Rien que de filet!: NCAAW Daily Report (Monday)

What a weekend in NCAAW! Nineteen games involving 23 of the AP Top 25 teams had their wares on display. Some were predictable, some were close, some were closer than expected, and, of course, there was an upset. Let’s start there.

No. 12 Texas beat No. 2 Kansas State 61-54. What is it about the No. 2 spot? It was a low-scoring affair in which Texas held the lead all the way, although KSU did make an effort in the fourth quarter, but to no avail. Does KSU miss Ayoka Lee? Yes, they do, and only Serena Sundell and Eliza  Maupin managed to reach double digits. For Texas, Madison Booker, after a poor shooting first half, redeemed herself with 20 points, while Taylor Jones and Aaliyah Moore added 13 and 10, respectively, with Moore grabbing 15 boards.

While KSU’s cold shooting was only at 35.8%, I’d called 41.1% for Texas lukewarm. Needless to say, the barn didn’t burn down but just got seared. An upset, yes, but a rather quiet one.

Caitlin Clark chased history over the weekend in NCAAW

On Saturday, all eyes were on Caitlin Clark as she is barreling toward breaking Kelsey Plum‘s scoring record. Iowa dominated the first half, outscoring Maryland 52-38. Maryland won the second half 47-41, but there just wasn’t enough gas in the tank to seal the deal. An 8-point win for Iowa wasn’t exactly a blowout, but enough to put it away. Clark ended the game with 38, which leaves her 66 points shy of passing Plum. Two more games to do it? Probably.

For the Hawkeyes, Molly Davis scored 17 and played a terrific game. Kate Martin scored 15 and had 10 rebounds. In some ways, Kate Martin is my favorite player for Iowa. She plays a smart, focused, and stoical game, and I don’t know if she really gets the credit that she deserves. Is she overshadowed by Clark? Perhaps, but who isn’t on that team? The Terps and four of their five starters were in double figures, with Jakia Brown-Turner leading the way with 25 points and 9 boards.

Bri McDaniel added 22, Shyanne Sellers 14, and Brinae Alexander 12. Neither team has much of a bench, which is problematic, particularly for Iowa if they want to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Right now, Charlie Creme has Maryland matched with Auburn for a 12 seed, but Maryland is going to have to start winning to keep that spot. 

Gonzaga and LSU with blowout NCAAW wins

For the rest of Saturday, No. 19 Gonzaga steamrolled Pacific 104-39, scoring a record 19 3’s. Yvonne Ejim had 21 for Gonzaga and Lauren Glazier 10 for Pacific.  No. 25 Princeton took down Brown 76-63, leading the entire game. Chet Nweke scored 18 for Princeton and Grace Arnolie 19 for Brown. No. 23 West Virginia edged past BYU 76-69. At the half, West Virginia had a 43-29 lead. BYU cut the lead from 14 points to 8 by the end of the third, but West Virginia hung on for the win. 

Sunday saw two blowout games. First, LSU made alligator étouffée out of Florida, 106-66. The usual suspects for LSU did their thing: Angel Reese had 14 points and 10 boards, Hailey Van Lith 21 points, but Aneesah Morrow stood out with 18 points and 20 rebounds. Flau’jae Johnson added 10 to round out the starters. Only Aliyah Matharu and Leilani Correa for Florida hit double digits, scoring 20 and 13 off the bench. The Florida starters just weren’t firing, so maybe a shuffle in the line-up is needed.

Top Ranked South Carolina rolled in a win over Ole Miss over NCAAW weekend play

South Carolina versus Ole Miss was an interesting game. Although South Carolina won 85-56, their difficulty in starting the game was again apparent, as it has been in other games. It looked like Ole Miss might have a chance, but way too many turnovers snuffed that, and a 33.9% shooting didn’t help either. Kamilla Cardoso only scored 4 points in the first half, and with two fouls in the first quarter sending her to the bench, it was then up to everyone else to do their jobs.

By the end of the first half, the Gamecocks got going and, with Cardoso back, found the juice to end strong. MiLaysia Fulwiley scored 14 and Santa Feagin 10 off the bench, with Cardoso 17, Watkins and Papao each with 11, and Hall 10 for the starters. As reported, Cardoso will miss the next two games due to her commitment to the Brazilian national team.

