Around the NCAAW Weekly: DiDi Richards returns for Baylor

NCAA Womens Basketball: Iowa State at Baylor
DiDi Richards (center) has 15 assists over two games to begin the season. | Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

DiDi Richards of the Baylor Lady Bears sustained a spinal cord shock injury on Oct. 24 and worked her way back to the basketball court in a little more than a month. In her first game back, she helped Baylor record its 1,000th win as a program.

“Around the NCAAW Weekly” highlights the notable events of the week. Check out the milestones, surprises, best games and outstanding performances for games played through Sunday, Dec. 6:


Milestones/accomplishments

Baylor Lady Bears

One of Baylor’s emotional leaders, DiDi Richards, completed an inspiring story when she returned to game action on Tuesday. Richards spent much of the preseason away from practice after sustaining a spinal cord shock injury Oct. 24 after an on-court collision with teammate Moon Ursin, who sustained a concussion.

In her return, Richards saw 30 minutes of playing time off the bench and notched four points, three rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block to aid Baylor’s winning effort against the South Florida Bulls.

The win was the 1,000th for the Baylor program. The Lady Bears are the 15th Division I team to reach that milestone.

Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals broke their program record for points in a game with 116 on Friday against the DePaul Blue Demons, the No. 20 team in the nation.

Oregon Ducks

The Ducks won their 22nd game in a row on Friday, defeating the Colorado Buffaloes 82-53. The 22nd win marked Oregon’s longest winning streak ever, topping the 21 in a row it won in 1978-79. The Ducks also won on Sunday to give them 23 consecutive wins.

Maryland Terrapins

With 21 treys on Thursday, the Terps set a new record for 3-pointers made in a single game by a Big Ten team. They were a scorching 21-of-31 from distance and went 9-of-12 in the final frame of the win over the Towson Tigers.

DePaul Blue Demons

The Blue Demons set a new program record for points in a game with a ridiculous 128 points against the Chicago State Cougars on Monday.

Indiana Hoosiers

The Hoosiers held the Samford Bulldogs to just 26 points on Thursday, setting a new program record for least points allowed in head coach Teri Moren’s tenure. Moren has been Indiana’s coach since 2014-15.

Texas A&M Aggies

Aggies forward N’dea Jones reached 30 career double-doubles on Sunday. In addition to Jones, only Khaalia Hillsman (Class of 2018) has reached that mark for Texas A&M.

On Wednesday, Jones hit another big milestone by hitting 800 career rebounds and moving into seventh place all-time for the Aggies in that category.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 05 SEC Women’s Tournament - Arkansas vs Texas A&M Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
N’dea Jones leads Texas A&M with 18.5 points per game.

Surprises

South Florida Bulls over No. 6 Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Bulls defeated the Bulldogs 67-63 in overtime on Saturday. They had never beaten a Top 10 team before! Their best wins previously came against No. 11 DePaul in 2005 and No. 11 Louisville in 2013.

No. 8 NC State Wolfpack over No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks

The Wolfpack defeated the Gamecocks 54-46 on Thursday, giving them three wins over No. 1 teams in their program history. The last time it happened was in 2007 against the Duke Blue Devils in the ACC Tournament. South Carolina entered the contest having won 29-straight games.

No. 16 Arkansas Razorbacks over No. 4 Baylor Lady Bears

Arkansas recorded its first win over a Top 5 team under head coach Mike Neighbors with an 83-78 victory over the Lady Bears on Sunday. The last time the Razorbacks defeated a Top 5 team was in 2005 when they beat the No. 2 LSU Tigers.

South Dakota State over No. 18 Gonzaga

The Jackrabbits were receiving votes, but it was still a bit of a surprise to see them take down Gonzaga 75-72 in overtime on Sunday. South Dakota State is now 3-0 with two wins over ranked teams. It beat the No. 23 Iowa State Cyclones in its opener.

AP rankings (Dec. 7)

The previously No. 2-ranked Stanford Cardinal are the new No. 1 team after the South Carolina Gamecocks fell to the NC State Wolfpack last week. The Cardinal have blown out three much weaker opponents, including a Pac-12 foe in the Washington Huskies.

