With the regular season winding down for CAA women’s basketball, it’s time to take a look the conference standings. JMU and Drexel have emerged as clear front-runners with winning streaks of eight and 10 games, respectively. Here are the updated CAA power rankings with three weekends to go before the conference tournament.
1. JMU (20-4, 12-1 CAA), previously No. 1
JMU has returned to play at the level it did when it won three straight CAA titles from 2014-16 and appears to be headed for its fourth in six seasons. The Dukes overpowered the College of Charleston, 76-35, on Friday and handed UNCW a 58-51 loss on Sunday. Head coach Sean O’Regan’s team may be headed for a collision with Drexel — a team it beat by 16 earlier this year — in the conference championship.
2. Drexel (18-5, 10-2 CAA), previously No. 2
The Dragons have caught fire and are winners of 10 straight after falling by double digits to JMU on Jan. 6. In that game, Drexel played to its strengths by limiting the Dukes offensively but shot a miserable 14-for-49 from the floor and 2-for-14 from behind the arc. If the shots are dropping consistently for the Dragons, there might not be a team in the CAA who can stop them, though that may be too much to ask for a team 10th in the conference in scoring at 58.3 points per game.
3. Towson (15-9, 9-4 CAA), previously No. 5
Towson and UNCW swapped places in the standings after the former won both its games and the latter dropped both. The Tigers rebounded this week with wins by more than 20 against the Seahawks on Friday and the College of Charleston on Sunday. With the top two teams in the conference set in stone at this point, Towson has a chance to solidify itself in the next tier of dark-horse contenders as the postseason approaches. Upcoming games against William & Mary on Friday and Elon on Sunday could have the Tigers in the same place this time next week.
4. Delaware (12-12, 7-5 CAA), previously No. 6
Delaware leaped forward in the standings after a pair of wins over Northeastern and Hofstra. The numbers still suggest the Blue Hens aren’t any better than average, as the team’s point margin is -0.4. However, as the Huskies have continued to tumble down the CAA standings and UNCW lost back-to-back games, Delaware is quietly headed in the right direction. Wins over Drexel and UNCW will keep them headed that way, but that’s no easy task.
5. UNCW (15-9, 8-5 CAA), previously No. 3
The Seahawks saw their four-game winning streak skid to a halt this week after an 82-61 loss to Towson followed by a hard-fought 58-51 loss to JMU. UNCW’s performance against the dominant Dukes is an encouraging one, but the huge road loss to the Tigers is troubling. The team has an opportunity to rebound and start a new winning streak against Drexel on Friday and Delaware on Sunday, though winning both those games may be too much to ask, even at home.
6. William & Mary (12-11, 5-7 CAA), previously No. 7
William & Mary picked up a 64-59 win over Elon on Sunday and now sits with a winning record overall and a chance to get back to a .500 in-conference record. The Tribe face Towson on Friday and JMU on Sunday in a pair of tough, potentially season-defining games. If William & Mary wants to establish itself as a contender, knocking off both teams would be a great start. Realistically, even one win would keep the team headed in the right direction and — most importantly — out of the bottom four.
7. Northeastern (15-9, 5-8 CAA), previously No. 4
If the season ended today, the Huskies would have to play a first-round game in the CAA tournament, which shows how far the team has fallen. After the opening weekend of conference play in which Northeastern went 2-0, the team has lost eight of its last 11 games, including a 35-point defeat at the hands of the Dukes. The Huskies look to regain momentum against Hofstra, but a loss to the worst team in the conference could spiral into a lost season for Northeastern.
8. Elon (8-15, 3-9 CAA), previously No. 8
Elon fell five points short against William & Mary and looks to save its season this weekend against JMU on Friday and Towson on Sunday. The Phoenix have held tight in eighth place for the past few weeks, but a pair of losses this week could drop Elon lower in the standings. It’s a stretch that this team — which has been outscored by an average of 5.5 points per game this year — will avoid a first-round game in the CAA tournament by climbing to No. 6 or higher.
9. College of Charleston (7-17, 3-10 CAA), previously No. 9
The College of Charleston has lost three in a row after edging William & Mary by two on Feb. 8. The Cougars have been outscored by a CAA-worst 8.7 points per game this year, though its CAA record keeps it above Hofstra. The team will compete in a pair of difficult games against Delaware and Drexel this week in hopes of stealing a win or two.
10. Hofstra (7-18, 1-12 CAA), previously No. 10
Hofstra has lost its past six games and will likely finish at the bottom of the conference standings. In that span, only one game has been decided by single digits — a 70-62 loss to the College of Charleston. The Pride face a hungry Northeastern team Sunday that will be desperate for a win, so a win could vault the team out of the CAA cellar.
Contact James Faris at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more basketball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.