Kelsey Plum of Washington, Malia Tate-DeFreitas of Hampton, Sara Dickey of Evansville and 17 others are all freshman currently leading their respective teams in scoring. Of the top 750 scorers in the country this season, 20 freshmen are currently leading their respective teams in scoring with a minimum of 10.7 points per game.
Plum, a 5-foot-9 guard, currently leads the talented list of newcomers with an average of 20.0 points per game this season for the Huskies. She leads Washington with 47 3-point field goals and has upped her average to 22.4 points per game in Pac-12 Conference play.
Tate-DeFreitas ranks second in freshman scoring so far this season at 19.5 points per game for a Hampton team which is 7-0 in Mid-Eastern Conference play and 16-4 overall. A 5-8 guard, Tate-DeFreitas has led the Pirates in scoring eight times, including a season-high of 36 points against Utah State in November.
Dickey, a 5-11 guard, has a season average of 18.1 points per game for the Purple Aces. Recently named the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week for the fourth time this season, Dickey scored a game-high 30 points for Evansville in its loss at Southern Illinois last Sunday. On the season, Dickey leads the MVC in scoring and has scored in double figures in 17 of Evansville’s 18 games this season.
Here’s the list of freshman currently leading their teams in scoring:
Shoot to win
Notre Dame, Duke, Connecticut, Stanford and South Carolina are the five best shooting teams in the nation so far this season, all shooting more than 48.56 percent from the field. Another thing they have in common is winning, with the five touting a combined record of 98-4.
South Carolina has started the season 18-2 and continue to be the most-improved shooting team in the country, upping the team field-goal shooting percentage 9.76 percent from last season. The Gamecocks' adjusted field-goal percentage is a national-best 10.73.
Overall, the improved shooting percentage (up 1.5 percent) has led to more points in Division I this season by an average of 5.93 per game.
Several tough games await the two remaining undefeated teams. Connecticut, now 22-0, will play 21-1 Louisville twice during the final month of the season. The Huskies and Cardinals will play Feb. 9 in Storrs, Conn. and March 3 in Louisville, Ky. For Notre Dame (19-0), a Sunday road game at Cameron Indoor Stadium against Duke is the next test. If the Fighting Irish manage to dodge the Blue Devils, tough games at Florida State (Feb. 6), at home versus Duke (Feb. 23) and North Carolina (Feb. 27) await.
Division I basketball RPI update
Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) information for Division I women’s basketball is available at NCAA.com. The RPI ranks teams based upon a team's wins and losses and its strength of schedule and is one of many tools used by the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee’s in the selection and seeding process for the championship. Duke currently tops the RPI list, followed in order by Stanford, Connecticut, LSU and Louisville.
Latest check of the national statistics shows Akron’s one-two punch of Rachel Tecca (24.1 ppg) and Hanna Luburgh (22.9) are the top scoring duo in the country so far this season. They combine to average 47.0 points per game and have led Akron to an overall record of 10-8 and 4-3 in the Mid-American Conference. The Zips are currently tied for second place in the East Division of the MAC behind 6-1 Bowling Green.
Gaels' Mauldin soars
Last weekend St. Mary’s (Calif.) senior Danielle Mauldin became both the school and West Coast Conference career rebounding leader with 1,130 rebounds, nine better than the old mark of 1,121. With her 16th double-double of the year in just 20 games, Mauldin quickly surpassed the old West Coast and school mark, previously held by another Gael, Louella Tomlinson (2007-11). Mauldin is enjoying her finest season as a Gael, averaging 17.9 points and 13.8 rebounds per game, with her rebound average good for fifth best in Division I. She has had two games with 20 points and 20 rebounds this season.
Foster tops 800 win mark
Congratulations to Chattanooga head coach Jim Foster, who became the 11th NCAA women's basketball coach to earn 800 wins last Saturday when the Lady Mocs defeated Samford 63-50. Foster, who entered the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame last year, improved his record to 800-310 in a career that also has included stops at Saint Joseph's, Vanderbilt and Ohio State. The only other women's coaches with 800 wins are former Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt (1,098-208), North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell (925-324), Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer (916-336), Stanford's Tara VanDerveer (912-204), former Texas head coach Jody Conradt (900-309), Bentley's Barbara Stevens (900-246), Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma (859-133), Georgia's Andy Landers (837-280), Montana's Robin Selvig (808-261) and Scranton's Michael Strong (804-180).
Foster and Stringer are the only men's or women's college coaches to win at least 200 games at three different schools. Foster went 248-126 at Saint Joseph's from 1978-91, 256-99 at Vanderbilt from 1991-2002 and 279-82 at Ohio State from 2002-13. He is 17-3 overall and 9-0 in Southern Conference competition in his first season at Chattanooga.