Déjà vu for Baylor and Notre Dame
Notes: Tulane off to 6-1 start; Medley connects on nine 3-pointers
In a rematch of the 2012 national championship game, the defending national champion and currently No. 3 ranked Baylor Lady Bears will travel to South Bend, Ind., to take on No. 5 Notre Dame on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Last April in Denver at the 2012 Women’s Final Four, Baylor defeated Notre Dame 80-61 to claim its second national championship.
Baylor is led by senior center Brittney Griner, who recently collected her 1,000th career rebound. She became just the second Big 12 Conference women's basketball player to score over 2,500 points (2,572) and garner 1,000 rebounds (1,008). Griner is only the sixth player to eclipse 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds since the Big 12's inception.
Notre Dame comes into the game with a 5-0 record following a 72-63 win against Central Michigan on Nov. 29. In that game, senior guard Skylar Diggins moved into sole possession of third place on Notre Dame’s career steals list with 284. In addition, Diggins logged her 34th career 20-point game, good for fourth-most in school history and moved into fifth place on the school’s career scoring list with 1,771 points, passing Alicia Ratay (1,763 from 1999-2003).
Connecticut has been fortunate to tout many fantastic freshmen over the years, but none have scored more than freshman Breanna Stewart over the first six games of their career. Stewart had 101 points in her first six games, which is more than any other Husky. Connecticut, 7-0, hosts No. 10 Penn State on Dec. 6.
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Following North Carolina’s crushing 102-57 loss at Tennessee on Dec. 2, there are now only two undefeated teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference, with Florida State (7-0) and Duke (6-0) continuing to roll through non-conference play. Next up for Florida State is a Dec. 8 game at No. 25 Nebraska. Duke will face off against Georgia Tech (Dec. 6) at home and at St. John’s (Dec. 9) in the coming week.
Lady Vols bounce back
Don’t look now, but the Tennessee Lady Vols have bounced back from a season-opening loss to Chattanooga and have scored six consecutive wins. Included in the six are wins against Georgia Tech (71-54), Miami Fla. (79-67) and North Carolina (102-57). Junior guard Meighan Simmons scored her 1,000th point in the 102-57 win versus North Carolina and was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week for her efforts, while teammate Bashaara Graves was named Freshman of the Week. The next three games on Tennessee’s schedule before Christmas will say a lot about the Lady Vols, as Tennessee plays at Texas (Dec. 16), at Baylor (Dec. 18) and at home against Stanford on Dec. 22.
Dayton continues to fly
The Dayton Flyers continue to soar with a 9-0 record. They will get another early season test this week when they host 7-0 Michigan State on Dec. 8. The Flyers already have wins against two ranked teams in No. 25 DePaul and No. 13 Vanderbilt.
Freshman guard Marissa Janning of Creighton scored a career-high 19 points, including 17 in the second half as the Bluejays ralled from a 16-point halftime deficit to defeat BYU 65-62 in overtime on Nov. 28. Janning’s play was critical down the stretch as she scored six of the Jays’ final 10 points in regulation to send the game into overtime.
A number of teams will have to adjust after injuries ended the season for a number of key players. Maryland junior guard Laurin Mincy tore a knee ligament in a recent 90-71 win against Nebraska. The 6-footer was averaging 8.6 points and ranked second on the team with 19 assists after starting in all five games for the Terrapins. Mincy is the second Maryland guard sidelined with a season-ending knee injury as Brene Moseley tore the ACL in her left knee during a preseason scrimmage. St. John's has lost senior guard Eugeneia McPherson for the season with a torn ACL in her right knee. She injured the knee early in the second half of the 17th-ranked Red Storm's 66-54 win against Hartford last Sunday. McPherson started all 34 games last season and was the team's third-highest scorer. She's averaging 7.6 points this season. Oklahoma freshman guard Maddie Manning will also miss the rest of the regular season because of a knee injury that will require surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. The 12th-ranked Sooners (5-1) also lost forward Kaylon Williams to a torn ACL prior to the season. It's the second consecutive season Oklahoma has lost a pair of players to the injury. Manning was averaging 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds and had moved into a starting role.
Big 12 shines
Five schools from the Big 12 Conference remain undefeated as Kansas (7-0), Oklahoma State (6-0), Iowa State (5-0), Kansas State (5-0) and Texas (5-0) all had spotless records in November. Kansas will put its undefeated season on the line at 7-1 Arkansas on Dec. 6.
Green Wave rolling
Tulane, the host institution for the 2013 Women’s Final Four in New Orleans, is off to a 6-1 start to the season. The Green Wave’s only setback came at home to Auburn 70-65.
The Mid-American Conference has two teams with 6-1 marks, as both Akron (East) and Toledo (West) lead their respective divisions.
Quinnipiac shines early
The Quinnipiac Bobcats have opened play with a 6-0 record that features wins against James Madison, Massachusetts and Yale. Next big test for the Bobcats will come when they play at 6-1 Hartord of the America East Conference on Dec. 16.
Horned Frog medley
TCU freshman Zahna Medley was named Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Week for her efforts in leading TCU to a 2-0 record last week. Against SMU, Medley connected on 9-of-12 from behind the arc for a game and career-high 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting. The freshman not only tied the school and facility record for most 3s made in a single-game by Amy Sutton Porter in 1999, but also broke the all-time freshman mark of eight set by former Frog great Jill Sutton in 1998 against San Jose State. Finally, Medley also helped rewrite the Big 12 record books as her nine 3s are tied for the fourth-most in conference history. Only three other players in conference history have hit one more 3-pointer in a single-game. Her nine 3s are also tied for the most in the NCAA this season.
One of three undefeated teams in the Pac-12 Conference, the Colorado Buffaloes are 6-0 after wins against Wyoming and Illinois last week. Redshirt freshman Arielle Roberson has provided an immediate impact for the Buffaloes and led the way with 25 points in the win at Illinois. In the season's first four weeks, Roberson is a three-time winner of the Pac-12’s Freshman of the Week award. Stanford (8-0) and Utah (7-0) are also undefeated thus far in non-conference play.
Reaching the century mark
Congratulations to Arkansas head coach Tom Collen who won his 100th game at the school on Dec. 2.