We’ve reached the final week of regular season play before conference tournaments tip off on March 3. This will be the last push for many teams to boost their resumes before the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
Here are three must-watch games in Week 14 that I’ll have my eye on:
On Thursday, No. 19 Kentucky will take on No. 17 Georgia. This will be both teams’ second-to-last game of SEC play.
Kentucky is coming off of a tough loss against South Carolina on Sunday. Kentucky was ranked No. 16 in the DI Selection Committee’s first top-16 reveal for the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
Georgia, however, was slotted as a No. 3 seed at No. 12 overall in the selection committee’s first look at its top-16 teams. The Bulldogs continue to improve their resume by extending a four-game winning streak with a crucial win over then-No. 21 Tennessee on Sunday.
The Bulldogs, who are first in scoring defense in the SEC, will be tasked with shutting down Kentucky’s top scorer Rhyne Howard. The Gamecocks beat Kentucky by suffocating Howard on defense, limiting her to 12 points on 2-for-11 shooting.
Tune into the SEC battle to see if Kentucky can find a way to dismantle Georgia’s elite defense.
This is the game of the week. There will be a showdown on Sunday in the SEC when No. 5 South Carolina faces No. 3 Texas A&M in a regular-season finale for both.
Texas A&M is 8-0 against ranked opponents this season, but the Aggies have not faced a top-5 team yet. This will be an opportunity for Texas A&M to help its chances for No. 1 seed if the Aggies can pull off the win against the Gamecocks. It could also crown the Aggies as the SEC regular-season champs.
It will be fun to see the Aggies match up with the Gamecocks. Both teams are dominant in the paint, play fast tempo and have multiple weapons in the back and front court.
But the emphasis will be in the paint and on the boards with South Carolina ranked No. 2 in the nation in rebounds. The Gamecocks feature Aliyah Boston and Victaria Saxton inside. The duo will face Texas A&M’s N’Dea Jones and Ciera Johnson.
Later on Sunday, No. 8 Maryland will meet Big Ten foe Northwestern for the first time this season.
This is the first week Northwestern has been left off of the AP’s top-25 rankings this season. A win over the No. 8 team in the country could boost Northwestern's resume. But the Wildcats will have to get through Maryland’s No. 1-ranked scoring offense in the nation, averaging 93.4 points per game.
The No. 2 recruit in the country Angel Reese returns to Maryland’s lineup after suffering an injury four games into the season. Reese back in the rotation adds five Terps on the court who average double-digit points.
Ashley Owusu leads the Terps with 19.6 points per game, but Maryland is capable of having a new leading scorer on any given night. Katie Benzan is coming off of a 29-point performance, knocking down eight 3-pointers in one half and nine overall against Iowa on Tuesday. Diamond Miller followed behind her with 27 points, while Owusu chipped in 24 points.
Northwestern will look to Veronica Burton’s elite defense to hold off the Terps. Burton leads the country in steals per game, swiping away 4.2 steals per game while leading the Big Ten in steals for the third consecutive season.