With a third of the season complete, 11 schools are still enjoying perfect seasons as Colorado (7-0), Connecticut (8-0), Dayton (10-0), Duke (8-0), Georgia (10-0), Kansas State (7-0), Oklahoma State (7-0), Quinnipiac (7-0), South Carolina (10-0), South Florida (8-0) and Stanford (8-0) remain undefeated as the season reaches mid-December.
Dayton Continues to Fly Higher
The Dayton Flyers remain one of the early season surprises. The Flyers stretched a season-opening win streak to 10 games with a 60-53 home win against previously undefeated Michigan State on Dec. 8. The 10 consecutive victories marks the longest winning streak for the Flyers since the 2006-07 season when they rattled off 16 consecutive victories. Dayton features a balanced attack with four players averaging in double figures, led by 6-foot-4 sophomore forward Ally Malott who averages 13.8 points per game. Three of the wins have come against DePaul, Vanderbilt and Michigan State. Next up for Dayton is a Dec. 18 road game at 8-1 Akron.
Colorado For Real?
In one of the week’s most intriguing match-ups, unbeaten Colorado will put its status on the line when hosting 9-1 Louisville on Dec. 14 in Boulder, Colo. The game with Louisville begins a six-game homestand for the Buffs. Included in those games will be visits by New Mexico (Dec. 29), Stanford (Jan. 4), California (Jan. 6) and Utah (Jan. 8).
Speaking of streaks, Ohio State stretched its home win streak to 28 consecutive with an 81-41 win against Lafayette on Dec. 9. Tayler Hill, who has scored in double figures in 42 consecutive games, led the way with 19 points for the Buckeyes.
Creighton’s 66-57 against No. 25 Nebraska on Dec. 5 was the first top-25 win for a Missouri Valley Conference school since 2009. The Valley had gone two entire seasons without a win against a ranked opponent, as the last time a league school took down a ranked opponent was Nov. 22, 2009, when Drake topped No. 24 Iowa State 78-75.
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228 Points Scored
While Creighton’s win against Nebraska changed the top-25 rankings, it wasn’t the most exciting game played by a Missouri Valley school last week. Despite a career-high 34 points from sophomore guard Shronda Butts, Bradley fell 116-112 in double overtime to Milwaukee. The 34 points scored matched the third highest point total in school history. Ashley Green of Milwaukee nearly matched Butts with 33 points of her own. The game set numerous Milwaukee program records, including most points scored and most combined points in a game at 228, breaking the former mark of 200.
Alexander Up to No. 2
Syracuse senior center Kayla Alexander moved into second place on the Orange career scoring list following a 20-point, 13-rebound performance at home in a win against Loyola (Md.) on Dec. 8. Alexander passed former Syracuse star and current staff member Erica Morrow (1,658). Alexander, with 1,661 points, will now set her sights on surpassing Nicole Michael’s (2007-10) program record of 1,784. She is currently 123 points short.
South Carolina Awaits Stanford
Head coach Dawn Staley has led No. 24 South Carolina to a 10-0 start with the Gamecocks awaiting the arrival of No. 1 Stanford on Dec. 19 in Columbia, S.C. The game with the Cardinal will be the first of the season for South Carolina against a ranked opponent.
Big 12 Strong
Eight teams in the Big 12 have one or fewer losses, led by Kansas State and Oklahoma State at 7-0. The defending national champion Baylor Lady Bears improved 7-1 following an impressive 73-61 win at Notre Dame on Dec. 5. Next challenge for Baylor will come on Dec. 18 when they host Tennessee, which has won six games in a row since dropping a season-opening contest to Chattanooga.
Spresser Leading Kansas State
The early comeback story of the 2012-13 season involves Kansas State junior Kendra Spresser, a 5-foot-5 junior guard, who has started six games this season after not playing basketball at any organized level in 2011-12. Spresser, a native of Dresden, Kan. (population 41), started her collegiate basketball career at Seward County (Kan.) Community College in 2009-10 as a freshman. She averaged 9.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 steals while helping the Lady Saints to a 31-3 record and a runner-up finish in the Region VI tournament. She then played at the 2010 NJCAA All-Star event in Pensacola, Fla., and was on her way to collecting Division I and II offers during her sophomore season. However, prior to the start of her sophomore season at Seward County, she suffered knee and back injuries that prevented her from playing in the entire 2010-11 season. Due to the injuries and a lack of offers, she enrolled at Kansas State as a full-time student in 2011-12. After the start of the first semester, she gravitated back to basketball and began to play at Kansas State’s Rec Center. She played well enough in the rec league for her friends to convince her to try and walk-on with Kansas State for the 2012-13 season.
In order to get her foot in the door with the Wildcats, she asked her head coach at Seward County (Toby Wynn) to contact the Kansas State coaching staff on her behalf. Kansas State assistant coaches Shalee Lehning and Kelly Moylan took the phone call from Wynn and were willing to take a look at her. Spresser was contacted by Lehning to organize some of her friends for a game at the Rec Center so that they could take a look at her in an informal tryout. Lehning and Moylan were impressed enough with Spresser to report back to Kansas State head coach Deb Patterson to offer a walk-on opportunity. Patterson extended the invitation to Spresser this summer and she accepted the offer.
Spresser has taken advantage of the opportunity by averaging 4.6 points and 4.6 rebounds, in 23.1 minutes of action over the first seven games. Despite her lack of height, Spresser tallied a career-high 12 rebounds at Tennessee State and has been a key factor the Wildcats fast start to the season.
UMKC is being led this season by first-year head coach Marsha Frese. She is the sister Brenda Frese, head coach at Maryland and a former National Coach of the Year. UMKC is off to a 4-6 start to the season. Prior to her arrival in Kansas City, Frese was the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Northern Illinois.