got 26 points from Taylor Brown (ho-hum) and a strong defensive effort (really? wow!) in a 69-57 victory over Winthrop. Seriously, these Patriots can score with just about anyone. If they can get defensive efforts to match, watch out.

Norfolk State at East Carolina, 2 p.m.
The Spartans (2-6) look to rebound from Tuesday's heartbreaking 73-71 home loss to Marshall The defeat spoiled a monster effort from guard Rae Corbo, who poured in a program Division I-record 37 points. The Pirates (8-2) average 7.1 blocks per game (tied with West Virginia for No. 1 in Division I) led by forward Ondrea Shaw, a one-time George Mason recruit who swatted away 10 in ECU's 82-33 rout of Loyola (Md.) on Dec. 9. East Carolina spanked NSU 81-61 when these teams met in Norfolk last season.

Liberty at Minnesota in Gophers' Subway Classic, 3:30 p.m.
The first of two heavyweight opponents for the Lady Flames (6-3), who will conclude play in this event against No. 1 South Carolina on Sunday. The Gophers (9-1) are led by a pair of familiar faces in first-year head coach Marlene Stollings (formerly of VCU) and forward Shae Kelley, who starred at Old Dominion before transferring to Minnesota for her final season of eligibility. Kelley is averaging a team-leading 16.6 points and 8.8 rebounds.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday in the hands of Hampton's Keiara Avant.

The Lady Pirates will be going for a sixth straight MEAC championship this season. Keiara Avant, the 2013 MEAC Player of the Year, shows off her rings on #Throwback Thursday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

LadySwish: One-on-one with Dawn Staley

She's all South Carolina now, but Virginia is still special to Dawn Staley, whose No. 1 Gamecocks beat Hampton 69-49 on Wednesday. LadySwish talked with Staley about her Virginia ties, Debbie Ryan, the women's game and by the way, Dawn, will you ever play in Charlottesville?

Welcome home, Dawn

Two and a half hours south from where she played out one of the most storied careers in the game, Dawn Staley returns, and the three-time Olympic gold medalist is bringing the No. 1 team in the nation with her.

Top-ranked South Carolina (9-0) meets Hampton (3-5) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Pirates gym.

Staley -- as decorated an athlete the University of Virginia has ever produced -- says she and Lady Pirates coach David Six "talked a few years ago when we played in the Virgin Islands and ever since then, we've been trying to find a date that works for both of us."

Hosting the best in the nation is an impressive feat for NCAA Tournament regular Hampton; just ask Kenny Brooks how difficult it is to get the best in the game to play at your house. Staley remembers what it's like from her days coaching Temple, where she elevated the Owls program to unprecedented heights. That would be six NCAA Tournament appearances, a conference title and  a first-ever national ranking.

"When I was at Temple, nobody really gave us the opportunity to play, I mean a high level basketball team," Staley said. "It goes back to being good for women's basketball to come here and play."

It's good for the Gamecocks, too, Staley noted, given the elite program Six has built at Hampton. The five-time MEAC champs earned a No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, and while this year's team lacks the experience of many of his former ones, Six didn't back down in the schedule department. Lots of coaches like to tout their nonconference slate as tough; the numbers back up Six any time he chooses to brag.

"It's a great game as far as RPI for us; they're a team that always goes to the NCAA Tournament," Staley said. "Some of his teams remind me of the ones I had at Temple. They're a dangerous team for us to play."

Speaking of dangerous . . . South Carolina has six wins by 20 points or more and a victory over Duke in Durham. The Gamecocks rank eighth in the nation in field goal percentage with an SEC-best mark of .492. The accuracy is not the product of one hot hand, but instead five Gamecocks shoot at least 50.0 percent from the field. Four South Carolina are on the Naismith Watch List of 50, and one of them, A'ja Wilso,n is the lone freshman to receive the honor. Fittingly, the team's motto is "One."

Staley is in her seventh season as head coach and says it's been a process to get here. "You've got to have a vision for your program and then you have to paint the picture of that vision by having players who believe in your vision, and that's what we've done well -- in our state of South Carolina and by having some of the best players in the country. You have to be in a conference where you get to measure yourself each and every game and get challenged. Once all that comes together, if you're successful, if you're lucky enough to be successful enough to win more basketball games than lose them, you can wind up where we are."

Every year South Carolina gets better under Staley. Holding the No. 1 spot in the AP poll since Nov. 24 is another milestone.

"We're right there where we envisioned," she said. "We've always been a blue collar basketball team. We built our reputation on playing hard defensively. Now we've got some talent that can play just as well on the other side of the ball. When it comes down to having success, you've got to have players who make plays. We've got some players who can help us make plays in multiple positions. You can't just have one. You've got to have them in multiple positions to have ones who create an advantage on both sides of the ball."

As for coming home, don't think Staley hasn't thought about it, even though Charlottesville is a good hike up I-64.

"It's always great to come back to a play where you had a lot of success," she said. "The state of Virginia has been tremendous for me and my career and to come back, it does bring back a little memory. But that was a long time ago and we're hoping to create that same success (Wednesday) night."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

JMU's Perez debuts in style

I've never met or spoken to Ashley Perez. Never seen her pound out a single dribble.

But for one day - Dec. 15, 2014 - Ashley Perez was my favorite player.

That was the day Perez, a 5-8 junior guard who transferred from St. John's at last year's semester break, was finally able to take the court as a full-fledged JMU Duke.

Now we'll spare you the rant, but suffice to say I'm not big on the NCAA rule that mandates athletes sit out a year after transferring - especially in a world where coaches change teams, and for a while there teams were changing conferences, the way some people change underwear (although if we're being honest, I'm glad I'm not married to one of those people).

Besides, as a former Division I athlete (tennis, anyone?), I know what that time in athletic purgatory is like.

Perez's debut played out in Athens, Ohio, and in a perfect world, it would have ended with her hitting the game-winning 3 or some such heroic. Of course, women's basketball games don't go according to script (except maybe at UConn). But in this case, real life turned out pretty well, too.

To paraphrase former Georgia Tech/NBA star Kenny Anderson, looks like there's another horse in Kenny Brooks' stable.

 Welcome to JMU Nation, Ashley.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The few, the proud, the Lady Pirates

We liken playing for Hampton coach David Six to joining the Marines - not everyone can handle the demands, but those who can wind up part of something special.

