Women's Basketball Returns From Paradise To Host Penn State

November 28, 2007
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Nov. 28, 2007

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TV: Thursday night's game against Penn State will be aired by WSKY-4 in Hampton Roads. John Castleberry will be on play-by-play along with former Lady Monarch and ODU Hall of Famer Jan Trombly on color.

ABOUT THE LADY MONARCHS: The Old Dominion women's basketball team returns home after going 1-2 at the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas over Thanksgiving weekend, facing three consecutive ranked opponents. The Lady Monarchs fell to No. 2/2 Connecticut and No. 4/4 Stanford before winning their third and final game, a 66-53 win over No. 22/20 Purdue to improve to 5-0 all-time against the Boilermakers. The Lady Monarchs are led by senior guard T.J. Jordan, who is averaging 6.3 points per game. Fellow classmate Megan Pym leads the squad in rebounding at 7.0 boards per game.

ABOUT PENN STATE: Penn State comes to Norfolk with a 5-1 record and winners in their last two outings. The Lady Lions lone loss was a 68-72 setback at Xavier. Penn State won the WBCA Classic to open the season defeating common opponent Charlotte, 73-67, as well as then No. 20 Pittsburgh, 80-74, along the way. Another common opponent between Penn State and Old Dominion is Drexel, who the Lady Lions handed a 66-60 loss to on Sunday in their last game. Four Lady Lions are averaging double figures led by sophomore guard Tyra Grant at 16.8 points per game. Second-leading scorer senior Kamela Gissendanner is pouring in 13.7 points along with a team-leading 7.3 rebounds per game. Rounding out the double figuring scoring leaders is junior guard Mashea Williams and junior guard Brianne O'Rourke, who are averaging 12.8 points and 12.3 points respectively. Penn State is under the direction of first-year head coach Coquese Washington, who is the first female African-American head coach in Penn State history. Washington spent eight seasons as an assistant at her alma mater, Notre Dame, including the last two as associate head coach. She helped coach the Fighting Irish to the 2001 NCAA Championship.

69.0 - Scoring - 74.0
.395 - Field Goal Percentage - .442
.348 - 3PT Field Goal Percentage - .389
.655 - Free Throw Percentage - .784
39.5 - Rebounds Per Game - 38.7
15.2 - Assists Per Game - 13.3
21.3 - Turnovers Per Game - 15.5
12.0 - Steals Per Game - 5.3
4.3 - Blocks Per Game - 3.8

LAST TIME VS. PENN STATE: The Lady Monarchs rallied from a 20-point second half deficit and outscored the Lady Lions, 44-33, in the second half in its 77-80 loss to Penn State on Dec. 3, 2006 at the Bryce Jordan Center. Behind 55-35 a minute and a half into the second half, Old Dominion proceeded to take a 16-4 run to cut the Lady Lion lead to single digits. During the final stretch of the run, Old Dominion managed to score 10 unanswered points to trail just 59-51 with 12:30 remaining in the game. Free throws by Amanda Brown and a jumper by Kamela Gissendanner helped Penn State bump their lead to 12, 63-51 at the 11:33 mark, but Old Dominion managed to take another run and cut into the Lady Lion lead. Old Dominion outscored Penn State, 7-2, over the course of the next two minutes. Tay Ransburg converted the traditional three-point play to pull the Lady Monarchs to within three, 65-62, with 9:23 left. The Lady Monarchs refused to go away and continued to chip away at the lead until Shahida Williams converted her jumper to tie the game at 68-68. After each team traded baskets on respective turns down the court, T.J. Jordan drained one of her five three's to give Old Dominion its first lead since 13:41 mark of the first half. Jordan's trey gave the Lady Monarchs a 73-72 advantage with 3:02 remaining in the game. The final 2:14 saw two ties, two lead changes, and ten free throws, with eight of them taken by Penn State going 6-of-8. A 77-76 Lady Monarch lead at the 1:13 mark would be Old Dominion's final of the night. Penn State closed out the game hitting free throws to regain the lead and win. Meanwhile, Jordan had two different looks at shots from beyond the arc to try and win the game for the Lady Monarchs. Her first came with 36 seconds remaining being tightly guarded by the Lady Lions and her second came at the buzzer but fell short. Jordan led the Lady Monarchs with 24 points. It was her second 20+ point effort of the year. Ransburg and Williams joined Jordan in double figures. Ransburg had 17 points 7-of-7 from the field and 2-of-2 from the line. Williams added in 17. Penn State was led by Tyra Grant with 29 points followed by Amanda Brown with 18 and Gissendanner with 12.

