Old Dominion Captures 13th Consecutive CAA Women's Basketball Championship
By ODU Athletics
March 13, 2004
NORFOLK, Va. -- Junior guard Shareese Grant (Virginia Beach, Va.) scored a game-high 23 points and senior Monique Coker (Bronx, N.Y.) posted her 16th double-double of the season to lead top-seeded Old Dominion University to a thrilling 85-81 victory over second-seeded George Mason University in the 2004 Colonial Athletic Association Women's Basketball Championship Game Saturday afternoon at the Constant Center in Norfolk.
With the win, the Lady Monarchs capture their 13th consecutive CAA Championship and receive the conference's automatic bid to the 2004 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship. Old Dominion improves to 25-6 on the year, while George Mason drops to 18-10.
Grant earned Most Outstanding Performer honors for the second straight year, after shooting 7-for-18 from the field and 9-of-12 from the foul line in the title game. Coker tallied 20 points on the afternoon, including a perfect 7-for-7 performance from the foul line, and pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds to join Grant on the all-tournament team.
The Lady Monarchs, who led by 11 points with 4:15 remaining in the game, survived a furious Patriot comeback attempt, keyed by seniors Jen Derevjanik (Staten Island, N.Y.) and Vernessa Neamo (Forrestville, Md.). Derevjanik scored 10 of her team-high 19 points in the final four minutes and Neamo added four points in a 14-6 Patriot run that closed the gap to three points with 54 seconds on the clock.
Derevjanik buried her third trey of the game after Grant missed the back end of a one-and-one and the Patriots trailed 84-81 with less than a minute remaining. After Grant missed a running jumper on the ensuing ODU possession, the Patriots had a chance to tie the game but a long three-point attempt from junior Laura Kooij (Den Helder, Holland) bounced off the front of the rim with under 30 seconds to play and Grant corralled the rebound and was immediately fouled by Derevjanik.
After missing her first attempt, Grant connected on her ninth free throw of the afternoon to give the Lady Monarchs the 85-81 ledger and seal the victory. Old Dominion shot 20-for-28 from the charity stripe on the afternoon, including 12-for-15 in the second half.
Joining Grant and Coker on the all-tournament team were fellow Lady Monarch Myriah Spence (Espanola, N.M.), Derevjanik, Neamo and Virginia Commonwealth senior Cyndy Wilks (Bridgeton, N.J.).
Neamo and Kooij each scored 18 points for the Patriots, who trailed 43-40 at halftime. Neamo scored 12 points in the opening period, while Kooij connected on 3-of-4 three-point attempts in the first half as the Patriots shot 55.2% from the field in the stanza. Neamo added a game-high 14 rebounds and recorded five assists and four steals.
Spence scored 17 points and was 4-for-6 from behind the arc for the Lady Monarchs. Grant added five rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Coker contributed a pair of steals and two assists. Sophomore Lawonna Davis (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds.
The Lady Monarchs shot 48.4% from the field overall and held a 46-30 advantage on the boards. Mason shot 47.8% from the field overall, including a 12-for-26 performance from three-point range.
Old Dominion, which enters the NCAA Tournament on a 16-game winning streak overall, extended its home-court winning streak to 17 games. The Lady Monarchs last loss at the Constant Center came on March 22, 2003, when they dropped a 73-72 decision to Boston College in the first round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament.