Save for an additional massive victory from No. 1 South Carolina, it was a quiet week in ladies’s faculty basketball, which is commonplace for this time of 12 months. The Gamecocks are entrenched within the prime spot, nationally and within the SEC, with Aliyah Boston the favourite for nationwide participant of the 12 months. And coach Daybreak Staley’s canine, Champ, is perhaps up for some title, picture and likeness offers after his starring role in a postgame video conference following the Gamecocks’ win over Stanford.
Whereas some issues look fairly clear heading into 2022, others are undoubtedly nonetheless sorting themselves out. Many groups have performed one or two convention video games, however we’re about to get into the total swing of league play. Longtime rivalries will likely be renewed, and we’ll discover out whose nonconference information are reputable and whose aren’t.
There are nonetheless some crucial nonconference video games remaining, however league play is the massive factor on everybody’s thoughts now. We check out one key query for every of the Energy 5 conferences.
The Tar Heels are the league’s solely unbeaten workforce at 11-0, and the Blue Devils are 9-1. Each are ranked. However we want extra outcomes to see how sturdy they will be as ACC contenders.
Proper now, we all know extra about Duke as a result of the Blue Devils have performed a harder schedule, beating then-No. 9 Iowa 79-64 on Dec. 2 and falling 55-46 to No. 1 South Carolina on Dec. 15.
North Carolina has not but confronted a ranked opponent and is 141st in energy of schedule. The Tar Heels face their first ranked foe on Jan. 6 after they journey to NC State.
From 1994 to 2014, both North Carolina, Duke or each had been within the ACC event remaining all however one season. However over the previous seven tournaments, the faculties have had just one ACC remaining look: Duke’s championship sport loss to Notre Dame in 2017.
Shayeann Day-Wilson, a freshman guard from Canada, is off to an incredible begin in her Duke profession, averaging a team-best 12.9 factors per sport. Sophomore guard Deja Kelly (16.8 PPG) is main 4 Tar Heels who’re averaging double figures in scoring. At 83.6 PPG, North Carolina is main the ACC in scoring.
By the point Duke and North Carolina have the primary of their two regular-season conferences — Jan. 27 at Duke — we’ll have a greater thought of the place these two stand and whether or not certainly one of faculty sports activities’ most storied rivalries is actually on the upswing once more in ladies’s basketball.
Massive Ten: Can Iowa get its mojo again?
The Hawkeyes made the Massive Ten event remaining and superior to the Candy 16 final season, and so they had been ranked No. 9 to begin this season. However they misplaced 3 times in December: at Duke, at Iowa State and at residence to IUPUI.
A part of the issue is that Iowa is struggling from behind the arc, hitting 30% from distance. Sophomore Caitlin Clark is averaging 22.0 PPG however is capturing simply 25% from lengthy vary. Final season, Iowa shot 40.8% from 3-point vary, with Clark at 40.6%.
Within the loss to IUPUI, Iowa was of 4-of-22 from previous the 3-point line. The Hawkeyes know life will likely be simpler if they’ll recapture final season’s contact from exterior.
Massive 12: Is Baylor susceptible?
The Bears have both gained or tied for the regular-season Massive 12 title the previous 11 years in a row. They had been outright champions in 10 of these seasons, and so they shared with West Virginia within the different (2014). The final workforce apart from Baylor to win the league’s regular-season title outright is not even within the Massive 12 anymore; that was Nebraska in 2010.
Baylor additionally has gained 9 of the previous 10 Massive 12 tournaments; the exception was West Virginia in 2017.
In fact, Baylor (9-2) is below new management with coach Nicki Collen this season, and the Bears’ fashion of play is completely different, with extra emphasis on the 3-pointer. Baylor’s two losses had been to Maryland and Michigan.
In 4 of the Bears’ first 5 Massive 12 video games, they will face foes who all had superb nonconference leads to Kansas State (10-2), Texas (9-1), Oklahoma (10-1) and Kansas (9-1). So within the first two weeks of Massive 12 season, we must always get a sign if it is nonetheless simply enterprise as standard for Baylor.
The Beavers are 7-3, and the Geese are 6-4. In his newest Bracketology, Charlie Creme has Oregon among the many final 4 byes, as a No. 10 seed, and Oregon State because the final workforce within the discipline, as a No. 11 seed. However are each groups going to get stronger throughout Pac-12 play? In all probability.
Accidents have been a giant issue for Oregon, with ahead Nyara Sabally restricted to a few video games up to now and guards Te-Hina Paopao and Endyia Rogers seeing one every. The excellent news is that each Sabally and Rogers performed within the Geese’ most up-to-date contest, a 68-56 loss at Kansas State on Dec. 18. Rogers, a switch from USC, had 14 factors, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in half-hour, whereas Sabally had six factors and 5 rebounds in 18 minutes.
In the meantime, Oregon State is a workforce with a ton of dimension that’s nonetheless discovering its chemistry. The Beavers lead the Pac-12 in rebounding margin (plus-13.9) and are second in blocked photographs (7.0 per sport). However they’re scuffling with turnovers and have the second-worst turnover margin (minus-5.9) within the league.
