UConn and the nation's top recruit taking the floor and the start of Big 12 play for a pair of teams are just two of the games I am most looking forward to this week.
Here are those games (and two more!) to watch this week:
Texas junior Charli Collier has created a lot of buzz after her stand-out performance with 44 points and 16 rebounds against North Texas. She’s averaging 26.2 points for the Longhorns and recently grabbed her 500th career rebound against Idaho.
The Lady Vols will have to find a way to slow down Collier’s dominance in the paint. Junior Rae Burrell is their main offensive threat. She’s led Tennessee in scoring in all three of their games this season averaging 18.7 points.
Despite coming off the lost against West Virginia, the Lady Vols thrive on the boards and have out-rebounded their opponents every game this season. Pay attention to the paint in this Big 12/SEC matchup, set for 5 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.
Another huge rivalry takes place between No. 8 Oregon and No. 15 Oregon State. This is the one and only ranked matchup this Sunday.
3-1 Oregon State hosts the Pac-12 showdown. The Beavers are 20-19 against Oregon and will look to top scorers Aleah Goodman and Sasha Goforth to get their offense going after falling to Utah, 85-79.
As for 4-0 Oregon, the Ducks’ new squad has been incredible. Erin Boley leads the charge at 16.8 points per game, Taylor Mikesell has been a 3-point nightmare shooting 60 percent beyond the arc, and Nyara Sabally and Sedona Prince have been menaces in the paint combining for 23 points per game for the Ducks.
This is going to be fun to watch these two teams go head-to-head. You can watch at 7 p.m. Sunday on the Pac 12 Network.
No. 7 Baylor takes on West Virginia on Thursday — which tips off Big 12 competition for both teams.
West Virginia comes in hot after beating Tennessee in overtime. Baylor’s last game was an 83-78 loss to then-No. 13 Arkansas. That was the Bears’ first loss of the season. They turned the ball over 22 times and were in foul trouble from the Razorbacks constantly attacking the basket. The Bears will look to fix those mistakes to start off Big 12 play with a win.
West Virginia has started strong and is 4-0. Kysre Gondrezick is a key piece. She comes off a career high 27-point performance against Tennessee and averages 23 points per game.
The result: Baylor 65, West Virginia 45
Paige Bueckers, the No. 1 recruit in the country, plays her first game when No. 3 UConn takes on UMass Lowell. This is UConn’s first contest of the season after four others were canceled because of COVID-19 protocols.
We’ve all anticipated Bueckers making her debut. She's known for elite passing and dribbling skills and her ability to score.
Tennessee transfer Evina Westbrooks — who sat out last season due to eligibility rules — will also suit up in a Huskies jersey. I’m looking forward to see what they’ll both do under Geno Auriemma’s leadership.
There’s no senior leadership on this team, but they have a strong veteran core in Christyn Williams, Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Anna Makurat.
This game is at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12 on SNY.
The result: UConn 79, UMass Lowell 23