Individual Breakdowns of this Season’s Starters

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

A profile into Womens BBall players that ended the season strong.


By: Domenic Allegra

Stats from GoMason.com

Nicole Cardaño-Hillary finished this season with a Field Goal percentage of 34.7, 68 3-pointers made, 137 free throws made, 605 total points, averaged 17.8 points per game, grabbed 113 rebounds, dished out 102 assists, and had 84 steals. She has a great basketball IQ and can read defenses well; I cannot wait to see how her “MJ” style and play-making ability progresses as she goes through this program.

Jacy Bolton finished this season with a Field Goal percentage of 43.5, 36 3-pointers made, 47 free throws made, 305 total points, grabbed 142 rebounds, dished out 72 assists, and had 39 steals. She now sits 20th all-time in school history with Cardaño-Hillary with 68 3-pointers made and still has a bright 2 years ahead of her; I’m definitely excited to see her play.

Sarah Kaminski finished this season with a Field Goal percentage of 36.2, 52 3-pointers made, 21 free throws made, 215 total points, grabbed 96 rebounds, dished out 76 assists, and had 22 steals. She now sits 16th all-time  in school history with 83 3-pointers made passing Amber Easter, Director of Operations for Mason WBB. I guarantee that she’ll still be lethal from behind the arch next year.

Tayler Dodson finished this season with a Field Goal percentage of 36.6, 6 3-pointers made, 55 free throws made, 181 total points, grabbed 187 rebounds, dished out 110 assists, and had 23 steals. Dodson, a true senior, finished her career at Mason with the school record for games played with 124, had 112 career starts, a total of 469 points, holds 22nd place all-time in school history in rebounds with 455 and holds 12th place all-time in school history with 251 assists. She passes the ball well, a characteristic that is often overlooked in basketball. It’s sad to see her go, but she was a great asset to this team.

Camarie Gatling finished this season with a Field Goal percentage of 50.8, 22 free throws made, 144 total points, grabbed 101 rebounds, dished out 12 assists, and had 10 steals. She had a good amount of points for the minutes that she played, I can not wait to see her play next season.

Marika Korpinen “Finnished” (sorry, I had to) this season with a Field Goal percentage of 30.1, 13 3-pointers made, 12 free throws made, 81 total points, grabbed 46 rebounds, dished out 39 assists, and had 15 steals. These are good numbers for her size and the amount of playing time she has. I can not wait to see how she develops in this program.

Congrats on the great season, Mason WBB! Best of luck as you prepare for the next one!

Stay tuned for a Breakdown of Natalie Butler’s season on WGMU Sports.

Mason WBB Season Highlights (Nov. 2017 to March 2018)

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

Nyla Milleson perfectly sums up this entire season – “Not sure I can be more proud of a basketball team.”


By: Domenic Allegra

FAIRFAX, VA — The Mason WBB Basketball Season ended with their final loss in the Second Round of the WNIT against Virginia Tech back on March 18. However, do not let this loss define this entire season, as this team has accomplished so much, from individual accolades to program records; they worked extremely hard to arrive at where they are today.

Boom.  Let’s get it started.

November

11/22/17 – Patriots (5-1) win over Illinois St. (1-2) for their fifth straight victory of the season; this was Coach Milleson’s longest winning streak during her 5 years at Mason; this was the longest streak since the 2011-2012 season when Mason was still in the Colonial Athletic Conference.

11/24/17 – Mason (6-1) rally to win their sixth straight win against Drake in the Rocky Mountain Hoops Classic. This match the best start in six years for the program and they had won six straight games for just the second time in the last 24 years. The Patriots trailed by as much as 18 points in the first quarter before coming back and winning 87-75.

The Patriots finished with 7 wins in the month of November, which is the most in program history for the month.

December

12/9/17 – Mason (9-2) beat Eastern Kentucky by a score of 64-41. At this point in the season they had won 3 straight games and were off to their best start since the 1992-1993 and 1993-1994 seasons.

