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Lady Monarchs Suffer First Ever CAA Finals Loss to #2 JMU, 67-53

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: March 14, 2010
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March 14, 2010

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HARRISONBURG, Va. - In their league-high 18th appearance in the CAA Championship game, the #1 Lady Monarchs would finally suffer their first loss, coming at the hands of #2 James Madison (26-6), 67-53. It is only the second CAA Tournament loss in 19 years of play for the Lady Monarchs, and the first against the Dukes. Junior All-CAA Second Team guard Jasmine Parker led for ODU, scoring 15 points in the game.

Old Dominion falls to 18-13 overall this season and is the 2010 Virginia 529 College Savings Plan CAA Women's Basketball Championship Runner-Up. It is the first title for James Madison since the 1988-89 season. ODU's Jasmine Parker and Tia Lewis were named to the CAA All-Tournament Team. They were joined by Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, VCU's Kita Waller, and JMU's Lauren Jimenez and Dawn Evans. Evans was named the 2010 CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

ODU fell behind by as many as 19 in the game, but nearly rallied all the way back in the second half. The Lady Monarchs got back within five with 7:24 remaining, but three straight turnovers thwarted the comeback as the Dukes knocked down their free-throws to seal the 14-point win.

After Jasmine Parker kicked off the game with a three for ODU, JMU raced out to a big lead early scoring the next 14 points for a 14-3 lead in their home building. The Dukes spread it around for the quick advantage, getting field goals from four different players in the first five minutes.

Tia Lewis ended the 14-0 run with a jumper from the elbow with 12:44 remaining, ending an Old Dominion 0-10 drought from the field. The Lady Monarchs would come back to within five on a Shadasia Green spin move in the paint putting the score at 16-11, but a pair of Dawn Evans 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions pushed the lead back to 11.

JMU got the lead up to as many as 15 in the first half as they continued to shoot at a hot clip, knocking down 51.5% of their shots in the first half en route to a 43-29 halftime lead. Evans led all scorers with 17 points on 5-11 shooting, including four 3-pointers. She only had five combined long-balls in two regular season games against the Lady Monarchs this season.

ODU entered the half with Jackie Cook as their leading scorer with 8 points, knocking down a pair of three's and going 3-for-3 off the bench. The Lady Monarchs shooting improved after the early struggles, finishing the first stanza 12-for-29 from the field for a 41.4% effort.

The Dukes extended their lead with another run right out of the locker room, outscoring ODU 8-3 in the first 7:07 of the second half to take a 19-point lead, 51-32. The Lady Monarchs ripped off a run of their own after that, scoring 10 of the next 12 to get it back with 11, 53-42. The ODU defense stepped up, forcing two big turnovers in the run.

A Parker three-pointer from the left wing would finally get ODU back within single digits, cutting the lead to 54-47 with 8:03 remaining, part of a 17-3 run over 5:12 that got Old Dominion back within five points.

Lauren Jimenez scored with the next four points for JMU, while Evans added a fast-break layup with 5:54 remaining to get the lead back to 11, 60-49. Free-throw shooting down the stretch would be enough for the Dukes to hold on, running off 9-of-12 from the line in the final 6:31.

The story came on the boards, as JMU hauled in 10 more than ODU in the first half, including seven offensive. In the game, JMU outrebounded the Lady Monarchs 49-34, with 17 total offensive boards.

ODU will await the NCAA selection show on Monday night in hopes of an at-large bid into the Big Dance, but has already assured itself further postseason play as the Automatic Qualifier to the WNIT. Stay tuned to odusports.com for updates.

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