“Around the NCAAW Weekly” highlights the notable events of the past week in college women’s basketball. Check out analysis of the new AP poll, plus the biggest milestones, surprises, games and outstanding individual and team performances for games played through Sunday, Nov. 29:
AP rankings (Nov. 30)
The preseason Top 10 has remained intact after one week of play and the Indiana Hoosiers (16 to 13), Gonzaga Bulldogs (21 to 18) and Missouri State Lady Bears (24 to 21) are this week’s biggest risers. Missouri State (2-1) picked up an upset win over the then-No. 12 Maryland Terrapins (2-1) on Saturday before losing to the unranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-1) on Sunday. That loss did not hurt the Lady Bears and their positive gains from beating the Terps appear to have outweighed the negative of losing to an unranked opponent.
Indiana (1-0) had a great all-around performance in its 100-51 win over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (0-2) on Wednesday. Gonzaga, meanwhile, moved up three spots in spite of a loss — the Bulldogs (0-1) put up quite a battle against the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks (3-0) on Sunday and lost by just seven points.
The Texas Longhorns, who were the first team out in the preseason, moved into the rankings at No. 25 with a 2-0 start.
The most significant change this week is the Iowa State Cyclones’ fall from No. 15 to No. 23. The Cyclones (1-1) lost to the unranked South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Saturday despite 36 points from Ashley Joens, who is one of the best scorers in the country. Iowa State needs to find ways to prevent Joens’ big numbers from being lost in defeat, as was the case at times last season. The 1-0 Jackrabbits, on the other hand, went up from three voting points to 31 and are now the first team out.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-1) also suffered a setback when they lost to the Ohio Bobcats (2-0) on Friday. The Irish have fallen from No. 22 to out of the rankings. But don’t forget that Ohio has two potential WNBA players in Cece Hooks and Erica Johnson. Notre Dame’s loss to an unranked, non-Power 5 team wasn’t as bad as it may seem. Ohio received six voting points this week after receiving none in the preseason.
No. 23 Syracuse Orange
Syracuse point guard and projected first round WNBA Draft pick Tiana Mangakahia returned in style on Sunday with a game-high 16 points to lead the Orange past the Stony Brook Seawolves, 50-39. Mangakahia missed all of last season while recovering from breast cancer.
No. 12 Maryland Terrapins
Maryland scored 115 points in Sunday’s win over the No. 14 Arkansas Razorbacks, setting a new program record for points scored against a ranked opponent. The Terrapins scored 41 points in the third quarter alone, marking their best scoring effort ever in a single quarter.
No. 24 Missouri State Lady Bears
On Saturday, the Lady Bears came from down 16 points against No. 12 Maryland and won by nine. The last time Missouri State defeated a team ranked 12th or higher was in the 2001 Sweet Sixteen (against the Duke Blue Devils, then-ranked fifth).
No. 16 Indiana Hoosiers
Two Hoosiers had career days on Wednesday. Junior guard Grace Berger put together Indiana women’s basketball’s first-ever triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Meanwhile, sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes shot 13-of-13 from the floor. The legendary Megan Gustafson, formerly of the Iowa Hawkeyes, is the only other Big Ten player to ever make that many baskets without a miss. Holmes also added seven blocks to tie a career high.
No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
With 34 points in a loss to the Ohio Bobcats on Friday, Dara Mabrey set a new Fighting Irish record for a debut player.
No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks
The Gamecocks scored 119 points in their opener against the Charleston Cougars on Wednesday. It was the most points ever scored at the Gamecocks’ Colonial Life Arena.
In addition, South Carolina set a program record with four players (Victaria Saxton, Aliyah Boston, LeLe Grissett and Laeticia Amihere) notching double-doubles.
The following stats from the opener are South Carolina records under head coach Dawn Staley:
- 81-point margin of victory
- 73 rebounds
- Plus-45 rebound margin
No. 14 Arkansas Razorbacks
In their win over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Friday, the Razorbacks scored 37 points in the third quarter — a new program record for points in a quarter.
