Tournament at a glance

March 12, 2003|By Bill Free

Colonial Athletic Association women

Site: Ted Constant Convocation Center, Norfolk, Va.

When: Today through Saturday

2002 champion: Old Dominion

2003 favorite: Old Dominion. The top-seeded Monarchs (20-7, 15-3) are not quite the dominant team in the CAA they were last season, but they are nearly impossible to beat in Norfolk any time, especially in postseason play. Old Dominion takes a seven-game winning streak into this four-day event and is seeking its 12th tournament title.

Dark horse: Fifth-seeded George Mason has six wins in its past seven games and features junior guard Jen Derevjanik, who averaged 22.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals in three games last week. Derevjanik broke a school record during that span by scoring nine straight field goals in one game.

Player to watch: Kristine Austgulen, Virginia Commonwealth. This 6-foot senior forward is not only the player to watch on the court but also in the classroom, as the three-time Academic All-American carries a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, along with her CAA-leading 18.7-point average and league-best 10.7 rebounding mark. The Bergen, Norway, native holds 10 career and 11 season school records, is second all-time in rebounding (799), third all-time in scoring (1,572) and second on the career double-double list with 28.

Outlook: Old Dominion doesn't appear to have the ability to go all the way to the NCAA regional finals as it did last year, making this a more interesting tournament to watch for followers of second-seeded Delaware, third-seeded UNC-Wilmington and fourth-seeded James Madison. Delaware, which finished with an identical 15-3 league mark as Old Dominion but lost the No. 1 seed on point differential in head-to-head clashes, could win this tournament. Towson (3-24, 2-16), which finished last in the conference, plays Drexel in the first round today.

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