“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. 3:
Oklahoma Sooners junior guard/forward Madi Williams scored 45 points on Sunday in a loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers.
In spite of the loss, Williams was able to make history with her scoring total. No other Sooner has ever scored 45 points in a single game and the previous record of 43 was held by Williams’ assistant coach and longtime WNBA player Courtney Paris.
Paris’ record was set in 2006 and she is the Sooners’ all-time leading scorer.
4⃣5⃣ points— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_WBBall) January 3, 2021
17-30 FG | 3-7 3FG | 8-9 FT@madi_wms was insanely as she set the OU single-game scoring record and scored the most points by a Division I women's basketball player this season. pic.twitter.com/FdF75KOrwB
No. 11 UCLA Bruins/No. 8 Oregon Ducks
Michaela Onyenwere scored a career-high 33 points as the Bruins snapped the Ducks’ 27-game winning streak, which was the longest active streak in the nation. UCLA won the contest in Eugene, Ore., 73-71.
Oregon’s streaks of 24-straight Pac-12 wins and 22-straight home wins were broken as well. The Ducks’ previous loss came against the Arizona State Sun Devils on Jan. 10, 2020 and their last home loss came against the Bruins on Feb. 22, 2019.
No. 16 Michigan Wolverines
The Wolverines saw both Naz Hillmon and Leigha Brown score exactly 20 points in the first half of their win over the No. 15 Northwestern Wildcats on Sunday. The Wolverines notched 55 points as a team in the opening 20 minutes, their highest mark in a half since 1997.
With the win, Michigan has tied its best start in program history at 7-0. #goblue pic.twitter.com/01sAxHCiBV— Michigan Women’s Basketball (@umichwbball) January 4, 2021
No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies
In their 112-26 win over the Northwestern State Lady Demons on Monday, the Aggies:
- Scored the most points ever in program history
- Won by the largest margin in program history (86)
- Finished nonconference play undefeated for the first time ever
- Made a program-record-tying 12 threes
No. 1 Stanford Cardinal
Stanford made a statement with its 81-54 win over the No. 6 Arizona Wildcats on Friday. It was the program’s biggest margin of victory over a a top-six team on the road.
No. 4 UConn Huskies
With 14 points in the team’s win over the No. 18 DePaul Blue Demons on Tuesday, Christyn Williams reached 1,000 career points for the Huskies.
No. 5 South Carolina Gamecocks
Sophomore Aliyah Boston became the 11th-fastest Gamecock to reach 500 career points with a career-high 28 on Thursday in South Carolina’s win over the Florida Gators. Boston added 16 rebounds, four blocks and three steals to her stat line.
No. 3 NC State Wolfpack
The Wolfpack’s Elissa Cunane shot 9-of-9 from the field on Sunday — a record for an NC State player at its home arena, Reynolds Coliseum.
Photo of the Game— #3 NC State WBB (@PackWomensBball) January 3, 2021
Just one of @ecunane_'s buckets from her 9-9 shooting performance today!#GoPack // #WeWin pic.twitter.com/bkXbU7X55t
No. 21 South Florida Bulls
The Bulls’ Bethy Mununga notched the eighth 20-20 game in South Florida history in the team’s win over the East Carolina Pirates on Saturday. She had 23 points and 21 rebounds.
No. 14 Maryland Terrapins
Ashley Owusu dropped 34 points for the Terps in their win over Penn State on Thursday. It was the highest scoring total for a Maryland sophomore since Crystal Langhorne scored 34 in a contest in 2006.
New York Times opinion editorial warns against dangers of continuing college basketball
The New York Times wrote on Wednesday about the many failures of the college football season and stated:
As a sport, basketball is anathema to doctors and medical experts who continue to espouse the community benefits of staying six feet apart, congregating outside and avoiding large gatherings.
The piece called for an end to the college basketball season, asserting:
There is no reason college basketball cannot be delayed until conditions improve or the vaccine is deployed in larger numbers.
The Mustangs’ players collectively decided to opt out of the remainder of the 2020-21 season because “the totality of the (COVID) circumstances was resulting in an in-season experience that they did not wish to prolong.’’
Tennessee Lady Volunteers
The Lady Vols went on pause on Tuesday due to positive test within their program and postponed two games against ranked opponents this week. They were scheduled to play the No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies on Thursday and the No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday.
No. 7 Baylor Lady Bears/TCU Horned Frogs
Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey and TCU head coach Raegan Pebley were both ruled out of the teams’ matchup on Saturday due to contact tracing issues.
The Cornhuskers upset the No. 15 Northwestern Wildcats with a 65-63 win at the buzzer on Thursday.
No. 11 UCLA Bruins
The No. 26 recruit in the Hoop Gurlz class of 2021, Dominique Darius, has joined UCLA’s women’s basketball team early after finishing her high school coursework. She played seven minutes in the team’s win over Oregon on Sunday.
