As the Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Tournament comes to a close, it is time to look forward to the CAA Women’s Basketball Tournament held in Upper Marlboro, Maryland March 12-15.
A number of teams ranked in the middle of a crowded CAA pack that all yielded similar conference records. James Madison University put together the most impressive season by far with only one conference loss all year. The Dukes also managed to upset No. 23 UCLA in their first game of the season.
The seeding of the rest of the teams in the CAA Tournament are as follows:
No. 10 NORTHEASTERN (1-17) — The Huskies (4-24 overall) earned their only CAA win against the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Jan. 16. They have performed poorly in all other games, ranking near the bottom of all offensive statistics in the CAA throughout the season. Their defense hasn’t been much help either — the Huskies rank last in the conference in blocked shots, steals and turnover margins.
No. 9 COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (3-15) — The Cougars (5-24 overall) have struggled almost as much as Northeastern this season with two of its three wins coming against the Huskies. They have the worst offense in the CAA, scoring an average of 55.4 points per game, and also have the fewest assists, with only 304. With a .349 average from beyond the arc, they yield the worst 3-point shooting percentage of any CAA team.
No. 8 TOWSON (6-12) — The Tigers (10-20 overall) have had an up and down season in the CAA. Prior to losing its final six games of the regular season Towson had a respectable 6-6 mark in CAA play. With the exception of an overtime loss to UNCW Feb. 22, Towson’s five other losses have not been close, losing by an average of 10.3 points. Towson is still the worst field goal shooting team in the CAA with a .358 percentage, and the Tigers also struggled at the free throw line, ranking last with a .639 average.
No. 7 DELAWARE (8-10) — The Blue Hens (13-16 overall), similar to Towson, lost their last five games of the season. Sophomore guard Erika Brown and junior guard Courtni Green rank in the top five in the CAA in scoring after averaging over 13 points per game. Sophomore forward Hannah Jardine has helped Delaware lead CAA in 3-point field goal percentage while also leading the same field in individual statistics.
No. 6 WILLIAM & MARY (9-9) — The Tribe (15-14 overall) comes into the CAA Tournament riding a three-game winning streak after dominant performances against College of Charleston, Northeastern and Towson. After getting off to a slow start at the beginning of the year by losing its first five conference games, the Tribe started to put things together toward the middle of the season to secure a respectable standing in the CAA. William & Mary performed well defensively this season, leading the conference in steals. Senior guard Jazmen Boone and sophomore forward Alexandra Masaquel both rank in the top five in the CAA in steals with a combined 140 this year alone.
No. 5 UNCW (10-8) — The Seahawks (14-15 overall) are coming off a signature 76-75 victory over Hofstra on March 4. The win was the team’s fourth straight leading into its tournament opener against Elon. UNCW has done well getting rebounds this season through the efforts of sophomore guard Naqaiyyah Teague and sophomore forward Ryan Flowers who both rank in the top five in the CAA in scoring. Senior guard Kelva Atkins has led the Seahawks in scoring throughout the year and currently ranks second in the CAA in scoring with an average of 17 points per game.
No. 4 ELON (11-7) — The Phoenix (18-11 overall) has made an impressive debut in its first season in the CAA. Elon ranks second in the conference in scoring with an average of 67 points per game and also is the best field goal shooting team with a .425 percentage. The Phoenix has received production from a variety of its roster, as freshman center Malaya Johnson, sophomore guard Essence Baucom and senior guard Zora Stephenson all rank near the top of the CAA in field goal percentage, assists and 3-point field goals. The team has been sporadic throughout the year, winning and losing conference games without consistency.
No. 3 HOFSTRA (11-7) — The Pride (18-11 overall) has been good all year in scoring defense and scoring margin, ranking near the top in the CAA. Prior to losing its final two games of the regular season against Elon and UNCW, Hofstra was in the midst of a five-game winning streak that included an impressive win against No. 23 James Madison. Freshman guard Ashunae Durant has been a bright addition for Hofstra. She ranks second in the CAA in offensive rebounds while junior guard Darius Faulk ranks second in the CAA in assists with an average of 5.3 per game.
No. 2 DREXEL (14-4) — The Dragons (20-9 overall) come into the CAA Tournament as the hottest team in the conference with six straight wins. The worst loss Drexel suffered this season was against No. 1 seed James Madison Feb. 8. The loss was a blip on an otherwise successful season. The Dragons yield the best scoring defense, free throw percentage and 3-point field goal percentage on defense. Junior guard Rachel Pearson has led Drexel, shooting .392 from beyond the arc and making an average of 2.6 3-pointers per game. Pearson has played the second most minutes in the CAA, averaging 37.4 in every game.
No. 1 JAMES MADISON (17-1) — The Dukes (26-3 overall) are not only first in the conference but also in almost every other statistical category. Before losing to Hofstra Feb. 22, James Madison had not lost a single game since Dec. 29 in a close loss to Southeastern Conference foe Vanderbilt University. They have won the rest of their games in dominating fashion. Led by junior guard Precious Hall, who ranks first in the CAA in scoring with an average of 21 points per game, and redshirt senior center Lauren Okafor, who leads the CAA in rebounding, the Dukes have been unstoppable in almost every facet of the game. With their regular season performance, the CAA Tournament is James Madison’s to lose.