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Lady Monarch Basketball Set To Open 2001-02 Season Tonight

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: November 16, 2001
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Nov. 16, 2001

TODAY'S GAME Old Dominion Lady Monarchs vs. Towson Tigers Friday, November 16, 2001 Old Dominion Field House, Norfolk, VA

POSSIBLE STARTING LINE-UPS:

Old Dominion:
Name:	                Pos:	Cl:	Ht:	PPG:	RPG:
Okeisha Howard	        G	Jr.	5-5	14.2	3.3
Sharron Francis	        G	Sr.	5-8	9.5	4.3
Tiffany Thompson	F	Sr.	6-3	6.3	5.3
Lucienne Berthieu *	F	Sr.	6-2	17.8	8.9
Hamchetou Maiga	        F	Sr.	6-1	13.7	3.3

Towson: Name: Pos: Cl: Ht: PPG: RPG: Mia Chapman G Jr. 5-5 10.6 2.4 Shonte Simpson G Sr. 5-4 5.0 1.7 Kate Smyth G So. 5-8 2.2 2.4 Faith Jones C/F Sr. 6-0 5.5 5.0 Jacquelyn Richardson F So. 6-0 6.0 7.3

(Stats reflect end of 2001 season * Denotes 1999-2000)

ABOUT THE LADY MONARCHS: The Old Dominion women's basketball team tips-off against Towson in the 2001-02 season opener at the Fieldhouse tonight. The Lady Monarchs are coming off a 21-9 season, which included their record breaking 10th Colonial Athletic Association Title and a first round appearance in the NCAA. Old Dominion was successful in both of their exhibition outings, taking a 89-68 win over Remus Powerbasket and a 90-38 victory over M.I. Express.

A BACKGROUND ON THE OPPONENT: Towson begins play tonight in their new league, the Colonial Athletic Association. The Tigers held a 3-25 overall record and a 2-16 in their former conference, the America East. The Tigers boast a new head coach in Joe Matthews, who joins the Towson program after serving as an assistant at Virginia Tech. Jill McGowan, the Tigers leading scorer from last season has assumed a new role with the squad. McGowan now patrols the sidelines as a Tiger assistant coach. Guard Mia Chapman is the Tigers' top returning scorer. Chapman averaged 10.6 ppg and led the team in assists with 79. Jackie Richardson, entering her second season on the Towson roster, led the Tigers in rebounding with a 7.3 rpg average.

TOWSON HEAD COACH: Joe Mathews enters his first head coaching position in his first season at the helm of the Tiger women's basketball program. He began his coaching career in 1989 as a student assistant coach during his undergraduate days at Radford. In 1990, he was promoted to the position of part-time assistant. Mathews stayed at Radford as a full-time member of the coaching staff for three years following his graduation in 1991. During his five years at Radford, the Highlanders were the dominant team in the Big South Conference, winning five consecutive league titles from 1989-94. In 1994, Mathews moved over to Butler where he helped compile a 59-26 record and grab the 1996 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Championship. Mathews joined the Virginia Tech coaching staff in 1997, aiding the Hokies to three 20-win seasons and a transition into the Big East Conference.

ODU VS. TOWSON: Old Dominion and Towson have never squared away on the hardwood before. Tonight will mark their first ever contest. In fact, Old Dominion has not faced any of the new CAA schools (Towson, Delaware, Drexel, and Hofstra.). The two teams will face each other again in Maryland on Sunday, February 3rd.

OPENING THE SEASON: The Lady Monarchs have compiled a 24-8 record in season openers. Last season, Old Dominion opened with a 99-72 loss against Penn State in the State Farm Tip-Off. The last Lady Monarch win in a season opener was during the 1999-2000 season with a 91-64 victory over Hampton Roads rival Hampton. Under Wendy Larry, the Lady Monarchs hold an 11-3 record in season opening games.

CONFERENCE OPENER: The Lady Monarchs waste no time in starting the conference season. The opening regular season game against Towson, will also mark the first game in CAA play. It will mark the first time in school history that Old Dominion has opened the season with a league game. Although the Lady Monarchs opened against Virginia Commonwealth in 1991 (W, 77-67) and 1992 (L, 67-72), the Rams did not join the CAA until the 1995-96 season.

CONFERENCE OPENERS: The Lady Monarchs are 10-0 in Colonial Athletic Association Conference openers.

1991:	William & Mary	       W, 70-51
1992:	at George Mason	       W, 81-48
1993:	at Richmond	       W, 87-66
1994:	James Madison	       W, 68-64
1995:	at Richmond	       W, 79-36
1996:	Richmond	       W, 89-53
1997:	at William and Mary    W, 94-53
1998:	at Richmond	       W, 104-97
1999:	at UNC-Wilmington      W, 84-65
2000:	UNC-Wilmington	       W, 74-59

TEN FINGERS, TEN RINGS: Prior to tonight's tip-off, the Lady Monarchs will receive their CAA Championship rings. The Lady Monarch have won an NCAA record 10 straight championship titles since joining the CAA during the 1991-92 season.

