Around the NCAAW Weekly: VanDerveer makes history, Baylor dominates

Pacific v Stanford
Tara VanDerveer (center) is the winningest coach in NCAAW Division I history, but UConn coach Geno Auriemma is hot on her trail. | Getty Images

Tara VanDeveer felt the love from around the sports world after her No. 1 Stanford Cardinal helped her win her 1,099th game as a head coach. With the Tuesday win, she set the all-time Division I NCAAW record. Then the Baylor Lady Bears started turning heads later in the week.

“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. 20:


Milestones/accomplishments

No. 1 Stanford Cardinal

Tara VanDerveer won the 1,099th game of her head coaching career on Tuesday, surpassing Pat Summitt to claim the all-time NCAAW Division I record. VanDerveer’s Stanford Cardinal defeated the Pacific Tigers 104-61.

VanDerveer’s historic accomplishment received praise from all over the sports world.

The legendary coach picked up win No. 1,100 when Stanford defeated the USC Trojans 80-60 on Saturday.

No. 7 Baylor Lady Bears

The Lady Bears’ dominance last week reached historic levels. Here is a list of their accomplishments:

  • An NCAAW-record 45 assists on Friday against the Northwestern State Lady Demons
  • 253 points in Friday and Saturday games combined — a program-record for consecutive games (fourth in NCAAW history)
  • Second-most points in program history with 136 on Friday
  • 25 steals on Saturday against the McNeese Cowgirls — third-best mark in program history
  • Graduate transfer DiJonai Carrington reached 1,000 career points on Saturday

No. 5 South Carolina Gamecocks

Gamecock sophomore Zia Cooke reached the 500-point milestone with 23 points in what was her 39th career game on Thursday against the Temple Owls. She is the eighth-fastest player to get to 500 in program history.

No. 24 DePaul Blue Demons

The Blue Demons wore red jerseys with blue lettering for the first time ever on Wednesday and it was their lucky charm as they took home their first win over a Top 10 team since 2016. It was also their first Top 10 win ever at Wintrust Arena, which opened in 2017.

DePaul took down the No. 9 Kentucky Wildcats 86-82 to accomplish the feat. The win washes away the bad taste of the Blue Demons losing by 41 to the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals on Dec. 4.

It was Doug Bruno’s 725th win as a head coach, giving him one more than his college coach at DePaul, Ray Meyer, who coached the men’s side from 1942 to 1984.

No. 10 Texas A&M Aggies:

Aaliyah Wilson recorded a plus/minus of plus-43 in the Aggies’ win over the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Tuesday.

No. 13 Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Bulldogs made 18 threes on Monday, setting a single-game program record and tying an SEC record in a win over the Troy Trojans. Mississippi State’s Rickea Jackson was 6-of-10 from distance, while teammates Sidney Cooks and Aliyah Matharu were 6-of-11 and 4-of-6, respectively.

No. 3 UConn Huskies

Olivia Nelson-Ododa made 14 field goals in a row last week — she was 9-of-9 on Thursday and 5-of-5 to begin UConn’s Saturday game.

Meanwhile, the Huskies’ head coach, Geno Auriemma, is poised to surpass Pat Summitt in seven less seasons than it took VanDerveer. If UConn wins its next three games, Auriemma will have a chance to reach win 1,099 at Baylor on Jan. 7.

Surprises

No. 2 Louisville Cardinals

Nyah Green, the No. 23 recruit in the Hoop Gurlz Class of 2019, has decided to transfer away from Louisville. She has played a total of 10 minutes in five games this year.

No. 24 DePaul Blue Demons over No. 9 Kentucky Wildcats (Wednesday)

Kentucky had all the momentum and the best player on the floor in Rhyne Howard.

The Lady Volunteers struggled against teams that were ranked higher than them last year so this one really got a monkey off their back.

North Carolina Tar Heels over No. 18 Syracuse Orange (Thursday)

Unranked but solid, UNC started a disappointing 0-2 in the ACC. But they absolutely demolished the ranked Orange 92-68 in this one.

South Dakota State Jackrabbits over No. 20 Missouri State Lady Bears (Saturday)

This wasn’t a huge upset, but the Jackrabbits were unranked and the Lady Bears had the best win between the two teams (a Nov. 28 victory over the No. 14 Maryland Terrapins).

