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Rick Nixon | | February 20, 2014

Notes: Making a final push

Notre Dame

With two weeks remaining in the regular season for the majority of conferences, teams are making a final push to improve their position in the standings, as well as seedings in their respective conference tournaments. A loss down the stretch could mean the difference between a first-round bye or having to play more conference tournament games, making the road to the NCAA tournament that much more difficult.

• No. 1 Connecticut (27-0) and No. 2 Notre Dame (25-0) remain the only undefeated teams in the country. Notre Dame has the tougher schedule down the stretch, facing three Atlantic Coast Conference foes that rank in the top 14 in the latest The Associated Press Top 25 poll. Notre Dame plays at Wake Forest on Thursday, followed by home games against No. 7 Duke (Sunday) and No. 11 North Carolina (Feb. 27). The Fighting Irish close the regular season March 2 at No. 14 NC State.  Connecticut closes the regular season with three of its last four games on the road with games at Houston (Saturday), SMU (Feb. 25) and Louisville (March 3). The lone home game will come on March 1 vs. Rutgers.

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South Carolina’s dream season continues to grow as the Gamecocks last weekend recorded the program's first win at LSU since 1994. With four regular-season games remaining, the Gamecocks (23-2, 11-1 Southeastern Conference) have tied last season’s program record of 11 SEC victories and 23 regular-season wins.

For the 38th consecutive season, Tennessee topped the 20-win mark when the Lady Vols beat Vanderbilt on Feb. 10.

Dayton has won seven consecutive games and 17 of the past 18 to move on top of the competitive Atlantic 10 Conference. Dayton leads the Atlantic 10 in scoring offense (84.6), field-goal percentage (45.3), rebounding offense (44.4), blocked shots (4.7), assists (17.7), defensive rebounds (31.1) and home game attendance (1,989).

• The Big Ten Conference race might come down to this Monday’s game with Penn State (20-5, 11-2) traveling to Lincoln, Neb., to play Nebraska (19-5, 9-3). It will be the only regular season meeting between the two schools.

Oregon’s Jillian Alleyne broke the Pac-12’s single-season rebounding record and continues to establish herself as the top rebounder in the nation, leading the country with a 15.7 rebounding average, which would also be a league record were the season to end today.

Kelsey Plum of Washington has been voted the Pac-12 freshman of the week six times this year.

Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike is the only player to be ranked in the top three nationally in points (26.5), rebounding (12.2) and shooting percentage (63.6 percent). She has also recorded 22 20-point games, including 11 times when she has netted at least 30 points.

Georgetown freshman center Natalie Butler shattered a pair of rebounding records last week. She has 341 caroms this season to break Rebekkah Brunson's (2003-04) single-season program record, and 188 boards in Big East play to shatter Brunson's conference record of 176 set in 2000-01. Butler is also the first Big East player to reach 20 double-doubles since DePaul's Khara Smith, who registered 23 in 34 games in the 2005-06 season. Butler has played in 26 games so far this season, averaging 13.4 rebounds per contest in conference play. She is on pace to break the conference's rebounding average record of 12.4 held by Dana Wynne of Seton Hall (1994-95 and 1995-96). Butler’s 10 conference freshman of the week awards has tied her with UConn’s Maya Moore, who achieved the feat in 2007-08.

• Another freshman, Diamond DeShields of North Carolina, has led the Tar Heels to three consecutive wins during the past week by averaging 29.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.

Florida senior Jaterra Bonds dished out the 402nd assist of her career versus Georgia on Feb. 16, moving her past current Gator head coach Amanda Butler and into fifth place on the all-time Florida assist chart.

Odyssey Sims of Baylor is the nation’s scoring leader, averaging 30.3 points per game. She recently extended her streak of double-digit scoring to 37 consecutive games. Sims was last held to single digits more than a year ago (Feb. 18, 2013) against UConn, when she had nine. In her most recent outing, she tallied her 42nd career game with at least 20 points.

• Sophomore Kelsey Minato of Army scored a school- and Patriot League-record 49 points against Holy Cross on  Feb. 12. It was the second-highest scoring effort this season behind Joanna Harden of Troy, who had 52 points against Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 26. Minato set 18 scoring and free-throw records and matched one other during the Holy Cross game. Eight records were all-time Patriot League marks, four were Army standards, four were Christl Arena records and three were NCAA Division I records. She set an NCAA record by finishing a perfect 26 of 26 from the free-throw stripe.

• Four players in nation have games of 26 points, eight rebounds, five assists and six steals this season: Western Kentucky’s Kendall Noble vs. Troy, Feb. 12 (26 points, eight rebounds, five assists and six steals); UAB’s Karisa Chapman vs. UTSA, Feb. 12 (27 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, eight steals); Florida Atlantic’s Kimberly Smith vs. Tulsa, Feb. 8 (33 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, six steals); and Maryland-Eastern Shore’s Jessica Long vs. Norfolk, Jan. 11 (29 points, nine rebounds, six assists, eight steals).

• With Wichita State’s 70-61 win against Drake on Feb. 14, Jody Adams captured her 113th victory as head coach at the school, and is just one win from becoming the all-time winningest coach in Shocker history. Former head coach Linda Hargrove had a career record of 113-136 (.451) in nine seasons from 1989-98. In her sixth season at Wichita State, Adams is now 113-74 (.604).

• Teams with the top five field-goal percentages this season have a combined record of 118-10:




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