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Around the NCAAW: Geno Auriemma achieves a record, Caitlin Clark doesn’t and South Carolina maintains a perfect record

It was a busy, record-focused week in women’s college hoops. Geno Auriemma earned a record 1,200 wins, but Caitlin Clark did not set the all-time scoring record. Instead, Nebraska upset No. 2 Iowa, while No. 1 South Carolina maintained their perfect record against No. 11 UConn, preventing Auriemma from adding another win to his record.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Connecticut at South Carolina
Te-Hina Paopao celebrates after draining one of her five 3s during No. South Carolina’s domination of No. 11 UConn.
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma entered the record books, but South Carolina maintained their perfect record. Caitlin Clark did not yet set the all-time scoring record, as Iowa fell to Nebraska. All things Huskies, Gamecocks, Huskers, Hawkeyes and more from Monday, Feb. 5 to Sunday, Feb. 11.


No. 2 falls...again!

Nebraska made sure that the energy and excitement for Sunday afternoon’s game against No. 2 Iowa would be unleashed for the Huskers, not the Hawkeyes and Caitlin Clark.

The Cornhuskers overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit—holding the Hawkeyes to 10 points and Clark scoreless in the final frame—to earn the upset, 82-79. Grad guard Jaz Shelley was fantastic for the Huskers, going 5-for-10 from 3 as she scored a team-high 23 points. She also converted clutch free throws down the stretch. Alexis Markowski added a double-double of 15 points and 11 boards. Freshman guard Logan Nissley also brought juice from off the bench, with three 3s, 15 points and seven rebounds.

For Iowa, Clark finished with 31 points, leaving her eight points shy from the all-time scoring mark. Iowa hosts Michigan on Thursday. Our Zachary Draves will be in attendance, ready to document a (very likely) historic night.

Now, what teams takes the possibly-cursed No. 2 spot in the standings?

No. 3 NC State lost to No. 16 Virginia Tech on Thursday, while No. 4 Colorado fell to No. 17 Oregon State on Sunday. That puts No. 5 Ohio State, with wins over Minnesota on Thursday and Michigan State on Sunday, on deck for No. 2. Or, could No. 6 Stanford, with wins at Washington and Washington State this week, jump the Buckeyes for the second slot?

No. 1 South Carolina cruises past No. 11 UConn

The top-ranked Gamecocks make it look easy, even though it’s not.

As three teams ranked in the top five suffered losses this week, No. 11 South Carolina showed no slippage, turning Sunday afternoon’s anticipated showdown with No. 11 UConn into a Gamecock romp, 83-65.

The 3-point shooting of senior guard Te-Hina Paopao. The defensive playmaking of sophomore forward Ashlyn Watkins. The hustle of sophomore forward Chloe Kitts. The solid, two-way play of junior guard Bree Hall and sophomore guard Raven Johnson. The flashes of flair from freshman guard MiLaysia Fulwiley. It all combined to be too much for the Huskies.

Paopao led South Carolina with 21 points, powered by a 5-for-7 performance from 3. Watkins finished with 15 points, nine boards, three blocks and two steals. Johnson had a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds, along with a team-high five assists.

Redshirt junior guard Paige Bueckers and senior forward Aaliyah Edwards both scored 20 points for UConn, while freshman guard Ashlynn Shade added 14 points. No other Husky approached a double-figure point total.

1,200 for Geno

Although denied win No. 1,201 by South Carolina on Sunday, Geno Auriemma joined former Duke men’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer as one three NCAA coaches with 1,200 career wins on Wednesday, as UConn bested Seton Hall, 67-34.

VanDerveer, who surpassed Krzyzewski’s final tally of 1,202 victories a few week ago, currently sits at 1,208 wins. In contrast to Krzyzewski and VanDerveer, all of Auriemma’s victories came at a single school; he also reached 1,200 the fastest.

Nevertheless, at moments during his postgame presser, Auriemma struck a somewhat morose, nostalgic tone, seemingly hinting that his time on the sidelines in Storrs could be coming to an end sooner than later. Auriemma reflected, “I could probably say, with a great deal of certainty, that I’ll never be No. 1 in wins, I don’t think that will happen. And I’m still going to enjoy my wine and I’m going to sleep good tonight.”

Auriemma did make sure to give assistant coach Chris Dailey her due credit, noting that she has been his trusted assistant for all 1,200 wins.

After the game, Paige Bueckers, who scored 13 points in the win, offered appreciation for both Auriemma and Dailey, saying, “Just coming here, being a part of this legacy, being a part of the program...it’s just a blessing. It’s amazing. It’s what you dreamt of as a kid is coming to be part of this amazing program.”