AP rankings (Jan. 4)
The UCLA Bruins, Kentucky Wildcats and South Florida Bulls are the big winners in the rankings this week. UCLA is up two spots to No. 9 after its big-time win over the now-No. 11 Oregon Ducks. Kentucky, with two ranked wins (over the No. 13 Arkansas Razorbacks and No. 14 Mississippi State Bulldogs), moved up three spots to No. 10.
Lastly, the Bulls went from No. 21 to No. 18. They won two games, while the No. 22 Northwestern Wildcats, No. 20 DePaul Blue Demons and No. 19 Indiana Hoosiers all fell behind them.
Northwestern fell seven spots to No. 22 because its two losses — one to a Nebraska team it was supposed to beat and the other in blowout fashion to the No. 15 Michigan Wolverines.
Oregon’s three-spot drop places the Ducks outside of the Top 10 for the first time since 2017. And Arkansas and Mississippi State each tumbled multiple spots in spite of the fact their respective losses were to a good Kentucky team. With two losses apiece now, Arkansas and Mississippi State fall behind one-loss Maryland, which is now up two spots to No. 12.
The Stanford Cardinal and Louisville Cardinals are still No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation, respectively, while the NC State Wolfpack and UConn are tied at No. 3.
Games of the Week
Thursday: Nebraska Cornhuskers 65, No. 15 Northwestern Wildcats 63
After leaving the game with a leg cramp early in the fourth quarter, Nebraska junior star Sam Haiby came back and made a game-winning scoop layup at the buzzer for the Huskers. Haiby had rebounded her own miss before tossing up the desperation shot. She finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The Huskers led by as many as nine points twice in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats battled back to make it close down the stretch. Nebraska was not expected to be in control as much as they were.
Sunday: No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats 92, No. 12 Mississippi State Bulldogs 86 (OT)
Rhyne Howard scored 25 of her 33 points in the fourth quarter and overtime combined and notched the go-ahead 3-point play with 1:20 to go in the extra frame. From there, free throws iced a contest that seemed like it was going Mississippi State’s way when it had a four-point lead halfway through overtime and when it held a six-point lead with 4:34 to go in the fourth. The Wildcats prevailed despite a Howard five-second violation in the fourth that gave the Bulldogs a chance to win before overtime. Rickea Jackson scored 23 points in defeat but she was the one who missed a difficult bank shot in the paint at the end of regulation.
[@espnW]— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) January 4, 2021
Following back-to-back double-doubles against TOP-12 teams. #CrownHer pic.twitter.com/JJgPuRrv8S
Sunday: No. 11 UCLA Bruins 73, No. 8 Oregon Ducks 71
Michaela Onyenwere made the game-winning layup with 51 seconds left, ending an 11-0 Oregon run that had tied the game. She finished with a career-high 33 points and added 10 rebounds, while teammate Charisma Osborne posted 22 points. The favored Ducks’ big run featured a 3-pointer from Jaz Shelley that cut the Bruins’ lead to six points and was capped off with free throws from Nyara Sabally. Te-Hina Paopao scored 19 points in defeat, while Sabally (12 points and eight rebounds) and Angela Dugalic (13 points and nine boards) nearly notched double-doubles.
DOWN GO THE DUCKS!@monyenwere_ puts up a career-high 33 in the victory! It's Oregon's first home loss since we beat them in Eugene on Feb. 22, 2019! #GoBruins | | #Elite pic.twitter.com/zHmapDypUv— UCLA W. Basketball (@UCLAWBB) January 3, 2021
Other top performances
Anastasia Hayes: 34 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders in a win over the Florida Atlantic Owls on Friday.
Sydney Brown: 31 points and 14 rebounds for the UC San Diego Tritons in a win over the Cal Poly Mustangs on Saturday.
Arella Guirantes: 34 points, five assists and four steals for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes on Thursday.
Nadiria Evans: 34 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals for the UNC Asheville Bulldogs in a win over the Longwood Lancers on Wednesday.
Lotta-Maj Lahtinen: 30 points, 11 rebounds and three steals for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a loss to the No. 3 NC State Wolfpack on Thursday.
Best upcoming matchup
No. 4 UConn Huskies (6-0, 5-0 Big East) vs. No. 7 Baylor Lady Bears (8-1, 3-0 Big 12)
When: Thursday, Jan. 7, at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Ferrell Center in Waco, TX
How to watch/listen: ESPN/Radio: 97-9 ESPN or TuneIn (UConn) or Baylor All-Access
Reason to watch: With a win, UConn head coach Geno Auriemma ties legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt with 1,098 victories. He would be tied for second all-time in Division I NCAAW history behind Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer (1,103).