LAUNCHING THE NEW CAA: Four new schools will be among the Colonial Athletic Association members this season. Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra, and Towson join the league this season. Old Dominion will be one of the first schools to welcome the new members as the Lady Monarchs host Towson on Friday night. A ceremonial tip-off will occur prior to the game.

D-D-D-DEFENSE: The Lady Monarchs allowed M.I. Express to net just 38 points in their final exhibition showing on Tuesday night. It was the lowest point total by an opponent since a 83-32 victory over UNC-Wilmington (2/15) and a 78-32 win over William and Mary (2/22) last year.

FAREWELL TO THE FIELDHOUSE: Tonight's game will be last season opener for the Old Dominion women's team in the Fieldhouse. 12 more games (excluding CAA Tournament action) will be playing in the confines of the Fieldhouse before moving over to the new, state-of-the-art, Ted E. Constant Convocation Center. Throughout the year, Old Dominion will be celebrating the three decades of Lady Monarch history and tradition on the hardwood:

12/2	vs. UNC		70's night
1/20	vs. Drexel	80's night
2/17	vs. JMU		90's night
3/1	vs. WM		Farewell to the Fieldhouse

Log on to www.odusports.com to find out more information on the new home of the Lady Monarchs scheduled to open in the fall of 2002.

WHO ARE THESE GUYS: The Old Dominion Lady Monarchs have never faced any of the four new CAA teams on the hardwood before. Here's the dates for the first meetings in the schools history:

11/16	vs. Towson
1/11	at Delaware
1/17	vs. Hofstra
1/20	vs. Drexel

FRESH FACES: Max Nhassengo and Shareese Grant each put in fine performances in their first exhibition showing against Remus Powerbasket. Nhassengo was 6-of-14 from the floor with 14 points in just 17 minutes of action. Grant poured in nine points in just 11 minutes on 4-of-7 shooting.

ROAD TRIP: Following Friday night's game at the Fieldhouse, the Lady Monarchs will be off for a three-game road trip. Old Dominion will travel to Blacksburg, VA on Monday, November 19th for their first taste of non-conference action. The road trip will also take them to VCU and North Carolina State.

SCHEDULING THE TOP 25: Five opponents on this year's 2001-02 schedule are ranking in the top 25 of the USA Today/ESPN Poll. The Lady Monarch will face the two top teams in the poll, Connecticut and Tennessee, as well as #11 N.C. State, #19 Penn State, and #23 Rutgers. North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and James Madison are also on the Lady Monarchs slate this season. Each of those teams received votes in the poll.

ANOTHER NEW FACE: The Lady Monarchs added Kelly Hill, a walk-on from Louisiana to this year's roster. Hill, who averaged 15 points and seven rebounds at De La Salle High School, will be wearing number 15.

WE'RE PICKED NUMBER ONE: Old Dominion was the unanimous choice of the media to win the 2001-02 CAA women's basketball championship in a vote taken Wednesday at CAA basketball media day at the ESPNZone in Baltimore. ODU senior forward Lucienne Berthieu, who missed all of last season with a knee injury after earning CAA Player of the Year honors in 1999 and 2000, was selected as CAA Preseason Player of the Year for 2002. Joining her on the preseason All-CAA squad were teammates Hamchetou Maiga, the 2001 CAA Player of the Year and Okeisha Howard, James Madison junior forward Nadine Morgan and Virginia Commonwealth senior guard Rochelle Luckett.

CAA Women's Basketball Preseason Poll (as selected by the media)

1. Old Dominion (14 first-place votes)
2. James Madison
3. George Mason
4. Delaware
5. Drexel
6. Virginia Commonwealth
7. William and Mary
8. Hofstra
9. UNC Wilmington
10. Towson

Preseason All-CAA Women's Basketball Team

Lucienne Berthieu, Sr., F, Old Dominion Hamchetou Maiga, Sr., F, Old Dominion Okeisha Howard, Jr., G, Old Dominion Nadine Morgan, Jr., F, James Madison Rochelle Luckett, Sr., G, Virginia Commonwealth

Player of the Year: Lucienne Berthieu

TURNER TO MISS 2001-02 SEASON: Lady Monarch red-shirt freshman Corrina Turner will sit out the 2001-2002 basketball season after suffering a knee injury during a pick-up game. A MRI performed confirmed that Turner has torn her ACL on the same knee that caused her to sit out most of the 2000-2001 season.

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