This NCAAW Weekly post highlights notable events of the week in the world of college women’s basketball. Check out what surprises occurred, what milestones were reached and which players stood out.
Indiana upsets South Carolina
The then-No. 17 Indiana Hoosiers had been on the rise (seven spots higher than their preseason ranking) but still surprised many when they took down then-No. 5 South Carolina Gamecocks last Thursday. Indiana is now No. 14 and looking like a team that can truly contend with anybody in the country. The Hoosiers also put up a good first quarter against then-No. 2 Baylor Bears before losing by 15 points. The Maryland Terrapins were a prohibitive Big Ten favorites coming into the season, with the Hoosiers, Michigan State, Minnesota and Michigan all expected to have strong seasons. But now, Indiana has the most impressive resume out of all those teams.
In other upset news, the Louisville Cardinals took down then-No. 1 Oregon Ducks and South Carolina defeated defending champion Baylor. The Cardinals improved to No. 2 in the nation, but the Gamecocks fell back a spot to No. 6 because of their loss to Indiana.
Ionescu’s streak comes to an end
Oregon Ducks guard Sabrina Ionescu was held to seven points against UT Arlington at the Paradise Jam, ending her 76-game streak of scoring in double figures. Ionescu is the all-time leader in triple-doubles in NCAA basketball history (men’s or women’s) and the favorite to go No. 1 overall in the 2020 WNBA Draft. However, the Oregon superstar is off to a slow start in the scoring department this season (13.6 points per game), while still achieving her usual numbers in assists (8.6) and rebounds (8.0). Ionescu is actually doing slightly better in the latter two categories than she did last year and better than her averages as a sophomore and freshman. Ionescu’s scoring is down by 6.3 points per game, however, and even as a freshman she averaged one point more per game than what she’s averaging now.
Games of the Week
LSU over Michigan State last Friday, 58-56
The Tigers moved into the rankings at No. 25 after this one, which saw them come back from down as many as 14 points in the third quarter. LSU led 58-52 late in the fourth before Spartan guard Taryn McCutcheon hit a 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining. McCutcheon tried to tie the game with another three, with .07 seconds to go. But she was fouled and missed her second free throw. After intentionally missing the third attempt, there was not enough time remaining for then-No. 15 Michigan State to do anything. LSU won the final frame 13-8 and was led in scoring by Khayla Pointer, who scored 13 points overall. The Tigers are now 8-1 and their only loss came to now-No. 8 Florida State, 70-62, so LSU is looking good.
Green Bay over Syracuse in OT last Saturday, 79-73
Phoenix junior Lyndsey Robson made a half-court shot at the end of regulation to force overtime where Green Bay out-scored the then-No. 18 Orange by six to take home third place in the Greater Victoria Invitational. The Phoenix led by two points after the first quarter and by seven points at the half. But Syracuse fought back and Alisha Lewis made two free-throw shots with two seconds remaining in the fourth. But Robson made her shot, and then Caitlyn Hibner scored 10 of her 30 points in the overtime period to lead Green Bay to the six-point win. Hibner also had nine rebounds and five assists.
Stanford over Mississippi State last Saturday, 67-62
Then-No. 10 Mississippi State’s Jamya Mingo-Young missed a triple that would have tied the game at 65 with 16 seconds left and Stanford’s Lexie Hull knocked down two free throws with 11 seconds remaining to secure the win for the Cardinal. Stanford led by as many as 14 points in the fourth before Mississippi State went on a 12-3 run over the final five minutes. It was a hard-fought battle for both teams in the first half, with the Cardinal leading by just two at halftime. Stanford’s ability to hold on for the win allowed them to move up to No. 1 in the national rankings, helped along by Oregon’s and Baylor’s losses.
Blue Demons head coach Doug Bruno won his 700th game at DePaul last Sunday and became the third active women’s basketball coach to achieve 700 wins at one school. The other two are Geno Auriemma (UConn) and Harry Perretta (Villanova). Bruno has been the coach of the Blue Demons for 34 years.
Beavers of Oregon State
Beaver redshirt junior Destiny Slocum surpassed 1,000 points for her collegiate career last Friday. She played her freshman season at Maryland. Also, Oregon State head coach Scott Reuck reached 500 career wins on Saturday.
Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Lisa Bluder won her 400th game at Iowa last Wednesday.
Schaefer picked up his 200th win as head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs last Monday. He took 256 games as the Bulldogs’ head coach to reach that milestone. As far as the SEC goes, the only coach to reach that peak faster was Andy Landers, who reached 200 wins in 251 games with Georgia.
Ducks of Oregon
With six assists on Thanksgiving Day, Ionescu now holds the Pac-12 women’s record for career assists, surpassing the Seattle Storm’s Jordin Canada, who played at UCLA. Ionescu now has 836 career assists (five ahead of Canada) and the Thursday win over Oklahoma State was the 800th victory in Oregon women’s basketball history. Against Louisville on Saturday, Ionescu tied Allison Lang with 108 double-digit scoring games and she tied Lexi Bando with 283 3-pointers. Ionescu now shares the Oregon program record in those two categories. Also of note, Ducks forward Ruthy Hebard scored in double figures for the 100th time in her career on Friday against UT Arlington. For Hebard, this came after posting 30 points and 18 rebounds against Oklahoma State.
Other top performances
Japreece Dean: 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for No. 11 UCLA in a win over the Yale Bulldogs.
Michaela Onyenwere: 27 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, four blocks and three assists for UCLA in a win over the Virginia Cavaliers.
Elissa Cunane: 24 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for the No. 13 NC State Wolfpack in a win over the North Texas Eagles.
Angela Perry: 36 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Bowling Green Falcons in a win over the California Baptist Lancers.
Jaylyn Agnew: 34 points for the Creighton Blue Jays in a win over the then-No. 23 West Virginia Mountaineers.
Must-watch upcoming contests
No. 9 Maryland Terrapins vs. No. 13 NC State Wolfpack
When: Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, NC
How to watch/listen: ESPN/TUNEIN
Texas Longhorns vs. No. 17 Tennessee Volunteers
When: Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m ET
Where: Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN