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Around the NCAAW Weekly: As parity continues, NC State knocks off No. 1 team for second time

When they beat the No. 1 Louisville Cardinals on Monday, the No. 4 NC State Wolfpack did something that only two other teams have done in the past 20 years and both those squads made it to the national championship game. However, the UNC Tar Heels crashed their party on Sunday, just like Washington State did to the No. 5 UCLA Bruins and the Ole Miss Rebels did to the No. 15 Kentucky Wildcats earlier in the week.

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NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 23 Div I Women’s Championship - First Round - Maine v NC State
Elissa Cunane (jersey #33) had 16 points and six rebounds in NC State’s win over Louisville on Monday.
Photo by Michael Berg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“Around the NCAAW Weekly” highlights the notable events of the week. Check out the surprises, milestones, best games and outstanding performances for games played through Sunday, Feb. 7:


Surprises

Upsets

No. 4 NC State Wolfpack over No. 1 Louisville Cardinals (Monday)

The NC State Wolfpack became just the third team in the past 20 seasons to defeat the AP’s No. 1 team in the land twice in the same season with their 74-60 win over the Louisville Cardinals on Monday.

Unlike those other two teams, (2006 national champion Maryland and 2008 runner-up Stanford), NC State isn’t done. It is the first team in the past 20 years to accomplish the feat in the regular season alone and could potentially meet No. 1 again in the NCAA Tournament or Louisville could recapture the spot before the ACC Tournament. The Wolfpack also defeated both the then-No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks (Dec. 3) and the Cardinals on the road, which was not the case for both of 06 Maryland’s or 08 Stanford’s wins.

Over the past 20 years, the other 116 teams who have played two No. 1s in the same season have failed to win both games (information from ESPN Stats & Info).

In the process of accomplishing their historic feat, the Wolfpack were happy to break a six-game losing streak to the Cards, whose 14-game home win streak also ended. The 14-point margin marked the largest in a Louisville loss since the 2019 ACC Tournament championship game, when the Cards lost by 20 to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

UNC Tar Heels over No. 4 NC State Wolfpack (Sunday)

Although the Wolfpack accomplished a great feat on Monday, they ended the week with an upset loss of their own, falling to the unranked UNC Tar Heels.

UNC was led by Alyssa Ustby’s 20 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and two steals and went 11-of-26 from beyond the arc (42.3 percent). That is the best 3-point shooting effort of any Wolfpack opponent in 2020-21.

Washington State Cougars over No. 5 UCLA Bruins (Friday)

The Cougars earned their program’s first-ever win over a Top 5 team in this one and the freshman who continues to shock the nation, Charlisse Leger-Walker, capped a 28-point night with a key 3-pointer at 42 seconds left that gave the team the lead for good.

Washington State snapped a six-game losing streak to UCLA while improving to seven wins in the Pac-12. The 2014-15 season was the most recent of just six previous instances where the Cougars won seven-plus games in the conference.

Leger-Walker is now one shy of Borislava Hristova when it comes to 20-point games as a Cougar freshman. Hristova holds the record with nine.

Ole Miss Rebels over No. 15 Kentucky Wildcats (Thursday)

The Rebels earned their first ranked win since Jan. 12, 2019 thanks in large part to a 42-20 edge in the paint. Shakira Austin led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

No. 22 Northwestern Wildcats over No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes (Feb. 1)

The Wildcats handed the Buckeyes just their second loss of the season.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons over Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Sunday)

The Demon Deacons (9-8, 6-7 ACC) defeated a Yellow Jackets team that has surprisingly emerged as the third-best team in the conference at 11-4 (9-3 ACC). Wake Forest is No. 50 in the NET rankings, while Georgia Tech is No. 22.

Close call

No. 12 Oregon Ducks over UC Davis Aggies by just six

The Aggies are No. 83 in the NET rankings and he Ducks are No. 5.

Milestones/accomplishments

No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies

The Aggies improved to 7-0 against ranked teams with their 69-67 win over Arkansas on Sunday.

No. 19 Gonzaga Bulldogs

The Bulldogs are now 11-0 in the WCC after defeating BYU on Tuesday. They have the fourth-longest winning streak in the nation at 15 games and have won 16-straight in the WCC, the longest such streak under head coach Lisa Fortier.

No 8 Baylor Lady Bears

Baylor defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 83-50 on Thursday and won the second-chance points category 21-1 in the process. The Lady Bears outrebounded the Jayhawks 56-25, including a 26-4 advantage on the offensive glass.

No. 4 NC State Wolfpack

NC State graduate transfer Raina Perez notched 13 assists on Sunday, tying her with Krissy Kuziemski for most helpers in a single game in program history. Kuziemski accomplished the feat on Jan. 15, 1992. Perez had just two turnovers in the game, which ended as a loss to the UNC Tar Heels.

No. 16 Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas’ Amber Ramirez has made at least five 3-pointers in four-straight games.

No. 17 Indiana Hoosiers

The Hoosiers’ win over the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday was their first at Iowa since Feb. 20, 1994.

Get out the brooms!

No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes swept the Iowa Hawkeyes for the first time since 2008.