12/11/17 – Patriots win over UMBC for their best start in 30 years by a score of 58-38. With this win, the Patriots moved to 8-0 at Eagle Bank Arena for their best home start in program history. Also, side note, I feel that because of what UMBC’s men’s team to UVA during this year’s NCAA tournament, it is an honor be mentioned in their presence. #UMustBeCinderella

The Patriots finished Non-conference play winning 11 games which was the most non-conference wins in 30 years since the season of 87-88.

12/31/17 – The Patriots rally and comeback from a 21-point deficit at the half to win against Davidson in the first A10 game of the season.  This was one of my favorite highlights of this season, as the Patriots were down by 21 after the first half and only allowed Davidson to score 16 points in the entire second half while scoring 47 to win in the end. With this win the Patriots moved to 10-0 at Eagle Bank Arena.

January

1/14/18 – Coach Milleson wins her 350th Career game as a collegiate head coach with the overwhelming win against University of Rhode Island by a season-high score of 92-53.

1/15/18 – Nicole Cardaño-Hillary is named the A10 Rookie of the week for the 4th time. She had double-digit scoring in every game of this season, was 2nd in scoring, and 1st in steals in the A10 conference. Additionally, she was 2nd in scoring and 2nd in steals among freshmen in the NCAA.

1/28/18 — Patriots lose to Fordham snapping their program-record home winning streak by a score of 67-62. At this time, the Patriots were 12-0 at Eagle Bank Arena before this matchup.

1/31/18 – The Patriots win over St. Bonaventure to clinch a winning season since 2003-2004; this being the Patriots’ 17th win of the season. Additionally, Mason matched their conference win total from the last two seasons with 6 conference wins.

February

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

2/15/18 – Patriots were victorious over VCU to clinch their first 20-season in 17 years. This one was special.

2/18/18 – Mason ties the single-season school record for wins with victory over St. Bonaventure. This marked their 21st win, which was the fifth time the Patriots won 21 games in a season, the last time being 2000-2001. Furthermore, this was the breast cancer “pink” game, a game that was memorable to so many people.

2/24/18 – The Patriots defeat La Salle to set single-season school record with their 22nd win by a score of 65-55. With this win the Patriots finished in fourth place for their highest finish since joining the A10. Additionally, this tied the school record for the most conference wins in a season with 11.

#RandomStat (Courtesy of Bill Rohland): “Mason Set Program record for wins (22) its first time since joining D1 and the team did lose back to back games the entire season.”  This shows how tough the Patriots were as they did not let their losses distract them from winning the next game during the entirety of the season.

2/27/18 – Nicole Cardaño-Hillary hits her famous behind-the-back reverse layup as the play of the year in the first round of the A10 tournament win against St. Bonaventure.

March

3/1/18 – Nicole Cardaño-Hillary is named 2017-2018 A10 Rookie of the Year. She was the first ROY since 2001 and the fourth in program history. Additionally, Natalie Butler was named A10 Player of the Year. This was the first time since 1997 that a team has had both the ROY and POY.

3/2/18 – The Patriots were eliminated from the A10 Tournament with a Quarterfinal loss to the eventual champions, George Washington. Was this loss due to the fact that there was no Green Machine? No, probably not, the Patriots shot 41% and 29% from beyond the arch, while scoring ten points below our season average.

3/3/18 through 3/11/18 – This was the post-season waiting period, I tried to calculate the possibility of an at-large berth and the Patriots’ chances looked good, but it was not a guarantee that Mason would receive a bid. So many different scenarios had to happen for us to be a good contender.

3/12/18 – Mason receives an at-large bid to the WNIT for the first time since 2004 (Third time in program history). What a day this must have been for the team, I can imagine the excitement.

3/16/18 – The Patriots win their first postseason game in program history and Butler sets the D1 rebounding record. Cardaño-Hillary scores a career-high 28 points in this game.

3/18/18 Mason falls to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg ending their historic season by a score of 78-69.  Mason struggled in the first half, before mounting a comeback in the end and falling short.

Congrats on the great season, Mason WBB! Best of luck as you prepare for the next one!

Stay tuned for a Breakdown of Natalie Butler’s season on WGMU Sports.

Butler Sets Another Record as Mason WBB’s Season Ends in Blacksburg

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

As the Hokies came in the favorite for this game, that did not stop the Patriots from fighting back as they tried to close the gap in late.


