09 Jan

Stanford, Cameron Brink survive overtime test against Duke

It’s only been two weeks into the 2023-24 women’s college basketball season, yet it seems as if we’ve already seen it all: broken records, upsets, overtime thrillers, players absent without explanation, you name it.

South Carolina and UCLA are the only undefeated teams from the preseason top 10. The Iowa Hawkeyes suffered their first loss against Kansas State, while the LSU Tigers dropped their season opener to Colorado and are dealing with a mysterious situation regarding the status of star Angel Reese.

Here are some of the top moments from Week 2, as well as some of the main storylines and games to watch over the coming days.

Bucket of the week: Mikaylah Williams, LSU
OK, so this this one isn’t one particular basket, but it’s an offensive performance even the WNBA felt was worth talking about. LSU freshman Mikaylah Williams went off for 42 points in her team’s 109-79 win over Kent State last Tuesday. That is the most points scored by an LSU freshman in the NCAA era.

“She can score anywhere. Mikaylah, as good as she is, I don’t think she knows how good she is. A lot of it’s going to come just having her play extended minutes as hard as she can,” LSU coach Kim Mulkey said. “She’s a special talent. This is those moments where you’re feeling that rim is as big as the ocean.”

42!!! 😳 As a freshman!!! 😳 https://t.co/EVjmfyOqN8

— WNBA (@WNBA) November 14, 2023
Dish of the week: Anna DeWolfe, Notre Dame
Notre Dame’s game against Northwestern last Wednesday was Anna DeWolfe’s first home contest with the Fighting Irish, and she certainly made an impression. This behind-the-back dime — which helped Hannah Hidalgo score a layup plus the foul — was one of six assists DeWolfe had that night, and she also recorded 10 points, four rebounds and three steals in the 110-52 win.

Are you KIDDING me on this pass?!?

🎥 @ndwbb | ACC Networkpic.twitter.com/Ha2MYgjlyG

— ACC Women’s Basketball (@accwbb) November 16, 2023
Game of the week: Duke vs. No. 6 Stanford
The Blue Devils came in unranked, but there is no doubt they are a good team. Even though they were down by as many as 17 points in the first quarter, they pushed the Cardinal to overtime thanks to an outstanding second-half performance by sophomore guard Ashlon Jackson, who drained five 3-pointers.

AJ3!!! pic.twitter.com/nqvYdJES7M

— Duke Women’s Basketball (@DukeWBB) November 19, 2023
In the extra period, Stanford star Cameron Brink took over and scored all but two of her team’s 11 points. She went on to finish the night with a career-high 29 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.

“There are things we can do better, but I’m really excited about how our team stuck together, battled and found a way to win,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.

Stop of the week: Kansas State
Yes, the whole team. The Wildcats arrived to Iowa City unranked but left with a 65-58 victory over then-No. 2 Iowa to make it two consecutive wins in the matchup.

The Hawkeyes’ 58 points was 34 points below their season average. It was also the fewest points Iowa has registered with Caitlin Clark on the roster. Kansas State outscored the Hawkeyes 23-14 in the last quarter, including a 12-0 run to finish the game. Lisa Bluder’s squad did not score any points in the last 2:43.

Kansas State senior center Ayoka Lee wasn’t part of last year’s victory because she was out with an injury, but on Thursday she led her team with 22 points and 12 rebounds to along with two blocks and a steal.

.@Yokie50 says no 🙅‍♀️#KStateWBB x @FS1 pic.twitter.com/YpSFMfpRWd

— K-State Women’s Basketball (@KStateWBB) November 17, 2023
Biggest storylines from Week 2
Angel Reese gets benched, then disappears
The LSU star was not with the team during the Tigers’ 73-50 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Friday. Mulkey did not give an explanation and just said the team hopes to have her back “sooner than later.”

Reese was benched during the second half of the previous game against Kent State. Reese, who is usually not shy on social media, hasn’t commented much on the situation — except for one quick message on Sunday.

“Please don’t believe everything you read,” Reese wrote on X.

please don’t believe everything you read.

— Angel Reese (@Reese10Angel) November 19, 2023
Reese was also missing from Monday’s 106-47 win over Texas Southern, and her absence remains a mystery.

