Women’s College Basketball Recap: Week 4
Power Rankings, Game of the Week and more!
by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
While many sat back and relaxed over a warm Thanksgiving meal with family, college basketball was in full gear with big tournaments. Over the past week, Stanford shocked the world beating Baylor and Maryland stumbled against St. Joe’s.
But it’s too early to cast off Baylor or Maryland—there is plenty of good basketball left. All this small sample shows is that the talent is well spread out, and this will be an exciting year of basketball. There is an amazing schedule of games this week, with Maryland playing UConn, North Carolina against Tennessee, plus the in-state rivalry between Kentucky and Louisville.
1. Stanford (Last week, 5)
Stanford made a huge statement in the victory against Baylor. Chiney Ogwumike has been a man-child early in the season on the boards. She’s also showing a much-improved offensive game, which the Cardinal will need in order to make a deep Tournament run.
2. Baylor (Last Week, 1)
The Cardinal snapped Baylor’s 40-plus game winning streak last week. This may be the fuel needed to spark Griner as the season progresses. Brittney was solid on offense, but wasn’t dominant on the boards in the game. Baylor will need her to be more aggressive rebounding in order to reach her max potential.
3. UConn (Last Week, 2)
Uconn has continued to take steps forward early in the season. The most important thing for Coach Auriemma to do is get these talented, but young players as much in-game experience as possible before conference play begins. The Huskies easily dismissed No. 14 Purdue last game, but that wont be the case with Maryland. The Terps are physical in the frontcourt and deep, just like UConn. They will be led by reigning ACC Player of the Year Alyssa Thomas. This will be a good test for UConn.
4. Duke (Last Week, 3)
The Blue Devils have been on fire early in the season. They have been slowly bringing back ACC Rookie of the Year Liz Williams into the mix from her stress fracture injury. So far so good, as she has gotten better offensively each game this year. Duke will face its first challenge this year at Cameron Indoor against No. 10 Cal on December 2.
5. Louisville (Last Week, 10)
Louisville has shown great team depth early in the year. The Schimmel sisters have been shooting the ball well this year for the Cardinal. Sophomore Bria Smith has been finding her way for this team as well. Louisville has not been tested early in the season though, so questions will be answered when they play in state rival Kentucky on December 2.
6. Notre Dame (Last Week, 8 )
The Fighting Irish were sharp last week in non-conference play. Notre Dame traveled to the West Coast and defeated UCLA, which boasts a high-powered offense led by Markel Walker. The next big contest for Notre Dame will be against Baylor on December 5.
7. Maryland (Last Week, 4)
The Terps may have stumbled against St. Joe’s, but regained their form winning the next two games. The most impressive victory in the young season came against a talented Nebraska team, which they won by 20 points. Their next big game will be against the undefeated UConn Huskies. Look for Maryland to make a statement.
8. Penn State (Last Week, 6)
Penn State’s slip has less to do with them falling off, and more to do with teams driving themselves to an elite level by winning big games. The Nittany Lions are undefeated, but have only played one top-25 team. We will have a better feel for how strong this team is when they play UConn next week.
9. Kentucky (Last Week, 4)
The Wildcats have been strong in all games this year outside of the Baylor contest. It seems as if transfer DeNesha Stallworth is starting to find her groove offensively down low for the team, giving them a much-needed inside presence.
10. Georgia (Last Week, NR)
The Bulldogs are emerging as one of the best teams in the SEC and the country due to their hot start. Georgia has nice bench depth and has been playing 10 or 11 regularly each game. Last game the bench poured in 42 points against Furman. This type of production off the pine give the coach great confidence to know they level solid play will be maintained even when subs are made.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford, forward
Chiney played her best basketball when it mattered most in the early season against faced Baylor. Ogwumike matched the intensity of Griner and delivered some damaging blows of her own with 18 points and 8 rebounds in the game. Chiney followed up those contests with 15 points and 17 rebounds against Hawaii and 25 points and 10 rebounds against Tenn-Martin.
Angel Goodrich, Kansas, guard
There are more ways to have an impact in basketball than scoring points. Angel Goodrich is dominating games with her passing and defense early in the season for Kansas. Her leadership and steady play has pushed the Jayhawks into the top 25 this year. Against Creighton, Goodrich posted a nice stat line of 7 points, 9 assists and 5 steals. She followed that up with 7 points, 8 assists and 3 steals in limited action against Grambling State.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Kentucky vs Louisville
There are plenty of great games this week in college basketball, but this rivalry game will be must-see TV. Louisville is undefeated and playing great basketball. The Cardinal has great team depth and are slowing working star player Monique Reid back into the mix. Outside of the Baylor game, Kentucky has been dominant as well beating each team by an average of over 25 points per contest. The game will be full of passion and explosive scoring on both sides.