Women’s College Basketball Recap: Week 2
Power Rankings, Game of the Week and more!
by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
The first week of action in women’s NCAA basketball was jam-packed. There were plenty of top-25 battles, but none bigger than the game between Baylor and Kentucky. The 6-8 Britney Griner was dominant down low with 27 points, 8 rebounds and 5 swats in a blowout victory.
The second week will be much of the same, as we will finally get to see Duke hit the floor and an intense matchup between Baylor and Stanford. It will be interesting to see coach Tucker’s gameplan for how to defend Griner and the Lady Bears.
POWER RANKINGS: Top 10
1. Baylor (Last Week, 1)
The Lady Bears were dominant in the first two games. Griner has taken great strides in her offensive game this season, looking locked in against Kentucky with 27 points on the contest. It was a layup fest in both games thus far, but beneath the surface the primary guards did turn over the ball some. Odyssey Sims had 7 turnovers in the Kentucky game. Look for her to be more cautious with the rock against Stanford.
Games this week: November 16 vs Stanford, November 17 vs Tennessee-Martin
2. UConn (Last week, 2)
Freshman Breanna Stewart was every bit as good as advertised in the first game against Charleston. The 6-4 forward was very efficient from the floor with 21 points on 8-11 shooting. The Lady Huskies will have a tougher battle in game number two, as they face a talented team in Texas A&M. This game will be very entertaining.
Games this week: November 18 @ Texas A&M, November 22 vs Wake Forest, November 23 vs Marist
3. Duke (Last week, 3)
The Blue Devils may be anxious to hit the floor, but the late start is a blessing in disguise for the team, as Liz Williams recovers from injury. The first couple games are very kind to Duke in regards to the talent they will play, so they can wait patiently for their star player heal up.
Games this week: November 17 vs Presbyterian, November 18 vs Iona, November 23 vs Valparaiso
4. Maryland (Last week, 8)
Alyssa Thomas plays like a woman possessed on the court. Her aggression will be a key factor in pushing this team to another level as the season goes along. Lauren Mincy is off to a slow start, but look for her to bounce back and get into a groove in the upcoming games.
Games this week: November 17 @ St. Joes, November 21 vs American
5. Stanford (Last Week, 6)
Nneka has left the Cardinal for the WNBA, but her little sister Chiney has filled the void for her team early this year. In a close game against Fresno State, Ogwumike put the team on her back with 23 points while snatching down 17 rebounds. The Cardinal faces a tough battle this week against defending champion Baylor.
Games this week: November 16 vs Baylor, November 17 vs Hawaii, November 18 vs Tennessee-Martin
6. Penn State (Last week, 5)
The dynamic duo of Alex Bentley and Maggie “Machine Gun” Kelly continue to roll for the Nittany Lions. The explosive backcourt combined for 29 of the 63 points for the Lions in a victory against Texas A&M. Beating more strong teams out of conference will get the Lions more respect come seeding time in March.
Games this week: November 18 vs Lafayette, November 23 vs Detroit
7. Kentucky (Last Week, 4)
The Wildcats took a tough loss this week against Baylor. They were able to turn Baylor over, but too many easy layups when Baylor did break the press led to their demise. Look for senior Adia Mathies to get the team back on track next game against High Point.
Games this week: November 17 vs High Point, November 23 vs Morehead State
8. Notre Dame (Last week, 9)
Skylar may have had a slow game the first night playing Ohio State in the Carrier Classic, but the role players really stepped up for the team in game one. Games like that will play a huge factor for the Lady Irish for future big games, as Diggins can trust they will deliver when called upon.
Games this week: November 18 vs UMass, November 20 vs Mercer, November 23 vs UCLA
9. Vanderbilt (Last week, 10)
The Lady Commodores looked solid in the first two games beating Mcneese St. and in state rival Lipscomb. With Stephanie Holzer down with the injury all hands will be on deck taking an active role to fill her void on the boards.
Games this week: November 15 vs UAB, November 18 @ Dayton
10. Louisville (Last week, NR)
The Cardinal has one of the more intriguing rosters in the NCAA this year. They have a nice mix of grizzled vets with young budding stars, and they will hope to get everyone on the same page as the season progresses. Louisville nearly let one slip away against Texas A&M, letting a 10-point lead at half evaporate in the early parts of the second half. Luckily they received some last-minute heroics from Jude Schimmel with a breakaway layup to win the game.
Games this week: November 15 @ Austin Peay, November 20 vs UCF
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Alex Bentley, Penn State, guard
The Indiana native is part of one of the most explosive backcourts in the nation. Against Howard, Bentley was a terror on defense, snatching 7 steals against the Bisons. Despite dealing with foul trouble Bentley put together a stellar performance against Texas A&M with 21 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals.
Tianna Hawkins, Maryland, forward
Many know of Alyssa Thomas but the Terps may have another star in the making with Tianna Hawkins. In only 20 minutes against Mount St. Mary’s, Hawking had 18 points and 10 rebounds, 8 of which came on the offensive glass. Hawkins followed up that game with another stellar performance against Loyola MD, dropping 26 of her game high 33 in the first half.
TEAM ON THE RISE: Texas
The Lady Longhorns have crept into the rankings at No. 20, and may be onto something big. They beat two very strong teams in No. 15 St. Johns and then put together a solid victory against Hofstra which hosts one of the nations best power forwards in Shante Evans. Look for them to slowly bring along 6-7 freshman Imani Stafford who will be a force down low for Texas in the near future.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Baylor vs Stanford
Two of the nation’s top teams will face off this week in Baylor and Stanford. Stanford will look to find ways to get pull Griner away from the rim and allow Ogwumike to operate. Baylor will have Odyssey Sims on the attack and look to get easy layups early with Griner.