Ole Miss has gained 12 video games in a row, and LSU has gained 10 straight. The SEC has completed effectively in nonconference play, with 9 of its 14 groups having double-digit win totals up to now and two others registering 9 victories. However issues at all times get brutal as soon as convention play begins.
The Tigers are below new administration in coach Kim Mulkey, and along with her observe report, nobody is stunned to see them at 11-1 and ranked. Certainly one of their wins has come towards a ranked workforce: then-No. 14 Iowa State on Dec. 2. However LSU will begin SEC play going through three ranked groups in a row: at Georgia and at residence versus Texas A&M and South Carolina. So the Tigers will get style of the perfect of the league proper off the bat.
The Rebels’ greatest win was over No. 18 South Florida, and so they face two ranked groups amongst their first 4 SEC foes: South Carolina and Tennessee. Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin is in her fourth season and seeking to lead Ole Miss into the NCAA event for the primary time since 2007.
Moving into the league’s prime 4 could be fairly a feat for LSU or Ole Miss this season, however based mostly on how they’ve performed, perhaps not out of attain.
Check out a number of the highlights from Nia Clouden’s 50-point efficiency vs. FGCU, which set a Michigan State ladies’s basketball report for many factors in a sport.
The Spartans misplaced each of their video games on the West Palm Seaside Invitational in Florida, however Clouden was a power. She had a school-record 50 factors (together with six rebounds) in an 85-84 double-overtime loss to Florida Gulf Coast on Monday, adopted by 22 factors in a 74-54 defeat towards West Virginia on Tuesday.
The 50 factors matched the report for Michigan State’s males (set by Terry Furlow in 1976) and topped Tori Jankoska’s mark of 42 for the ladies, set in 2017. Clouden, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, made 17 of 28 photographs from the sphere and 15 of 17 free throws towards FGCU. She is averaging 21.8 PPG this season.
Additionally on the West Palm Seaside Invitational, Ole Miss beat Texas Tech 65-50 on Monday and No. 18 South Florida 61-53 on Tuesday. After beginning their season with a loss to Belmont, the Rebels have gained 12 in a row. They start their SEC slate versus Arkansas on Thursday and journey to face No. 1 South Carolina on Sunday (midday ET, ESPN2).
IUPUI received its first win over a ranked workforce on Tuesday and did it on the highway in Iowa Metropolis. Rachel McLimore hit two free throws with three seconds left to safe the victory; she and Macee Williams every had 19 factors for IUPUI. The Jaguars’ 5-4 report is deceiving: Two of their losses had been forfeits as a consequence of optimistic COVID-19 circumstances of their program, one was a five-point time beyond regulation loss to Michigan and the opposite was a six-point loss to Ball State.
IUPUI has made the WNIT discipline six occasions, and it will have made its NCAA event debut in 2020, had the occasion not been canceled by the pandemic. The Jags gained the Horizon League event and automated bid that 12 months. Final season, they misplaced the Horizon event remaining to Wright State, which upset Arkansas within the NCAA event’s first spherical.
In her sixth season at her alma mater, Williams took the Huskers into the vacation break at 12-0 after a 72-61 victory over Wyoming on Wednesday. Led by Australians Jaz Shelley (a switch from Oregon) and Isabelle Bourne, Nebraska resumes play on Thursday at Michigan State. The Huskers have made simply one of many previous 5 NCAA tournaments, however they’re off to begin in that pursuit for 2022.
And because the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper in Nebraska identified, Williams’ sister, Emilee Thiesse, is also undefeated as coach of Division II Minnesota State (Mankato) at 11-0.
No. 1 South Carolina makes use of a 10-0 run within the third quarter and a few clutch buckets within the fourth to maintain its good report intact.
1. South Carolina Gamecocks (12-0)
Earlier rating: 1
This week: at Missouri (Thursday), vs. Ole Miss (Sunday)
With the 18-point comeback towards Stanford on Tuesday, South Carolina beat its sixth ranked opponent this season. The Gamecocks had been thrilled to have guard Destanni Henderson again from a leg harm; she had 17 factors, seven assists and 7 steals.
2. Louisville Cardinals (10-1)
Earlier rating: 2
This week: vs. Boston School (Thursday), at Georgia Tech (Sunday)
The Cardinals went into the vacation break off the excessive of defeating UConn on Dec. 19, and so they take a 10-game successful streak into the beginning of ACC play.
3. Stanford Cardinal (8-3)
Earlier rating: 3
This week: at Washington (Friday), at Washington State (Sunday)
Even earlier than their 65-61 loss at South Carolina, the Cardinal knew they needed to lower down on turnovers. They’re averaging 15.6 this marketing campaign as in comparison with 12.8 final season. Of their three losses to date, Stanford has averaged 17.6 turnovers.
Keyen Inexperienced says now it is time for Tennessee to relaxation up for the trials of the upcoming SEC schedule after a 112-58 thrashing of the Buccaneers.
