Emptying the notebook on Friday's night's VCU (5-4) at Old Dominion (3-3) showdown (7 p.m., Constant Center):
Old Dominion once owned this rivalry (57-16 versus VCU lifetime) but the Rams pretty much have had the lease recently with wins in eight of the last 11. The Lady Monarchs have won the last two at the Constant Center (2012, 2014).
Both teams are coming off encouraging road performances. On Wednesday, GG Goodhope, Mooriah Rowser, Katherine Strong and Isis Thorpe all scored in double figures as VCU rolled at Furman 75-61. Furman had won four straight at home going in.
As for Old Dominion, Lady Monarchs teams of recent vintage have often struggled to stay competitive against quality teams, particularly early in the season. But on Sunday the Lady Monarchs led then-No. 18 Miami at halftime and kept contact with the Hurricanes until deep in the fourth quarter before falling by 10 in Coral Gables, Fla. Jennie Simms finished with 24 points and Destinee Young posted her fifth double-double of the year with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Old Dominion: Simms ranks second in Division I in scoring (26.0 ppg) and has won the last two Conference USA Player of the Week awards.
VCU: Goodhope didn't score more than six points in any of her first six games but has scored at least 13 in each of her last four and is averaging 15.0 ppg over that span.
Curteeona Brelove had 14 points and 11 rebounds while three of her teammates scored in double figures as VCU pounded the Lady Monarchs 74-54 in Richmond. It was a comprehensive beatdown - the Rams led by five after one quarter, by 11 at halftime, by 20 after three quarters and by 25 midway through the fourth before cruising through the tape.
The Rams scored 28 points off 19 Old Dominion turnovers. They also outrebounded ODU 43-25. Last year ODU was 2-12 when they lost the battle of the boards, with the wins coming over Howard and Maryland-Eastern Shore.
The game also marked the return of Simms, who sat out the previous three games because of a disciplinary suspension. Simms played 21 minutes off the bench and finished with an ODU-career low two points (1-7 FG). It's one of only five games in Simms' 71-game Lady Monarchs career in which she hasn't scored at least 10 points.
Finally, in a Richmond Times-Dispatch story, VCU coach Beth O'Boyle credited assistant Richard Fortune, who joined the Rams after three seasons at ODU, and ex-Lady Monarchs point guard Goodhope for providing the inside info that helped shape the Rams' game plan. Goodhope appeared in 63 games (with 39 starts) as a freshman and sophomore at ODU before leaving the program.
Last season, Goodhope made her first appearance as a Ram against High Point on Dec. 16 - three days before the ODU game - but did not play against the Lady Monarchs. So Friday will mark her first game against her former team, in a building in which she has played more games than many of the current Lady Monarchs themselves.
An Old Dominion victory would mark head coach Karen Barefoot's 300th as a head coach and 90th in charge of the Lady Monarchs. Barefoot is currently 299-222 overall and 89-82 at ODU. Meanwhile, VCU's O'Boyle is 137-111 overall and 44-28 as the third-year Rams head coach...An ODU spokesman said Lady Monarchs forward Ije Ajemba will sit out the season for health reasons. The 6-3 senior averaged 7.5 points and 8.9 rebounds in 2015-16. Her absence has been mitigated by the emergence of freshman post Manaya Jones, who is averaging 10.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in her last four games...VCU forward Camille Calhoun suffered an injury on Nov. 15 in the Rams' second game of the season and has not played since. No word yet on the nature of the injury or the status going forward for the hard-luck Calhoun, who sustained a season-ending ACL injury just seven games into the 2015-16 season.