By: Domenic Allegra

BLACKSBURG, VA – George Mason (24-10) took on Virginia Tech (20-13) this Sunday in the second round of the WNIT. As the Hokies came in the favorite for this game, that did not stop the Patriots from fighting back as they tried to close the gap in late. However, this one went the Hokies’ way as they won by a score of 78-69. Even though the season is now over, it was most definitely one that will not be forgotten.

Let’s breakdown this game.

Marika Korpinen started again for Mason as Jacy Bolton was still out for undisclosed reasons. Korpinen struggled from the floor with only 2 points and 2 rebounds having played 30 minutes.

Natalie Butler led the team again with 26 points and 20 rebounds, breaking another record in the process, now holding the school record for most points in a season with 653 points. Nicole Cardaño-Hillary added 15 points of her own, three clutch three-pointers, and 4 helpers. Tayler Dodson finished the game with 18 points, 2 three-pointers, 6 rebounds, and dished out seven assists.

VT’s Tayler Emery led her team with 23 points, 4 rebounds, and one three-pointer. VT had almost 5 players score double digits, with Aisha Sheppard just short with 8 points. Mason turned over the ball 17 times, with the Hokies scoring almost 30 points off of Mason’s miscues.

At the beginning of the game Mason stuck with the Hokies up until the 3-minute mark of the first quarter where then Virginia Tech went on an 11-0 run, ending the quarter up 21-15. During the second quarter, Mason struggled to score more than 10 points, and VT was relentless shooting 50% of their field goals and at multiple times being up by as much as 20 points. The Secretary of Defense, Natalie Butler, was not her normal self the first half, and neither was our offense. Mason needed a spark to ignite their play.

In the second half, Mason became as close as eight points behind the Hokies with a score of 55-47. Mason shot a much better 62% from the field, but their comeback was fleeting as VT scored two three-pointers to widen the gap to 14 points. Mason’s defense was much stronger in the paint than it was in the first half, however, Mason’s weak perimeter presence was being capitalized on by the Hokies as they made 9 three-pointers throughout the game. With a minute to go, Mason closed to the gap to only five, before turning the ball over on two consecutive key possessions. Mason then played the “foul game” and VT made four of six free throws to end Mason’s tournament run and season by a score of 78-69.

This was a great season by the Mason Women’s Basketball Team, hopefully they can continue to progress next season without Natalie Butler and Tayler Dodson. They should definitely be proud of themselves as they worked extremely hard and did so many things that have not been done before in school history.

Thanks for an awesome season, ladies, I’ll still be in the Green Machine next year cheering you all on, best of luck.

Stay tuned for a Season Recap on WGMU.

VA Tech Scouting Report and 3 Reasons Why It All Comes Down to This

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

After witnessing history on Friday, Mason will have to step their game up if they want to win their next game.


By: Domenic Allegra

FAIRFAX, VA – After witnessing history on Friday, Mason will have to step their game up if they want to win their next game. George Mason (24-9) will face Virginia Tech (19-13) in Round Two of the WNIT on Sunday, March 18th at 2pm in Blacksburg, VA.

Stats (also found on GoMason and Hokie Sports)

George Mason (Averages):

Points Per Game: 69.2

Points Allowed Per Game: 60.5

Field Goal Percentage: 40.7%

Three-Pointers Per Game: 5.8

Rebounds Per Game: 45.0

Virginia Tech (Averages):

Points Per Game: 72.5

Points Allowed Per Game: 64.7

Field Goal Percentage: 41.2%

Three-Pointers Per Game: 8.0

Rebounds Per Game: 40.0

Breakdown

The season is on the line here and we have to take this team very seriously. Their record may say one thing, but their stats definitely say something else, all you have to do is read between the lines. The Hokies are in the ACC, the Atlantic Coast Conference, a heavy-hitting conference. While VT might have 13 losses, all but 3 come from the ACC and, like Mason, VT has not lost this season to a non-conference team at home, which is worrisome. Mason on the other hand is 1-3 in non-conference away games. While VT’s stats are similar to Mason’s, the strength of the conference in which VT plays kind of skews the numbers to look a lot nicer than they actually are. If Mason wants to win on Sunday, they’ll have to bring their A-game as their record-breaking season could come to a close.

