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Tarik HislopCourtesy: Cathy Kushner/JMU Athletics Communications
Women's Basketball Picked to Finish Second in CAA
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:10/16/2012
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ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 16, 2012 - James Madison women's basketball has been picked to finish second in the Colonial Athletic Association for the 2012-13 season.  The preseason poll, voted on by the league's head coaches, was announced Tuesday at the annual CAA Basketball Media Day at Champps-Pentagon Row in Arlington, Va.

The reigning CAA champion Delaware Blue Hens, returning all five starters from last year's 31-2 squad, were selected as the preseason favorite to capture the 2013 CAA title.


Delaware was followed by JMU, Hofstra, Drexel, Old Dominion and Northeastern.  George Mason and UNCW tied for seventh, Towson and William & Mary tied for ninth and Georgia State rounded out the rankings for the 11-team conference.


Senior guard
Tarik Hislop (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch), a three-year starter, was selected to the preseason All-CAA First Team for the first time in her career.  Hislop was named to the All-CAA Second Team following her junior season. 

The Dukes had two representatives on the preseason All-CAA Second Team with senior
Nikki Newman (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) and junior Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby).  Newman was named the 2012 CAA Defensive Player of the Year, and Burkholder was an All-CAA Third Team member at the end of the 2011-12 campaign.

A Closer Look at the CAA's Frontrunners
Delaware
captured its first CAA championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament last year. Back to lead the Blue Hens is senior All-America guard/forward Elena Delle Donne, who led the nation in scoring (28.1 ppg) in 2011-12 and is on pace to become the all-time leading scorer in CAA history.  She will be joined in the frontcourt by senior Danielle Parker (8.6 ppg), who ranked eighth in the CAA in rebounding (7.5 rpg).  The Blue Hens' backcourt is led by two-time All-CAA senior Lauren Carra (10.2 ppg), senior Trumae Lucas (6.8 ppg) and junior Akeema Richards (6.2 ppg).  Senior Kayla Miller will also provide depth in the backcourt, while junior center Kelsey Buchanan will assist in the post.

James Madison
advanced to the postseason for the seventh straight season in 2012 and reached the championship game of the WNIT.  The Dukes welcome back four starters from last year's 29-8 squad.  The backcourt includes a pair of All-CAA guards in Tarik Hislop, who topped JMU in scoring (14.8 ppg) and assists (3.5 apg), and Kirby Burkholder (11.5 ppg). The Dukes also return 2012 CAA Defensive Player of the Year Nikki Newman (5.8 ppg), the Dukes' top returning rebounder (7.8 rpg), and redshirt senior guard Jasmine Gill (9.0 ppg). Sophomore Toia Giggetts (4.7 ppg), a strong contributor last year for JMU's frontcourt, also returns to the line-up.

Hofstra
, who finished 19-12 overall last season and made its fourth postseason appearance,  returns a pair of senior starters in Shante Evans and Candace Bond.  Evans, a two-time All-CAA First Team member and two-time honorable mention All-America honoree, ranked fourth in the league in scoring (19.2 ppg) and second in rebounding (10.5 rpg) last season.  Bond (7.8 ppg/5.4 rpg) led the CAA in steals with 2.7 per outing.  Sophomore guard Andreana Thomas (4.2 ppg) will step into the starting spot at point guard.  Providing depth in the frontcourt are senior Deven Green (3.3 ppg) and junior Anma Onyeuku (3.3 ppg), while Annie Payton and Onyesonam Nolisa should contribute to the backcourt.

Drexel
advanced to the second round of the WNIT last season and finished with a 19-14 overall record.  The Dragons return two senior starters in Hollie Mershon and Taylor Wootton.  Mershon, an excellent outside shooter, knocked down 56 treys a year ago and ranked ninth in the CAA in scoring with 14.5 ppg.  Wootton averaged 7.2 points per game.  They will be joined by senior guard Fiona Flanagan (4.1 ppg/2.4 rpg) in the backcourt.  Senior forward Nicole Jones saw time in 28 games off the bench for the Dragons a year ago and led the team with 20 blocks. 

The CAA is coming off an outstanding year in which the conference sent six teams to postseason play for the second straight year.  This season, the league returns 60 percent of its starters and eight all-conference performers.


2012-13 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1.  Delaware
2.  James Madison
3.  Hofstra

4.  Drexel
5.  Old Dominion
6.  Northeastern
7.  George Mason
     UNCW
9.  Towson
     William & Mary
11. Georgia State

2012-13 CAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS
First Team, Cl., Pos., Ht., Hometown/Previous School
Elena Delle Donne, Delaware*, Sr., G/F, 6-5, Wilmington, Del./Ursuline Academy

Shante Evans, Hofstra*, Sr., F, 6-0, West Chester, Pa./Henderson
Tarik Hislop, James Madison#, Sr., G, 5-7, Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch
Deanna Kerkhof, Northeastern^, Sr., G, 5-11, Wallaceburg, Ontario/Ursuline College
Hollie Mershon, Drexel#, Sr., G/F, 5-10, Malvern, Pa./Archbishop Carroll

Second Team, Cl., Pos., Ht., Hometown/Previous School
Kirby Burkholder, James Madison^, Jr., G, 6-0, Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby

Lauren Carra, Delaware^, Sr., G, 5-9, Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore
Emily Correal, William & Mary, Sr., F, 6-3, Venetia, Pa./Peter's Township
Amber Easter, George Mason, Sr., G/F, 6-0, Hampton, Va./Bethel
Nikki Newman, James Madison, Sr., G/F, 6-2, Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby

CAA Preseason Player of the Year:
Elena Delle Donne, Delaware

Honorable Mention:
Ashley Betz-White, Old Dominion; Candace Bond, Hofstra; Karneshia Garrett, UNCW; Jewel Tunstull, Northeastern

*1
st team All-CAA in 2011-12
# 2nd team All-CAA in 2011-12
^ 3rd team All-CAA in 2011-12



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