SERIES WITH PENN STATE: Old Dominion leads the all-time series with the Lady Lions, 6-5. Thursday will mark the eights consecutive season these two teams have squared off. In the last seven meetings, the home time has been the victor. Penn State won the last meeting 80-77 as the Lady Monarchs overcame a 20-point second half deficit at the Bryce Jordan Center. Last time in Norfolk, the Lady Monarchs emerged victories with a 93-61 win. Another memorable victory against Penn State occurred on Nov. 25, 2003 as the then No. 7 Lady Lions were upset, 75-68, for the Lady Monarchs first ranked win at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

THREE IN A ROW FOR THE BIG 10: Old Dominion will face three BIG 10 teams back-to-back-to-back. The Lady Monarchs are coming off an 66-53 upset win over Purdue at the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, only to return home to see two more BIG 10 squads. Old Dominion hosts Penn State on Thursday and will welcome Michigan State on Sunday. It will be the first ever meeting with the Spartan.

BEEN AWHILE...: Old Dominion met up with some foes they haven't' seen for awhile at the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas over Thanksgiving...but sure do have some memories from the last time they played. The first game featured Connecticut and was the first the Lady Monarch took on the Huskies since the 2002 Elite Eight match-up. When Old Dominion took the court for the second game of the tournament, it was the first time the Lady Monarchs and Stanford faced each other since the thrilling over time national semifinal game in 1997. With Purdue in the third game, it marked the first time 2002 Old Dominion faced the Boilermakers since it's upset over second-seeded and host Purdue in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2002.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TIME: It's not the post-season just yet, but already one Lady Monarch has been named to an all-tournament team. Senior guard T.J. Jordan averaged 13.3 points in games against #2/2 Connecticut, #4/4 Stanford, and #22/20 Purdue to earn a spot on the Paradise Jam All-Tournament Team. Jordan led Old Dominion in scoring with 13 against the Huskies and 17 points against the Boilermakers and also poured in 10 points versus the Cardinal.

NO PAIN, NO GAIN: Coming off a sprained ankle in the meeting with No. 2/2 Connecticut in the first game at the Paradise Jam, senior Megan Pym rebounded by collecting her first career double-double against No. 4/4 Stanford in the tournament. Pym poured in a career-tying 12 points along with 10 rebounds, on board shy of her career mark. It was also Pym's 100th game as a Lady Monarch

TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER: Jen Nuzzo has always been regarded as one of the Lady Monarch leaders and it certainly showed against No. 4/4 Stanford in the second game at the Paradise Jam. Nuzzo, a junior point guard, set a new career mark with 14 points, also marking the first time in her career she led ODU in scoring. In the following game against Purdue, Nuzzo reached double figure scoring again, this time added in 10 points.

STARTING ON THE RIGHT FOOT: Old Dominion opened the season with three consecutive wins for the first time since the 1998-1999 season. That season the Lady Monarchs opened the year with five straight wins en-route to the Sweet 16. The five wins came against Marshall, No. 8/12 Teas Tech, No. 10 N.C. State, and Southern California and Southwest Missouri State in the Torneo Cancun de Basquetboll Tournament. The streak came to end in a setback to No.6/7 Alabama in the Wachovia Women's Classic.

WRITING HER NAME INTO HISTORY: Senior guard T.J. Jordan managed to find to more places to put her name in the Old Dominion record books in the Lady Monarchs' 80-59 victory over Charlotte. With a game-high 28 points, Jordan broke the ODU record for most points scored by a Lady Monarch at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. The previous record of 27 points was held by Max Nhassengo against Hofstra on Feb. 24, 2004. Additionally with her six three-pointers made, she becomes the ODU recorder holder for three-pointers made in a career, surpassing Aubrey Eblin's (1995-1999) former mark of 250.

