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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thomas named third-team All-Academic

Posted by on Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 8:43 PM

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Duke junior guard Jasmine Thomas been named to the third unit of ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-America women's basketball team.

A vote of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) determined the team.

Thomas (pictured), a John R. Wooden Award and State Farm Wade Trophy National Player of the Year candidate, averages 15.7 points and 4.1 assists for the Blue Devils, who are 23-4 and ranked No. 6 nationally. The sociology major has a 3.37 GPA.

First-team players include Connecticut's Maya Moore, Indiana State's Kelsey Luna, Tennessee's Angie Bjorklund, West Virginia's Liz Repella and Army's Erin Anthony.

Maryland's Lori Bjork is on the second team.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Miller, Eagles can't quite climb out of a deep hole in loss at Wake Forest

Posted by on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 9:55 PM

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JOEL COLISEUM/WINSTON-SALEM N.C. Central plays its fourth of five women's basketball games against ACC competition this season tonight, and as always in this situation the Eagles are road underdogs.

Fortunately for the Eagles they're used to the arena, as they played here many times when Winston-Salem State was a rival in the CIAA and played Wake Forest here last season.

The Deacons (15-11) are looking to bounce back and get ready for the final "weekend" of ACC play, followed by the conference tournament and some certain post-season action to follow.

NCCU (9-15) will have to wait until the year after next for any of that to matter, but need one victory over its final five games to get a second straight season with double-digit wins.

That won't happen tonight as the Deacons get a big early lead and never quite let the Eagles within striking distance, holding on for a 76-63 victory.

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Kastanek ACC's top freshman again

Posted by on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 6:38 PM

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N.C. State guard Marissa Kastanek has been named ACC rookie of the week for the third time this season.

Florida State's Jacinta Monroe was named player of the week for games ending Sunday.

Kastanek led the Wolfpack to a pair of victories in a 43-hour span, including an upset at archrival UNC, by averaging 17.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. In the wins over UNC and Boston College she shot 69.2 percent (9-for-13) from 3-point range.

The wins moved the Wolfpack from ninth place to a tie for fifth in the ACC standings.

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Saddled with another loss, Heels struggle to stave off resignation

Posted by on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 12:29 AM

Roy Williams' 600th win was one of this season's few happy moments (File photo by Rob Rowe)
  • Roy Williams' 600th win was one of this season's few happy moments (File photo by Rob Rowe)

After Saturday’s 71-67 loss to Boston College, North Carolina now is mathematically assured of a losing record in the ACC.

The Heels dropped to 14-13 overall and 3-9 in conference play, ending whatever ruminations still existed that the club might regroup and earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. Carolina’s postseason destiny now appears to spell the letters NIT, if that. As for the NCAAs, the Heels likely will need to win the ACC Tournament to earn the automatic bid.

Carolina played well against the Eagles defensively, limiting them to just 40 percent shooting. But even upon the return of Tyler Zeller, who had missed 10 games with a foot injury, the Heels failed to muster any semblance of offense when they needed it most.

UNC shot just 39 percent from the floor and stuggled to get clean looks during the final 10 minutes of the contest, dooming the club to defeat despite committing only 11 turnovers and generally playing good defense. Of course, those shooting woes were compounded by the club’s poor free throw shooting, as again the Heels failed to crack 70 percent from the foul line.

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Eagles try for big upset at Wake tonight

Posted by on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 12:01 AM

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N.C. Central looks for a big upset in women’s basketball tonight, while host Wake Forest looks to get back on the winning track before the final weekend of ACC action.

The Eagles will have five more chances to equal their 10-win mark of last season, and with a two-game winning streak tonight’s tough assignment at Joel Coliseum is the first shot.

Wake, which will look to rebound from its overtime loss to visiting UNC on Thursday, has already locked up at least a .500 season and wants to get some momentum heading into next week’s ACC Tournament.

Deacon head coach Mike Petersen is one game above .500 in his tenure at Wake Forest. Wake has a pair of freshmen from the Triangle on its roster in Asia Williams from Durham Hillside and Lakevia Boykin from Southeast Raleigh.

Joanna Miller (pictured) is NCCU’s leading scorer.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Christmas, Cheek lead the way as Duke foils feisty Maryland with big finish

Posted by on Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 4:37 PM

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CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke comes into a televised home game in great shape in the ACC women's basketball race, needing just two wins to clinch the top seed in the conference tournament.

But today's opponent is a team that's playing well and just doesn't like the Blue Devils very much.

Maryland (18-8) has won three straight road games, and lost to Duke only 58-57 at home on Jan. 24 in a game when the Blue Devils obviously had to fight to the end.

There's a big crowd in the house including a couple of hundred Terp fans behind the Maryland bench.

Today the Terps put up a great fight, but Duke pulls away over the final four minutes to win 71-59.

It's obvious the teams don't like each other from the start, as Maryland players bump Duke players as they attempt to line up for the National Anthem.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Women's roundup: State-Carolina, Duke-Maryland on tap today

Posted by on Sat, Feb 20, 2010 at 11:46 PM

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It's the penultimate weekend in ACC women's basketball, and there are two big rivalry games in the Triangle today.

The one that isn't sold out is on TV.

UNC will host N.C. State for the 90th time in its annual PinkZone game at refurbished Carmichael Arena. Tickets are not available for the 2 p.m. contest, which will be one of two sellouts in the building this season along with Duke's visit a week from today.

Italee Lucas (pictured) is the Tar Heels' leading scorer, and poured in a career-high 33 points in their 81-69 victory in the teams' first meeting Jan. 25 in Raleigh.

First-place Duke, meanwhile, will host heated rival Maryland at 1 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium, looking to move to within one win of clinching the ACC regular-season title. The No. 8 Blue Devils' game with the Terps will be shown on Fox Sports South. Duke won the teams' first meeting of the season 58-57 in College Park.

