This NCAAW Weekly post highlights notable events of the week. Check out the surprises, milestones and outstanding performances of the last week:
Ohio State shocks Louisville
On Thursday, the Ohio State Buckeyes pulled off a 67-60 upset over a Louisville Cardinals team that was No. 2 in the AP Poll and coming off its own upset over then-No. 1 Oregon. Kevin McGuff’s squad came into the season with the No. 3 recruiting class in the country. The Buckeyes were competitive against then-No. 4 UConn Huskies earlier this season before losing by 11. But it was still surprising to see the Ohio State beat Louisville. Dorka Juhasz led the Buckeyes with 15 points and freshman Kierstan Bell played with the confidence of an upperclassman. The Cardinals’ streak of 102-straight wins against unranked teams came to an end.
In other upset news, West Virginia defeated then-No. 10 Mississippi State Bulldogs 71-65 and Texas, who started the season at No. 15 but had fallen out of the rankings, defeated the now-No. 17 Tennessee Volunteers. The loss was the Lady Vols’ first under new head coach Kellie Harper.
Maryland is faltering
Then-No. 9 Maryland Terrapins fumbled their second chance at a signature win last Thursday when they fell to then-No. 13 NC State 66-59 on the road, as a part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Terrapins have now fallen a total of nine spots since starting the season at No. 4 and have scored in the 50s in both of their games against ranked teams. The other loss was to the South Carolina Gamecocks. Another surprise within the NC State game was seeing Maryland out-rebounded 51-27 by the Wolfpack. The Terrapin program, under head coach Brenda Frese, has historically prided itself on rebounding.
Maryland has a lot of talent on its roster, but is struggling to maintain its fast-paced offense against upper echelon teams. The Terrapins had a weak non-conference slate this year and lost their two biggest tests, which will impact them come seeding time. The good news for the Terps is the Big Ten had a very strong showing in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, meaning wins against many of the Big Ten teams will now carry more weight.
Notre Dame has historically weak start
With losses to the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the UConn Huskies last week, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-6) fell below .500. The last time that happened was 16 years ago.
Games of the week
Northeastern over Harvard last Wednesday, 46-44
Northeastern Huskies guard Stella Clark buried a 3-pointer to give her team a two-point lead with 32.2 seconds to go. Later, with eight seconds to go, the Crimson’s best scorer, Lola Mullaney, missed everything on a desperation three. Harvard stole the ball on the ensuing inbound, but missed two contested layups before fouling.
The contest marked Northeastern’s first road win and Harvard’s first home loss; it saw the Huskies come back from being down as many as 10 points in the first quarter. Clark and Shannon Todd both scored 11 points to pace Northeastern. Mullaney finished with a game-high 17 points in defeat.
Michigan over Syracuse in OT last Thursday, 84-76
The Wolverines ran away with this one in overtime using a suffocating full-court press. Akienreh Johnson and Naz Hillmon were the stars of overtime, scoring five and four points, respectively. Kayla Robbins, who led the team with 23 points, breathed a sigh of relief when her missed layup at the end of regulation didn’t result in a loss. She also made a layup to give Michigan a 70-69 lead with 1:08 remaining in regulation after the Wolverines entered the fourth quarter down seven.
Florida International over North Carolina Central in OT last Friday, 59-58
The NCCU Eagles missed two layups on their final possession of overtime in a frustrating loss to the Florida International Golden Panthers. The Eagles also missed a layup at the end of regulation that would have won it. A close game throughout, the largest margin in any quarter was FIU’s 13-10 advantage in the first.
A layup by the Golden Panthers’ Chelsea Guimaraes with 1:30 remaining in overtime put her team up for good. It was a triple from her teammate, Fujika Nimmo, that got things started in the extra frame.
The Oregon Ducks senior guard reached 109 double-digit scoring games to set a new program record. She surpassed Allison Lang, who played from 1980 to 1984. Ionescu also reached 285 career 3-pointers, one ahead of Lexi Bando (2014-18) for first place in Oregon history.
The LSU Tigers senior forward reached 800 career rebounds in a loss to Oklahoma last Saturday.
With a win over the California State Northridge Matadors, the UCLA Bruins now have won their first eight games of a season for the first time since 1980-81. The Bruins currently sit at No. 10 in the national rankings.
Other top performances
Rhyne Howard: 30 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Kentucky Wildcats in win a over the Samford Bulldogs. Howard also had 29 points, seven rebounds and four steals in a win over the Charlotte 49ers.
Dee Givens: 41 points and seven rebounds for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in an overtime win over the Ball State Cardinals.
Kamaria McDaniel: 40 points and seven rebounds for the Penn State Nittany Lions in a win over the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Megan Walker: 26 points and 13 rebounds for UConn in a win over Notre Dame.
Shakira Austin: 25 points and 13 rebounds for Maryland in a win over the Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds.
Must-see upcoming contests
No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 14 Kentucky
When: Sunday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY
Ohio State vs. No. 1 Stanford
When: Sunday, Dec. 15, at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, CA