Maryland drops out of the AP Top 25
The Terrapins had the second-longest active streak in the sport by staying in the AP Top 25 for 251 consecutive weeks. However, a 32-point loss to UConn on Thursday knocked them out for the first time in 13 years.

With Maryland’s streak over, here’s a look at the current leaders (via college poll archive):

UConn: 567
South Carolina: 209
Indiana: 77
Notre Dame: 37
The Terrapins are 1-2, as they also fell to South Carolina during opening week. Maryland’s game against UConn was already going to be tough, but the Huskies came in even hungrier than usual as they looked to bounce back from their first loss of the season to NC State.

Props to Maryland for playing a tough non-conference schedule, though. Those efforts haven’t been unnoticed as the Terrapins are still receiving Top 25 votes and they’ll likely be back at some point this season.

Interesting stats
On the Brink of a record: Stanford senior forward Cameron Brink, a 6-foot-4 center, has made 72 straight free throws. She needs three more to tie the current women’s college basketball record of 75, which belongs to Michelle Gaislerova from North Dakota State. Brink could break the record Wednesday when the Cardinal host Belmont at 4 p.m. ET.
Caitlin Clark chasing another record: The Iowa senior has registered 39 games with 30-plus points, already passing Kelsey Plum’s 2017 women’s college basketball record from her time at Washington. Clark needs one more 30-point game to tie former Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis for the overall record. She has a chance to do it Friday as the Hawkeyes take on Forth Wayne at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Saint Peter’s ends losing streak: The Peacocks found a 61-57 victory over Central Connecticut last Monday, marking their first win in 616 days. Their previous win came against Marist on March 8, 2022. Saint Peter’s went 0-30 last season.
South Carolina dominating: The Gamecocks reached the 100-point mark for the third straight game with their 109-40 win over Clemson on Thursday. This season marks the first time in program history South Carolina has won consecutive games by scoring 100-plus points.
Matchups to watch:
Maryland vs. No. 23 Washington State | Thursday, Nov. 23, 11 a.m. ET | FloHoops: Washington State earned its first ever preseason AP Top 25 ranking heading into the campaign, and so far the Cougars have remained there by staying undefeated. Meanwhile, Maryland had been ranked 251 consecutive weeks but just dropped out of the Top 25 because of a tough loss against UConn. The Terrapins are very much still a talented team and have just suffered because of their tough non-conference schedule. This will be a good test for both programs.

No. 19 Tennessee vs. No. 21 Indiana | Thursday, Nov. 23, 6 p.m. ET | FOX: A battle between two ranked opponents is certainly something to be grateful for on Thanksgiving day. Both teams have already faced ranked opponents this season and lost, so this will be a good chance to enhance their resume. Tennessee has six players averaging double figures led by Rickea Jackson’s 22 points and 12 rebounds per game. Sara Scalia and MacKenzie Holmes are leading Indiana with 18.5 and 17.5 points per contest, respectively.

No. 6 UConn vs. No. 2 UCLA | Friday, Nov. 24, 7:30 p.m. ET | FloHoops: If there is one game you watch all week, let it be this one. The Huskies were handed their first loss of the season by NC State on Nov. 12. They were “embarrassed” by their defensive effort and responded with a blowout win against a ranked Maryland team. Paige Bueckers and the Huskies will have their hands full against UCLA, a team so deep even their veteran leader Charisma Osborne doesn’t have to shine every night. Sophomore center Lauren Betts leads the team with 19.5 points and 10.8 per game, while shooting an impressive 78.6% from the field.

No. 3 Colorado vs. No. 10 NC State | Saturday, Nov. 25, 1 p.m. ET | ESPN+: These are two teams responsible for the entertaining chaos we have seen in the first two weeks of the 2023-24 season. NC State got ranked after handing UConn its first loss thanks to a breakout performance by junior guard Saniya Rivers. Meanwhile, Colorado took down reigning national champion LSU in the season opener with stellar performances by upperclassmen Frida Formann, Aaronette Vonleh and Jaylyn Sherrod.

No. 19 Tennesse vs. No. 22 Oklahoma | Saturday, Nov. 25, 1:30 p.m. ET | Women’s Sports Network: It won’t be an easy week for Tennessee, but it will be a fun one and the Lady Vols will learn a lot about themselves. They will take on a solid Oklahoma team that managed to start the season 5-0, including a statement-making win over then-No. 12 Ole Miss on Nov. 9.

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