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Around the NCAAW Weekly: Texas A&M proves doubters wrong, wins SEC

The Texas A&M Aggies were the No. 13 team in the nation to start the season after losing scoring phenom Chennedy Carter to the WNBA Draft. Now they are the SEC regular-season champs and No. 2 in the nation. Plus, Stanford and Louisville have won the Pac-12 and ACC, respectively, and Baylor has at least a share of the Big 12 title with the Big Ten still pending.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 16 Women’s Texas A&M at Tennessee
Gary Blair has taken Texas A&M to the top of the SEC despite losing Chennedy Carter to the WNBA after her junior year.
Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via 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, Feb. 28:


Conference champions

No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies

In addition to moving up to the 1-line in the NCAA Top 16 reveal on Sunday, the Aggies celebrated their first-ever SEC regular-season championship and first regular-season title title in any conference since winning the Big 12 in 2007.

Texas A&M defeated the No. 5 South Carolina Gamecocks 65-57 on Sunday to secure the title. Senior forward N’dea Jones had 16 points and 14 rebounds in the contest to surpass 1,000 career rebounds and reach 1,010, which is good for first place in Texas A&M history, ahead of former record-holder Anriel Howard (1,002).

The Aggies were picked to finish third in the SEC behind South Carolina and the No. 19 Kentucky Wildcats. They started the season at No. 13 in the Top 25 rankings, behind both South Carolina and Kentucky.

No. 4 Stanford Cardinal

The Cardinal opened the week by clinching the Pac-12 regular-season title with a win over No. 9 Arizona on Monday. Stanford hadn’t won the conference regular season since 2014 and ended a three-year winning streak for the Oregon Ducks.

No. 6 Louisville Cardinals

Thanks to a win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Sunday, the Cardinals have now won four ACC regular-season championships in a row. Against Notre Dame, senior guard Dana Evans reached 500 career assists.

No. 1 UConn Huskies

The Huskies had already clinched a share of the Big East regular-season title, but won it outright with a win over Creighton on Thursday,

No. 22 South Dakota State Jackrabbits

The Jackrabbits also went from clinching a share to winning their conference outright with a win over the UM Kansas City on Friday. They have now won seven Summit League regular-season championships.

On Saturday, South Dakota State completed a perfect Summit League slate for the first time in program history. It also notched its 20th win on Thursday, giving it 20 seasons in a row with 20-plus wins.

No. 23 Missouri State Lady Bears

The Lady Bears won the Missouri Valley Conference for the second year in a row by defeating the Southern Illinois Salukis on Wednesday.

No. 21 Gonzaga Bulldogs

Senior forward Jenn Wirth reached 1,000 career points on Thursday and helped Gonzaga snag a victory over the Pepperdine Waves and a fifth-consecutive WCC regular-season championship. The Bulldogs, who won 95-49, have won the WCC 17 times overall. It was the biggest WCC blowout for the team under Lisa Fortier.

In addition to the five-straight titles, Gonzaga has five 20-win seasons in a row and 19 overall.

No. 7 Baylor Lady Bears

Baylor has only clinched a share of the Big 12 regular-season title so far but hopes to finish as the outright champion. They accomplished the feast win a win over the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday and now have 11 conference championships in a row, which is the best active streak in the country.

The current Baylor seniors are 73-2 in Big 12 play and have four regular-seasons titles and two Big 12 Tournament championships.

Milestones/accomplishments

No. 16 Arkansas Razorbacks

On Sunday, the Razorbacks made 19 triples to set a program and SEC record.

On Thursday, redshirt senior guard Chelsea Dungee reached 2,078 career points between her time with the Razorback and Oklahoma Sooners. After Sunday’s game, she now has 1,854 points at Arkansas alone and, if you count her new career total of 2,098, has more career points than anyone to ever suit up for the Razorbacks. She surpassed Bettye Fiscus, who had 2,073.

