The number of undefeated teams is dwindling. There's less shuffling in the standings. We're entering the stretch run of the regular season.
Here are three games to watch in DII women's basketball this weekend:
Colorado School of Mines (7-2) vs. Colorado Mesa (8-2) | 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 22
The winner of this game will stay within striking distance of Western Colorado (6-1) and Westminster (UT) (4-1) for first place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. But for the losing team, a third blemish in league play could hinder its chance at a regular-season title.
The Mavericks' two leading scorers, Natalie Bartle and Daniella Turner, have missed the last two games due to injury. Colorado Mesa is 1-1 during that stretch. The pair's combined scoring average of 30.5 accounts for 41.8 percent of the team's offense (72.8 points per game).
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But players like Savannah Domgaard have stepped up in their absence. The reserve forward posted a career-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting against MSU Denver on Jan. 15. If the shorthanded Mavericks can get contributions like that on Saturday, they could make it eight straight victories over the Orediggers.
Colorado School of Mines is 4-1 on the road, while Colorado Mesa is 4-0 at home. Both have top-10 defenses. Something has to give.
No. 12 North Georgia (5-0) vs. No. 6 Lander (6-0) | 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 23
This next matchup features a pair of undefeated, top-25 teams. The Nighthawks and Bearcats clash for the first, and only, time during the 2020-21 regular season Saturday. A head-to-head tiebreaker is on the line. What more could you want?
Both schools average north of 70 points per game, but Lander's defense could be the deciding factor. The Bearcats allow just 48.5 points per game, which ranks fourth in DII. Their +24.0 scoring margin is also the fifth-highest in the nation.
North Georgia will need Julianne Sutton to continue shooting at a torrid pace. The senior forward averages a team-high 16.8 points while hitting 54.8 percent of her field-goal attempts. She leads a balanced scoring attack for the Nighthawks, who have seven players averaging more than 7.0 points per game.
But the Bearcats also spread the wealth. Four Lander starters are averaging double figures in scoring, led by Zamiya Passmore's 17.0 points per game on 37 percent shooting.
Texas A&M International (8-1) vs. No. 2 Lubbock Christian (6-0) | 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 23
The Lady Chaparrals are the highest-ranked team in action this weekend. They'll welcome a Texas A&M International club that's riding a seven-game winning streak.
This will be the Dustdevils' biggest test yet. Lubbock Christian boasts the country's best defense and holds opponents to just 45.7 points per game. It'll be interesting to see how the Lady Chaps defend Nicole Heyn. The senior is shooting 45.2 percent from beyond the arc. And that's not the result of a small sample size. Heyn is 28-for-62 on 3-point field-goal attempts this season.
It may come as a surprise that only two players average double-digits in scoring on the country's No. 2 team. Allie Schulte has an even 16 points per game while Ashton Duncan is second with 11.2. But the Lady Chaps run deep, with 10 players seeing more than 10 minutes of action each night. Lubbock Christian's bench is also scoring 28.4 points per game.
The most points allowed by the Lady Chaps this season was 55. As for Texas A&M International, 55 is its season-low. One of those trends will come to an end on Saturday.