Take the Lady Pirates' 2014-15 non-conference schedule...please. I mean, it's brutal. And don't just take our word for it. According to official NCAA accounting, so far it's been the toughest Division I non-conference slate in the country.

And guess what? It's about to get even tougher.

On Wednesday, the Lady Pirates (3-5) will host the No. 1 team in the nation, South Carolina (9-0). Three days later they'll travel to JMU, a Top-25 team to just about everyone that doesn't have a poll vote. And two days after that they'll visit No. 25 DePaul, which last week came within two missed free throws in the final seconds of knocking off Notre Dame.

Oh, and the Lady Pirates' non-conference finale will be on Jan. 5 against Princeton, which is 10-0 now and a pretty good bet to be 15-0 by the time the Tigers show up in Hampton.

Those four games spread out over the nearly two-month non-conference window would be plenty tough enough. That they come on top of the seven-game gauntlet Hampton's already run makes the whole thing one of the more challenging schedules we've seen in years.

Consider that the seven teams Hampton has played so far - Northwestern, Quinnipiac, Kansas State, Lehigh, Washington State, Penn and Richmond - are a combined 42-12. Northwestern and Lehigh are still undefeated. The "weakest" team in the bunch might be Richmond (4-4), which just knocked off Wake Forest.

Virtually every team lines up 1-3 games they're pretty sure they'll win, even if they have to reach outside of Division I to do so. Evidently that memo never reached Six's desk, as there's nothing close to a soft touch on Hampton's schedule.

Adding to the degree of difficulty is the fact that six of the seven games were on the road, with two of those on consecutive nights at Penn and at Richmond. Remarkably, Hampton won both and was the fresher team in the second half each time.

Now Six didn't set that up on purpose; he said a tournament Hampton had entered got canceled. But he didn't shy away from the challenge, either. And the fact the Lady Pirates were able to sweep both ends of that unique doubleheader suggests that for this particular program, such kamikaze scheduling isn't just brutal, but also brutally effective.

You see, there's a method behind Six's scheduling madness, a whatever-doesn't-kill-us-makes-us-stronger factor that no doubt has helped fuel five-time MEAC champion Hampton's Division I-best 50-game winning streak against conference foes. Because while this year's schedule might be a bit extreme, Hampton has been seeking out non-conference challenges - and winning their share of them - ever since Six took over.

Two years ago, for example, the Lady Pirates beat Mississippi State and LSU, lost to DePaul by one point and South Carolina by 11.

Because of heavy graduation losses and several players adapting to new roles, this year's HU edition was probably less-equipped than most Hampton squads for such sink-or-swim scheduling. So it wasn't exactly shocking when the Lady Pirates sank like a stone in blowout season-opening losses at Northwestern (by 26 points), at Quinnipiac (by 28) and at Kansas State (by 20).

But Six said he finally began recognizing his own team, particularly defensively, in a 14-point loss to Washington State, a game the Lady Pirates tied up midway through the second half before Cougars star Tia Presley (36 points) went nuts. The next time out, the Lady Pirates were giving Lehigh what-for in the second half until foul trouble caught up with them.

Finally, vintage Hampton surfaced on Dec. 5 at Penn, where the Lady Pirates held the Quakers to just 12 second-half points. The following night, they limited Richmond to 36-percent shooting in the second half and turned a one-point halftime deficit into an 11-point win.

Two nights later, the Lady Pirates returned home and spanked conference foe Morgan State by 20 for their third victory in four nights (in three different cities).

Hampton will take this three-game winning streak, along with fresh legs and renewed confidence into battle Wednesday. Of course, they'll need a lot more than confidence to even stay connected to Dawn Staley's Gamecocks. For while the Lady Pirates are just finding their defensive chops, South Carolina has been employing next-level defense all season. Opponents are shooting just 33.1 percent against the Gamecocks, and six of their last eight opponents have scored 50 points or fewer. Two weeks ago, North Carolina Central, Hampton's MEAC comrade, produced only 26.

Of course, North Carolina Central is no Hampton.

Besides, it's not like these guys haven't seen tough teams before.

ODU bids for signature win at Louisville

It's will be an extremely tall task, but if Old Dominion can knock off No. 10 Louisville tonight, it would be the Lady Monarchs' biggest win in years, and certainly the most notable of the Karen Barefoot era.

By far.

It's too early to judge the quality of the non-conference opponents ODU (5-2) has played this season. But we can evaluate the Lady Monarchs' victims over Barefoot's first three seasons, and over that span ODU didn't beat anyone even close to the caliber of these Cardinals (8-1).

In fact, of the 20 non-conference victories the Lady Monarchs compiled in their first three seasons under Barefoot, only two came against teams that finished with a winning record - last year's WNIT first rounder against Navy (24-8), and a 2012-13 decision over South Carolina State (20-9).

One other non-conference win, in 2011-12 vs. North Carolina A&T (15-16), came against a team that finished close to .500. ODU's other 17 non-league victims all finished at least five games below the break-even mark.

Furthermore, the Navy, South Carolina State and N.C. A&T victories all came at the Constant Center. ODU's "best" non-conference road win the past three seasons was probably a 2012-13 decision at a Virginia Tech team that finished 10-20.

In fairness to the Lady Monarchs, they haven't exactly had a ton of opportunities for quality non-conference wins. Barefoot's scheduling style appears to favor building a team's confidence with a healthy dose of home games against manageable opponents. And it seemed to work last season, when the Lady Monarchs caught fire in mid-February and played their best ball down the stretch.

Since being in top form come March is the goal of every team, it's hard to knock this approach. Still, Old Dominion teams were once famous for knocking off a contender or two before Christmas, too.

Tonight, let's see if these Lady Monarchs can take their best shot.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Two-minute drill: Longwood's Treasure Avery

While we love the name Treasure, we promise we won't call Longwood's T. Avery Treasure. She talks about cow tipping back at home in Lincolnton, N.C. and her favorite WNBA player (hint, coach Wanisha Smith, you'll be proud!).

Also see:
Two-minute drill: Richmond's Liv Healy

Two-minute drill: Norfolk State's Rae Corbo

Wanna nominate someone from your team for two-minute drill? Tweet us @ladyswish or email us at

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hey, whatever happened to....?

