Opening weekend for NCAA women’s hoops is in the books with 247 games tipping off this weekend. Here’s a look at some of the more fascinating early season matchups.
Without further ado, let’s get to the scores from the weekend that was:
#1 UCONN 102, UC DAVIS 43
Senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis hit the ground running as the Huskies started their 2014-15 season on the road. KML hit ten threes en route to a game high 30 points. Consensus national player of the year Breanna Stewart filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. The starting backcourt of Moriah Jefferson and Saniya Chong combined to hit 7 threes, totaling 25 points, 9 assists and 8 boards with only one turnover. UC Davis was led in scoring by Kelsey Harris’ 12 and Sydnee Fipps added 9 points and 7 rebounds.
#6 STANFORD 96, BOSTON COLLEGE 63
LiLi Thompson set a new career-high in Stanford’s new pick and roll offense, netting 26 points in the home opener for the Cardinal. Sophomore Erica McCall also set a career-high with 16 points. Senior guard Amber Orrange controlled play to the tune of 11 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 6 assists while turning the ball over only once. Senior Taylor Greenfield also chipped in 10 points. For BC, Emilee Daly came off the bench to lead the Eagles with 13 points. Nicole Boudreau and Ashley Kelsick chipped in 11 and 10 points respectively.
JAMES MADISON 91, #23 UCLA 87
James Madison’s veteran team took it to Cori Close’s top-ranked freshman class in Harrisonburg, VA to kick off the season for both teams. This was an ugly game that drug into OT as 64 fouls were whistled and the teams combined to shoot 82 free throws. Precious Hall led Kenny Brooks’ team with 25 points and senior Lauren Okafor dominated the inside for 16 points and 16 boards. Toia Giggetts also added 16 of her own. Nirra Fields led the Bruins with 26 points and 6 rebounds. Freshman Jordin Canada and Lajahna Drummer played well, Canada finishing with 15 and 10 boards while Drummer just missed a double-double with 15 and 9.
WASHINGTON STATE 76, 22 DAYTON 60
For Washington State, Lia Galdeira chipped in 21 and 8 rebounds while Tia Presley, a pre-season All Pac-12 member alongside Galdeira, added 18 of her own. Andrea Hoover finished with a double-double of 18 and 11 with forward Ally Malott adding 11 and 8. Kelley Austria also finished in double figures, with 10 points before fouling out.
OKLAHOMA 90 WASHINGTON 80
In what turned out to be the best game of the weekend, Mike Neighbors took his UW squad into the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma to battle the Sooners. Kaylon Williams showed off a new-found aggression en route to 23 points and 10 boards. Senior Sharane Campbell-Olds came up huge down the stretch adding 26 and 11 rebounds.
Texas A&M;transfer Peyton Little struggled a bit in her debut but picked it up in other spots finishing with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists while 6’1 guard Nicole Kornet came off the bench to hit two treys and finish with 14 points. Washington battled valiantly after falling down early, only to fall short. Sophomore guard Kelsey Plum lit up the Sooners back court, corralling 45 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Jazmine Davis and Talia Walton finished with 12 points apiece but overall the Huskies got just 12 field goals from anyone not named Plum. Also in this game, we got to see Maddie Manning play 13 minutes and score a point for the Sooners after exactly 719 days off the court. OU has struggled in the past few years with losing players to knee injuries and it’s amazing to see Manning back out on the floor and “manning” the point. We don’t get many 6’2 guards with her ability so it’s definitely a great sight.
#2 SOUTH CAROLINA 70, USC 61
With a starting lineup that read 5’9, 6’0, 6’4, 6’4, and 6’5, Dawn Staley’s second ranked Gamecocks blocked 10 shots and held USC to 3-10 shooting from three in a game that saw struggles from Staley’s highly rated freshman class. Preseason SEC Player of the Year Tiffany Mitchell, playing the point guard spot in this lineup, led the team with 18 points while sophomore post Alaina Coates added 18 points and 13 boards. Senior Aleighsa Welch rounded out the double figure scorers with 10 points along with her 7 boards. Kaneisha Horn and McKenzie Calvert led the Women of Troy with 11 apiece while Drew Edelman added 10. Consensus number one recruit A’ja Wilson struggled in her first outing. She finished 2-7 from the floor, 0-2 from the free throw line and turned the ball over three times in just 16 minutes.
