Every fan of women's basketball is counting down the hours (seven hours, 32 minutes as of this writing) until the Connecticut-Duke game on ESPN. Frankly, if Duke can stay with 10 points of Connecticut I'll be impressed with the Blue Devils, as Connecticut has many of their wounded warriors back. Duke's record vs. Connecticut has been horrible in the last few years, and I think the silk purse is going to turn into another sow's ear yet again for the Blue Devils. Like I said yesterday, if UConn takes a 30-point lead, it's Netflix time.
Not a lot of games yesterday. Maybe the rest of the women's basketball world is also getting ready for Connecticut vs. Duke.
#25 Syracuse (9-1) defeated Temple (5-3) on the road, 82-76. Turnovers killed the Owls, as Syracuse had a -14 turnover margin (11 for Syracuse, 25 for Temple). Furthermore, Temple had 24 personal fouls, sending Syracuse to the free throw line 27 times - where they hit 74 percent.
Even so, the Orange almost botched it. They allowed a 23-4 run by Temple in the second half, transforming an 18 point Syracuse lead to a 57-51 Temple advantage with 11:14 left on the clock. But they always tell you that basketball is a game of runs, and Syracuse finally found a 17-2 run to answer Temple's run. Senior Syracuse center Shakeya Leary scored 24 points - a career high - and 11 rebounds in the win.
Mount Saint Mary's (4-6) beat American (6-3) 64-61 on the road, their first win against American since 1995. The Mountaineers advantage in field goal shooting (51 % Mount Saint Mary's, 40% American) was overcome by the Eagles advantage in rebounding (American 38, Mount Saint Mary's 21).
American senior guard Alexis Dobbs had a career high 25 points in a game that had 10 ties and 15 lead changes. Mount Saint Mary's prevailed, taking the lead on a pair of free throws with 2:13 left in the game and by forcing turnovers on two of American's next three possessions.
Elo Rankings at end of December 16, 2013:
1. Connecticut 10-0, 2. Duke 10-0, 3. Tennessee 9-0, 4. Kentucky 11-0, 5. Notre Dame 9-0, 6. Stanford 9-1, 7. Louisville 10-1, 8. Maryland 10-1, 9. Baylor 8-1, 10. North Carolina 9-2, 11. Oklahoma 7-3, 12. Colorado 10-0, 13. California 7-2, 14. Louisiana State 8-1, 15. Nebraska 8-2, 16. Iowa State 10-0, 17. South Carolina 9-0, 18. Purdue 7-2, 19. Oklahoma State 8-0, 20. Georgia 10-0, 21. Texas A&M 6-3, 22. Penn State 7-3, 23. Gonzaga 8-2, 24. Vanderbilt 8-2, 25. Dayton 3-4