Shae Kelley
A look at how some of the recent transfers from Virginia Division I programs are performing since they've moved on:

Shae Kelley
Starting forward, Minnesota (9-1)
   - With Wednesday's season-ending injury to Minnesota star/leading scorer Rachel Banham, the versatile former Old Dominion star is about to go from missing link to alpha-dog in the Gophers' bid to remain on track for Big Ten/NCAA glory. So far it's been a seamless transition for Kelley, who has already nabbed a Big Ten Player of the Week nod and through 10 games is averaging similar numbers (16.8, 8.8 rpg) to the ones she put up at ODU. Of course, those stats came while serving as Robin to Banham's Batman. One of the reasons Kelley left the Lady Monarchs was to find a brighter spotlight for her talents. With the Gophers' go-to scorer now lost for the season, Kelley certainly has that now.

Verdine Warner 
Starting center, Shaw (5-3)
A 6-4 center who mixed glimpses of greatness with bouts of inconsistency during her lone season at Hampton, Warner is producing monster numbers across the board for this Division II power - 24.6 ppg on 65 percent shooting and 12.5 rebounds.

LaTorri Hines-Allen
Starting forward, Towson (3-6)
The one-time Virginia Tech post player and currently the Tigers' leading scorer and rebounder (17.9 ppg, 10.0 rpg)), Hines-Allen has scored at least 21 points in three of her last four games, including a 21-points, 8-rebound effort Sunday against Maryland.

Brittni Montgomery
Starting forward, UCF (4-4)
Another former Virginia Tech performer, Montgomery is the Knights' leading rebounder (6.3 rpg) and had a career-high 22 points with 10 boards on Nov. 19 against Stetson.

Raeshaun Gaffney 
Starting guard, Xavier (6-3)
Gaffney, who began her career at Virginia, ranks second among Musketeers in scoring (9.9 ppg). Scored a team-high 15 points when Virginia visited on Nov. 20. The Cavaliers prevailed 71-62.

Kaneisha Atwater
Starting guard, Florida Gulf Coast (7-2)
A former Parade All-American who spent a year at VCU, Atwater set an FGCU Division I record with 33 points in Thursday's 68-58 victory over Providence. Through nine games Atwater leads the Eagles in scoring (15.0 ppg).

Aprill McRae 
Starting center, North Carolina A&T (6-3)
A preseason first-team All-MEAC pick who spent her freshman year at VCU, McRae was the Aggies' leading scorer in each of their first three games and dropped a career-high 23 points on William and Mary. Her numbers fell off dramatically after that, though, and she has not appeared at all in A&T's last three games.

Debbie Smith
Starting guard, North Carolina A&T (6-3)
The ex-JMU performer scored a career-high 22 points in an 80-69 road victory over Howard on Dec. 6.

Kyani White
Starting guard, Hampton (3-5)
White, who spent a year at Virginia Tech before transferring to - and graduating from - East Carolina, is averaging 5.8 ppg for the Lady Pirates in her final season of eligibility.

Myeisha Hall
Starting guard, Stetson (7-2)
An Old Dominion recruit who spent a season and a semester with the Lady Monarchs, Hall is averaging 12.3 ppg for the Hatters and is one of four players in double figures.

Jacqueline Brewer 
Starting guard, Mt. St. Mary's (2-6)
The Mountaineers' leading scorer, Brewer went for a career-high 28 points (11-17 FGs, 5 of 8 3-pointers) in Monday's 81-65 thumping of Coppin State. Brewer spent her first collegiate season at VCU.

Char-Dell Dunnigan
Reserve forward/center, University of Charleston (Division II)
Former George Mason performer is averaging 3.4 points and 3.0 rebounds through seven games.

Alexis Lloyd
Reserve guard, USC (6-2)
Yet another ex-Hokie, Lloyd has appeared in six games (53 minutes total) and is averaging 1.2 ppg for the Trojans.

Briana Jones
Starting forward, Georgia Southern (2-5)
Former JMU player is averaging 7.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per contest for the Eagles.

Sade King 
Reserve guard at Division II New Haven (6-2)
Former deep reserve point guard at Hampton is averaging 3.9 ppg in just over 13 minutes per game.

Brittany Martin
Reserve center, Wichita State (5-2)
The transfer from Old Dominion by way of Northwest Florida Community College has appeared in all seven games (59 minutes total) and is averaging 1.4 ppg and 2.7 rpg heading into Friday's showdown with undefeated Kansas State.

Christina Carter
Starting guard, North Carolina A&T (6-3)
Former VCU lead guard ranks second among Aggies in scoring (9.7 ppg) and has a team-high 27 assists through nine games.

Amanda Fioravanti
Awaiting eligibility at St. Joseph's (3-6)
Fioravanti transferred from Virginia at last year's semester break and has been sitting out ever since. If, as expected, she regains eligibility upon the competion of this semester, Fioravanti should make her St. Joe's debut on Dec. 21 when the Hawks visit Notre Dame.

Alex Kiss-Rusk
Starting center, McGill University (Canada)
A Quebec native who spent her freshman year at Virginia Tech, Kiss-Rusk is averaging 9.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 1.3 blocks at McGill. One of her teammates is point guard Carolann Cloutier, who spent a season with Old Dominion in 2009-10 before transferring to UMass.

Logan Powell
Reserve forward, Kentucky State (Division II)
After a promising first year at Norfolk State, the Kentucky native opted to return closer to home and is currently averaging about 12 minutes a game for the Thorobrettes.

Larryqua Hall
Reserve guard at Division II Johnson C. Smith (7-1)
Formerly of Virginia Tech, Hall started three of the team's first five games but hasn't appeared in the last two contests.

Paris Brower
Reserve guard, Mt. Olive (Division II)
Ex-Radford performer has made brief appearances in five games.

Breannah Davis-Bloom 
Reserve guard, Charleston (0-7)
Former Norfolk State player has seen 29 minutes of action spread out over six games.

Waiting their turn....

Serafina Maulupe (Virginia Tech)
Sitting out redshirt year at Cal State-Northridge

Jessica Pellechio (VCU)
Sitting out redshirt year at Drexel

Denisha Petty-Evans (George Mason)
Sitting out redshirt year at Siena.