DISH IT TO ME: Junior guard Jazzmin Walters dished out a career-high 12 assists in ODU's 88-66 victory over East Carolina, while committing no turnovers. The 5-2 guard recorded five steals as well in the victory. Last season, Walters finished seventh on the sophomore assist leaders list with 100 dishes.

NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP: Jessica Canady shined in the first three Lady Monarch games of 2007-08 season debut. Against Middle Tennessee in the season and home opener, the lone ODU sophomore came off the bench and played a career-high 23 minutes. Netting a then career-high 13 points, she also added three steals and three blocks. Canady did not have to wait much longer to reset her career mark in points as she lead all scorers with 18 in ODU's victory at East Carolina. Returning home to host Charlotte, the second year Lady Monarch posted new career marks in steals (4) and minutes played (28). Against No. 4 Stanford, Canady reset her career mark in rebounds hauling in eight against the Cardinal. To date, she is averaging a team second-best 10.8 points per game.

MOVING ON UP: With 19 points against the Blue Raiders in the season opener against Middle Tennessee on Nov. 10, senior guard T.J. Jordan moved into 21st on the all-time Old Dominion scoring leaders list. She currently has with 1,191 career points.

HOME COURT STREAK: The Lady Monarchs have 12 straight home contests dating back to the Dec. 20, 2006, 72-55, victory over national runner-up Rutgers, ODU's last loss at the Ted Constant Convocation Center was against national champion Tennessee, 59-75, back on Dec. 22, 2006.

FREE POINTS: Old Dominion went to the line 35 times against Middle Tennessee in the season opener, sinking 27 shots and shooting 77.1 percent from the charity stripe. Two Lady Monarchs showed that working on free throws over the summer can certainly pay off. Junior Tiffany Green,who hit only 51 percent a year ago from the line, went 8-of-9 and senior Shahida Williams, who connected for just 49 percent last season, netted 5-of-6. Also sinking shots from the free throw line against the Blue Raiders was senior T.J. Jordan, who went 6-of-7.

REJECTED: The Old Dominion women's basketball team collected 12 blocks against Middle Tennessee on Nov. 10 to set a new team record at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. The previous record of 11 occurred against East Carolina on Nov. 21, 2006 and conference rival UNC-Wilmington on Feb. 24, 2005. Senior Shahida Williams and junior Tiffany Green led the rejections with four apiece. Williams set a new career mark in the block category while sophomore Jessica Canady tied her career mark with three swats.

IN THE POLLS: The 2007-08 Old Dominion women's basketball team received votes in the ESPN/USA Today Women's Basketball Preseason Poll and moved up to to receiving votes in both national polls following the first week of action. Old Dominion's last Top 25 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll was November 18th, 2003. Old Dominion's last appearance in the Associated Press Top 25 was the final poll of the 2002 season as the Lady Monarchs danced their way to the "Elite Eight".

RANK `EM UP - ESPN/USA TODAY POLL: The Lady Monarchs will be taking on six teams ranked among the nation's top 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Women's Basketball Preseason Poll. Among the teams the Lady Monarchs will take on include three teams in the poll's top ten in No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Connecticut, and No. 8 Stanford. Other upcoming Lady Monarch opponents include No. 17 Vanderbilt, No. 18 Michigan State, and No. 20 Purdue as well as a possible match-up with No. 9 Duke in the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas over Thanksgiving week. Old Dominion opponents receiving votes in the preseason poll include Middle Tennessee, who will serve as the Lady Monarchs season and home opener on November 10th, Kentucky, and Temple, who could be a possible opponent in the Paradise Jam.

RANK `EM UP - AP POLL: The Lady Monarchs will be taking on five teams ranked among the nation's top 25 in the Associated Press Women's Basketball Preseason Poll. Among the teams the Lady Monarchs will take on include three teams in the poll's top ten in No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Connecticut, and No. 7 Stanford. Other upcoming Lady Monarch opponents include No. 17 Michigan State and No. 23 Vanderbilt Additionally possible opponent in the Virgin Islands, Duke, is ranked at No. 10. Old Dominion opponents receiving votes in the preseason poll include Middle Tennessee and Kentucky as well as Purdue and Temple, who could be a possible opponents in the Paradise Jam.