No 21 West Virginia Mountaineers

The Mountaineers swept the Texas Longhorns for the first time since becoming a Big 12 member in 2012.

No. 23 South Dakota State Jackrabbits

The Jackrabbits swept their rival, the South Dakota Coyotes, for the first time since 2014.

Games of the week

Saturday: Florida International Panthers 107, UTSA Roadrunners 103 (3OT)

UTSA’s Karrington Donald (21 points, eight assists) failed to convert on a 3-point attempt with 11 seconds left and Florida International held on for the win. Alexus Wykoff (20 points, nine rebounds) had gone on a 5-2 individual run against UTSA to make the score 107-103 with 43 seconds remaining.

Donald also missed free throws that could have won it in the second overtime after FIU’s Fujika Nimmo’s jumper tied it with 28 seconds to go.

The game was so close to being over in the first overtime as well. FIU’s Emily Atsinger missed a jumper at the buzzer after a layup from UTSA’s Yuliyana Valcheva (25 points, 15 rebounds) tied it with a minute left. It was Mikayla Woods’ bucket in the paint with a second left in regulation that kept the Roadrunners alive and forced overtime.

UTSA led 17-8 after one and 35-24 at the break, but FIU stormed back with a 28-17 third quarter.

Nimmo finished with 28 points, six rebounds and eight assists, while Jiselle Thomas added 24 points for the winners. Woods led UTSA with 27 points in defeat.

Saturday: Omaha Mavericks 105, Western Illinois Leathernecks 102 (2OT)

A Lauren Frost layup with 1:06 to go in the second overtime gave the Mavericks all the points that they would need to win the game (103). A 4-0 individual run by Leatherneck Grace Gilmore (46 points, eight rebounds) cut it to 103-102 with seven ticks left, but it was to no avail as Frost iced the game with two free throws at two seconds remaining.

The victory wouldn’t have been possible had Sarah Schmitt not made a layup with one second remaining in the first overtime or had Claire Killian (29 points) not sunk a 3-pointer with two seconds left in regulation, both of which saved Omaha. It was the Mavericks’ second win of the season and first in Summit League play.

Josie Filer added 26 points and nine boards to the winning cause.

Sunday: No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies 69, No. 16 Arkansas Razorbacks 67

Texas A&M sophomore guard Jordan Nixon has now made clutch game-winning shots in two nail-biters against Arkansas this season. On Sunday, she made a layup with eight seconds left to put the Aggies up 69-67. After that, Amber Ramirez of the Razorbacks missed what would have been her sixth 3-pointer of the game with a second left and the Aggies held on to win. They held off a Razorbacks team that won the fourth 19-13. Kayla Wells led the winners with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Other top performances

Iggy Allen: 35 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and three blocks for the Florida Atlantic Owls in a loss to the Western Kentucky Lady Toppers on Friday.

Peyton Scott: 37 points, 10 rebounds and five steals for the Miami (OH) Redhawks in a win over the Western Michigan Broncos on Wednesday.

Kionna Jeter: 37 points, seven rebounds, three assists and four steals for the Towson Tigers in a win over the Charleston Cougars on Sunday.

Jordyn Dawson: 34 points, six rebounds, seven assists and four steals for the Akron Zips in a win over the Ball State Cardinals on Saturday.

Savannah Wheeler: 35 points and six rebounds for the Marshall Thundering Herd in a win over the Old Dominion Monarchs on Saturday.

AP rankings (Feb. 8)

The South Carolina Gamecocks moved up to No. 1 due to Louisville and NC State picking up losses. South Carolina was No. 1 for two weeks to begin the season. The Gamecocks are followed by the No. 2 UConn Huskies, while the Cardinals and Wolfpack settle in at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.

UCLA fell three spots to No. 8 after its loss to Washington State, while Kentucky fell five spots to No. 20 after its loss to Ole Miss. Meanwhile, the now-No. 25 Missouri State Lady Bears have replaced the previously-No. 24 Mississippi State Bulldogs in the rankings.

Best upcoming matchup

No. 16 Tennessee Lady Volunteers (12-3, 6-1 SEC) vs. No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats (13-5, 6-4 SEC)

When: Thursday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY

How to watch/listen: SECN+/Tennessee’s athletics site or UK Sports Network

Reason to watch: Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper and Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy played together at Tennessee under Pat Summitt. Also, Kentucky junior Rhyne Howard is one of the best players of the country going up against projected first-round WNBA Draft pick Rennia Davis of Tennessee.

Best game on ESPN

Texas Longhorns (13-5, 7-4 Big 12) vs. No 7 Baylor Lady Bears (14-2, 9-1 Big 12)

When: Sunday, Feb. 14, at 5 p.m. ET

Where: Ferrell Center in Waco, TX

How to watch/listen: ESPN2/Radio: 105.3 FM (Austin, TX) or Texas’ athletics site or Baylor All-Access or TuneIn (Baylor)

Reason to watch: Texas has struggled at times this season, but check out top-notch coach Vic Schaefer, formerly of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, take on Baylor for the first time as head coach of the Longhorns.