Scouting Report

From what I can see, in order for Mason to win on Sunday, they’ll have to score in the paint, while at the same time scoring off of every turnover that VT gives them. VT also shoots a lot of threes, they attempt almost 25 per game, and if Mason wants to win, they need a strong perimeter presence, much better than what they had against Stephen F. Austin on Friday. A 2-3 zone or tight man-to-man coverage is something that would best fit VT. Furthermore, if Mason can out-rebound VT and score off of those defensive rebounds, and do well from the charity stripe, they’ll have a good chance of winning in Blacksburg.

One last thing that Mason will have to bring to the game on Sunday, discipline. This is key. VT makes about 14 free throws on average with a percentage on the season of almost 73%. I guarantee that 14 points will make or break this entire game. If Mason can limit the number of personal fouls they receive and keep VT away from the foul line, I think they’ll be able to pull this off. Additionally, VT sometimes goes overboard on the personal fouls and Mason will have to capitalize on those opportunities to stay ahead.

Now let’s get to the good part.

3 Reasons Why It All Comes Down to This

  1. VT Is a Great Team. From what I can tell, VT is a great team and to not give them that credit would be doing us a disservice. Mason cannot be overconfident in this one and also let them get in our heads. In order to win, Mason needs to stay focused and work together to keep their season alive.
  2. VT Does Not Let Up When They Are Losing. VT was losing on Friday to Navy at halftime by a score of 37-24. After VT came out of their locker-rooms, they did not allow Navy to score double digits in either of the next two quarters, out-scoring Navy 32-18; talk about a comeback. Mason has to establish their presence in the paint early and not let up on the gas throughout the entire game. Once Mason lets up on that pedal, the score will be going in the opposite direction.
  3. THIS IS ONE AND DONE. Even though these are uncharted waters to us, this tournament is still one and done, and as I discussed in my previous article, the last thing Mason wants is to let this run go to waste. A regular WNIT banner in Eagle Bank is nice, but I personally prefer a WNIT championship one instead.

Let’s go win this game. Best of luck to you all. See you Sunday.

Check gomason.com for more details regarding Sunday’s game and stay tuned for more content from WGMU.

Stay tuned for more sports articles on WGMU in the near future.

Mason Wins First Post-Season Game and Butler Rewrites the Record Books

Photo By (GoMason.com/GMU).

Photo By (GoMason.com/GMU).

Three words. What. A. Game.


By: Domenic Allegra

FAIRFAX, VA – This team continues to rewrite the record books, Mason Women’s Basketball (24-9) has just done something they have not done since their program started back in 1973. They pulled off their first win in the post-season Friday night against Stephen F. Austin (25-7) by a score of 82-75 in Round One of the WNIT. Three words. What. A. Game.

Let’s break this down.

The starting five had a substitution as Marika Korpinen made her first career start as a Mason Patriot. However, Jacy Bolton was mysteriously not dressed for the game despite being on the bench. Hopefully, she’ll be ready to go on Sunday.

Natalie Butler finished the game with 20 points and 22 rebounds; and with that total, she continues her streak with now 32 consecutive double-doubles. This streak is now second all-time in NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball History and she’s not done. With her 22 rebounds, she now holds the all-time record for most rebounds in a single season in NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball History with 543. Wow.

Nicole Cardaño-Hillary had a game-high of 28 points and 6 assists. Additionally, she was also perfect from the charity stripe going 12-12. Cardaño-Hillary came in clutch with some key three-pointers in the second half and lead the team despite taking a hard fall in the game. Tayler Dodson helped out with 14 points and 6 assists of her own. Mason went 50% (27-54) on overall field goals and 35% (6-17) from beyond the arch. Additionally, Mason out-rebounded SFA recording 45 rebounds to SFA’s 30.

For the Lady Jacks, Chanell Hayes led Stephen F. Austin with 24 points including 6 three-pointers and Imani Johnson finished with 14 points. SFA made 17 3-pointers which, if I’m not mistaken, is the most that has ever been scored by an opponent at Eagle Bank Arena. SFA went 36% (26-71) on overall field goals and 37% (17-46) on 3-pointers.

