Lady Monarchs Top Delaware 66-58 For 12th Straight CAA Title
By ODU Athletics
March 15, 2003
The Old Dominion women's basketball program claimed its 12th straight Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title defeating the University of Delaware, 66-58, on Saturday in the 2003 ALLTEL CAA Championship game at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
Sophomore guard Shareese Grant was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after leading Old Dominion to the title with a career-high 25 points. Grant finished tournament play totaling 50 points, eight steals, five rebounds, and five assists over the course of the Lady Monarchs' three tournament games.
Old Dominion junior forward Monique Coker and senior point guard Okeisha Howard each earned their third CAA All-Tournament honors. Coker added a team second-best 14 points along with seven boards, while Howard poured in 11 points and dished out a game-high eight assists. Redshirt freshman Corrina Turner, who netted six points and hauled in game-high eight boards along with five blocked shots, was also selected to the team.
Delaware senior guard Allison Trapp also earned All-Tournament accolades pacing the Fightin' Blue Hens with a game-high 28 points. Her 12-of-12 performance from the free throw line set a tournament record for most free throws made in a single game. She also tied the tournament's record for free throw percentage along with Jami Lange of William & Mary (10-of-10 vs. Hofstra - 3-6-02) and Emily McCracken of James Madison (10-of-10 vs. American - 3-8-90).
Blue Hen Tiara Malcom was also selected the all-tournament team after scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the loss for the Delaware.
The opening half was a see-saw battle with five ties, five lead changes, and neither team enjoying more than a five-point lead. Delaware took control of the game at the tip for a 7-2 lead with 16:47 on the clock, but the five-point lead would be the largest the Fightin' Blue Hens would maintain. Old Dominion took its first lead of the game, 12-11, on a lay-up by junior guard Max Nhassengo (Maputo, Mozambique) at 11:58, but Delaware would come back to tie the score at 14-14 three mintues later. Six straight points by Malcom returned the lead back to the Blue Hens for a 24-20 edge with 6:35 remaining in the half.
The lead went back and forth over the course of the final three minutes before Grant hit a jumper with less than a minute remaining to give the Lady Monarchs a 29-28 edge entering intermission.
Old Dominion would not relinquish the lead in the second half en route to its first title at its new facility at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. The Lady Monarchs built a 10-point lead, its largest of the game, midway through the second half. However the Blue Hens would not go away going on a 10-2 run pulling within two, 49-47, with 7:33 on the clock.
Trapp hit a three-pointer at 5:03 mark to bring her squad to within one, 51-50, however Delaware would only hit one more field goal the rest of the way as Old Dominion closed out the game on a 11-4 run. Turner extended the Lady Monarchs' lead to three, 57-54, but Trapp once again brought the Blue Hens within one with two free throws. Just moments later Grant hit just the fifth three-pointer of her career to seal the victory for Old Dominion.
The Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens ended their tournament run with a 22-8 overall mark, while the Lady Monarchs improved to 21-10.
Old Dominion finished the game shooting 51 percent from the field (27-of-53), while Delaware connected on 18-of-46 to end the day shooting 39 percent from the floor. The Blue Hens forced 12 first half turnovers on the Lady Monarchs, but Old Dominion would only turn the ball over five times in the final 20 minutes of play.
The Lady Monarchs shot a season-best 91.7 percent from the charity stripe and converted all six attempts in the second half. Delaware, who set their school in free throw accuracy against the Lady Monarchs back on February 14th at the Bob Carpenter Center, shot 74.1 from the line.
Old Dominion earns the CAA's automatic bid to the 2003 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, which begins play next weekend.
2003 ALLTEL CAA All-Tournament Team
Tournament Most Valuable Player
Shareese Grant (Old Dominion)