Where anyone else will finish is very much up for grabs. UNC and NCSU are in a four-way tie for sixth in the conference, just one game behind fourth-place Georgia Tech which currently holds the final prospective first-round bye in the conference tournament.

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Now playing for the RailHawks - "The Trialists"

Posted by on Sat, Feb 20, 2010 at 8:44 PM

MIDDLE CREEK PARK/ CARY—The outcome of the Carolina RailHawks' first scrimmage of the 2010 USSF Division 2 soccer season was as incidental as its venue. For the record, the RailHawks defeated Duke University 3-2 in a match held at Middle Creek Park in Cary, an above-average parks & rec facility devoid of seating or a scoreboard. A modest number of die-hard fans—representing both sides—watched from along the touchline, close enough to hear the bawdy on-field clamor that normally evaporates in the more spacious confines of WakeMed Park.

Still, the match was sporty and well-contested, as evidenced by the urgent tenor of the players on the pitch. For the RailHawks, this debut preseason match was more an opportunity to observe a number of players vying to earn a spot on the team's roster, prospects referred to generically as "trialists." For various reasons, even the identities of these trialists are shrouded in mystery—inquiries to head coach Martin Rennie about the names of several went unanswered.

The RailHawks' first half side was comprised almost entirely of trialists, joined only by returning midfielder Kupono Low, forward Sallieu Bundu and goalkeeper Eric Reed. Not coincidentally, Duke controlled the half and jumped out to a 2-0 lead, which was cut to 2-1 near halftime when one prospect punched a Bundu cross past the goalkeeper.

The RailHawks' second half featured more familiar and formidable faces. Joining Reed and trialist Shintaro Harada from the opening stanza were Daniel Paladini, Andriy Budnyy, Mark Schulte, Joseph Kabwe, John Gilkerson, Devon McKenney, Josh Gardner, newcomer Floyd Franks and forward prospect Joseph Ngwenya, a 28-year-old Zimbabwean striker whose resume includes productive stints with the L.A. Galaxy, Columbus Crew and Houston Dynamo. Ngwenya hammered through the equalizer midway through the second half (see the goal here). Then Low, subbing for an injured Franks, chipped in the game-winner just before the referee blew the full-time whistle.

"Duke was really strong, so I was impressed with them, especially in the first half," said Rennie. "Then, in the second half we took our chances and played quite well. It's just the first week of training and it's more important to get our fitness going and things like that, but it's always nice to win."

The daunting tryout process is best encapsulated by the case of Harada, a venerable Japanese defender/midfielder who last year starred with Crystal Palace Baltimore in USL-2. Besides Reed, only Harada played the entire match against Duke, displaying skill and passing efficiency. But, when asked after the game about Harada's chances of making the club, Rennie stated, "We're probably not going to sign him. He was trying out and played well during the course of the week, but probably not quite well enough." Indeed, Ngwenaya is the only prospect from the Duke match that Rennie said was still being seriously considered for a roster spot.

Other news and notes:

- Leading up to training camp, the RailHawks have been stockpiling new defensive help, including Franks, 2009 USL-1 First-Team All-Leaguer Matt Bobo, and others. When asked when help was arriving for the front third, Rennie responded, "Well, Gregory Richardson will be back in a week, and we've signed someone we think is a big-time player from Malta who will be here pretty soon. We've also got Matt Watson coming back from injury, who is an attacking player. We'll probably add another guy, but with all of those [Rennie mentioned], along with the three or four guys we've already got, we think we're pretty close."

- Josh Gardner's presence at the Duke scrimmage was a bit unexpected, as it was commonly believed he had departed for opportunities in MLS. According to Rennie, Gardner's status is still uncertain. "He's got a potential offer from Seattle [Sounders], so he'll have to decide what he would like to do. But, he likes being here and we like having him, so we'll just have to wait and see."

- In addition to those who played in the Duke scrimmage, other confirmed (officially and unofficially) returnees from last year's RailHawks squad due to arrive by the end of the month include: Richardson, Watson, Greg Shields, Brian Plotkin, Caleb Norkus, Gavin Glinton and Amir Lowery. Rennie hopes to have his full plate of players by the March 5 preseason match against Elon University.

The RailHawks next preseason scrimmage is Saturday, Feb. 27 against Wake Forest on Field 6 at WakeMed Soccer Park.

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Eagles win another home PinkZone game, get revenge on Chicago State

Posted by on Sat, Feb 20, 2010 at 5:56 PM

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McDOUGALD-McLENDON GYM/DURHAM Now it's N.C. Central's turn for a "PinkZone" women's basketball game.

The Eagles have had good fortune in their baby-pink outfits, never having lost a game while wearing them.

Today's opponent is Chicago State of the (10-16) of the Great West Conference, which has become a holding area for teams in Division I transition as well as a couple whose geographic situation makes it difficult to find any other conference affiliation at all. CSU won the teams' first meeting 68-47 in the Eagles' first game in Chicago.

NCCU (8-15) has won eight of its last 14 games and once again seems to be playing its best basketball in February. The Eagles are playing their first home contest after six straight on the road, and with a 5-3 record here are hoping to clinch another winning record on the home floor.

The Eagles get revenge today, using a huge final 10 minutes to win 77-64.

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Eagles host PinkZone game today

Posted by on Sat, Feb 20, 2010 at 1:24 AM

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N.C. Central tries to keep its recent winning ways in women's basketball alive today in its annual "PinkZone" game.

The opponent is Chicago State, a member of the Great West Conference that won the teams' first meeting 68-47 in Chicago last season.

The Eagles have won eight of their last 14 games.

Latoya Bennett (pictured) is NCCU's leading rebounder.

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