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Post Presence Sends ODU Past American in WNIT Opening Round, 63-55

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: March 17, 2010
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March 17, 2010

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NORFOLK, Va. - The front court scored 43 of the Lady Monarchs 63 total points in tonight's opening round game of the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), leading Old Dominion (19-13) past the American University Eagles (22-10), 63-55. ODU scored 44 points in the paint and outrebounded the Eagles by ten, led by sophomore Tia Lewis with 16 points and nine rebounds.

The forwards were not the only ones scoring for ODU, as junior guard Jasmine Parker added 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting, adding five rebounds and three assists. The Lady Monarchs led wire-to-wire, leading by as many as 14 in the game.

Lewis put ODU on top early, scoring six points and hauling in five boards in the first 8:17. Mairi Buchan gave ODU a nine-point lead in the first half when she knocked down a contested layup while getting fouled with 10:10 remaining and hit the free-throw to put ODU up, 18-9.

On the other end, though, junior Patriot League Player of the Year Michelle Kirk got American back within one with a pair of three-pointers sandwiching a Raven Harris fast-break jumper. The Eagles were down just 18-17 with 8:48 remaining.

The Lady Monarchs bounced back with a 15-2 run, as Lewis came back from a spell on the bench for eight more quick points, giving her 14 for the half. She shot 7-for-10 in the first half, leading Old Domintion to an 11-point lead at halftime, 35-24.

After the break, ODU maintained their lead the whole way, trading baskets with the Eagles and defending well through a cold shooting streak. After ODU shot 53.8% in the first half, they were just 6-for-19 (31.6%) in the first 12:12 of the second. Despite the struggles from the field, ODU held American to just 27.8% shooting in the same stretch.

American would cut it to six on several occasions, including with 6:48 left on the clock on a Lisa Strack three-pointer, answering a Jasmine Parker three for ODU on the previous possession, and again on a pair of free-throws from Strack with 5:51 remaining.

Old Dominion would hold them off with a continued strong effort from the front court. Defensively, Lewis and senior Jessica Canady would stall an entire American possession with a pair of blocks, forcing a shot clock violation. In the game, the ODU front court got 16 points from lewis, nine from reserve Mairi Buchan, and eight each from Canady and Shadasia Green. ODU outscored American in the paint, 44-12.

Lewis just missed a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Buchan continued to play well of late with nine points off the bench, adding three rebounds, two assists and a steal. The team defense held American to just 28% shooting, the second best defensive effort of the year for the ODU unit.

American was led by Kirk, scoring a game-high 21 points on 5-of-18 shooting, adding nine points from the free-throw line. Lisa Strack also posted 17 points for the Eagles, doing so on 5-of-12 from the floor with three 3-pointers. Ohemaa Nyanin led the way on the glass, grabbing seven rebounds for American.

Old Dominion advances to the second round of the WNIT and will travel to face the winner of the Boston University vs. Providence College first round game, set for Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. Following that game, the WNIT will announce time and date for Old Dominion's next game. Stay tuned to odusports.com for more.

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