4. Tennessee Lady Vols (10-1)
Earlier rating: 4
This week: vs. Chattanooga (Monday), vs. Alabama (Thursday), at Arkansas (Sunday)
After falling to Stanford on Dec. 18, Tennessee beat East Tennessee State 112-58 as a pre-holiday cupcake on Dec. 20. SEC play will get began this week for the Girl Vols, who’re outrebounding opponents by virtually 17 per sport.
5. NC State Wolfpack (11-2)
Earlier rating: 5
This week: at Clemson (Thursday)
The Wolfpack’s Dec. 16 time beyond regulation loss to Georgia confirmed some cracks of their protection. They then held Virginia to 55 factors on Dec. 19, however the Cavaliers are solely averaging 58.2. Significantly better assessments await NC State in ACC play.
6. Texas Longhorns (9-1)
Earlier rating: 6
This week: vs. Alcorn State (Wednesday), at Oklahoma State (Sunday)
The Longhorns had a powerful defensive effort in a 70-53 victory at Princeton on Wednesday, holding the Tigers to twenty-eight.8% capturing. Guards Aliyah Matharu (16.0 PPG), Rori Harmon (11.7) and Joanne Allen-Taylor (10.7) cleared the path.
7. Arizona Wildcats (10-0)
Earlier rating: 7
This week: at USC (Friday)
It could have been nice to see how Arizona matched up with Texas, however their Dec. 19 sport was canceled as a result of Wildcats being in COVID-19 protocol. Their Jan. 2 sport at UCLA has been postponed due to the Bruins’ COVID-19 points, however Arizona hopes to play USC this week.
8. Baylor Bears (9-2)
Earlier rating: 8
This week: vs. North Texas (Wednesday), at Kansas State (Sunday)
The Bears will begin Massive 12 play because the favorites as soon as once more, though with a number of extra query marks than have been the case in recent times. There are not any doubts about star NaLyssa Smith, although; she is averaging 20.5 factors and 13.3 rebounds.
9. UConn Huskies (6-3)
Earlier rating: 9
This week: at DePaul (Friday)
The Huskies have had time to chew on their 69-64 loss to Louisville on Dec. 19. And with Wednesday’s scheduled sport versus Marquette postponed as a consequence of COVID-19 points with the Golden Eagles, UConn now has three consecutive Massive East highway video games developing.
10. Michigan Wolverines (11-1)
Earlier rating: 10
This week: vs. Ohio State (Friday)
The Wolverines break up with the Buckeyes final season, with Naz Hillmon scoring 50 factors within the January loss and 27 within the February win. She is at the moment averaging 20.2 factors and eight.6 rebounds.
11. Indiana Hoosiers (10-2)
Earlier rating: 11
This week: at Rutgers (Thursday), vs. Maryland (Sunday)
The Hoosiers closed their nonconference schedule with a 70-37 rout of Southern Illinois on Thursday. They’re 2-0 within the Massive Ten and may have an enormous convention matchup at residence on Sunday versus Maryland (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
12. Maryland Terrapins (10-3)
Earlier rating: 12
This week: at Illinois (Thursday), at Indiana (Sunday)
The Terps beat remaining nonconference foe Coppin State 98-52 on Tuesday, and now they go on the highway to renew Massive Ten play. In Maryland’s 84-80 determination over Indiana final season, the Hoosiers gained the paint battle, however the Terps made twice as many 3-pointers. We’ll see the way it performs out this time.
13. Iowa State Cyclones (11-1)
Earlier rating: 13
This week: vs. West Virginia (Sunday)
Senior Ashley Joens is the Cyclones’ main scorer and rebounder, and he or she is the workforce’s All-American candidate. However her sister, sophomore Aubrey Joens, is main Iowa State in 3-pointers (45) and is capturing 49.5% from behind the arc.
14. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-2)
Earlier rating: 14
This week: at Pitt (Thursday), vs. Louisville (Sunday)
The Yellow Jackets have two massive wins this season — over Georgia on Dec. 5 and towards UConn on Dec. 9 — and so they’ll strive for an additional towards the Cardinals. Pretty much as good as Georgia Tech’s protection is — opponents are averaging 45.3 PPG — the offense is at 62.7 PPG and might want to execute effectively towards Louisville.
15. Georgia Lady Bulldogs (11-1)
Earlier rating: 15
This week: vs. LSU (Thursday), at Florida (Sunday)
The Bulldogs’ solely nonconference loss was by one level to Georgia Tech. Their SEC opener with LSU could possibly be an intriguing early indicator of how good Georgia’s protection is. The Bulldogs have held opponents to 51.6 PPG.
16. LSU Tigers (11-1)
Earlier rating: NR
This week: vs. Samford (Monday), at Georgia (Thursday), vs. Texas A&M (Sunday)
Guards Khayla Pointer (17.6 PPG) and Alexis Morris (13.7) have performed effectively collectively for LSU. Pointer additionally leads the Tigers in rebounding (6.7 per sport) and assists (5.0), and Morris is tops in steals (2.1).
Within the ready room
Oklahoma Sooners (10-1): The Sooners got here again from a 19-point deficit to beat Utah 83-76 on Tuesday, and they’re off to their greatest begin for the reason that 2006-07 season.