Mason played a great man-to-man defense by not allowing SFA to shoot in the paint and forced them to shoot threes. Natalie Butler held her ground, and Nicole Cardaño-Hillary did really well on defense keeping SFA on their toes. However, if we want to win this Sunday, we cannot have 24 turnovers as SFA took advantage, and scored 24 points off of those.

The win tonight marks 11-straight home wins against non-conference teams for Mason.

George Mason will face Virginia Tech on Sunday at 2pm in Blacksburg, VA.

Stay tuned for Sunday’s Preview vs. Virginia Tech on WGMU.

Stay tuned for more sports articles on WGMU in the near future.

WNIT Preview and 5 Reasons Why Mason WBB Must Capitalize On This Run

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/George Mason University).

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

While most of us were on spring break, Monday night of this week, the Mason Women’s Basketball Team accepted a bid from the Women’s NIT tournament.


By: Domenic Allegra

FAIRFAX, VA – While most of us were on spring break, Monday night of this week, the Mason Women’s Basketball Team accepted a bid from the Women’s NIT tournament. This marks the third time and in program history that we have qualified for the WNIT (2001, 2004, 2018). George Mason (23-9) will face Stephen F. Austin (25-6) out of the Southland Conference on Friday, March 16th at Eagle Bank Arena at 7pm. Let’s breakdown this match up and then talk about why this is monumental.

Stats

This season, George Mason has averaged 69.2 point per game while only giving up 60.5 points per game. They have scored an average of 24 field goals per game in addition to 5.8 three-pointers per game. George Mason averages almost 45 rebounds per game, but one should not automatically overlook SFA’s stats. SFA averaged 72.6 points per game while only allowing 57.2. SFA made roughly 7 threes on average in addition to 37 rebounds per game.

Breakdown

Now hold on one second, before you make any commentary on how they outscore us in multiple categories, let me say one thing. Based on what I can tell, the strength of the Southern conference is weak. There only seem to be 2 conference teams that were actually capable of beating SFA and this year in almost every game SFA won, they won by double digits, some by even margins of 70 points. One could say that Dayton only lost one game in conference play this year, and you do not see people calling the A10 a “weak” conference. However, Dayton is going to the NCAA tournament and SFA on the other hand…. was not even initially picked to be in the WNIT. It was not until Rutgers, who declined their bid, that SFA was invited to join the tournament field of the WNIT. That should tell how the WNIT’s committee looks at the strength of all the wins that SFA had in their conference.

Let me just make one thing clear, we should not be worried about this team, for a couple reasons. One, the majority of SFA’s points are made in the paint, and with a 6’5” Natalie Butler, a strong defensive Nicole Cardaño-Hillary, and a good man-to-man defensive strategy, we should be able to keep SFA out of the paint and force them to shoot the outside shots. Second, from what I have seen, in the majority of games that SFA has lost, they have also been out-rebounded. If GMU can grab rebounds and Butler is herself and grabs 20 or so rebounds of her own, I have no doubt that we can beat SFA. Thirdly, SFA is 9-4 in non-conference play, and 8-4 in away games. GMU on the other hand, is a perfect 10-0 in non-conference home games, this should definitely go in our favor as we have the home court-advantage, and the greatest pep band in the country, the GMU Green Machine.

5 Reasons Why Mason Women’s Basketball must Capitalize on This Tournament Run

  1. As stated above, this is only our third post-season tournament appearance, not something that happens very often. To put this in perspective, I was in pre-school at the time the Women’s team in 2004 made their run. Cherish this opportunity and have fun while doing so.
  2. We do not know if we’ll be back next year. With players such as Natalie Butler and Tayler Dodson leaving after this season, who knows if we’ll be back in post-season action next year. This should definitely move you to make a push for a deep run into the WNIT.
  3. We currently have good team chemistry. Every single one of these players play a key role in this team and it allows them to work almost like perfect clockwork. This team is something special and I think Coach Milleson would agree with me. I do not know why it is that this team just sort of “clicked” this season; it could be because of Jacy Bolton, Sarah Kaminski, some of the freshmen such as Nicole Cardaño-Hillary or Marika Korpinen, or it could reason number 4….
  4. NATALIE BUTLER. If the other three reasons are not enough for you, this one should. Just this season, she currently has 521 rebounds, 30-consecutive double-doubles, and has scored over 600 points. We do not want to let this tournament run to end empty handed. Next.
  5. N A T A L I E B U T L E R… I feel as if this one needs more emphasis. You won’t probably see another player like her at Mason for a long long time, if ever. From UCONN royalty, Natalie Butler has more than proved her worth with this squad. Please, please, let’s win this thing while she’s here, what a story that would be.

