No. 3 Old Dominion 82, American U. 49
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry started lobbying for American University’s postseason hopes even before her third-ranked Lady Monarchs played the Eagles for the Colonial Athletic Association title.
Her team was not nearly as gracious Sunday.
Last year’s NCAA finalists needed only 5:07 to open a 20-point lead over the Eagles at Richmond Coliseum on their way to a 82-49 victory, the Lady Monarchs’ seventh straight championship and 64th CAA victory in a row. It also was their 113th victory in their last 114 games against CAA foes.
American (23-6), which has never made a postseason appearance, trailed 22-2 with 14:53 left in the first half, missed 16 of its first 18 shots and had 15 turnovers and only 18 points after the first 17 minutes of play.
The Eagles finally settled down, outscoring the Lady Monarchs 22-8 over the last 6:28 of the half to get within 45-30, but the outcome was never in doubt. The closest the Eagles got was within 14 just before halftime.
Old Dominion opened the second half with a 21-4 run, highlighted by a dazzling 11 seconds for All-American point guard Ticha Penicheiro.
After scoring on a layup, Penicheiro stole the ball from Kate Miller at midcourt, drove toward the hoop and then fed the trailing Mery Andrade with a perfect between-the-legs reverse bounce pass, Andrade scoring the hoop.
Moments later, Penicheiro was fouled while driving for a layup, but she flipped the ball over her head and in off the glass for the points.
Penicheiro had 22 points, eight assists and seven steals, Andrade had 19 points and four steals, CAA player of the year Nyree Roberts had 13 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, and Aubrey Eblin had 14 points.
Second-seeded American, which suffered half of its losses to Old Dominion this season, was led by Kari Gaskins with 11 points and Mary Klima with nine points and 13 rebounds. The Eagles made 15 of 65 shots, just 23 percent.
It was American’s first appearance in the CAA championship game in 11 years. The Eagles lost 74-62 to James Madison in the 1987 final.