Amani Tatum (JMU)
Sitting out redshirt year at Manhattan

Lauren Evans (Virginia Tech)
Sitting out redshirt year at Arizona

Monday, December 8, 2014

JMU on top again; Hampton moves up in our rankings

1. James Madison (7-1)

Precious Hall reached her 1,000th point for these Dukes, who continue to be the undisputed best team in the state.

Last week's rank: 1
Next game: Dec. 15 at Ohio, 7 p.m.

2. Liberty (5-2)

Karly Buer continues to shine for the Lady Flames, whose lone game was a defeat of Radford.

Last week's rank: 2
Next game: Dec. 13 vs. UNC Asheville, 7 p.m.

3. Virginia (6-2)

Cavs got blasted by Illinois in ACC/Big 10 Challenge, trailing by 34 at one point. Hoping it was just a hiccup.

Last week's rank: 3
Next game: Dec. 16 vs. Longwood, 7 p.m.

4. Hampton (2-5)

Yep, we see the record. But we are also aware of the schedule David Six arranged, including last week when Hampton played back-to-back games on the road and won them both (Penn, Richmond). We think the Pirates have rounded into form; top-ranked South Carolina comin' to town on Dec. 17.

Last week's rank: 9
Next game: Dec. 8 vs. Morgan State, 6 p.m.

5. Richmond (3-4)

We love the unselfish play of the Spiders, who we got to see up close against Hampton. It was the rare off night for Gen Okoro and the Pirates defense took away any easy looks inside for the Spiders. And while Richmond didn't beat James Madison earlier in the week, they hung around long enough to be dangerous.

Last week's rank: 4
Next game: Dec. 14 vs. Wake Forest, 2 p.m.

6. Old Dominion (5-2)

Hopefully the Rider loss was just a forgettable nightmare; Lady Monarchs' defense carried them in routine home victories over Howard and VCU.

Last week's rank: 5
Next game: Dec. 15 at Louisville, 7 p.m.

7. George Mason (5-4)

Patriots still looking for consistency, but this cast looks capable behind A-10 scoring machine Taylor Brown.

Last week's rank: 6
Next game: Dec. 19 vs. Winthrop at Wichita State Classic, 5:05 p.m.

8. Virginia Tech (5-4)

Hokies averaged 44.5 points in losses to Florida and Northwestern; gotta find another gear to complement freshman leading scorer Rachel Camp.

Last week's rank: 7
Next game: Dec. 10 vs. North Carolina Central, 7 p.m.

9. William and Mary (5-3)

We wanted to bump the Tribe up, and know they are disappointed with the loss to La Salle, but we're betting they're thrilled with the record as exam break approaches.

Last week's rank: 8
Next game: Dec. 18 at Wofford, 6 p.m.

10. Radford (2-5)

It's no fun to lose a pair, but the Highlanders fell by 11 to Liberty and 10 to W&M -- not too shabby for a rebuilding team. Kudos to Ayana Avery for dropping 20 on the Lady Flames.

Last week's rank: 9
Next game: Dec. 14 vs. Coastal Carolina, 4 p.m.

11. VCU (4-4)

Uninspired effort against ODU for the Rams, who are learning a new system under coach Beth O'Boyle. With Robyn Parks graduated, who's going to score the points? Not sure of that answer for VCU.

Last week's rank: 11
Next game: Dec. 14 vs. UNC Greensboro, 1 p.m.

12. Norfolk State (2-5)

Spartans win their MEAC opener.

Last week's rank: 12
Next game: Dec. 20 at East Carolina, 2 p.m.

13. Longwood (0-7)

We're pulling for the Lancers to find a way to break into the win column without their leading scorer Daeisha Brown, out for the season with a torn ACL.

Last week's rank: 13
Next game: Dec. 14 vs. UNC Asheville, 2 p.m.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Two-minute drill: Richmond's Liv Healy

What size shoe does Richmond sophomore Olivia Healy wear? Who's her favorite BoSox? What really cool thing did she do for 13 years? We explore Healy's "goofy" personality with another one of our two-minute drills (as you can see from our lack of cropping at the end, we're still experimenting with the format!) Thanks, Liv!

Wanna nominate someone from your team for two-minute drill? Tweet us @ladyswish or drop us a line at

Friday, December 5, 2014

Tough times in Hokie Nation

Think you had a tough week? Chances are Virginia Tech's women's basketball team has you beat.

On Monday, the Hokies committed 24 turnovers and scored only 43 points in a 29-point loss at Florida - a team Tech beat by 12 the previous season in Blacksburg.

A couple days later, word came that freshman Brielle Blaire, a consensus Top-100 recruit who'd dreamed of going to Tech for years, will transfer at the end of the semester.

"Great school, just not a great fit for Brielle at this time," Blaire's father, Paul, said in an e-mail.

On Thursday, the school announced that junior starting forward Taijah Campbell was suspended indefinitely for "failing to adhere to the expectations of the team." The Roanoke Times reported that Campbell will miss at least three games and can return no sooner than Tech's Dec. 21 game against Radford.

Later that day, the Hokies coughed up another 26 turnovers in a 25-point home loss to Northwestern, The margin of defeat was Tech's largest in a non-conference home game since 1992.

Heading into the season no one was expecting these guys to take down UConn - the Hokies were picked to finish 12th in the 14-team ACC. But after such comprehensive losses to the two ACC-caliber teams on their schedule, was 12th too optimistic?

Fortunately for Tech fans, it's still early, and there are reasons to believe the Hokies might reserve fortune. The Hokies have played their last three games without impact newcomer Regan Magarity (leg injury), a player who has quickly emerged as the team's focal point at both ends of the floor. The injury highlights the unsettled roster Tech has dealt with so far - for various reasons, the Hokies have not had their top seven players available as a group for any one game.

Also, the upcoming schedule offers some get-well opportunities. Tech's next five games are at Cassell Coliseum, and the Hokies' next two opponents (Longwood, N.C. Central) are a combined 2-10.

Granted, a month's worth of judiciously scheduled home games won't really give us a winder on how Tech stacks up against ACC foes. But given that the Hokies clearly needs time to work out some kinks, this part of the schedule is right on time.