Now let’s go win this game. Best of luck to you all. See you Friday.

Check http://gomason.com/ for more details regarding Friday’s game and stay tuned for more sports content from WGMU.

Davidson Wildcats Take Down No. 1 Rhode Island in a Close Finish

Photo By (Domenic Allegra/WGMU).

Photo By (Domenic Allegra/WGMU).

Davidson Wildcats Take Down No. 1 Rhode Island in a Close Finish.


By: Domenic Allegra

WASHINGTON D.C. – On Sunday afternoon at Capital One Arena, No. 3 Davidson and No.1 Rhode Island took the stage for the A10 Tournament Finals. This setting was familiar to Rhode as they had won the Tournament last year, however, Davidson was the outsider, this was there first time ever being in the A10 finals and they did not waste their opportunity. Davidson squeaked one out and won by a score of 58-57. Let’s break it down.

Two minutes into the game Davidson lead 6-2, but as they progressed it was neck and neck throughout. However, Davidson, did gain as much as an 8-point lead at multiple times during the game. Going into the half, URI lead 33-32; I knew this was going to be a lot closer than what I had initially thought.

Out the locker rooms, the both teams went back and forth with lead changes, but no one was pulling ahead. Davidson however went on a 12 minute and 50 second scoring drought and Rhode Island gladly took advantage scoring 11 consecutive points, while at the same time gaining their biggest lead with a score of 56-52 with just under four minutes left. With 2 minutes left to go, Kelley Grady made it 57-56 with two shots from the charity stripe. And when clutch time called, Grady answered with a game-winning floater on the next possession. Davidson had to be alert with Rhode Island’s Jeff Dowtin going for a shot, and they were as they forced him to take a deep three that came up short. With 0.6 left in the game Davidson inbounded to half-court and sealed the championship game. No. 3 Davidson takes down No. 1 Rhode Island in a grand fashion.

News and Highlights

Having received an automatic bid tonight, Davidson will travel to Boise, ID to take on Kentucky in their 14th NCAA Tournament. That will be a game to watch.

Davidson went 19-50 (38%) on field goals, 6-18 (33.3%) on three pointers, and 14-16 (88%) from the foul line.

Kelley Grady lead the Wildcats with 17 points and 3 rebounds in this one, while Peyton Aldridge grabbed 7 rebounds and 2 assists in addition to his 13 points.

KiShawn Pritchett and Jon Axel Gudmundsson each finished with 9 points and went 75% (3-4) from the foul line.

Rhode Island went 20-52 (38.5%) on field goals, 8-23 (34.8%) on three pointers, and struggled from the charity stripe with a 52.9% (9-17).

Rhode Island’s points where spread thin among their players, with only E.C. Matthews making it to double digits (20). Rhode Island received an At-Large Bid tonight and will play Oklahoma in Pittsburgh.

In other A10 news, St. Bonaventure also received an At-Large Bid tonight and will face UCLA in Dayton, OH.

Stay tuned for more sports articles on WGMU in the near future.

A10 Tournament Session Six Recap

Photo By (Domenic Allegra/WGMU).

Photo By (Domenic Allegra/WGMU).

A10 Tournament Session Six Recap: Rhode Island Knocks Off SJU and Davidson Snaps the Bonnies’ Streak. The Championship Awaits.


By: Domenic Allegra

WASHINGTON D.C. — As A10 Tournament action continues, No. 1 University of Rhode Island (URI) faced off and won by a score of 90-87 today against No. 4 St. Joseph’s University (SJU) for a chance to play in the championship game on Sunday at 1:00pm at Capital One Arena.  It was a rematch of the game from February 27, 2018 where SJU pummeled URI by a score of 78-48.

