The first day of college basketball action did not disappoint. We had upsets, dominance and a historic debut. Here’s what happening in Monday’s biggest games:
No. 20 Colorado 97, No. 1 LSU 78
No. 1 LSU was shocked in their season opener, falling to No. 20 Colorado 97-78. Jaylyn Sherrod drove to the paint and got whatever basket she wanted, scoring 19 points in her 33 minutes of play. Frida Formann was key to the win, getting red hot from 3. She went 7-for-11 from deep and ended the night with a game-high 27 points.
For the Lady Tigers, Angel Reese picked up where she left off last season with a double-double. Freshman sensation Mikaylah Williams not only started but but also scored 17 points in her debut.
But, Colorado dominated from the second quarter on and LSU was never able to react, counter or threaten to comeback. It’s just game one and, as we mentioned in our preview, the continuity and veteran experience of the Buffaloes presented a path towards an upset. They executed it to a tee. The Lady Tigers will have to move on quickly as their next game is against Queens on Thursday. The Buffaloes have an even faster turnaround, facing off against Le Moyne on Wednesday.
No. 6 South Carolina 100, No. 10 Notre Dame 71
Amongst all the hoopla from the national title game, South Carolina’s dominance feels like it’s been forgotten. That will soon change. Head coach Dawn Staley had the No. 6 Gamecocks humming on Monday, making it look easy in a 100-71 win over the No. 10 Fighting Irish in Paris.
South Carolina dominated in the second quarter 24-8, turning the tide permanently in their favor. The rookie phenom MiLaysia Fulwiley played a big role in the win, scoring 17 points off the bench. The highlight was a mesmerizing behind-the-back layup that’s an early contender for play of the year.
"THE EIFFEL TOWER IS SHAKING"!! OH MY GOODNESS pic.twitter.com/mpxRrCrS7y— South Carolina Women's Basketball (@GamecockWBB) November 6, 2023
While there are no moral victories, Notre Dame did get a phenomenal performance from Hannah Hidalgo. She ended the night with 31 points—one of several stunning games from the 2023 freshman class that occurred on Monday.
No. 21 USC 83, No. 7 Ohio State 74
In her collegiate debut, JuJu Watkins more than delivered. She scored 32 points, breaking the record for most points by a Trojan in her first game by two points. The previous record was held by the one and only Lisa Leslie.
Not only did Watkins break records, but she led the team to an upset win, defeating No. 7 Ohio State 83-74. The Buckeyes and Trojans were even at 60 with under eight minutes left when USC went on a 14-6 run and essentially put away Ohio State for good.
A poor second quarter and a rough stretch in the fourth likely will be what the Buckeyes look at as the culprit for the loss. But the silver lining for Ohio State has to be the performance of Jacy Sheldon. The senior had 28 points and scored them efficiently, going a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe and 10-for-19 from the field.
The freshman class was sensational on opening day. Women’s college basketball continues to evolve and, perhaps, we are entering an era where the youth can quickly usurp the veterans and take over this sport. It is too early for such a declarative statement to be true, but it is something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.
Are these upsets? Or, are the rankings a mess because they are based on projections and not an assessment of games? Maybe, in a couple of weeks, USC beating Ohio State would be an expected result. South Carolina at No. 6 might be criminally low. Again, it is too early to tell, but, if day one is any indication, we have a fun season of college basketball ahead of us.