Hoopers hoopin’

Although there was no 50-plus point performance this week, excellence still abounded. Here’s some of the best work from across women’s college hoops:

  • Grad guard Dyaisha Fair was spectacularly clutch as she propelled No. 23 Syracuse’s comeback win over No. 15 Louisville, 73-72. Down the stretch, Fair drained a pair of 3s before converting the layup that gave the Orange their first lead of the game with 2:36 remaining. Then, with 2.3 seconds left, she sank the game-winning free throws. Fair finished with 29 points; she also had six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
  • After a sleepy start on Sunday afternoon, No. 13 LSU came alive in the second half, with junior forward Angel Reese leading the Lady Tigers to the runaway win over Alabama, 85-66. Reese was just shy of a 30-20 game, with 27 points and 19 boards, in addition to six assists and two steals.
  • On Thursday night, Hannah Stuelke showed that Caitlin Clark is not the only Iowa player who can pour in the points. The sophomore forward scored 47 points, going an amazingly efficient 17-for-20 from the field. It was the second-highest single-game scoring output in program history, only trailing former Hawkeye Megan Gustafson’s 48 points in 2018. Zachary Draves has more details on Stuelke’s big night and No. 2 Iowa’s 111-93 win over Penn State.
  • The scoring of grad forward Mackenzie Holmes and do-it-all play of Chloe Moore-McNeil helped No. 14 Indiana earn the 94-91 comeback win over Michigan State on Thursday. Holmes scored 18 of her game-high 28 points in the second half, while Moore-McNeil finished with a triple-double of 10 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. On Sunday, Holmes became the program’s all-time leading scorer. For more Holmes’ expert low-post scoring, be sure to revisit Eric Nemchock’s WNBA draft prospect profile of Holmes.
  • Although it’s been a bit of disappointing season for Kansas, that’s not due to senior center Taiyanna Jackson. She tallied her latest, loudest double-double on Thursday, with 25 points and 15 boards in a win against Houston, 69-52. And it was nearly a triple-double, as Jackson swatted an astounding nine shots! With her ninth rejection, she became the program’s all-time leader in blocks. Eric also has analyzed how Jackson’s game might translate to the WNBA.
  • Two of our favorite stat-stuffing stars, Norfolk State senior guard Diamond Johnson and junior forward Kierra Wheeler, balled out, yet again. Johnson ignited from behind the arc, going 5-for-6 from 3 on her way to a career high-tying 29 points. She added a quintet of boards and steals, along with a trio of assists. Wheeler contributed 19 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals in the Spartans’ Monday win over Maryland-Eastern Shore, 80-59.
  • California Baptist fifth-year guard Chloe Webb remains a scoring machine. More specifically, she’s a clutch scoring machine. After dropping 33 points on Seattle last week, she put 32 points on UT Arlington on Thursday, with the final two coming at the buzzer to give her squad the 94-92 win. As evidenced by her game winner, Webb can get buckets with craft inside the arc. She also can hit the 3-ball, draining four triples, and earn trips to the line, swishing 10 freebies.
  • Sacred Heart got the five-point win, 58-53, over in-state rival Central Connecticut State on Friday night behind a bucket-getting burst from sophomore guard Ny’Cera Pryor. She showcased her scoring skill with 27 points, a total that also pushed her over the 1,000-point plateau for her career. Although only 5-foot-3, Pryor also grabbed 13 boards, in addition to five assists and three steals.
  • Junior guard Claira McGowan exploded for Lipscomb on Saturday, with her 37 points helping her team survive a North Florida comeback and escape with a 94-82 double-overtime win. McGowan did much of her damage at the line, hitting 14 of her 15 free throw attempts. She also grabbed nine boards, dished four assists and swiped two steals.
  • The Ohio Valley Conference witnessed an insane, quadruple-overtime affair on Saturday between Eastern Illinois and Morehead State. Eastern Illinois eventually edged Morehead State, 105-103, in large part to Macy McGlone’s 53-minute effort. The junior forward finished with a 33-point and 18-rebound double-double. She also blocked seven shots.
  • Senior guard Abbey Hsu continued her strong season for Columbia, notching a 23-point and 13-point double-double in the Lions’ Friday win over Brown, 90-73. Hsu was a scalding 4-for-6 from 3 as she also contributed four assists and two steals.
  • Long Island University senior guard Ashley Austin put on an offensive showcase from off the bench on Monday, scoring 26 points and dishing eight assists in the win over Chicago State, 80-71. She also got it done on the defensive end, securing five boards and seven steals.
  • UAB junior guard Maddie Walsh went crazy from behind the arc on Wednesday, swishing 8-of-10 3s in the 94-77 victory over Tulane. Her eight triples contributed to the Blazers’ school-record 20 3s.

A look ahead

We’re in the crunch of conference play. Here’s the best conference contests in the coming week.

Wednesday, Feb. 14

No. 18 Baylor vs. No. 24 Oklahoma (7 p.m. ET/ESPN+)

Thursday, Feb. 15

No. 3 NC State vs. No. 12 Notre Dame (6 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

No. 1 South Carolina vs. Tennessee (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Michigan vs. No. 2 Iowa (8 p.m. ET, Peacock)

Friday, Feb. 16

No. 4 Colorado vs. No. 20 Utah (8 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)

No. 9 UCLA vs. No. 17 Oregon State (10 p.m. ET)

Saturday, Feb. 17

No. 24 Oklahoma vs. No. 22 West Virginia (1 p.m. ET, Big 12 Network/ESPN+)

Sunday, Feb. 18

No. 16 Virginia Tech vs. No. 15 Louisville (2 p.m. ET, ESPN)

No. 10 USC vs. No. 17 Oregon State (3 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)