The Louisville Cardinals were the most impressive team last week with their blowout victory over the then-No. 20 DePaul Blue Demons (now No. 24). The previously No. 5-ranked Cardinals moved ahead of the still idle UConn Huskies and into second place in the rankings. UConn remained at No. 3, with NC State checking in at No. 4 and South Carolina rounding out the Top 5.

The shifting continued for teams ranked six through 10, and beyond. UConn, the No. 14 Maryland Terrapins and the No. 21 Missouri State Bears are the only three teams to stay exactly where they were last week.

Baylor fell three spots from No. 4 to No. 7 after losing to the then-No. 16 Arkansas Razorbacks, who are now No. 13. Meanwhile, the Mississippi State Bulldogs fell all the way from No. 6 to No. 12 after losing to the South Florida Bulls, who are now the first team out with 59 voting points.

Lastly, the Iowa State Cyclones fell from No. 23 to out of the rankings, and the Texas Longhorns moved up from No. 25 to No. 23. Both teams went 1-1 last week with a blowout victory and a loss to a really good team. For Iowa State, the loss was to South Carolina, and for Texas, the loss was to the then-No. 12 and now-No. 10 Texas A&M. Voters must have been impressed that the Longhorns nearly beat A&M and unimpressed with the Cyclones, who were blown out by the Gamecocks.

COVID news

The Stanford Cardinal are going to be competing in Las Vegas through Dec. 21 at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

Games of the week

Friday: No. 7 Arizona Wildcats 68, No. 9 UCLA Bruins 65

UCLA’s Charisma Osborne missed a 3-pointer with five seconds left that would have sent this one to overtime. The game was tied at 48-48 with 7:38 minutes to go before Arizona made an 8-0 run and UCLA had to fight back. Arizona’s Trinity Baptiste led all scorers with 18 points and added 11 rebounds. Michaela Onyenwere notched 13 points and 16 boards for the Bruins.

Saturday: South Florida Bulls 67, No. 6 Mississippi State Bulldogs 63 (OT)

The Bulls took the Bulldogs to overtime and completed the upset. Elisa Pinzan led an incredibly balanced scoring effort for South Florida, with 14 points. After her, three players had nine points and two had eight. Mississippi State led by eight after the first quarter, but the Bulls did not get discouraged and won the second 25-12. Pinzan hauled in 11 boards and was one assist shy of a points-rebounds-assists triple-double. Rickea Jackson had 18 points and nine boards in defeat.

Sunday: South Dakota State Jackrabbits 75, Gonzaga Bulldogs 72 (OT)

Lindsey Theuninck buried a game-winning triple for South Dakota State with two seconds left in overtime. Her teammate, Myah Selland, converted on a 3-point play with 16 seconds left in regulation to force the extra frame. Four players in double figures, including Selland with 18, led South Dakota State’s attack. Jill Townsend notched a career-high 29 points for Gonzaga.

Other top performances

Caitlin Clark: 30 points, 13 assists and four steals for the Iowa Hawkeyes in a win over the Drake Bulldogs on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Kitley: 30 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks for the Virginia Tech Hokies in a win over the Appalachian State Mountaineers on Friday.

Haley Jones: 29 points, 13 rebounds and three assists for the Stanford Cardinal in a win over the Washington Huskies on Sunday.

Ashley Joens: 33 points and 11 rebounds for the Iowa State Cyclones in a win over the TCU Horned Frogs on Dec. 2. Joens also had 32 points and five rebounds on Sunday.

Aari McDonald: 30 points, four rebounds and two assists for the Arizona Wildcats in a win over the USC Trojans on Sunday.

Best upcoming matchup

No. 10 Oregon Ducks (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) vs. No. 17 Oregon State Beavers (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12)

When: Sunday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, OR

How to watch/listen: Pac-12 Network/Oregon’s athletics website

Reason to watch: It’s another intrastate battle between the two Pac-12 Oregon teams and both are ranked in the Top 25 again this year.