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Around the NCAAW Weekly: Geno Auriemma wishes Pat Summitt was harder to catch

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Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma passed longtime rival and former Tennessee Lady Volunteers head coach Pat Summitt in all-time wins. In the wake of Auriemma hitting the milestone, both UConn and Tennessee showed class when the Huskies beat the Lady Vols two days later.

Cincinnati v Connecticut
Geno Auriemma is the only NCAAW Division I coach with more national titles (11) than Pat Summitt (eight).
Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

“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, Jan. 24:


Auriemma passes Summitt

With it being “We Back Pat Week,” it was only fitting that the late, legendary Tennessee Lady Volunteers coach Pat Summitt was honored and remembered for her accomplishments when UConn Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma surpassed her in career wins on Tuesday.

With the Huskies’ 103-35 beatdown of the Butler Bulldogs, Auriemma secured his 1,099th victory as a head coach, one more than Summitt’s 1,098.

Summitt passed away from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2016 at age 64.

Auriemma is now in second place all-time behind only Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer, who surpassed Summitt earlier this season. Of his achievement, Auriemma said:

I wish (Summitt) was still with us, coaching. I wish I had to work a lot harder to catch her.

Just two days later, the Huskies traveled to Knoxville, Tenn., to play the Lady Vols on their turf for the first time since 2006.

The No. 25 Lady Vols held their own against the No. 3 Huskies, but Husky freshman Paige Bueckers hit a dagger 3-pointer with 25 seconds left to give her team a 66-61 advantage. UConn went on to pick up the 67-61 win, which was led by Christyn Williams’ 20 points.

Former Lady Vol and current Husky Evina Westbrook made back-to-back triples in the fourth quarter to take the score from 52-52 to 58-52 in favor of the Huskies.

Westbrook finished with 15 points.

Tennessee benefitted from 18 points and eight rebounds from Rae Burrell.

The Lady Vols led by four points entering the fourth.

Both Auriemma and Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper, who played for Summitt, donated $10,000 for a combined $20,000 to the Pat Summitt Foundation and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

On Summitt, Harper said the following:

It wasn’t about the numbers. It was about her legacy, and it was about who she was as a person and how she uplifted all of us to be better and to give us an opportunity that we have. That’s what she was all about. She won a lot of games in the process, but her legacy is so much more.

The Lady Vols bounced back with a huge win over the No. 12 Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday.

Rennia Davis recorded 20 rebounds for Tennessee in the victory.

Milestones/accomplishments

No. 11 Michigan Wolverines

Naz Hillmon, who had a 30-20 game on Jan. 7, was at it again on Thursday with 50 points and 16 rebounds as she set the Michigan single-game scoring record for men’s and women’s basketball.

Hillmon joined Diane Dietz (1982) as the only players to score 40-plus for Michigan women’s basketball. She also became the first Big Ten women’s player to break the 50-point barrier since Rachel Banham did it in 2016.

Banham then played for the Minnesota Golden Gophers and now plays in the WNBA for the Minnesota Lynx.

No. 4 South Carolina Gamecocks

On Thursday, sophomore Aliyah Boston recorded the second triple-double of her career and the first for a South Carolina player in SEC play. She finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks to become the first Gamecock with multiple triple-doubles. It was also just the seventh triple-double in SEC play history.

Boston’s first triple-double came in her collegiate debut in the 2019-20 season.

No. 10 Arizona Wildcats

Aari McDonald had 20 points on Friday to give her 79-straight games in double-figure scoring.

No. 18 DePaul Blue Demons

On Thursday, senior Deja Church reached 1,000 career points between her time at Michigan and DePaul. She notched 13 points and 12 rebounds against Butler.

No. 20 Gonzaga Bulldogs

Senior Jill Townsend reached 1,000 career points on Sunday with 11 points against Portland. She is the 24th Bulldog to get to 1,000.

No. 15 Arkansas Razorbacks

Sophomore Makayla Daniels reached 500 career points against South Carolina on Monday. She was 2-of-4 from distance, with 10 points.

Surprises

Upsets

Minnesota Golden Gophers over Nebraska Cornhuskers, 76-71 (Tuesday)

The Golden Gophers (3-7, 2-6 Big Ten) upset the team that has been upsetting all the ranked teams in Nebraska (7-5, 5-4 Big Ten).

No. 17 Ohio State Buckeyes over No. 11 Michigan Wolverines, 81-77 (Thursday)

This was a small upset in which Wolverine Naz Hillmon scored 50 points in defeat.

No. 6 UCLA Bruins over No. 5 Stanford Cardinal, 70-66 (Friday)

This was another minor upset, but a huge win for UCLA over the more established Pac-12 power in Stanford which, with this loss, suffered back-to-back defeats for only the fourth time since 2010.

Texas Longhorns over No. 24 Iowa State Cyclones, 70-59 (Saturday)

The Longhorns bested the Cyclones for the second time this season, improving their chances of re-entering the rankings.

Clemson Tigers over No. 23 Syracuse Orange, 86-77 in OT (Sunday)

The Tigers beat an Orange team that played four games in eight days.