That said, the Hokies are obviously in no position to take any team for granted. Besides, if the goal is competing in the rugged ACC, facing lighter competition and getting injured/suspended players back won't be enough. Tech flat-out needs to play better and stronger, particularly against pressure. The turnover count is alarming, as is the fact that the Hokies shot 31.3 and 30.2 percent from the field in its last two games.

 So yeah, it's been a tough week.

The type of week that calls for an even tougher team.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ice cream and cake, cake, cake at sold-out ODU

It was live at Kids Day for the 8,472 who watched Old Dominion beat Howard 75-54. Take a listen. (Thanks, Doug Ripley).

Monday, December 1, 2014

JMU, Liberty, Virginia 1-2-3 in rankings

Nobody beats Okafur on the boards.
1. James Madison (5-1)

We haven't ranked the teams since the preseason, but this much hasn't changed -- the Dukes are the class of the state behind one of Kenny Brooks' most balanced groups. We know JMU is disappointed in falling to Maryland in the San Juan Shootout -- no shame in losing to the Terps, but the Dukes did not bring their A game. Six games into the season, you gotta love that Precious Hall is averaging 24 ppg and Lady Okafur, 13.7 rpg.

Next game: Dec. 3 vs. Richmond, 7 p.m.

2. Liberty (4-2)

- We'll excuse the hiccup to Elon and man, Georgia State was too close, but a win over Penn State leaves us confident in this Lady Flames team led by Tournament MVP Karly Buer. Beating the Nittany Lions and Panthers in succession earned Liberty the GSU Thanksgiving Tournament -- the first regular-season tournament title for the Lady Flames since 2009.

Next game: Dec. 6 at Radford, 2 p.m.

3. Virginia (5-1)

A 6-0 start seemed to be in the works until the Cavaliers unraveled against Toledo, losing a double-digit second-half lead, in the FIU Thanksgiving Classic (the Rockets won the tournament by defeating Arizona on Sunday). But good wins over Auburn, Ohio State and Xavier along with the formidable early-season play of Faith Randolph and freshman Mikayla Venson show us the potential this team has. Should they be No. 2 in our poll? We have the nod to Liberty, but the teams are essentially 2 and 2A.

Next game: Dec. 3 at Illinois

4. Richmond (3-2)

- The Spiders started 3-0 before dropping back-to-back decisions to Central Michigan (if you don't know the name Crystal Bradford, promise you will) and an unbeaten Arkansas team. The good news is Gen Okoro is healthy, Janelle Hubbard remains consistent and Olivia Healy is working her way back into playing productive minutes after last season's knee injury. Going to Harrisonburg promises to be tough.

Next game: Dec. 6 at James Madison, 7 p.m.

5. Old Dominion (3-2)

The Lady Monarchs played Duke well, beat Virginia Tech on the road and scored a win over William and Mary. The loss to winless Rider at home on Sunday was inexcusable, but it's one game that we hope ODU can learn from this with home games coming up against Howard and VCU before meeting a touted Louisville team on Dec. 15.

Next game: Dec. 3 vs. Howard, 11 a.m.

6. George Mason (3-3)

- The loss to Abilene Christian gives us pause, but the Patriots have a win over Tech and the Atlantic 10's leading scorer in Taylor Brown.

Next game: Dec. 3. vs. East Tennessee State, 5 p.m.

7. Virginia Tech (4-2)

- Losses to ODU and George Mason leave the Hokies further down in the rankings than we anticipated. The good news is the offensive firepower of leading scorers Rachel Camp and Regan Magarity, both freshmen.

Next game: Dec. 1 at Florida, 9 p.m.

8. William and Mary (4-2)

- An overtime loss to High Point and a seven-point deficit to ODU are all that keep this Tribe team from the unbeaten ranks. Marlena Tremba and Jazmon Boone have carried the offensive load, while Alexandria Masaquel has been a beast on the boards. Second-year coach Ed Swanson is moving this team in the right direction.

Next game: Dec. 2 at Radford, 7 p.m.

9. Hampton (0-4)

- Before Pirate fans get too disgusted by seeing Hampton all the way down at No. 9, remember we're basing this poll on what a team has done thus far, not on what happens down the road. Translation: We fully expect Hampton to be among the best teams in the state, but a rugged schedule against four teams that are a combined 18-4 has kept Hampton in search of its first W. Gotta shoot better, though, no matter who the competition. Twenty-four percent from the field isn't going to get it done.

Next game: Dec. 2 at Lehigh, 11 a.m.

10. Radford (2-3)

- Kudos to the Highlanders for pulling out a 68-67 thriller over Appalachian State on Sunday. A five-game home stand awaits starting with the Tribe.

Next game: Dec. 2 vs. William and Mary, 7 p.m.

11. VCU (3-3)

- Rams are finding their way under first-year coach Beth O'Boyle, whose motion-based offense differs significantly from the Fury under Marlene Stollings. Transfer Ashley Pegram has been an early bright spot. VCU has lost three of its last four, including a contest to W&M.

Next game: Dec. 2 at UNC Wilmington, 7 p.m.

12. Norfolk State (1-5)

- Rae Corbo and freshman Kayla Roberts have been sensational for the Spartans, who nipped Tennessee State for their first win of the season on Saturday. NSU nearly got another before falling in another OT game to Nicholls State on Sunday. Spartans only play once in the next two weeks.

Next game: Dec. 6 vs. Morgan State, 4 p.m.

13. Longwood (0-5)

- Daeisha Brown, oh how you are missed. Lancers, who nearly upset Wake Forest to open the season, still reeling from their losing their leading scorer to a knee injury.

Next game: Dec. 2 at High Point, 7 p.m.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

ACC/Big Ten Challenge headlines week in hoops

A look at this week's matchups:

Monday, Dec. 1

Virginia Tech at Florida, 9 p.m.
A lot depends on the availability of starting forwards Taijah Campbell (10.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Regan Magarity (14.0 ppg, 10.6 rpg), both of whom sat out Saturday’s victory over East Tennessee State. Campbell has missed three straight games after suffering a concussion. Sophomore point guard Vanessa Panousis scored 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting in Tech’s 71-59 victory over Florida in Blacksburg last season. After this quick trip to Gainesville the Hokies will begin a stretch of six straight games at Cassell Coliseum.

