“Around the NCAAW Weekly” highlights the notable events of the week. Check out the milestones, surprises, best games and outstanding performances for games played through Sunday, Dec. 27:
No. 16 Ohio State banned from postseason
The Ohio State Buckeyes have banned themselves from any postseason tournaments they might make in 2020-21 after an investigation of reported NCAA rule violations revealed that former associate head coach Patrick Klein committed recruiting violations, including sexual harassment.
Ohio State athletics released the following statement:
The Ohio State University Department of Athletics is currently working cooperatively with the NCAA Enforcement Staff on an infractions case involving three sports programs: fencing, women’s golf and women’s basketball. Ohio State has self-imposed postseason competition bans for each of the sports for the 2020-21 year. As always, we are focused on supporting our student-athletes. NCAA rules and procedures prohibit us from sharing more information at this time.
No. 23 Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Bulldogs’ 30 assists against the North Alabama Lions on Monday stand as the most during the Lisa Fortier era, which began in 2014-15. They also recorded a plus-36 rebounding margin against the Lions — another record under Fortier.
No. 20 Texas Longhorns
On Monday, in a battle against the Kansas State Wildcats, the Longhorns forced 34 turnovers and turned them into 38 points. That was a key difference-maker in a 10-point win.
No. 3 UConn Huskies
With the Huskies’ victory over the Villanova Wildcats on Tuesday, head coach Geno Auriemma reached 1,096 wins. He is two away from tying the late, great Pat Summitt for second on the all-time list behind Tara VanDerveer, who is at 1,101.
No. 1 Stanford Cardinal
Cardinal sophomore Fran Belibi dunked for the second time this season in a crucial win over the No. 10 UCLA Bruins on Monday.
Washington State Cougars
On Monday, the Cougars held the red-hot No. 8 Oregon Ducks to a season-low 69 points and scored an opponent-best 65 points on them (albeit in a loss).
AP rankings (Dec. 28)
With most teams not playing much during Christmas Week, not much has changed in the rankings. In fact, no team has moved more than one spot, up or down, and there are no new teams in the rankings.
The only significant change is that the NC State Wolfpack moved to No. 3 even though they were idle and the UConn Huskies fell to No. 4 even though they blew out the Villanova Wildcats on Tuesday.
Duke Blue Devils
On Friday, the Blue Devils’ players decided to cancel their season, nine days after the program went on pause due to two positive tests within its travel party.
We have opted out of the 2020-21 season. pic.twitter.com/Hwlv3cp1tH— Duke Women’s Basketball (@DukeWBB) December 25, 2020
Oregon State Beavers
The Beavers have been on pause since Dec. 20 due to a COVID-19 case within their program.
No. 22 Syracuse Orange
Syracuse went on pause on Sunday due to a positive test within its program.
Ole Miss Rebels
Due to COVID concerns, including positive tests, within the program, the Rebels have postponed their SEC opener against the No. 5 South Carolina Gamecocks. The game was supposed to take place on New Year’s Eve.
Games of the week
Monday: Chattanooga Mocs 73, Georgia State Panthers 70 (OT)
Eboni Williams, who finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds, made the score 71-70 in favor of the Mocs on what proved to be the game-winning jumper in the paint with 37 seconds to go. The Panthers missed a 3-pointer with 20 ticks left and sent Chattanooga’s Sigrun Olafsdottir to the line, where she sunk 2-of-2. Williams then wrapped things up by blocking another 3-point attempt from Georgia State with 11 seconds remaining.
A Georgia State triple from Moriah Taylor with 17 seconds remaining in regulation and another from Taylor Henderson at the buzzer erased a six-point Chattanooga advantage and forced overtime.
The Mocs committed 30 turnovers, but won the rebounding battle 50-34 and outshot the Panthers from the 3-point line 52.6 percent to 27.8 percent, with 10 makes.
Monday: No. 8 Oregon Ducks 69, Washington State Cougars 65
A 3-pointer from Washington State’s Krystal Leger-Walker cut Oregon’s lead to one with 26 seconds to go. The Ducks’ Erin Boley (18 points) then went 1-of-2 at the line with 21 seconds left, leaving the door open for the Cougars to take the lead. But Ula Motuga missed a 3-pointer with six ticks remaining and Maddie Scherr’s made free throws closed out the game for Oregon.
Nyara Sabally led Oregon with 19 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 20 points in defeat for a Washington State team that was coming off a win over the then-No. 21 Oregon State Beavers. The Cougars are now 4-1 after defeating the Eastern Washington Eagles on Tuesday.
Sunday: UMBC Retrievers 57, Binghamton Bearcats 54
Binghamton sharpshooter Hayley Moore entered the game with six seconds left and had her shot blocked by UMBC’s Janee’a Summers on a 3-pointer that would have tied it with one second left.
The Bearcats had missed a 2-point jumper with seven seconds remaining that would have given them a one-point lead. That was followed by two Juliet Esadah free throws for the Retrievers, which made it a three-point game in their favor, forcing Binghamton to take a three on the final possession, not a two.
Esadah finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Denai Bowman led the Bearcats with 18 points and added nine boards.
Other top performances
Natasha Mack: 31 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks for the Oklahoma State Cowgirls in a win over the North Texas Mean Green on Tuesday.
Blanca Millan: 33 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Maine Black Bears in a win over the Hartford Hawks on Tuesday.
McKenzi Williams: 36 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals for the Seattle Redhawks in a loss to the Idaho Vandals on Monday.
Beyonce Bea: 33 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and three assists for the Idaho Vandals in a win over the Seattle Redhawks on Monday.
Abbey Ellis: 39 points, four rebounds and three steals for the Cal Poly Mustangs in a win over the San Diego State Aztecs on Monday.
Best upcoming matchup
No. 1 Stanford Cardinal (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) vs. No. 6 Arizona Wildcats (7-0, 5-0 Pac-12)
When: Friday, Jan. 1, at TBD
Where: McKale Center in Tucson, AZ
Reason to watch: Since the preseason, Arizona is the team everybody has pegged as a sleeper squad capable of winning the Pac-12. Stanford, meanwhile — currently sitting at No. 1 and coached by the winningest head coach in NCAAW history — is an established Pac-12 power. What possibly could go right?
Best game on ESPN
No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats (7-1, 0-0 SEC) vs. Tennessee Lady Volunteers (5-1, 0-0 SEC)
When: Sunday, Jan. 3, at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN
Reason to watch: Kentucky is looking for more resume-boosting wins, having recently missed out on one against the DePaul Blue Demons. Tennessee, however, is looking to build on its win over the Indiana Hoosiers and possibly enter the rankings.