No. 10 UCLA Bruins

Charisma Osborne went off for a triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists on Friday. She was 6-of-6 from distance and UCLA made 16 triples as a team, a program record. The six makes for Osborne marked a career high and her triple-double was the ninth in UCLA history.

No. 2 NC State Wolfpack

NC State also made 16 threes in a single game last week. For the Wolfpack, the feat was accomplished on Thursday and it tied a program record.

In addition NC State finished a perfect home slate for the second time ever.

No. 8 Maryland Terrapins

Maryland and the Iowa Hawkeyes were involved in one of the most entertaining games of the NCAAW season on Tuesday, with the Terps winning 111-93.

Maryland had 41 points in the first quarter to tie a program record set earlier in 2020-21 and had 68 points at the break to set a Big Ten play record for points in a half.

In addition, Maryland senior guard Katie Benzan sank nine treys, breaking a record that was set by multiple Terps, including WNBA star and 2006 national champion Kristi Toliver.

Maryland has reached the 100-point threshold five times in 2020-21.

No. 1 UConn Huskies

Freshman guard Paige Bueckers notched a program-high 14 assists on Saturday.

No. 11 Indiana Hoosiers

With their first win over Ohio State since 2010 and first win at Ohio State since 2002, the Hoosiers broke the record they set last year by notching their 14th win in the Big Ten regular season on Saturday.

Streak tracker

Aari McDonald - 85-straight games in double-figure scoring (longest active streak in nation)

South Dakota State: 18-straight wins (fourth-longest active win streak in nation)

Surprises

Penn State Nittany Lions over No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes (Wednesday)

Penn State (6-11 Big Ten, No. 85 NET) is not a strong team this year and Ohio State (9-6 Big Ten, No. 21 NET) has now lost three in a row after also losing to Indiana on Saturday.

Ole Miss Rebels over No. 19 Kentucky Wildcats (Sunday)

Ole Miss did it again: it upset Kentucky even though it is 4-10 in the SEC and No. 47 in the NET. Kentucky is 9-6 in the conference and No. 20 in the NET.

Arizona State Dun Devils over No. 9 Arizona Wildcats (Sunday)

The Sun Devils (6-9 Pac-12, No. 92 NET) were coming off a loss to the lowly Cal Golden Bears, but still managed to upset their rival. Arizona is 13-4 in the conference and No. 14 in the NET.

Houston Cougars over No. 13 South Florida Bulls (Saturday)

The Cougars (No. 48 NET) ruined the Bulls’ shot at a perfect season in the AAC. South Florida is No. 24 in the NET.

Iowa Hawkeyes over No. 12 Michigan Wolverines (Thursday)

Iowa (10-7 Big Ten, No. 25 NET) is a good team and finally broke through here with its biggest win of the season. Michigan is 8-3 in the conference and No. 17 in the NET.

Oregon State Beavers over No. 14 Oregon Ducks (Sunday)

The Beavers (7-6 Pac-12, No. 29 NET) won this big rivalry game to split with the Ducks (10-7 Pac-12, No. 10 NET).

Oklahoma Sooners over Texas Longhorns (Saturday)

Oklahoma is 7-8 in the Big 12 and No. 67 in the NET, while Texas is 10-6 and No. 31.

Iowa State Cyclones over No. 18 West Virginia Mountaineers (Wednesday)

Iowa State (11-6 Big 12, No. 28 NET) has been in and out of the rankings, but hadn’t received votes in two weeks so it was surprising to see it beat West Virginia (12-4 Big 12, No. 23 NET) 85-68.

UNC Tar Heels over Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Thursday)

This was the second upset loss in a row for Georgia Tech (12-6 ACC, No. 33 NET) after it lost to the Boston College Eagles on Feb. 21. UNC is 8-9 in the conference, though it is actually one ahead of Georgia Tech in the NET.

Marquette Golden Eagles over No. 24 DePaul Blue Demons (Wednesday)

Marquette is now a full two games ahead of DePaul in the Big East standings and 20 spots ahead of it in the NET, but entered this one unranked.