Kitley and Amoore helped Virginia Tech last over UNC

No. 17 Virginia Tech out-dueled No. 24 North Carolina in overtime, 70-61. North Carolina made a surge in the fourth quarter to send it to extra time after being tied 39-39 at the end of the third. Then Georgia Amoore did her thing, and the Hokies scored 16 to UNC’s 7 for the win. VT center Elizabeth Kitley had a double-double with 15 points and 15 boards. Amoore ended with 21 points and 11 assists. While I am sure there are those who might think Kitley is undersized for the WNBA, I disagree.

She is an accurate shooter with good range and she can drive to the basket. She is also a crafty player with good court sense. Georgia Amoore is, to me, a very, very close to pro-ready point guard. Her energy, speed, and passing accuracy would be an invaluable asset to any team. The standouts for North Carolina were Deja Kelly with 26 points, and Alyssa Ustby with 10 points and 16 boards. Lexi Donarski added 12. 

Ohio State picked up a win in Big Ten play over Indiana in NCAAW play

No. 8 Ohio State beat No. 10 Indiana 74-69. Indiana led at the half 37-32, but Ohio State hit the pedal in the third quarter, outscoring Indiana 23-10, and eventually won, although Indiana made a valiant effort. Ohio State was led by Jacy Sheldon with 25 and Cotie McMahon with 20, while Sara Scalia led Indiana with 25. Holmes and Garzon each scored 14, and Chloe Moore-McNeil added 10.

The Orange of Syracuse bested Boston College 75-63, with Daisha Fair going off for 38 points for Syracuse and Teya Sidberry with 23 points and 11 boards for BC. 

Pac-12 stars shined in NCAAW action over the weekend

No. 18 Oregon State over Oregon 64-60. No. 4 Stanford beat UCLA 80-60, recovering from their loss to No. 15 USC. The Cardinal held Charisma Osborne to 13 points and Kiki Rice to 9. London Jones added 13, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome Cameron Brink’s 19, Kiki Iriafen’s 18, and Hannah Jump’s 10. 

No. 20 Utah beat Washington State 73-61 with balanced scoring from their starters and Isabel Palmer off the bench.  No. 13 Baylor handed Houston a loss, winning 83-60 on the road. Baylor led the entire game. They used ten players, seven of whom scored and six of them with double figures. Only Laila Blair had doubles for Houston, scoring 14.

No. 8 Colorado beat Washington 80-57, with Aaronette Vonleh leading the way with 21 points. Quay Miller had 14 points and 10 rebounds, outscoring Washington 50-28 in the first half. Dalayah Daniels scored 14 and Salvia Sellers 12 for Washington in a losing effort.

Edwards and Bueckers shined for UConn against St. Johns In NCAAW action

No. 11 UConn outlasted a very good St. John’s team and won 78-63. It was the Aaliyah and Paige show for UConn, with Edwards scoring a career-high 33 and Bueckers adding 26 for 59 points. Ber’Nyah Mayo led the way for St. John’s with 16 points. She did foul out in the fourth quarter, but by then, UConn had pulled away for good. It was a game with 35 fouls, 20 for St. John’s and 15 for UConn. UConn went 20-25 from the stripe, and St. John’s 11-15.

Both teams had their sluggish moments, and the turnovers showed it. But St. John’s came to Gamble to win, and for three quarters, it showed. But UConn found a way to overcome some sloppy play and get a strong win. St. John’s got some decent scoring from their starters, with Unique Drake adding 14 and both Archer and Donald adding 10. Neither team has a deep bench, so the starters all had to play big minutes. Even as the fouls added up, both teams played with determination. 

Of course, a lot of people are looking forward to the NCAAW showdown between UConn and South Carolina. Is it a sure win for the Gamecocks? I don’t think so. Will Cardoso’s absence be apparent? Yes. But let’s remember, UConn is with Azzi Fudd, Caroline Ducharme, Jana El Alfy, Ayanna Patterson, and Aubrey Griffin. UConn steps up, and South Carolina will step up with Cardoso gone. And on any given day…well, you know.

‘And that, my friends, as they say, is that.’ — Martin Ruben.

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About Martin Ruben

Aloha - The Dodgers were still in Brooklyn when I was a kid. I was never a Yankees fan. I'm a season ticket holder for the Minnesota Lynx, a big UConn WBB fan, and an avid Arsenal supporter. I consider myself a student of basketball. If I were to write an autobiography, it would be called SERIOUS FUN.

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