Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Jennie Simms 3.0 - the best version yet

In October, we asked Old Dominion star Jennie Simms  what she spent the offseason trying to improve.

"Everything." Simms replied.

We're thinking, OK, that sounds good, but...

Well, 10 games into the season, it clearly wasn't just talk. Think the two-time first-team All-Conference USA pick had big numbers last season? Check out the stats on Jennie 3.0:

Scoring average
2015-16: 21.4
2016-17: 25.8 (2nd in Division I)

Field goal percentage
2015-16: 43.0
2016-17: 48.3

Free throw percentage
2015-16: 71.5
2016-17: 82.3

3-point percentage
2015-16: 27.7
2016-17: 34.6

2015-16: 6.7
2016-17: 9.3

2015-16:  2
2016-17:  5

Must have been some offseason workout.

Wednesday's games

George Mason (7-5) at Florida International (2-8) in FIU Classic, 2 p.m.

How 'bout that Casey Davis? The redshirt sophomore forward, who missed most of last season with an injury, worked her way into the starting lineup five games ago and has been flat-out ballin' of late. Davis followed her 16-point, 16-rebound effort against Navy with a 20-point, 7-rebound performance in Tuesday's 81-72 loss to Drexel in the opening game of this event. Davis' previous career highs were 11 points and 7 rebounds.

Liberty (1-8) vs. Dayton (5-6) in Cavalier Classic, 4:30 p.m.

A tall task for the youthful Lady Flames against a talented Flyers team that stumbled out of the blocks but appeared to right itself last week with back-to-back victories over Texas A&M and Old Dominion during the Florida Sunshine Classic. A bright spot for the Lady Flames has been the play of freshman forward Keyen Green, who leads the Big South and ranks sixth among all Division I freshmen in rebounding (7.9 rpg). Green is one of seven freshmen to have seen action for Liberty this season. In fact, the team's top five scorers are freshmen - Green (9.8 ppg); Ola Makurat (6.4); Kierra Johnson-Graham (6.1); Kaitlyn Stovall (6.0) and Iva Ilic (5.9).

UMBC (3-7) at Virginia (9-2) in Cavalier Classic, 7 p.m.

Virginia coach Joanne Boyle wasn't pleased with her team's performance in last week's 60-50 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore, so we're expecting the Cavaliers to really get after the Retrievers the entire way in this one.

Old Dominion (5-5) at East Tennessee State (7-7), 7 p.m.

Last year, ETSU surprised the Lady Monarchs 56-52 at the Constant Center, a game in which ODU made just 5 of 17 free throws. The Buccaneers prevailed despite the absence of leading scorer Tianna Tarter, who didn't make the trip after sustaining a concussion Tarter is averaging 20.2 points this season.

Delaware State (1-9) at Longwood (1-8), 7 p.m.

Just the third home game of the season for the Lancers, who will shoot for their first win in Willett Hall. On Monday, Longwood freshman Dayna Rouse was named Big South Freshman of the Week after her 23-point, 8-rebound effort last week at Marshall.

East Carolina (9-3) at William and Mary (9-1), 7 p.m.

The 9-1 start is the best in program history. And this team isn't just good, it's also fun to watch. The rapid ball movement in particular is a thing to behold - zip, zip, zip, open shot; zip, zip, zip, layup.... Ah, the excellence of execution (apologies to Bret Hart). Anyway, if you're anywhere near Williamsburg and have some time on your hands, check these guys out...and thank us later.

JMU (5-4) at St. Joseph's (3-9), 7 p.m.

Last Wednesday, the Dukes led St. John's by seven after three quarters before being outscored 27-9 in the fourth. And this wasn't the first time the fourth quarter has blown up on JMU. In the Dukes' season opener, they trailed Tennessee by two after three quarters and lost by 12. JMU trailed Iowa by five through three quarters and lost by 15. And they took a four-point lead into the final frame at Rutgers but needed double-overtime (and 46 points from Precious Hall) to close things out.

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