Balanced Attack Brings Old Dominion its 17th Consecutive CAA Title
March 16, 2008
NEWARK, Del. (AP) - T.J. Jordan celebrated her 22nd birthday in perfect fashion - helping cut down the nets after yet another championship.
Jordan and Tiffany Green each scored 15 points and No. 14 Old Dominion rallied from an 18-point deficit to win its 17th consecutive Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship with a 71-64 victory over Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday.
Jazzmin Walters contributed 12 points and Shahida Williams, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, had 10 for the top-seeded Lady Monarchs (29-4), who improved to 50-0 in CAA tournament games since joining the league before the 1991-92 season.
"Oh yeah, 22," Jordan said of her birthday. "It's March Madness."
It was the fourth CAA title for seniors Jordan and Williams. It was the third title for Green, who is a junior.
"It means a lot," Green said. "It's a long streak. I didn't want it to break. We just had to keep it going."
Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry picked up her 500th career win at the school in the semifinals. But win No. 501 may have been even sweeter.
"It's a tremendous accomplishment," Larry said.
Krystal Vaughn and D'Andra Moss had 16 points and 10 rebounds each and Radoslava Bachvarova added 15 for VCU (25-7), which had already set a school record for victories, easily surpassing the 21 it achieved during the 1986-87 season. The Rams had won six straight games before competing in the championship game for the first time.
"I think we tested them," VCU coach Beth Cunningham said. "Unfortunately, we came up on the short end of the stick."
Old Dominion trailed 38-30 at halftime but quickly tied it at 41.
After the Lady Monarchs built a 50-45 lead, VCU responded with a 5-0 run to tie it at 50.
From there, Old Dominion scored seven of the next nine points - four by Green and three by Jordan - to extended its advantage to 57-52 with 4:55 left.
VCU never got within three the rest of the game.
"It's not a good feeling with all the hard work we put in," Vaughn said. "We came up a little short, but I'm still proud of this team."
VCU must now wait to see if it will earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament when the field is announced Monday night.
"I think we have a team that deserves an opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament," Cunningham said.
Bachvarova's third 3-pointer of the first half gave VCU a 34-16 lead with 6:04 remaining.
But Old Dominion came right back with a 14-2 run to close to 36-30 before falling behind by eight at halftime.
The Rams shot 56 percent from the field (15-of-27), including 6-of-9 from 3-point territory.
Old Dominion won for the 23rd time in 24 games and defeated the Rams for the third time this season and for the 30th time in 31 games.
Old Dominion's 17 consecutive titles is well ahead of Liberty, which won 10 straight Big South tournament championships from 1997-06, and Connecticut, which captured nine Big East titles in a row from 1994-02.
Old Dominion is 261-17 during the CAA regular season over those 17 seasons.