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.

No comments:

Post a Comment