Lady Monarchs Take Over First Place: Old Dominion Downs No. 22/25 James Madison, 62-57
Feb. 25, 2007
NORFOLK, Va. -- In the battle for first place in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) standings, the Old Dominion women's basketball came out on top with a 62-57 victory over No. 25/22 James Madison Sunday afternoon at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
Old Dominion takes the top spot in the CAA standings for the first time this season, improving to 19-8 overall and 14-1 in the league race. The victory was also the Lady Monarchs' first victory over a ranked opponent in five attempts. The victory also upped ODU's overall record at the Constant Center to 65-12 and 13-2 for the 2006-07 season as they played in their final regular season home game.
James Madison meanwhile suffered it first back-to-back losses of the year having entered the game off its first conference setback of the year at Delaware on Thursday. The loss dropped the Dukes to 24-5 overall and 15-2 in the CAA.
The first half alone endured seven ties and two lead changes. The Lady Monarchs opened the game scoring seven unanswered points, but it wasn't long before James Madison caught up. After two free throws by the Dukes' Jennifer Brown at the 4:46 mark gave the half's final tie at 25-25 apiece, the Lady Monarchs scored six straight points for its largest lead since its game-opening run. Senior Sherida Triggs (Norcross, Ga.) put the ball up and in underneath the basket, followed by a three-pointer by senior Shantel Wilson (Washington, D.C.), and junior Megan Pym (Newfield, N.Y.) hitting one of two from the charity stripe to give the Lady Monarchs a 31-28 lead with 1:12 left in the half. James Madison's Andrea Benvenuto closed the gap to three with a shot from downtown just moments later. With Old Dominion holding on to a 31-28 lead, the Dukes had a chance to pull even closer to lead as Brown headed to the foul line in the closing seconds, but missed both her shots to give the Lady Monarchs the three-point halftime advantage.
The second half saw another three ties and two lead changes. After Old Dominion established a five-point lead early on in the second half, the Dukes continued to chip away at the Lady Monarch lead until taking over at the 8:17 mark on free throws by Tamera Young. Moments later, Young gave James Madison a four-point, 46-50 edge with 7:45 left in the game on the traditional three-point play.
Then it was Old Dominion turn to chip away at the lead. Following Young's free throw, James Madison would be held scoreless for nearly five minutes. The Lady Monarchs took a 8-0 run capped by a three-pointer from downtown specialist T.J. Jordan (Portsmouth, Va.) and never looked back. Three times the Dukes would pull within one, but would never regain the lead.
The game remained close until the final seconds of the contest with clutch free throw shooting coming through for the Lady Monarchs. Leading by just one, 56-55, with 1:18 remaining, Old Dominion would go 6-of-8 from the charity stripe while allowing James Madison to reach the hoop just once. Wilson, who missed two free throws during a critical stretch in the final moments of last week's William & Mary game in Williamsburg, remained calm, cool, and collected as she sunk all four attempts in the final moments. Junior Shahida Williams (Newark, N.J.), who has also struggled from the line, hit 1-of-2 with :41 on the clock putting the game out of reach for the Dukes at 61-57.
Meredith Alexis led James Madison with 12 points as one of four Dukes in double figures. Alexis, who was sixth in the country in rebounding averaging 11.5 boards per game, ended the afternoon with a game-high nine reobunds. However, Old Dominion keep her off the boards for much of the second half. Her final rebound came at 15:52 mark of the second half.
Young, Shirley McCall, and Andrea Benvenuto all had 11 points for James Madison in the loss.
Triggs poured in a game-high 15 points in her final regular season appearance at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. The fourth year Lady Monarchs was 7-of-12 from the floor and also hauled in six rebounds. Junior Tay Ransburg (Kansas City, Mo.) added in 11 from off the bench.
Tish Lyons and Wilson were also playing in their final regular season home game. Lyons added six points, while Wilson netted a season-high nine points.
Old Dominion held a 47-40 advantage on the boards. Jordan and Williams each had seven for the Lady Monarchs.
Two games remain in the 2006-07 regular season for Old Dominion. They wrap up the regular season next week by traveling to Georgia State on Thursday, March 1st and UNC-Wilmington on Saturday, March 3rd.