Saturday, February 14, 2015

Veterans shine in Saturday's action

Old Dominion's Tiffany Minor
At this time of year, a team's success often hinges on the play of its veteran players. That certainly was the case Saturday - look how many times the words "senior" and "junior" come up in this recap of the day's action.

Old Dominion 79, UTEP 50: Jennie Simms (19 points) led the Lady Monarchs in scoring - again. But unlike 36 hours prior, the story of Old Dominion's offense didn't end there. You know how the Golden State Warriors have the "Splash Brothers?" For one game, at least, Old Dominion countered with the "Splash Sisters" - redshirt junior Ashley Betz-White, whose early bombs knocked UTEP down, and senior Tiffany Minor, whose late 3-pointers officially put the Miners out for the count. Minor finished with 17 points and Betz-White added 16; the two combined for just five points in Thursday's 52-51 loss to UTSA. A lot of folks besides Simms are going to have to come through if ODU is to make a late push, As fourth-year players getting starter's minutes, Betz-White and Minor are the prime candidates to lead the way. As Saturday's performances showed, both are fully capable.

By the way, apparently at least on Lady Monarch saw Betz-White's big game coming well before tipoff:

George Mason 86, VCU 79: It's often the Taylor Brown Show at George Mason. This time, though senior Sandra Ngoie seized the main spotlight, tying the school record for 3s in a game (7) during her 29-point, 10-rebound effort. Turns out the Patriots needed every bit of Ngoie's output, as the Rams stormed back from a 27-point halftime deficit and nearly chased the Patriots down. Of course, it helped the Patriots' cause that Brown was, well, Brown - the Atlantic 10's leading scorer finished with 20 points.

Liberty 63, Presbyterian 41: For some reason, Presbyterian had been better than most at bottling up Lady Flames senior center Ashley Rininger, who came in averaging just 8.3 points in her last three games against the Blue Hose. Presbyterian had no answers Saturday, though, and Rininger wasted little time in letting the Blue Hose know it - she had 10 points on 5 for 5 shooting before the game was four minutes old. Rininger finished with a game-high 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting for the Lady Flames (19-6, 15-1 Big South), who can clinch at least a tie for the Big South regular-season title with a victory Tuesday at Longwood.

Richmond 72, La Salle 60: The Explorers appeared to operate on the motto, "You can't stop Genevieve Okoro, you can only hope to foul her and make her earn it on the line." Well, Okoro earned it alright - the senior hit a Richmond school record-tying 19 of her 22 free throw attempts to highlight a career-high 27 point, season-high 15-rebound night. Other than that, Okoro was just OK in this contest.

Radford 64, Charleston Southern 57: Speaking of deadly free throw shooting, junior Aisha Foy went 12 for 14 from the line and made 10 straight down the stretch to help the Highlanders hold on. We could say more nice things about Foy, but we'll let Radford coach Mike McGuire take it from here: "I just cannot say enough about Aisha and her growth and development as a basketball player. She is an incredible leader on and off the court. I think we have become a better basketball team in a lot of ways because of her. In my opinion, she is one of the best point guards in the Big South."

Norfolk State 64, Morgan State 56: The MEAC's second-leading scorer was at it again, as senior Rae Corbo poured in a game-high 25 points. But although this story mostly highlights veterans, no report on NSU's success of late would be complete without a shoutout to freshman Kayla Roberts, who was at it again Saturday with 19 points and 9 rebounds. The rookie is averaging 19.5 points and 16.3 rebounds over her last four games.

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