Preview: Patriots Meet Dukes in CAA Tournament 2nd Round

Since the inauguration of the CAA Women’s Basketball Championships in 1984 George Mason will face James Madison for the 10th time today.  From 2001-2004 the teams met 4 times, splitting the series at two games a piece.  The Patriots win against Madison coming in 2004 when as a two seed they played there way to a finals appearance against coveted Old Dominion University.  The rivalry between these two teams has heated up over the years with  Madison winning both matchups this season.  But even with a rivalry there is a sense of respect.  As Mason head Coach Jeri Porter put it after their loss to JMU on Feb.29th, “James Madison is the second best team in the league.  They not only make plays but they understand how to win.”  And in conversations with JMU head coach Kenny Brooks yesterday the respect is mutual. “Mason is a good team, Coach Porter has them ready.  Taleia Moton is the real deal,” said Brooks during a halftime chat on WGMU radio.

By the numbers:

Mason Madison
(12-15, 8-10) Record (23-6, 14-4)
63.3 ppg Scoring 63.2 ppg
39.6% FG % 36.6%
+4.3 Rebounding -1.6
12.7 Assists 12
4.4 Blocks 4.6
7.0 Steals 7.4

The Patriots and Dukes, while not close record wise, are rather well matched.  Both teams average 63 ppg, Mason led by senior standout Taleia Moton. Stopping teams from getting quality shots is a commonplace as well, both squads keep teams under 40 percent from the field per contest. Look for Mason and James Madison to stay level headed throughout the game as both teams average below a 1.0 assist to turnover ratio.

Key Matchups:

Nikki Newman vs. Janna Pickard:  Both of these players are defensive minded.  Newman especially, as she was announced the CAA Defensive Player of the Year at the awards banquet on March 8th.  At 6 foot 1(Pickard) and 6 foot 2 (Newman) respectively, any driving athlete should be afraid.  In their last matchup Newman sliced the Mason defense for 15 points, while Pickard had a respectable 7 point and 4 rebounds.

Edge: Newman

Tarik Hislop and Taleia Moton: Both of these players are the motor for their team’s offense.  Moton has proved with each game, she wants the ball in crunch time.  Hislop doesn’t shy away when it comes to taking a shot from just about anywhere on the court.  Both were phenomenal this year, Moton winning All-CAA First Team and Hislop All-CAA Second Team.  In there last matchup Moton dropped 15, but it was Hislop’s night as she led all scorers in the game with 18 to pace Madison.

Edge: Moton

Intangibles: James Madison is a seasoned team that has won the CAA Tournament the last two years running.  Mason received their first win in over six year in the tournament in Thursday night as they defeated Northeastern 70-60.  Kenny Brooks has 6 twenty win seasons, and three NCAA births in the last five years.  Coach Jeri Porter will look for her 200th win as she has guided this Patriot team to a better record in each of her last 4 seasons.

Edge: James Madison

Tipoff is slated for 5pm today in Upper Marlboro, MD.  Listen to the game live on WGMU radio with Coaches Corner and Pride of the Patriot 30 mintues before game time.

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