WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 22, 2008) – Old Dominion, which captured its NCAA-record 17th consecutive Colonial Athletic Association women’s basketball title last season, is favored to win the conference again in 2008-09 according to a vote of the league’s coaches, sports information directors and media. The results of the poll were announced during Wednesday’s CAA Basketball Media Day at the ESPN Zone in Washington, D.C.
The Lady Monarchs were followed in the voting by VCU, James Madison, Drexel and Towson. UNC Wilmington was picked to finish sixth, followed by Delaware, Georgia State, Northeastern, William & Mary, Hofstra and George Mason.
ODU welcomes back two starters and several top reserves from last year’s 31-5 squad that reached the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 2002 and finished the season ranked #10 in the nation. The Lady Monarchs feature a powerful inside game with the return of senior center/forward Tiffany Green (11.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.9 bpg), who earned All-CAA second team honors, and junior forward Jessica Canady (11.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg), who led the league in FG percentage and made the All-CAA third team. Back to run the ODU attack is senior point guard Jazzmin Walters, who scored 7.5 ppg and dished out a league-best 179 assists.
VCU is coming off a school-record 26-8 campaign that included the Rams’ first-ever trip to the CAA championship game and a victory in the WNIT. Three starters are back, led by senior center Quanitra Hollingsworth (13.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg), who was selected to the All-CAA second team despite sitting out the final 11 games due to injury. She will be joined up front by senior Radoslava Bachvarova (8.1 ppg). Returning in the backcourt are juniors La’Tavia Rorie (9.6 ppg) and Kita Waller (9.7 ppg).
James Madison posted a 24-10 overall mark a year ago and reached the third round of the WNIT in its third consecutive post-season appearance. Six letterwinners are back for the Dukes, including sophomore guard Dawn Evans, who averaged 13.5 ppg, drained a league-high 85 three-pointers and ranked sixth in the CAA in assists during her rookie campaign. Senior forward Kisha Stokes (8.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg) returns to the starting lineup and will be joined up front by sophomore Lauren Jimenez (6.8 ppg) and senior Nina Uqdah (4.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg).
Drexel turned in its best CAA performance ever last season, going 13-5 and finishing in a tie for third place. Eight letterwinners are back for the Dragons, led by junior forward Gabriela Marginean, who contributed 19.0 ppg and 7.1 rpg to earn a spot on the All-CAA first team. Also back for Drexel are senior forward Nicole Hester (7.1 ppg) and senior guard Andrea Peterson (6.8 ppg), who missed most of last year due to injury.
The CAA is coming off an outstanding season in which the conference sent three teams (Old Dominion, James Madison and VCU) to post-season play for the third year in a row. Those three squads combined for five victories. This season, the league returns 67% of its starters and eight all-conference performers.
Drexel’s Marginean was chosen as the CAA Pre-Season Player of the Year. She is joined on the pre-season All-CAA first team by UNC Wilmington sophomore Brittany Blackwell, JMU’s Evans, ODU’s Green and VCU’s Hollingsworth.
Voted to the pre-season All-CAA second team were Towson junior Shanae Baker-Brice, ODU’s Canady, Georgia State senior Brittany Hollins, UNCW senior Sahsha Taylor and ODU’s Walters.
2008-09 CAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
||Old Dominion |
||James Madison |
||UNC Wilmington |
||Georgia State |
||William & Mary |
||George Mason |
2008-09 CAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRE-SEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS
||Hometown/High School |
|Brittany Blackwell, UNC Wilmington#
||Raleigh, N.C./Cary Academy|
|Dawn Evans, James Madison
||Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast |
|Tiffany Green, Old Dominion#
||C/F||6-2||Chesapeake, Va./Indian River |
|Quanitra Hollingsworth, VCU#
||Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge |
|Gabriela Marginean, Drexel*||Jr.
||Cluj-Napoca, Romania/Mt. De Chantal Academy (W.V.) |
||Hometown/High School |
|Shanae Baker-Brice, Towson^
||Washington, D.C./Theodore Roosevelt |
|Jessica Canady, Old Dominion^
||Williamsburg, Va./Jamestown |
|Brittany Hollins, Georgia State^
||Columbia, S.C./Columbia |
|Sahsha Taylor, UNC Wilmington^
||Charlotte, N.C./Victory Christian |
|Jazzmin Walters, Old Dominion
||Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor |
|Tiffany Benson, Jr., F, William & Mary
|Danyielle McKeller, Jr., F, Georgia State
|Ashlee Feldman, Sr., G, Northeastern
|CAA PRE-SEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
|Gabriela Marginean, Drexel
|* - All-CAA 1st team in 2007-08
# - All-CAA 2nd team in 2007-08
^ - All-CAA 3rd team in 2007-08