2:00 PM ET, March 11, 2007
NEWARK, Del. -- Every year, it's almost a foregone conclusion that the Old Dominion Monarchs will win the Colonial Athletic Conference championship.Despite losing seven of their first 10 games this season, there the Monarchs were again on Sunday, cutting down the nets after beating James Madison 78-70 to capture their 16th straight conference title.Top-seeded Old Dominion (24-8) is 47-0 in CAA tournament games since it joined the league in the 1991-92 season. Coach Wendy Larry said there were people doubting whether that streak would continue after the Monarchs lost five of six games in one stretch ending in late December.Old Dominion has won 12 straight and 21 of its last 22 games. Its only loss in that stretch was a 79-50 defeat by James Madison on Feb. 1, the program's worst conference loss ever in the CAA. The Monarchs will be making the program's 24th appearance in the NCAA Tournament."There was a belief that there was something wrong with our basketball team," said Larry. "[But] they didn't stop believing. They kept holding onto the hope that we were going to get it right. The tradition is pretty powerful."And the experience that you have in these championships is also pretty strong. A number of our young women have four championships. They understand the dynamics of playing three days in a row."T.J. Jordan was named the tournament's Outstanding Player after scoring 17 points."I don't think any us of really paid it [the early season criticism] any mind," said Jordan. "We knew we were going to get it together."We really don't think of it as a burden or anything like that," Jordan said about the Monarchs' title streak. "We step up to it as a challenge. When our freshmen come in, we tell them that we have a dynasty that we're trying to maintain."Tiffany Green added 16 points for Old Dominion, which won despite being out-rebounded, 48-32.The second-seeded Dukes, who lost in the CAA finals for the second straight year, are 27-5. Lesley Dickinson and Meredith Alexis (12 rebounds) scored 17 points apiece for James Madison. After leading 33-30 at halftime, the Monarchs' advantage grew to as many as eight points in the first four minutes of the second half.James Madison closed within as little as one point but never pulled even in the second half. Old Dominion's advantage was only 63-61 with 3:20 left on the clock before the Monarchs ran off eight straight points to put the contest out of reach."ODU made the plays down the stretch," said James Madison coach Kenny Brooks. "We got offensive rebounds but we weren't able to stick them back in. I thought the team that did the better job on the boards would win but I guess my job as a prophet is over."Old Dominion took a 33-30 halftime lead when Jordan sank a long-range 3-pointer at the buzzer. On the play, the Monarchs inbounded the ball under their own basketball with less than one second remaining before intermission. Jordan caught the long inbound pass and shot it from about 30 feet. The ball swished through the net just after the horn sounded."We were trying to run a play and it kind of broke down," said Jordan. "I kind of looked at Tish (Lyons) to throw it up. She threw it up and I got it up.""Don't let her fool you," said Larry. "She does it in practice every day."Old Dominion grabbed a 16-7 lead to start the game after sinking seven of its 10 shots from the floor. Lyons' 3-pointer with 14:41 remaining in the half capped an 8-0 run by the Monarchs.But James Madison answered with a 10-0 run of its own later in the half to go up, 26-23, with 4:45 left before intermission. The final 4:18 of the half featured three lead changes before Jordan's 3-pointer gave the Monarchs their halftime advantage.There were a total of four lead changes and four ties in the first 20 minutes. Jordan netted nine first-half points as Old Dominion shot 50 percent (14-of- 28) before intermission. For James Madison, Shirley McCall had 10 first-half points. The Dukes shot only 34.3 percent (12-of-35) before intermission but held a 24-14 edge in rebounds.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||23-68 (.338)||29-60 (.483)|
|3P Made-Attempted||2-12 (.167)||7-15 (.467)|
|FT Made-Attempted||22-25 (.880)||13-19 (.684)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||16 (0/0)||18 (0/0)|