#14 MICHIGAN STATE, 69 EASTERN MICHIGAN 61
Aerial Powers led Suzy Merchant’s squad against her former team dominated the game with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Fellow sophomore Tori Jankoska added 20 points, 8 boards and 5 assists of her own. Eastern Michigan struggled on the boards, getting out-rebounded 55-39 and in the end just falling short of the W. Janay Morton led EMU with 13 points while Shannise Heady added 10 points and 5 boards.
GONZAGA 75, #22 DAYTON 65
The Kelly Graves era begins at Gonzaga with a match-up of two of the strongest mid-major programs in recent years in the NCAA. Lindsay Sherbert finished with 18 and 5 to lead the Zags while Keani Albanez matched Sherbert’s three triples en route to 14 of her own points. Senior Andrea Hoover led Dayton with 20 points and 8 rebounds while junior guard Kelley Austria tried to keep the Flyers in it with 16 points and 6 steals. The Flyers were dominated in the paint, losing the rebound battle 46-35.
#5 TEXAS A&M;76, #18 DEPAUL 68
Gary Blair’s team will kick off the season shorthanded as All-SEC honoree Courtney Williams has been suspended indefinitely, but the Aggies didn’t miss a beat in a top-20 match-up to open the regular season. Courtney Walker, also an All-SEC performer, chipped in 25 points and 6 boards. Point guard Jordan Jones and center Khaalia Hillsman rounded out the Aggies in double figures. Depaul, who has always been one of the best three-point shooting programs in the country, struggled to get going from range in this game as A&M;’s pressure defense wasn’t missing a beat, holding Doug Bruno’s squad to 19.2% shooting (5-26.) Jessica January led the Blue Demons with 24 points while Brittany Hrynko and Megan Rogowski finished with 19 and 10 respectively.
#13 NORTH CAROLINA 84, #23 UCLA 68
Cori Close didn’t do her freshman class any favors after leaving JMU with a loss as they embarked upon a visit to Carmichael Arena to face the 13th-ranked North Carolina squad that seems ecstatic to have Sylvia Hatchell back on the sidelines. Fouls continued to be a problem in this game as the teams combined to shoot 52 free throws. Carolina was led by sophomore Allisha Gray, with 19 points and 6 rebounds. Brittany Rountree hit 4 threes en route to 17 points and Xylina McDaniel added 16 points and 8 rebounds. UCLA was again led by Nirra Fields’ 21 points and 8 rebounds and Lajahna Drummer knocked home 11 of her own. Frosh point guard Jordin Canada really struggled to take care of the ball, handing over 8 of the Bruins 21 turnovers on her own.
Swish Appeal Player of the Week
Voted on by the committee of one, there really wasn’t much competition this week. Washington sophomore Kelsey Plum carried her team on her back and it was quite a sight to see. I watched this game live and everything we saw from Plum last year returned with marked improvement. She took the shots she wanted, and was able to slice and dice her way through the defense of the Sooners and finished at the rim time and time again. Plum was a joy to watch last season as a freshman but it seems like she’s taken it to another level this season. Coach Neighbors spoke to this fact in the postgame interviews:
On Kelsey Plum:
“Yeah, she’s a special scorer and she really worked hard in the offseason to improve a lot of aspects of her game. She is capable of doing that a lot of nights. We normally make a few more threes – we got some great looks at them. We normally don’t turn the ball over 20 times either – that was kind of our magic number. I was afraid if we got too many turnovers – we don’t normally turn it over that many but credit to them. They were heavy in the passing lanes and driving it when we were driving.”
Plum’s full stat-line:
40 minutes, 15-27 from the floor, 3-7 from three, 12-12 from the line, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 1 turnover for 45 points before fouling out.