Jan. 5, 2010

By Amy Farnum
NCAA.com

RAVENS RISE TO TOP: 
Franklin Pierce became the new No. 1 team in the USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25 after remaining unbeaten during the holiday break in conjunction with previous No. 1 Michigan Tech’s loss to Northern Michigan over the weekend.  MTU dropped to No. 5 in the poll.

Senior Johannah Leedham continues to be one of the premier players in Division II women’s basketball as the nation’s leading scorer with 26.3 points per game.  The native of Ellesmere Port, England, contributed 19 points and 16 rebounds in a win over Dominican, and added 25 points in a victory against Southern New Hampshire on Jan. 2 as she claimed Northeast-10 Player of the Week honors for the third straight time.

With her three performances last week, Leedham moved to 13th on the Division II all-time scoring list with 2,424 points.  She is just 66 points shy of moving into the Top 10 in Division II history for career scoring, and becoming the league’s all-time scoring leader for both men’s and women’s basketball.  Leedham can also soon become the NE-10’s career steals leader as she is just four short of the mark.

The Ravens will test their new No. 1 status at Pace on Jan. 6, before returning to host Saint Rose on Jan. 9.

KNIGHTS OUT:
Gannon University earned its highest national ranking in school history at No. 4 after adding three more victories to its season mark as the Lady Knights improved to 14-0 for the first time in program history.

The Lady Knights’ latest success was an 85-52 victory at East Stroudsburg on Jan. 3 in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference crossover match-up that extended their regular season winning streak to 24 games.

Gannon, which leads the PSAC with a 49.6 field goal percentage, hit 50 percent from the floor for the sixth time this season, checking in at 58.9 percent against the Warriors.  The Lady Knights look to keep up their winning ways against Bloomsburg on Jan. 9.

GOING GREY:  University of Indianapolis senior guard Jessica Canary was selected Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Week for playing a key role in two Greyhound victories, including a win over then-No. 12 and previously unbeaten Quincy on Jan. 2.  

Canary, a native of Coatesville, Ind., tallied 12 points and six rebounds in a convincing win over Christian Brothers, and followed it up with a game-high 19 points and nine rebounds against Quincy on Jan. 2.  

UIndy (11-0) matched the program’s record for best start to a season with the win on Saturday, tying the mark set by the 2007-08 team. The Greyhounds, who climbed to No. 3 in the national rankings, will face Illinois-Springfield, Maryville and Missouri-St. Louis this week.

CONFERENCE CLASH: 
In a battle of two nationally-ranked Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association foes, Virginia State topped Johnson C. Smith, 59-50, on Jan. 2 – the first time the Lady Trojans have defeated the Golden Bulls in Charlotte since the 1995-96 season.

The Lady Trojans improved their record to 10-1, the best start for the VSU women's basketball team in 20 years. The 1989-90 squad also went 10-1.

At 6-0 in CIAA play, VSU currently sits atop the league standings.  The Lady Trojans also moved up one spot to No. 18 in the latest USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25.  Johnson C. Smith, the defending CIAA champion, dropped to 4-2 in CIAA action, and to No. 24 in the national poll.