Washington State Cougars over No. 21 Oregon State Beavers (Saturday)

The Cougars were picked to finish last in the Pac-12.

AP rankings (Dec. 21)

The DePaul Blue Demons defeating the Kentucky Wildcats made the biggest impact on the rankings this week. The Blue Demons rose six spots to No. 18, while the Wildcats fell four spots to No. 13.

Three other teams that fell four spots were the No. 19 Indiana Hoosiers, No. 22 Syracuse Orange and No. 24 Missouri State Lady Bears. All three lost to unranked teams. The Oregon State Beavers got hit even harder as they fell from No. 21 to the third team out of the rankings after their loss to the Washington State Cougars.

The Michigan State Spartans entered the rankings at No. 25 thanks to Oregon State’s loss. The Spartans defeated the Central Michigan Chippewas on Friday and the Northern Illinois Huskies on Sunday to take care of business on their end.

COVID news

Teams on pause

  • No. 2 Louisville Cardinals (on pause since Dec. 11 due to positive test within program)
  • No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes (went on pause on Dec. 15 due to multiple positive tests within the program; pause was extended by at least seven days on Friday)
  • Duke Blue Devils (on pause since Dec. 16 due to two positive tests within travel party)
  • Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (on pause since Dec. 16 due to guidelines set by the ACC)

Other news

  • The No. 1 Stanford Cardinal have not played a home game since their opener on Nov. 25 due to COVID regulations in Santa Clara County, Calif.
  • The Villanova Wildcats went on pause on Dec. 15 due to “issues involving a previous opponent,” but came off it and defeated the Creighton Bluejays on Saturday.

Games of the week

Friday: Manhattan Lady Gaspers 71, Quinnipiac Bobcats 70 (OT)

Emily LaPointe (15 points) made the game-winning layup on a put-back at the buzzer for the Lady Gaspers after the Bobcats had gone up by one with 10 seconds to play. A layup from Quinnipiac’s Mikala Morris (18 points) with five seconds left in regulation is what sent the game to overtime. The Bobcats were down by 12 entering the fourth quarter. Courtney Warley led Manhattan with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while LaPointe dished out nine assists.

Sunday: North Carolina Tar Heels 77, Wake Forest Demon Deacons 74 (OT)

The Tar Heels avenged a three-point loss to the Demon Deacons on Dec. 10 in this thriller. They pulled away late in the overtime period with free throws and had tied the game with seven seconds left in regulation on a free throw from Kennedy Todd-Williams. Wake Forest was up 22-10 after the first quarter before UNC battled back. Janelle Bailey was the player of the game with 19 points and 12 boards for the winners.

Sunday: Pacific Tigers 77, UNLV Lady Rebels 75 (2OT)

The Tigers’ first game of the season was a tough one — they had to face the No. 1 team in the nation and were blown out by Tara VanDerveer’s Stanford squad on a historic night. However, Pacific has now won two in a row and the first came against a Power 5 team in the LSU Tigers. Brooklyn McDavid made the game-winning layup on Sunday with three seconds left in the second overtime. That was after UNLV missed what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer at the end of the first overtime. The Lady Rebels won the fourth quarter 16-6 to force OT. Pacific’s Valerie Higgins missed a layup with four seconds to go in the fourth that would have won it, but she still finished with a stellar stat line of 24 points, 11 boards, four assists and eight steals.

Other top performances

Maddy Siegrist: 34 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks for the Villanova Wildcats in a win over the Creighton Bluejays on Saturday.

Arella Guirantes: 33 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a loss to the Maryland Terrapins on Monday.

Jessika Carter: 29 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks for the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a win over the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears on Sunday.

Blanca Millan: 34 points, nine rebounds and three steals for the Maine Black Bears in a win over the Northeastern Huskies on Sunday.

Lashonda Monk: 32 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals for the East Carolina Pirates in a win over the Cincinnati Bearcats on Sunday.

Best upcoming matchup

No. 3 UConn Huskies (4-0, 3-0 Big East) vs. Villanova Wildcats (7-0, 2-0 Big East)

When: Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Finneran Pavilion in Villanova, PA

How to watch/listen: SNY/Radio: 97-9 ESPN or TUNEIN (UConn)

Reason to watch: It will be interesting to see how Villanova star Maddy Siegrist does against the big bad Huskies. She’s averaging 24.4 points per game.