Rhode Island (25-6) advanced to here by beating VCU, 76-67 on Friday in the quarterfinal matchup. The Rams won the regular season title this season and are looking to back that up by finishing what they started and winning three straight in D.C.

The only thing standing in their way now is No. 3 Davidson and their shooting machines Peyton Aldridge (24) and Kelley Grady (23), who scored 47 of the 82 points in tonight’s win over St. Bonaventure. The defending national champion, Rhode Island, will have to find a way to contain Davidson’s three-point shooters in order to secure a win in the A10 Finals tomorrow. However, with a win tomorrow, Rhode Island will secure their 91st win, the most ever in a four-year span for their program.

Highlights of URI vs SJU

During the first 10:00 minutes of the first half, SJU held a strong 8-point lead over URI. For the next couple minutes, URI was struggling to make open shots and was unable to come up with any offensive rebounds. With 43 seconds left in the half, URI cut the lead to only 4 points after free throw from Nicola Akele. SJU took a 47-40 lead to the locker room after the first half.

Coming out of the break, SJU’s lead was up to 11 points over URI. However, with less than 10 minutes to go, URI cut the lead to 3 and the comeback was on.  With just over 6 minutes to go URI gains the lead with a score of 72-71. URI is now back in their rhythm and are making 3’s and grabbing offensive rebounds. SJU inbounded the ball with a score of 87-90 with 3.2 seconds left and made it to half court before traveling and turning the ball over. URI sealed the game by running out the clock.

Stats from Davidson vs. St. Bonaventure

Davidson (20-11). will play in its first ever championship game in the A10 on Sunday. However, tonight they snapped the Bonnies’ 13-game win streak, shot 55% on three pointers, and 56% in overall field goals. If they want to win on Sunday, they will have to continue this pressure against Rhode Island. Davidson recorded 25 total rebounds, 23 assists and only 5 turnovers.

On the other hand, No. 2 St. Bonaventure, now eliminated, recorded 23% on three pointers and went under 50% for overall field goals (45%). The Bonnies’ struggled from the charity stripe with a free throw percentage of 53. St. Bonaventure finished the game with 34 total rebounds, 16 assists, and only 6 turnovers. We’ll have to see if they receive a bid for the NCAA tournament.

Players to watch for Sunday’s Game

For Davidson

Keep an eye out for Peyton Aldridge and Kelley Grady, but also for Rusty Reigel as he had 10 points, went 75% for field goals, 2-3 on three’s, and a perfect 2-2 on free throws. He also had 4 rebounds, 8 assists, with only 1 personal foul.

For Rhode Island

Andre Berry, their center, finished the night with 18 points and 9 rebounds, definitely someone to watch next game. However, let’s not forget about Jeff Dowtin, E.C. Matthews, Jared Terrell, or Fatts Russell, as they all had 10+ points, together collected 19 rebounds, 14 assists, while only combining for only 3 turnovers.

Prediction for tomorrow game

Based on Rhode Island’s poor start today and how Davidson was relentless on dropping three-point baskets, I predict a first-time championship win for the Davidson Wildcats with a score of 71-64.

The Capitals Head to Pittsburgh for Game 3

Nick Colletti

WGMU, Sports Blogger

Monday May 1, 2017

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Game 3 will pose as great adversity for the Capitals and their Stanley Cup aspirations as they face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the hostile PPG Paints Arena. To have a chance, the Capitals will have to play their hearts out for sixty minutes and find a way to beat Marc-Andre Fleury who has performed exceptionally well so far in the series. The stars have shined for Pittsburgh in D.C and now have a chance to ignite their hometown fans into a frenzied celebration with every goal they register.

The Steel City is one of America’s most passionate sports markets full of rabid passionate fans that demand excellence from all three of their professional sports teams. While the Steelers are the city’s most beloved franchise, the Penguins are not far behind despite facing bankruptcy twice in their history. Mario Lemeuix would save the team as a player and then again as a businessman by purchasing the team. In 2005, prized prospect Sidney Crosby was drafted by the Penguins and cemented a new successful era for the Steel City’s hockey club. Since then the Penguins have won two Stanley Cups and the Washington Capitals have faced them twice in the playoffs in both of their Cup years.

