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Mike Lopresti | | November 12, 2021

15 must-know results in the first few days of the women's college basketball season

Women’s NCAA tournament predictions, from the Sweet 16 to the national championship

Three days into the women’s college basketball season, it’s not too early for a little Did you know? The early games provided a number of notable answers.

Did you know . . .

1. Ranked teams blasted off like the latest SpaceX launch? They went 26-0 over unranked opponents, the victory point margins including 95, 60, 57, 55, 43 twice and 42. The only close call was No. 11 Michigan in overtime against IUPUI, the Wolverines needing a very big night from Big Ten player of the year Naz Hillmon, with her 30 points and 15 rebounds.

2. Stanford rolled over Morgan State 91-36, with no player scoring more than 12 points or taking more than six shots? That’s flexing the Cardinal balance. Also, its defense. Morgan State shot only 19.5 percent and had 19 more turnovers than field goals. In last season’s run to the national championship, Stanford allowed no opponent to shoot better than 41.8 percent and held 12 teams at 29 or under.

“What our returners have to understand is not to be complacent,” coach Tara VanDerveer said afterward. “I don’t think anyone is consciously.”

PREDICTIONS: Projecting from the Sweet 16 through the national championship game 

So it seemed Thursday as the Cardinal won by 55 points. When last seen, Stanford was surviving a pair of one-point victories in the Final Four.

Did you know . . .

3. No. 1 South Carolina barged into No. 5 North Carolina State — where the home team had won 40 consecutive non-conference games — and never trailed one second? Gamecock All-American Aliyah Boston scored only eight points in the 66-57 win, but her five blocks were part of the headlock the South Carolina defense put on the Wolfpack in the season’s first major showdown.

4. The Texas bench contributed 79 points in the 131-36 mashing of New Orleans, while the defense forced 38 turnovers?

5. The Age of Kim Mulkey began at LSU with Khayla Pointer becoming only the third Tiger woman in history to achieve a triple double — 16 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists — against Nicholls?

6. Iowa tried 28 free throws against New Hampshire and missed one?

7. UCLA had only seven healthy players but made it past Pepperdine 78-69? Even if the coach sounded none too happy with the play. “I try to be as candid as possible but that was really poor,” Cori Close said.

8. Colorado opened its season against a Power 5 team for the first time in 37 years and beat Oklahoma State 55-45?

9. Kansas ran past SIU-Edwardsville 98-62 — emphasis on the word ran? The Jayhawks outscored the Cougars in fast break points 31-0.

SHE'S BACK: Sue Semrau is back at FSU after a year of helping her ailing mother 

10. Wisconsin freshman Krystyna Ellew played the first official college game of her life and promptly dropped 29 points on St. Thomas (Minn.) in a 67-51 Badger win? Clearly, nothing much fazes her. In her bio on the team website, she listed one item on her bucket list as swimming with sharks.

11. Princeton pushed the nation’s longest winning streak to 23 games by beating Villanova 59-42? Since COVID shut down the Ivy League last season, it was the first game the Tigers had played in 613 days.

12. In her first game as a college player, 2021 Iowa Miss Basketball and Drake freshman Katie Dinnebier buried a 3-pointer with three seconds left to push the Bulldogs past Creighton 82-79?

Did you know . . .

13. What a difference two days made for Virginia Tech center Elizabeth Kitley? Tuesday’s opening win against Davidson: She took 11 shots, missed eight (plus all four free throws), and scored six points. Thursday’s romp over George Washington: She went 17-for-21 and put up 34 points.

14. What Kansas State’s Ayoka Lee has been up to?

That she outscored the entire Central Arkansas team by herself 43-40?

That she produced her school-record 43 points in 23:39 of playing time? “That’s a crazy efficient number,” coach Jeff Mittie said.

RANKINGS: Here's the latest AP poll

That at 6-6, she’s tied for the second tallest player in the history of Kansas State women’s basketball?

Finally, Did you know . . .

15. After so many opening pleasure cruises, the schedule will quickly heat this weekend?

There’s No. 6 Louisville against No. 22 Arizona Friday. Sunday brings Stanford-Texas and Indiana-Kentucky. Oh, and No. 2 Connecticut finally opens its season against Arkansas. Did you know the Huskies might be the deepest they’ve ever been, through 11 national titles and 21 Final Four appearances? We’re about to start finding that out — and lots of other things.

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