Lady Monarch Basketball Selected Fifth In CAA Preseason Poll

October 18, 2011
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Oct. 18, 2011

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ARLINGTON, Va. - Old Dominion senior forward Tia Lewis was named Preseason All-CAA Second Team and the Lady Monarchs were picked to finish tied for fifth in the conference according to a vote of the league's women's basketball head coaches. The results of the preseason poll and the All-CAA first and second teams were announced during Tuesday's Colonial Athletic Association Media Day at Champps-Pentagon Row in Arlington, Va.

Old Dominion, which finished second in the CAA regular season in 2010-11 and qualified for the WNIT, returns seven letterwinners and one starter from a squad that won 20 games a year ago. Lewis, who was chosen All-CAA Third Team as a junior, led ODU in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots last year.

Delaware, which returns five starters from last year's 20-14 team, is picked to win the 2012 CAA Women's Basketball title. The Blue Hens were followed in the voting by VCU, James Madison and Hofstra. Drexel was tied with ODU for fifth, followed by UNCW, George Mason, William & Mary, Georgia State, Towson and Northeastern.

Delaware advanced to the CAA championship game last season for the first time since 2005. Among those returning for head coach Tina Martin is junior All-America forward Elena Delle Donne, who contributed a team-high 25.3 points per game and added 7.8 rebounds a contest to earn first team all-conference honors for the second year in a row. She will be joined in the frontcourt by junior Danielle Parker (8.1 ppg), who ranked sixth in the CAA in rebounding (7.9 rpg). The Blue Hens' backcourt is led by junior guard Lauren Carra (10.8 ppg), who earned third-team All-CAA honors a year ago, and senior guard Jocelyn Bailey (7.4 ppg). Also in the mix will be senior guard Kayla Miller (3.5 ppg/3.1 apg), who returns after missing the 2010-11 season with injury, and senior guard Vanessa Kabongo, who contributed 6.2 ppg last season.

VCU advanced to the postseason for the fourth straight year after going 19-12 overall a year ago. The Rams have a veteran group of four senior returning starters to lead the charge. Courtney Hurt, a first-team All-CAA and honorable mention All-America selection, returns for her senior campaign after a stellar junior season. The forward led the nation in rebounding (12.4) and double-doubles (25), and topped the conference and was second in the nation in scoring (23.2 ppg) a year ago. Guard Andrea Barbour made the All-CAA second team in her first year at VCU after contributing 16.3 ppg and 5.6 rpg. Helping Barbour in the backcourt will be senior guard Jennifer Lane (6.3 rpg), who ranked third in the conference with 4.6 assists per game. Chelsea Snyder (4.0 ppg/4.8 rpg) is a returning starter for the Rams in the post.

James Madison, which finished the season 26-8 overall, won its second consecutive CAA title in 2011. The Dukes return a pair of starters in junior guard Tarik Hislop and Nikki Newman. Hislop contributed 10.8 points per contest, while Newman pulled down 5.6 rebounds per outing a year ago. Senior forward Lauren Whitehurst (6.3 ppg) made 20 starts a year ago and was third on the team in rebounding (6.2 rpg), while senior forward Kanita Shepherd (4.2 ppg/3.0 rpg) was limited to just nine games in 2010-11. Senior guard Kiara Francisco produced 3.1 ppg off the bench last season.

Hofstra returns four starters from a 19-12 squad a year ago. Junior forward Shante Evans earned first-team All-CAA and honorable mention All-America honors after ranking third in the league in scoring (18.4 ppg) and second in rebounding (11.0 rpg). Joining Evans in the frontcourt is junior Candace Bond (7.5 ppg/5.0 rpg), who was named to the CAA All-Defensive team after leading the Pride with 75 steals a year ago. Senior guards Nicole Capurso (11.9 ppg) and Candice Bellocchio (5.0 apg) will lead the backcourt. Guard Kate Loper, a CAA All-Rookie honoree, scored 11.5 ppg and made 75 three-pointers off the bench last season. Senior center Marie Malone returns after missing a majority of last season due to an injury.

The CAA is coming off an outstanding year in which the conference sent six teams to postseason play. This season, the league returns 70% of its starters and nine all-conference performers.

Delaware's Delle Donne was selected as the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. She is joined on the preseason All-CAA first team by Hofstra's Evans, VCU's Hurt and Barbour and Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite (17.6 ppg/6.3 rpg).

Joining Lewis on the preseason All-CAA second team were UNCW's Alisha Andrews, Georgia State's Chan Harris, JMU's Hislop and William & Mary's Taysha Pye.


1. Delaware 2. VCU 3. James Madison 4. Hofstra 5. Drexel Old Dominion 7. UNC Wilmington 8. George Mason 9. William & Mary 10. Georgia State 11. Towson 12. Northeastern


First Team Andrea Barbour, VCU# Elena Delle Donne, Delaware* Shante Evans, Hofstra* Courtney Hurt, VCU* Kamile Nacickaite, Drexel#

Second Team Alisha Andrews, UNCW Chan Harris, Georgia State^ Tarik Hislop, James Madison Tia Lewis, Old Dominion^ Taysha Pye, William & Mary^

CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Elena Delle Donne, Delaware

Honorable Mention: Nicole Capurso, Hofstra; Lauren Carra, Delaware; Jasmine Gill, James Madison; Talia Moton, George Mason

*1st team All-CAA in 2010-11 # 2nd team All-CAA in 2010-11 ^ 3rd team All-CAA in 2010-11