by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
“This is the best point guard in the country, “ Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said as she looked over at Odyssey Sims. “You can put that in your notes.”
It was a bold statement from the Baylor coach, but Sims, after her fourth career head-to-head matchup against Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, came out on top.
This past week in college basketball was full of intense matchups. UConn and Maryland collided and in-state rivals Kentucky and Louisville also faced off in a nail-biter. The action will continue this week as more top-25 teams face off, looking to bolster their non-conference schedule with impressive victories.
1. Stanford (Last Week, 1)
Stanford stays atop the rankings with a convincing victory against a much-improved Gonzaga team. Taylor Greenfield was hot in Spokane, as she hit 6 threes against the Bulldogs. Chiney Ogwumike was steady as always with 21 points and 11 rebounds. The Cardinal will face South Carolina in a tough away game. The Gamecocks are on the top-25 radar as they are undefeated so far in the season.
2. UConn (Last Week, 3)
The Huskies were ferocious in the Jimmy V Classic against Maryland. They took advantage of the Terps—who were without their starting backcourt—forcing 26 turnovers. Despite the turns, UConn only scored 63 points. Look for the Huskies to be more aggressive in transition to get easy layups against Penn State tonight.
3. Baylor (Last Week, 2)
Little Wayne may have shown up to see Skylar Diggins play, but Baylor stole the limelight in South Bend last night. Brittney Griner was a smooth operator in the post with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Baylor played with a chip on their shoulder last night, and it seems as if the loss against Stanford woke them up.
4. Duke (Last Week, 4)
Duke jumped on No. 10 California early with a 22-2 run to start the game and coasted to a 77-63 victory in Durham. Tricia Liston was a force in the game with 22 points. Liz Williams continues to dominate on the defensive end with 4 swats in the contest.
5. Kentucky (Last Week, 9)
Kentucky made a huge statement with a comeback victory against in-state rival Louisville. The Wildcats showed a lot of heart, battling back into the game. Freshman Janee Thompson showed poise as she hit the game-winning three with 8 seconds left. The Wildcats have shown they can win the high-scoring events or the slow half court games.
6. Georgia (Last Week, 10)
The Bulldogs continue to rack up wins with an impressive victory against in-state rival Georgia Tech, 60-50. Georgia is off to its best start since 2009 and have won by an average of 27 points each game. Georgia has great depth and goes 10 deep on many nights.
7. Louisville (Last Week, 5)
Louisville was up at one point in the fourth, but let the lead slip away late in the game against Kentucky. Louisville shot 38 percent and turned the ball over 23 times due to the Wildcats’ smothering defense. Even so, the Cardinal had a chance to win the game. Look for Louisville to learn a lot from this game and rebound against Valparaiso.
8. Notre Dame (Last Week, 6)
The Fighting Irish had Baylor on their heels early in the game, but they couldn’t hold off the Bears, falling 73-61. The Irish will have to find a way to free up Diggins in these big games, as she has shot the ball poorly against Baylor. Notre Dame will attempt to right the ship against Utah State on Saturday.
9. Penn State (Last Week, 8 )
Penn State stumbled against a tough Miami team last week, losing 69-65. Penn State will look to take a step in the right direction against a tough foe in UConn. Look for the dynamic duo of Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas to lead the attack offensively against the Huskies.
10. Maryland (Last Week, 7)
Maryland suffered more than a tough loss against UConn. The Terps lost their second backcourt starter, junior Laurin Mincy, for the season with a knee injury. The pressure will be on Alyssa Thomas to fill the void even more the rest of the way. Next up for Maryland is a game against ACC foe, Virginia.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Odyssey Sims, Baylor, guard
Odyssey was a force against the Fighting Irish in South Bend on Wednesday night. Sims may have struggled with turnovers, but we can chalk that up to rust with her coming off a hamstring injury. Sims got her shots to fall when it mattered most with 16 points and 6 assists. The most impressive part of her game against Notre Dame was shutting down Skylar Diggins, as she held the star to 4-19 from the field.
Kelly Faris, UConn, forward
The things that most coaches covet the most don’t show up on the stat sheet, like consistently boxing out or being a good screener. A lot of games, Kelly Faris may now fill up the box score, but her impact on the game is undeniable. But against the Terps, her effect was accurately reflected in the box score. Against Maryland’s tough frontline, Kelly posted a chunky statline of 8 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and a whopping 8 steals in a victory against No. 9 Maryland.
GAME OF THE WEEK: UConn vs Penn State
Penn State looks to join the land of the elite in college basketball with a victory against Uconn tonight in Storrs. The Lions hit a minor roadblock in a loss last week against unranked Miami, and badly need to beat Uconn (or have a great showing) to bolster their non-conference schedule victory list. Problem is, UConn is rolling with a huge victory against Maryland. This game will be fun to watch, as it will be a fast-paced game full of highlights.