WELCOME TO THE TED: Since the doors opened at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in 2002, the Lady Monarchs have enjoyed a 67-12 record.

Ranked Wins At The Constant Center:
11/25/03 - #7 Penn State - W, 75-68
12/7/03 - #12/13 UNC - W, 73-68
12/5/04 - #16/19 Rutgers - W, 69-61
2/25/07 - #22/25 James Madison - W, 62-57

Losses At The Constant Center:
11/22/02 - Virginia - L, 55-63
1/7/03 - #5 Tennessee - L, 63-91
1/31/03 - Rutgers - L, 59-67
3/22/03 - Boston College (NCAA) - L, 72-73
1/2/05 - #8 Tennessee - L, 58-68
1/9/05 - Delaware - L, 70-73
11/20/05 - #1/2 Duke - L, 56-93
12/4/05 - #19/20 Vanderbilt - L, 77-82
12/29/05 - #5 North Carolina - L, 80-88 (OT)
3/19/06 - George Washington (NCAA) - L, 72-87
11/18/06 - #21/24 Kentucky - L, 55-69
12/22/05 - #5 Tennessee - L, 59-75

1. Tennessee 1/7/03 - 7,758
2. Virginia 11/22/02 - 7,316
3. Tennessee 12/22/06 - 7,108
4. Tennessee 1/2/05 - 7,063
5. George Washington (NCAA) 3/19/06 - 6,847
6. Rutgers 1/31/03 - 6,384

PRESEASON AWARDS: Senior guard T.J. Jordan was a Preseason First Team All-CAA selection for the second consecutive year. Jordan, a two-time CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, averaged a team-leading 14.5 points per game and nearly rewrote every three-point record in the ODU history books. Junior Tiffany Green was named to the Preseason Second Team All-CAA list. Green will be the Lady Monarchs returning leading rebounder as she hauled in 6.0 a year ago along with 8.4 points per game.

CAA PRESEASON POLL - WE'RE #1: Old Dominion, which has captured the past 16 Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball titles, was picked to repeat as conference champion in 2007-08 according to a vote of the league's coaches, sports information directors and media. The Lady Monarchs, who posted their 16th consecutive 20-win season last year, were followed in the voting by James Madison, William & Mary, VCU and Delaware. Picked sixth was Towson, followed by Hofstra, Drexel, Georgia State, Northeastern, UNC Wilmington, and George Mason.

HI MOM - I'M ON TV!: Seven Lady Monarch games will be aired, beginning on Nov. 23 with a Comcast Sportsnet broadcast with nationally ranked Connecticut from the Virgin Islands on tape delay at 11 p.m.. Old Dominion's conference games at Georgia State on Jan. 6, at Delaware on Jan. 27, and at James Madison on Mar. 2 will also be aired on Comcast Sportsnet, available on channel 35 in the Hampton Roads area. Lady Monarch games with Penn State on Nov. 29, James Madison on Jan. 13, and William and Mary on Feb. 10 will be available on WSKY-4. John Castleberry will provide the play by play along with former Lady Monarch and ODU Hall of Famer Jan Trombly on color for all the WSKY games.

SO WE MEET FOR THE FIRST TIME: The only team on the 2007-08 schedule the Lady Monarchs have never faced is Michigan State. The Spartans come to Norfolk on Dec. 2.

SO WE MEET AGAIN: The Lady Monarchs continue annual rivalries with Tennessee and Penn State while taking on Middle Tennessee, East Carolina, Delaware State, and Kentucky for the second straight season. It marks the third straight season ODU and Charlotte will meet on the hardwood while the Lady Monarchs return a game to Vanderbilt from the 2005-06 season.

THINK PINK: The annual HOOPS FOR A CURE game is slated for Feb. 10 against CAA rival William & Mary.

UP NEXT: Old Dominion will host No. 20/19 Michigan State on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2:00 p.m.