Tuesday, December 2

Hampton at Lehigh, 11 a.m.
Another tough matchup for Hampton (0-4), whose first four opponents were a combined 18-4 through Saturday’s games with victories over then-No. 10 Maryland (Washington State) and then-No. 18 DePaul (Northwestern). The Mountain Hawks (5-0) are off to their best start since current Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw was in charge 30 years ago. Hampton sophomore guard Malia Tate-DeFreitas has scored exactly 20 points in three straight games after getting 23 in the Lady Pirates’ opener. But the Lady Pirates have had virtually no other firepower – the team's second-leading scorer is at 5.8 ppg, and as a team Hampton is shooting just 24.1 percent from the field, easily the lowest of 349 Division I schools.

Longwood at High Point, 7 p.m.
The Big South opener for both. Expecting a much more determined effort here from the Lancers (0-5), who were humbled by 35 points Saturday at William and Mary – the same William and Mary High Point nipped by seven in overtime on Nov. 23. The Big South defending regular-season champion Panthers were picked to finish second to Liberty this season (Longwood was 10th) and are led by sophomore guard and preseason conference player of the year Kaylah Keys.

William and Mary at Radford, 7 p.m.
Intriguing matchup featuring two teams coming off rousing victories. On Saturday, the Tribe pounded Longwood by 35; the following day, the Highlanders (2-3) went on the road and outdueled Appalachian State. A year ago, Radford lost at home to App State by 23. William and Mary will be looking to post its third straight victory over an in-state foe (VCU, Longwood).

VCU at UNC Wilmington, 7 p.m.
The Rams (3-3) look to get back on track after a nightmarish 32-turnover performance at William and Mary on Thanksgiving Eve. In fairness, the Rams were dealing with a compressed schedule that often had them playing a game every other day (6 games, 13 days) - hardly ideal when you’re trying to master a new system under a new coach. Perhaps now they’ve had sufficient time to work out some kinks. The Seahawks (2-3) have dropped three straight at home, including both games in their own holiday tournament, despite having halftime leads each time.

Wednesday, December 3

Howard at Old Dominion, 11 a.m.
An early wake-up call for the Lady Monarchs, who will try to rebound from Sunday's humbling overtime loss to Rider during the fourth annual Education Day game in front of thousands of energized Norfolk elementary school students. Last year, a Constant Center-record 8,086 fans saw ODU trounce UMass-Lowell 90-57 – a turnout bolstered by nearly 6,200 students, teachers, staff members and volunteers from 32 elementary schools. There's a reason Howard (0-6) was scheduled for this game, but after the Rider debacle, nothing should be taken for granted. Still, something tells us the Lady Monarchs will be especially ready to play this game.

East Tennessee State at George Mason, 5 p.m.
The Patriots are averaging a robust 80.6 points per game and have put up at least 70 in every game. That they also rank last in the A-10 in scoring defense (76.3 ppg) suggests fans should be braced for yet another shootout. Say this for the Pats - they keep things interesting. ETSU (3-4) is coming off Saturday's 72-65 loss at Virginia Tech.

Richmond at JMU, 7 p.m.
The Dukes (5-1) have gone 12-0 against Virginia Division I programs since a 60-48 home loss to Liberty nearly two years ago to the day (Dec. 4, 2012). Two days before that (Dec. 2, 2012), Richmond also went to Harrisonburg and knocked off JMU 70-66.  

Virginia at Illinois (ACC/Big Ten Challenge), 8 p.m.
We never detect much buzz surrounding these annual ACC/Big Ten showdowns, but for those keeping score, Virginia is 5-2 lifetime in ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchups after losing at home to Michigan by 20 last year. The 5-2 record of Illinois includes a 77-71 victory over then-No. 9 Kentucky and an overtime loss to Oklahoma. Both games were played in the Virgin Islands' Paradise Jam. Virginia is 5-1 after splitting two games over the holiday break in the FIU Thanksgiving Classic.

Thursday, December 4

Northwestern at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m.
The first of six straight home games for the Hokies features by far the most formidable foe of the bunch as Northwestern’s 5-0 record includes a 97-91 victory at then-No. 18 DePaul. Virginia Tech has a 2-5 record in career ACC/Big Ten Challenge games after dropping last year's matchup at Indiana 71-65. By the way, not surprisingly the ACC is 6-0-1 lifetime in the series.

Friday, December 5

VCU at Old Dominion, 7 p.m.
A lot certainly has changed since the Rams last visited the Constant Center on Nov. 17, 2012 - only one of the 10 starters (ODU's Ashley Betz-White) and just three of the 22 who saw action (Betz-White, ODU's Tiffany Minor and VCU's Adaeze Alaeze) are still around. And of course, VCU has since changed head coaches. Other than that.... 

Hampton at Penn, 7 p.m.
The Lady Pirates are on the road for the sixth time in their first seven games. Defending Ivy League champion Penn has gone 3-0 against MEAC teams the past two seasons, including a victory over Howard in the first round of the 2013 WNIT.

Saturday, December 6

William and Mary at La Salle, 1 p.m.
The Exporers topped the Tribe 72-59 when these teams met in Williamsburg last season.

Longwood at Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.
Tall task - literally - for the undersized Lancers, 

Liberty at Radford, 2 p.m.
The Big South opener for both. Liberty has won 15 of the previous 16 meetings. including last year's 90-46 decision that Radford coach Mike McGuire accurately summed up as "complete domination by Liberty."

Delaware State vs. Virginia, 2 p.m.
Could be a good day statistically for several Cavaliers as the freewheeling Hornets can score in bunches but also give up points in even bigger bunches (82.7 ppg allowed). Case in point - earlier this year against George Mason, they racked up 91 points and still lost by 19.

Morgan State at Norfolk State, 4 p.m.
The MEAC opener for both. NSU was picked to finish eighth in the preseason while Morgan State was relegated to 13th in the 13-team league.

George Mason at St. Francis (Pa.), 5:30 p.m.
The Patriots crushed St. Francis 97-62 when these teams met in Fairfax last season. This year the Red Flash took an 0-4 record into Wednesday's game at Tennessee.

Hampton at Richmond, 7 p.m.
Only the third non-conference game against an in-state rival in the past three-plus seasons for the Lady Pirates, These two teams haven't met since a 71-43 Richmond victory in 2010. Then-freshman Genevieve Okoro had 9 points and 2 steals in 18 minutes in that one.