COVID/other news

No. 9 Arizona Wildcats

According to Arizona’s athletics website, senior guard Aari McDonald “said (last) week she would enter the WNBA draft rather than return to school for another year.”

Dartmouth Big Green

Dartmouth announced on Wednesday that Belle Koclanes will be stepping down as head coach of the program on March 31. The Big Green are not participating in the 2020-21 NCAAW season due to COVID.

Games of the week

Thursday: Radford Highlanders 74, Campbell Fighting Camels 71 (2OT)

A bucket by Bryonna McClean (11 points, 10 rebounds) with 27 seconds remaining in the second overtime provided Radford with a four-point edge and the deciding 72nd point and it held on from there. Tina Lindenfeld gave the Highlanders a three-point lead on free throws and then Campbell’s Shyanne Tuelle (23 points, five rebounds) missed a 3-pointer to tie with one second left.

Campbell’s Luana Serranho had made the game-tying free throw with nine seconds left in the first overtime after which no shots were attempted. Radford’s Makaila Wilson missed a shot to win with two seconds left in regulation.

Ashley Tudor led the Highlanders with 15 points and added nine rebounds. Brittany Staves had 14 points and 14 rebounds in defeat.

Saturday: Oklahoma Sooners 68, Texas Longhorns 63 (OT)

Tatum Veitenheimer made the key 3-pointer to put the Sooners up three with 26 seconds left in OT and Mandy Simpson iced the game with two free throws at seven seconds remaining.

Nevaeh Tot completed Oklahoma’s fourth-quarter comeback on a free throw with 41 seconds to go in regulation and then both teams missed out on opportunities to take the lead. The Sooners were down 12 with 4:02 to play.

Gabby Gregory led the winners with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Charli Collier had 23 points and seven boards in defeat.

Sunday: Arizona State Sun Devils 66, Arizona Wildcats 64 (OT)

Taya Hanson (19 points) made a 3-pointer for Arizona State with 56 seconds to go in overtime that made the score 65-62 in favor of the Sun Devils. With het team down two in the final seconds, Arizona’s Cate Reese missed a 3-pointer to win at the buzzer.

Aari McDonald (30 points, six steals) had saved the Wildcats in regulation with two free throws at five seconds remaining in regulation and the Sun Devils missed a shot to win at the buzzer.

Jaddan Simmons joined Hanson in double figures with 15 points for Arizona State.

Other top performances

Iggy Allen: 33 points, 18 rebounds and three steals for the Florida Atlantic Owls in a win over the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Friday.

Doris Jones: 35 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks for the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in a win over the UC Riverside Highlanders on Saturday.

Akila Smith: 32 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks for the Longwood Lancers in a loss to the High Point Panthers on Thursday.

Caitlin Clark: 34 points and seven assists for the Iowa Hawkeyes in a loss to the Maryland Terrapins on Tuesday.

Amber Ramirez: 35 points, three rebounds and two assists for the Arkansas Razorbacks in a win over the Alabama Crimson Tide on Sunday.

AP rankings (March 1)

The South Carolina Gamecocks fell from No. 5 to No. 7 after their loss to the Texas A&M Aggies, who moved up one spot to No. 2.

The week’s biggest risers were the Arkansas Razorbacks (up three spots to No. 13), Tennessee Lady Volunteers (up six spots to No. 14) and Gonzaga Bulldogs (up three spots to No. 18).

The Oregon Ducks (down five spots to No. 19) and Ohio State Buckeyes (down seven spots to No. 22) took the biggest slides.

Best upcoming regular-season matchup

No. 8 Maryland Terrapins (19-2, 15-1 Big Ten) vs. No. 12 Michigan Wolverines (13-3, 8-3 Big Ten)

When: Thursday, March 4, at 12 p.m. ET

Where: Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, MI

How to watch/listen: BTN/MGoBlue TV

Reason to watch: Maryland really needs another ranked win to give it a better shot at a 1-seed and Michigan could drastically improve its seeding with a win.