The following players reached 1,000 points at their respective schools last week:
- Elissa Cunane of the No. 8 NC State Wolfpack (Wednesday)
- Kayla Wells of the No. 13 Texas A&M Aggies (Wednesday)
- Ali Patberg of the Indiana Hoosiers (Wednesday)
- Brice Calip of the Missouri State Lady Bears (Friday)
Another thing to keep an eye on as the season goes on is the No. 4 Baylor Lady Bears’ 57-game home winning streak — the longest active streak in the nation. The Bears notched their 57th win in Wednesday’s opener.
Also, Aari McDonald of the Arizona Wildcats has the longest active streak of double-digit scoring efforts. She notched her 67th-straight double-figure performance on Sunday.
No. 19 DePaul Blue Demons
The Blue Demons played their Saturday opener against the Texas A&M Aggies with masks on. The Aggies were not wearing masks.
No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats
On Wednesday, less than two hours before the Kentucky Wildcats were set to begin their season, it was announced that star player Rhyne Howard had been suspended two games “for not upholding the standards of the program.”
No. 10 Oregon Ducks
On Saturday, Oregon had an impressive season opener in which the team only turned the ball over three times.
Ranked teams that were upset:
- No. 12 Maryland Terrapins (upset by the No. 24 Missouri State Lady Bears on Saturday)
- No. 15 Iowa State (upset by the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Saturday)
- No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (upset by the Ohio Bobcats on Friday)
- No. 24 Missouri State (upset by the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Sunday)
Games of the Week
Wednesday: North Carolina Central Eagles 70, Campbell Fighting Camels 65 (2OT)
North Carolina Central came back from down eight points at halftime and down five entering the fourth. A 4-0 individual run in the second overtime by Kieche White took the Eagles’ lead from one to five with 1:45 to go. White led all scorers with 21 points. Her teammate, Anissa Rivera, had 16 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks.
Friday: Ohio Bobcats 86, No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 85
Cece Hooks scored 32 points to pace the victors. She missed two free throws with three seconds remaining that could have extended the Bobcats’ lead to three, but Notre Dame couldn’t get off another shot. The Bobcats led by six after one quarter and by 11 at the break before the Fighting Irish won the third 35-21. A Hooks layup with 52 seconds left in the fourth gave Ohio a two-point lead. A free throw from Hooks with 18 seconds to go was the deciding point. Erica Johnson chipped in 24 points and five assists to the winning cause.
Saturday: No. 13 Texas A&M Aggies 93, No. 19 DePaul Blue Demons 91
Texas A&M’s Kayla Wells finished with 22 points, while Dee Bekelja scored 24 in DePaul’s defeat. The Blue Demons nearly came back from down eight points entering the fourth; a Bekelja triple with 3:12 to go tied the game. But Texas A&M newcomer Destiny Pitts quickly responded with a trey 20 seconds later. Free throws from Lexi Held with six seconds left cut the Aggies’ lead to one but then Wells sealed the deal with free throws of her own.
Other top performances
Charli Collier: 44 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks for the Texas Longhorns in a win over the North Texas Mean Green on Sunday. Collier also had 25 points and 12 boards on Wednesday.
Ashley Joens: 36 points and 12 rebounds for the Iowa State Cyclones in a loss to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Saturday. Joens also had 25 points and seven boards on Wednesday.
Naz Hillmon: 35 points, seven rebounds and three steals for the Michigan Wolverines in a win over the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Wednesday. Hillmon also had 26 points and 11 boards on Wednesday.
Dre’una Edwards: 27 points, 15 rebounds and threes steals for the Kentucky Wildcats in a win over the Belmont Bruins on Sunday.
NaLyssa Smith: 25 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks for the Baylor Lady Bears in a win over the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears on Wednesday.
Best upcoming matchup
No. 8 NC State Wolfpack (2-0) vs. No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks (3-0)
When: Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC
Reason to watch: This one will feature two of the best post players in the country — Elissa Cunane and Aliyah Boston — going head-to-head. The Wolfpack should be competitive and it will be the Gamecocks’ first game against a Top 10 opponent this season.
This story was updated to include the AP rankings.