Sunday, December 7

JMU at Davidson, 2 p.m.
After this one the Dukes, like most schools, will break for exams. JMU's next game will be Dec.15 at Ohio.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Who's next in the 1,000-point club?

Learning that Richmond's Genevieve Okoro scored her 1,000th point Thursday night got us wondering: who are the top active scorers among Virginia's Division I schools? Well, here's the list - with the cutoff being at least 400 career points - with games played and point total through Thanksgiving Day's action (stats courtesy of

1. Rae Corbo, Norfolk State -                 91   1,082
   - Cracked the 1,000-point plateau as part of a 24-point effort in NSU's final game of the 2013-14 season.

2. Genevieve Okoro, Richmond  -         102  1,009
   - Both Corbo and Okoro are (New) Jersey girls and redshirt seniors who have rebounded strongly from season-ending ACL injuries early in the 2012-13 season.

3. Toia Giggetts, JMU -                          108   919
   - Estimated 1,000-point game: Jan. 6 vs. UNCW

4. Precious Hall, JMU -                          75     915
   - Estimated 1,000-point game: Dec. 7 at Davidson

5. Ayana Avery, Radford -                     92     901
   - Poised to become the 21st member of Radford's 1,000-point club. Is also just a few games away from setting a Radford record for career 3-points (Avery has 194, the record is 203).

6. Taylor Brown, George Mason -         68     835
   - Includes one season at Georgetown. 

7. Karly Buer, Liberty -                       107     823
   - Includes 773 points in three-plus seasons at Missouri State

8. Daeisha Brown, Longwood -             59      804
   - Brown suffered a season-ending injury in the Lancers' third game. If she receives a medical           redshirt waiver, she will have two full seasons to build on this total.

9. Ashley Rininger, Liberty -                   69     737

10. Sarah Imovbioh, Virginia  -               65     708

11. Malia Tate-DeFreitas, Hampton -     37    679
   - Only a sophomore. There's a decent chance that Tate-DeFreitas, who scored over 3,000 points in high school, will be closing in on 2,000 college points late in her junior season.

12. Jazmen Boone, William and Mary -    89   619

13. Jazmon Gwathmey, JMU -                 74   615
   - With Hall and Giggetts seemingly shoo-ins for the 1,000-point club, Gwathmey, at her current pace of 12.8 ppg, would become JMU's third member this season if the Dukes play 30 more games. So if the Dukes win the CAA tournament and advance to the NCAA Sweet 16, book it. 

14. Kyla Kerstetter, William and Mary -  89   603

15. Faith Randolph, Virginia  -                 65   597

16. Tiffany Minor, Old Dominion -          101   596

17. Emily Frazier, Liberty  -                       94   531

18. Kenia Cole, Hampton -                          84   519

19. Ebony Brown, Norfolk State -               81   513

20. Chelisa Painter, Old Dominion -          88    483
   - Includes two seasons at George Washington

21. Marlena Tremba, William and Mary - 34   467

22. Isis Thorpe, VCU  -  38   444

23. Vanessa Panousis, Virginia Tech -       35   435

24. Ashley Betz-White, Old Dominion -    65   432

25. Liz Brown, Richmond -                        81   431

26. Raven Williams, Longwood -              57   419

27. Keira Robinson, VCU  -                      38   403

28. Janelle Hubbard, Richmond -             34   400

Thanksgiving blessings from Liberty

Thanksgiving blessings from Liberty and coach Carey Green. Wishing the Lady Flames everything good for today's 2 p.m. game against Penn State in the Georgia State Thanksgiving Tournament.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from Richmond!

Is that the Spiders practicing on Thanksgiving day? Hey, we understand. Tipoff against Central Michigan in the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas is at 8 p.m. Watch out for Crystal Bradford, and good luck Spiders!

Happy Thanksgiving from George Mason

Happy Patriot Thanksgiving from George Mason, who will play Abilene Christian  in the UMKC Plaza Lights Classic at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. Good luck, Patriots. As always, we're rooting for you!

Happy Thanksgiving from James Madison

Our top-ranked James Madison Dukes play No. 10 Maryland in the San Juan Shootout on Friday at 2:30 p.m. We wish them luck and hope they enjoy their tropical Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Longwood loses Brown for season with ACL injury

An ACL injury in her right knee will shelve Longwood star Daeisha Brown for the rest of the season, the school announced Tuesday.

Brown, a junior guard and a preseason All-Big South selection who averaged 23.0 ppg in her first two games, suffered the injury during Thursday's game against Richmond. The school will apply for a medical redshirt.

"The injury to Daeisha is extremely unfortunate," Lancers coach Bill Reinson said. "She was terrific in our first two games and finally looked like the Daeisha Brown from early last season. Dae Dae is a tough-minded young woman and I have no doubt that she will approach her rehabilitation with the same level of determination and energy that she gives every day in practice. I expect that she will return next season stronger than ever."

While obviously a tough blow for Brown, the injury is also a bad break for women's basketball fans as few players in the sport are as much fun to watch. And of course, it removes the key cog from a Lancers team that was shaping up to be a dangerous team.

To their credit, the Lancers played inspired ball for long stretches Monday night against UNC Greensboro before fading down the stretch and falling 70-64. Longwood clearly isn't the same team without Brown. But the Lancers have enough experienced talent left to re-tool slightly and still have something to say about the Big South race.

Read Longwood's release on Brown here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

JMU vs. Maryland highlights big week of hoops

A rundown of this week's games involving programs from across the state:

Monday, November 24

UNC Greensboro at Longwood, 7 p.m.
   - The injury bug, which hit Longwood hard last season, took another bite last week when Lancers star guard Daeisha Brown went down with an apparent knee injury. The exciting Brown was off to a sizzling start, averaging 23 ppg in her first two games. As to the extent of her injury, Longwood head coach Bill Reinson said via e-mail that Brown will definitely not play tonight and her status going forward will be determined within the next day or so. An extremely tough break first and foremost for Brown, who again appeared poised for her best season yet. And it's obviously a huge setback for the Lancers, who have other talented players but no one else quite like Brown.

Tuesday, November 25

Old Dominion at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m.
   - Strange rivalry in that the road team has won this matchup by double figures all three times Karen Barefoot's Lady Monarchs have faced Dennis Wolff's Hokies. ODU has tended to play to the level of its competition - which was a good thing Thursday against Duke - while the Hokies appear to be gradually coming together around impact freshmen Regan Magarity (15.3 ppg, 10.8 rpg) and Rachel Camp (a career-high 22 points Sunday against at Providence). Tech also recently gained the services of Seton Hall transfer forward Sidney Cook, who late last week was granted a waiver and instant eligibility by the NCAA. In her Tech debut Sunday at Providence, Cook had 9 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals in 21 minutes.  

George Mason at Navy, 7 p.m.
   - Through four games, guard Taylor Brown leads the Atlantic 10 in scoring (23.3 ppg). The Patriots have scored at least 70 points in every contest and topped out at 110 last week in a 19-point decision over Delaware State.

Washington State at Hampton, 7 p.m.
   - Finally a home date for the re-tooling Lady Pirates (0-3) after a rugged opening stretch - at Northwestern, at preseason co-MAAC favorite Quinnipiac, at Kansas State, teams with a combined 8-1 record so far. Then again, these Pac-12 Cougars (3-1) aren't exactly pushovers, either, and games against new AP No. 1 South Carolina, at JMU and at DePaul await on Hampton's absolutely killer non-conference schedule.

Liberty at Elon, 7 p.m.
   - The loaded Lady Flames' first road test comes after back-to-back victories over Atlantic 10 foes (VCU, St. Joseph's). But the Phoenix (3-0) is coming off a 13-point victory over the same Charlotte team that nipped Liberty by two in the teams' season opener.

Wednesday, November 26

Radford at Pittsburgh, 2p.m.
   - Tough road test for the young Highlanders (1-2) who will need to put a complete 40 minutes together to pester the ACC's Panthers.

VCU at William and Mary, 7 p.m.
   - Not sure how the Tribe let Sunday's game against High Point get away, but for the most part we've loved what we've seen from this much-improved group. As for VCU, we haven't quite gotten a read on these Rams under new coach Beth O'Boyle so we'll be keeping a close eye on this one.

Thursday, November 27

Richmond vs. Central Michigan in South Point Shootout (Las Vegas), 8 p.m.
   - The Spiders, who are receiving a couple of AP Top 25, will deserve quite a few more if they can prevail against these Chippewas, who are coming off a three-point loss at Top-10 Kentucky and feature a player who for our money - granted, it's not much - is one of the 10 best players in the country in Crystal Bradford. Go get 'em, Spiders.

Friday, November 28

   JMU vs. No. 10 Maryland in San Juan Shootout, 2:30 p.m.
   - A matchup with a national powerhouse on a neutral court early in the season when you've got veterans and they're still sorting things out.? Now we're not saying JMU should beat Maryland. But these are prime conditions for an upset - if the Dukes play their fannies off. By the way, big ups to JMU guard Precious Hall, who was named Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week after her career-high 34-point eruption Sunday at Pitt's expense. 

Liberty vs. Penn State in Georgia State Thanksgiving Tournament, 2 p.m.
   - Same song, different verse as the JMU-Maryland deal. At this stage of the season the veteran Lady Flames have a much better sense of who they are than the Nittany Lions. But we're pretty sure that, after a string of quality wins the past few years, JMU will take the court honestly believing it can beat Maryland. Will the Lady Flames hit the floor truly feeling the same way against Penn State? We really hope so, because that's a big part of getting it done.

George Mason vs. Abilene Christian in UMKC Plaza Lights Classic, 4:30 p.m.
   - The first of a potential confidence-building two-game set for the Patriots, who after facing the Southland Conference's Abilene Christian will play the SWAC's Mississippi Valley State.

Virginia vs. Toledo in Florida International Tournament, 8 p.m.
   - Encouraging 4-0 start by the Cavaliers has featured Faith Randolph averaging 20.0 ppg and Sarah Imovbioh scoring at a 17.8 ppg clip (on 67.4 percent shooting) while hauling down 14.8 rebounds.

Saturday, November 29

Longwood at William and Mary, 2 p.m.
   - Last season, the Lancers rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final 10 minutes to top the Tribe 59-52 in Farmville. 

George Mason vs. Mississippi Valley State in UMKC Plaza Lights Classic, 2 p.m.
   - MVSU plays a lot of revenue-generating games against power conference teams. Not sure if the Devilettes really believe they can win those games, but we suspect they'll think they have a chance in this one. The Patriots need to be prepared for MVSU's best effort.

Norfolk State at Tennessee State in Tennessee State Tournament, 3 p.m.
   - The Spartans (0-4) are developing a nice inside-outside duo in guard Rae Corbo and freshman forward Kayla Roberts

Richmond vs. Arkansas in South Point Shootout (Las Vegas), 4 p.m.
   - The Razorbacks, who won their first four games, will be coming off Friday's game against nationally ranked Iowa.

East Tennessee State at Virginia Tech, 5 p.m.
   - A reasonably rested Hokies squad will host a ETSU team appearing in its fourth road game (covering Pennsylvania, Indiana and Virginia) in nine days.

JMU vs. Houston in San Juan Shootout, 5 p.m.
   - Win or lose against Maryland, JMU must guard against an emotional letdown against these Cougars. 

Sunday, November 30

Virginia vs. Arizona or Florida International in FIU Tournament, 11:30 a.m. or 2 p.m.
   - FIU took an 0-3 record into this tournament; Arizona was 0-2 heading into Tuesday's game against UC-Santa Barbara. 

Norfolk State vs. Nicholls State in Tennessee State Tournament, noon
   - The Spartans are going to have to deal with Nicholls State forward Emani White (23.5 ppg), who already has a 37-point game this season.

Liberty vs. Georgia State or Samford in GSU Thanksgiving Tournament, 12:30/2:30 p.m.
   - Georgia State features two players from Virginia - senior guard/forward Miranda Smith of Roanoke and junior guard Gaby Moss of Alexandria.

Rider at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.
   - The Broncs of the MAAC went 0-3 in the Preseason WNIT, falling at Seton Hall and Towson before losing a neutral-site affair vs. St. Francis (N.Y.).

Radford at Appalachian State, 2 p.m.
   - As we're sure every Highlander fan knows, Mountaineers star Maryah Sydnor grew up in Radford, Va. and was a high school star at Radford High.