Close-call Sunday:

No. 1 Louisville Cardinals over Wake Forest Demon Deacons by just two

A Dana Evans’ 3-point play with eight seconds left saved the Cardinals (14-0, 7-0 ACC). Wake Forest is 7-6 overall and 4-5 in the ACC.

No. 2 NC State Wolfpack over Virginia Tech Hokies by just two

The struggling Hokies (7-7, 2-7 ACC) have now come within four points of defeating both the Louisville Cardinals and the Wolfpack (11-0, 6-0 ACC).

No. 4 South Carolina Gamecocks over LSU Tigers by just four

The Tigers (6-7, 4-3 SEC) have a win over the No. 8 Texas A&M Aggies and almost upset the Gamecocks (12-1, 7-0 SEC), too.

No. 8 Texas A&M Aggies over Missouri Tigers by just four

The Tigers are just 5-5 overall and 1-4 in the SEC, while the Aggies are 14-1 overall and 5-1 in the conference.

COVID/other news

No. 11 Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines’ entire athletic department went on pause Saturday due to positive tests from a new strain of the coronavirus.

Vanderbilt Commodores

The Commodores canceled the remainder of their season on Monday because of “a combination of COVID-19 related circumstances, opt-outs and injuries.”

Detroit Mercy Titans

The Titans have canceled the rest of their season due to concerns about the coaching of AnnMarie Gilbert. Players have accused the Detroit Mercy head coach of “emotional, mental and physical abuse.”

Other games of the week

Thursday: Florida State Seminoles 95, Clemson Tigers 88 (2OT)

The Seminoles easily won the second overtime period after Delicia Washington of the Tigers missed a jumper that would have won it at the buzzer of the first overtime. That miss came after she tied the game at 82 on a jumper with 20 seconds remaining in the fifth frame. Sammie Puisis of Florida State missed what could have been a game-winning triple with four ticks left in regulation after Gabby Elliot’s 3-pointer for Clemson with 24 seconds to go had tied it. The Tigers were down by 10 entering the fourth.

The game was a battle between Florida State’s Morgan Jones (36 points, 11 rebounds) and Washington (33 points, eight rebounds).

Sunday: Washington State Cougars 77, Oregon State Beavers 75 (2OT)

Charlisse Leger-Walker’s jumper with 37 seconds to go in the second overtime proved to be the game-winner after Aleah Goodman (game-high 33 points) missed a shot to tie at the buzzer. The teams were both held scoreless over the final minute of the first overtime, with Goodman missing a triple at the buzzer. Cherilyn Molina tied the game for the Cougars with a 3-pointer at the one-minute mark. Sasha Goforth made the game-tying trey for Oregon State with 28 ticks left in regulation.

Krystal Leger-Walker led Washington State with 23 points, while C. Leger-Walker had 22.

Other top performances

Cece Hooks: 38 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks for the Ohio Bobcats in a win over the Western Michigan Broncos on Saturday.

Naomie Alnatas: 45 points, three rebounds and three assists for the UM Kansas City Roos in a win over the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles on Saturday.

Ashley Joens: 32 points, 16 rebounds and two steals for the Iowa State Cyclones in a win over the Oklahoma Sooners on Tuesday.

Molly Davis: 32 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Central Michigan Chippewas in a win over the Akron Zips on Saturday.

Abby Wahl: 34 points and seven rebounds for the Eastern Illinois Panthers in a win over the Tennessee State Lady Tigers on Saturday,

AP rankings (Jan. 25)

The Tennessee Lady Volunteers deservedly made the biggest jump this week: up from No. 25 to No. 20 after they nearly beat the No. 3 UConn Huskies and comfortably beat the now-No. 15 Kentucky Wildcats.

In addition, the now-No. 5 UCLA Bruins and No. 6 Stanford Cardinal swapped spots after UCLA beat Stanford.

After an idle week, the No. 7 Maryland Terrapins were unable to move ahead of the Cardinal.

The No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes are up three spots after holding on to beat now-No. 12 Michigan.

And, lastly, the No. 24 West Virginia Mountaineers and No. 25 South Dakota State Jackrabbits have entered the rankings, while the previously-No. 23 Syracuse Orange and the previously-No. 24 Iowa State Cyclones have fallen out.

Best upcoming matchup

No. 10 Arizona Wildcats (11-2, 9-2 Pac-12) vs. No. 5 UCLA Bruins (9-2, 7-2 Pac-12)

When: Sunday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. ET

Where: Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA

How to watch/listen: Pac-12 Network/Radio: 1400 AM or TuneIn (Arizona) or UCLA’s athletics site

Reason to watch: The Wildcats and Bruins are both looking to build bigger and better things after defeating the Oregon Ducks ad Stanford Cardinal, respectively.

Best game on ESPN

No. 4 South Carolina (12-1, 7-0 SEC) vs. No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4, 3-3 SEC)

When: Thursday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, MS

How to watch/listen: ESPN/Gamecock All-Access or MSU Radio Network or HailStatePLUS

Reason to watch: Look to see if Mississippi State can hang with the SEC’s best in South Carolina. The Bulldogs have failed to rise to the occasion in other big games this season.