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Old Dominion Picked To Win CAA Women's Basketball Championship

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: October 26, 2005
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Oct. 25, 2005

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Old Dominion, which has captured the past 14 Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball titles, was an overwhelming favorite to repeat as conference champion in 2005-06 according to a vote of the league's coaches, sports information directors and media. The results of the poll were announced during Wednesday's CAA Basketball Media Day at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

The Lady Monarchs, who posted their 14th consecutive 20-win season last year, were followed in the voting by James Madison, Drexel, Delaware and Hofstra. Picked sixth was Towson, followed by George Mason, CAA newcomers Georgia State and Northeastern, VCU, UNC Wilmington and William & Mary.

ODU returns four starters from last season's 22-9 squad. Headlining the list is senior guard Lawona Davis, who was a second-team All-CAA and CAA All-Defensive team selection after averaging 11.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Sophomore center Tiffany Green contributed 10.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per game to earn a spot on the CAA All-Rookie team, and the Lady Monarchs also return starting forwards Tish Lyons (7.4 ppg) and Sherida Triggs (6.9 ppg). ODU is also looking for big things from 6-4 junior center Tamara Ransburg, a transfer from Kansas.

James Madison welcomes back all five starters from its 18-11 team of a year ago, including a pair of all-conference performers. Junior guard Lesley Dickinson made the All-CAA second team after scoring a team-high 14.7 ppg, which included a stretch of 25 straight double-figure games. Junior center Meredith Alexis was also an All-CAA second team pick after contributing 11.8 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game. Also back is sophomore guard Tamara Young (13.8 ppg/7.0 rpg), who was a member of the CAA All-Rookie team.

Drexel is coming off its top season since 1990, posting a 19-10 overall record and a best-ever third-place CAA finish. The Dragons return 11 of 12 letterwinners, led by first-team All-CAA guard/forward Catherine Scanlon, who scored 15.0 ppg and led the team in rebounding (7.8 rpg) and assists (2.8 apg). Sophomore guard Narissa Suber was voted to the CAA All-Rookie team last year after averaging 10.0 ppg and draining a team-high 73 three-pointers.

Delaware finished atop the CAA regular-season standings a year ago and recorded their fifth 20-win campaign (25-6) in the past six years. The Blue Hens, who have advanced to post-season play in four of the past five seasons, return three starters. Leading that group is junior guard Tyresa Smith, who made the CAA All-Defensive team after ranking second in the league in steals (3.2 spg) and also added 10.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Backcourt mate Alena Koshansky scored 6.7 ppg and made a team-high 41 three-pointers.

The CAA sent a pair of teams to post-season play for the fifth consecutive year and hopes are high for 2005-06 as eight of the league's 12 teams return the majority of their starting lineups. Included in that group are 10 players who earned all-conference honors last year and three other former all-conference picks who red-shirted last season due to injury.

Drexel's Scanlon was chosen as the CAA Pre-Season Player of the Year for 2005-06. She was joined on the pre-season All-CAA first team by ODU's Davis, JMU's Dickinson and Alexis, and Hofstra junior guard Cigi McCollin, who scored 16.2 points per game and nailed a league-high 76 three-pointers.

Voted to the pre-season second team were ODU's Green, Hofstra junior forward Lizanne Murphy, a third-team All-CAA pick who averaged 11.8 points and a league-high 10.4 rebounds per game, Towson senior forward Tierra Jackson, a third-team All-CAA selection who contributed 13.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, Hofstra junior center Vanessa Gidden, who made the All-CAA third team after tallying 14.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg and a league-best 62 blocked shots, and Northeastern senior guard Maralene Zwarich, who earned first team All-America East honors after ranking second in the league in scoring (17.4 ppg), eighth in rebounding (6.8 rpg) and first in steals (2.0 spg).

2005-06 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

  1. Old Dominion
  2. James Madison
  3. Drexel
  4. Delaware
  5. Hofstra
  6. Towson
  7. George Mason
  8. Georgia State
  9. Northeastern
  10. VCU
  11. UNC Wilmington
  12. William & Mary

2005-06 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRE-SEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS

First TeamCl.Pos.Ht.Hometown/High School
Meredith Alexis, James Madison#Jr.F/C6-3Hanover Township, Pa./Bishop Hoban
Lawona Davis, Old Dominion#Sr.G5-11Port St. Lucie, Fla./Centennial
Lesley Dickinson, James MadisonJr.G5-10Queens Village, N.Y./Christ the King
Cigi McCollin, Hofstra*Jr.G5-7Long Island City, N.Y./Christ the King
Catherine Scanlon, Drexel*Sr.G/F5-11Drexel Hill, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara
 
Second TeamCl.Pos.Ht.Hometown/High School
Vanessa Gidden, Hofstra^Jr.C6-3Stamford, Conn./Stamford
Tiffany Green, Old DominionSo.C/F6-2Chesapeake, Va./Indian River
Tierra Jackson, Towson^Sr.F6-1Upper Marlboro, Md./Frederick Douglas
Lizanne Murphy, Hofstra^Jr.F6-1Beaconfield, Quebec/Dawson
Maralene Zwarich, Northeastern$Sr.G6-0Merriam, Kan./Shawnee Mission North
* - All-CAA 1st team in 2004-05
$ - All-America East 1st team in 2004-05
# - All-CAA 2nd team in 2004-05
^ - All-CAA 3rd team in 2004-05

CAA Pre-Season Player of the Year: Catherine Scanlon, Drexel

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