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ODU Women Played Hard But Lost Their Shooting Touch and Fell to No. 3 NC State, 87-50

Bob Bradlee

Brenda Fontana led ODU with 12 points

By Harry Minium
NORFOLK, Va. – For much of the first half Wednesday night, the Old Dominion women's basketball team played on nearly even terms with No. 3 NC State.
Brenda Fontana, ODU's 6-foot-1 junior forward from Argentina, made a fallaway three-point shot that gave the Monarchs a 19-18 lead with 8:29 left in the second quarter as a Chartway Arena crowd of 3,874 roared its approval.
But then the bottom fell out for ODU as the Monarchs missed 14 of their next 15 shots and Wolfpack quickly took control and routed ODU, 87-50.
"ODU is a great defensive team and we had trouble scoring against them early on," said NC State head coach Wes Moore. "But we got kind of lucky tonight. They didn't shoot the ball as well tonight as they normally do."
Indeed, the Monarchs did not. ODU (8-2) made just 18 of 71 shots (25.4 percent) and just seven of 37 in the second and third quarters.
But ODU head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones said, in the end, luck had nothing to do with NC State's victory. The Wolfpack is 12-0 and has victories over then No. 2 UConn, Kentucky and then No. 3 Colorado. 
"I thought we were doing a great job of stopping them in transition early on and then it just got to a point where the talent started talenting," she said. "That is a tremendous basketball team. It's no fluke that they are No. 3 in the nation."

The game was designated the Anne Donovan Classic and several family members of the late ODU All-American attended the game and were announced to the crowd. The Monarchs wore throw-back jerseys with Donovan's name on the back. 
Fontana was a bright spot for ODU as she made four of seven three-point shots and led the Monarchs with 12 points. Nnenna Orji came off the bench to score 10. 

"Playing a team like this is a big opportunity that you don't often get," Fontana said. "I think we will learn a lot from this game."

In spite of the lopsided final score, the Monarchs battled throughout in what was a physical game with the taller and more talented Wolfpack. 
"All in all, I'm still glad that we were able to play the game and play with heart and passion," Milton-Jones said. "The results weren't in our favor but playing the No. 3 team on our home floor was a treat."
With seven players standing 6-2 or taller, the Wolfpack outrebounded the Monarchs, 49-35, and blocked eight ODU shots. The Wolfpack outscored the Monarchs, 30-14, in the paint and for much of the game, sat back in a zone or passive man and forced the Monarchs to take three-point shots.
"We'd go in there amongst the trees where you know something bad is going to happen and where you get lost in the jungle," Milton-Jones said.
"That happened to us a few times and they blocked our shots. Heck, they blocked some of our shots from the three-point line."
The game marked the return of NC State junior guard Aziaha Hayes to Hampton Roads. James is a graduate of Princess Anne High School and her family and friends took up most of the allotment of 42 tickets given to Wolfpack players.
James finished with 16 points, and got a standing ovation from the Wolfpack fans when she left the court.
"She's a talented player and Princess Anne produces talent and they roll them out," Milton-Jones said. "They have such a great program.
"But I want to start seeing some of that talent stay home and let's make a dynasty happen here at ODU.
"What better way to see your family for them to see you play every night that you suit up rather than a special situation like this."
She said the experience of playing such a tall, quick and talented team as NC State will make ODU better.
"You want to play against the very best," she said. "And this was a luxury for us because they challenged us in ways that we may not get from individual teams within our conference.
"They have tremendous size all over the floor. It allowed our players to see how it feels to play against a different level of talent and physicality."
Milton-Jones, denied her 100th career coaching victory, gets another chance on Dec. 30 when the Monarchs visit South Alabama in their Sun Belt Conference opener. The Monarchs now break for Christmas before returning to campus late next week.