Caps fans everywhere hope that this history will prove irrelevant tonight in Game 3 as their Capitals face a 2-0 series hole. As hard as it is to say, the Penguins had simply out-skilled the Capitals in the first two games. Speed, great goaltending, and precise passing plays overwhelmed the Capitals at home and the Caps must find away to slow down the Penguins high-octane offense. It begins with Braden Holtby.

Holtby self-admittedly did not play well in Game 2. The third goal given up was uncharacteristic of Holtby as he remained too deep in his crease and gave up too much net for Jake Guenztel. The poise we saw in Braden Holtby throughout the whole regular season was absent in Game 2 and he would eventually be replaced by Philip Grubauer. Holtby will play tonight and he must perform better for the Capitals to have a chance to get back in this series.

All of the blame can’t be placed on Braden Holtby alone. Kevin Shattenkirk has got to be better and play like the player we bought a lot for before the trade deadline. Broken coverage and a costly penalty cannot be repeated if the Capitals are going to take Game 3.  The lack of scoring in the bottom six is unacceptable at this crucial part of the season as Daniel Winnik and Jay Beagle must dent the twine to ease the pressure on the top six.

It is not time to despair for the Capitals just yet. The series is still winnable and a victory tonight can shift the momentum of the series for the better. If they do lose however, the Capitals chances of winning their first Stanley Cup will prove dismal and bleak.

 

 

The Capitals Even the Series in A Pulse-Pounding Thriller

Nick Colletti

WGMU, Sports Blogger

Thursday April 20, 2017

tom wilsonThe heavily favored Washington Capitals have faced an opponent in the Toronto Maple Leafs that many predicted would be eliminated with ease by a D.C hockey club that has played some of its best hockey in franchise history. Three games into this series, the Maple Leafs have surprised hockey fans and audiences everywhere. Their ability to challenge the Presidents Trophy-winning Capitals with nifty goaltending from Frederic Andersen and a potent offense led by Toronto’s premium young talent has abruptly disturbed Caps fans everywhere.

Heading into a pivotal Game 4 in the rambunctious Air Canada Center full of passionate hockey-mad Ontario citizens, the Capitals needed to be at their best to quiet the chaos. Two quick goals from the sticks of TJ Oshie off a rebound and a laser slap shot from the hashmarks by Alex Ovechkin steered momentum in favor of the visitors, at least for a little bit. The puck luck for the Maple Leafs would continue to frustrate Washington as Zach Hyman deflected a pass from the point past Braden Holtby and resurrected the Toronto faithful. At this moment, Caps fans felt a familiar “here we go again” feeling and braced for another blown lead that has eviscerated significant games in recent past. But it would be two quick goals from an unexpected hero in Tom Wilson that allowed Caps fans to exhale heading into the first intermission.

Toronto would score first in the second stanza off yet another lucky bounce to cut Washington’s lead into two, courteous of James van Riemsdyk. The rest of the period would remain scoreless but at the end the Capitals started to play with fire. After a slashing penalty from Brooks Orpik, the Capitals faced a difficult 5-on-3 penalty kill heading into the third period.

The Capitals would be successful in killing the penalty and gave them much needed momentum any road team strives to obtain. That momentum would be strained after Auston Matthews buried the puck into the net off yet another lucky bounce. Less than a minute later however TJ Oshie would find himself a narrow lane of ice heading right toward Andersonn and made no mistake in striking the back of the net with a gorgeously executed five-hole goal. The crucial insurance goal would make the contest 5-3 in favor of Washington and it would be up to the defense and Braden Holtby to stand tall and close this game out. The Capitals resilience would be tested again when Tyler Bozak notched a late goal with 27 seconds left in the final period, but it wouldn’t be enough as Washington fought and tied the series heading back to D.C.

Many have been surprised so far on how competitive and difficult the Maple Leafs have been to the heavily favored Capitals. As Game 5 approaches, fans should expect this to be a long series and extend to seven games. In recent years most Game 7s on home ice have not treated the Capitals favorably. Even though this is a different team since those last season-ending disappointments, you really can’t blame any Caps fans for worrying if history will repeat itself.

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