College basketball teams are looking for those final wins of the year ahead of a prepared break for the holidays. Week 4 of the women’s basketball season features conference games between teams trending opposite ways and a special Monday matinee of Pac-12 powers.
Here’s what to watch this weekend in women’s hoops. The full schedule can be found here. All times are E.T.
Xavier (3-1) at No. 3 UConn (3-0, 2-0), 1 p.m.
TEAM CATCH UP: UConn followed up the season opener with a 27-point victory over Seton Hall and a 33-point victory over Creighton. Welcome back to the Big East, Huskies. Just like old times.
Xavier is coming off a five-point loss, 88-83, to Valparaiso in a non-conference matchup from Wednesday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Paige Bueckers won Big East Freshman of the Week her first time out and is dazzling as expected, making UConn a team to watch almost any time out. She’s averaging a team-high 17.7 points per game on 65.7 percent shooting (23-for-35). Her 5.0 assists per game and seven total steals also lead the Huskies and her 6.7 rebounds per game are close.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa is averaging 17.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.
Xavier’s Nia Clark (15.8 PPG, .481), A’riana Gray (14.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG) and Kae Satterfield (11.8, 8.8 RPG) lead Xavier. Satterfield has done it coming off the bench in each of the four games.
South Dakota State (4-2) at No. 20 Missouri State (4-1), 2 p.m.
TEAM CATCH UP: South Dakota State bounced back from back-to-back losses to defeat Drake on Tuesday. They’ll look to get back into the AP Top 25 rankings with a solid performance against Missouri State. It was the first time in 11 years South Dakota State was ranked.
The Bears are the third ranked opponent South Dakota State has faced so far this year. Missouri State’s only loss is to Wake Forest and they have an upset of Maryland on their resume.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Myah Selland leads the Jackrabbits with 17.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. She has 2.8 assist per game and is shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line.
Bears senior guard Brice Calip is averaging 15.2 points per game and had a 26-point outing in that upset of Maryland. The team’s defense has held opponents to 32.5 percent shooting.
No. 18 Syracuse (4-1, 1-1) at Boston College (4-2, 0-2), 2 p.m. ACCN
TEAM CATCH UP: Syracuse is coming off its first loss of the season, 92-68, to unranked North Carolina (6-2, 1-2 ACC) on Thursday night. The Orange struggled from the floor, scoring nine points in the first quarter and shooting 29.3 percent overall. They took 36 3-point attempts and made nine (25 percent).
Boston College is also coming off a loss, but with a different outlook. The Eagles nearly upset reigning ACC champions N.C. State, ranked No. 3 in the polls. The Wolfpack rattled off a 28-9 final quarter to come back for a 75-69 win despite trailing by as many as 16 points. The Eagles other loss is to Georgia Tech.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Tiana Mangakahia suffered a foot injury against Miami last week and was questionable for the Tar Heels game. She did play, but after playing the first five minutes she returned for only 12 the rest of the way. She’ll be on watch. Also keep an eye on Kiara Lewis, who had 10 points, three rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes against North Carolina after early foul trouble.
Taylor Soule averages 16.2 points a game on 47.1 percent shooting. Her 7.5 rebounds per game average is best on the team, trailed only slightly by Clara Ford. Marnelle Garraud has 16 total assists and 15 total steals.
Nebraska (3-1, 1-0) at No. 15 Indiana (2-2, 0-0), 4 p.m.
TEAM CATCH UP: Nebraska suffered its first loss of the season, 78-62, against Creighton. Their win over Big Ten foe Illinois was by six points on Dec. 10.
Indiana has back-to-back losses to ranked Kentucky (72-68) and unranked Tennessee (66-58). The Hoosiers need to bounce back going into the break. The two squads played a tight four-point affair on Feb. 9, 2020, but Indiana crushed Nebraska a few weeks later. It’s the third meeting against Indiana in 12 games for Nebraska.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sam Haiby, a 5-foot-9 guard, paces Nebraska with 17.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. She had 33 points, nine rebounds and four assists against Illinois earlier this year. Kate Cain, a three-time Lisa Leslie Award candidate, is building her career blocks mark of 292. She’s averaging 10.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks.
Mackenzie Holmes is shooting 60 percent and averaging 15.3 points per game for Indiana. Grace Berger is averaging 15.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The contributions are well spread out between all five starters.
No. 1 Stanford (5-0, 2-0) at No. 11 UCLA (4-1, 2-1), 3 p.m.
This is an oddball Monday afternoon tip-off that might technically fall into Week 5 territory, but it will be worth the watch. The Pac-12 has remained the conference to watch in the 2020-21 season.
TEAM CATCH UP: The top-ranked Cardinal celebrated coach Tara VanDerveer’s record-setting victory earlier this week with a dominant 104-61 win over Pacific. The Tigers stayed in it until the closing minutes of the first half. Stanford will faced USC on Saturday before the ranked matchup. And after the nearly two-week long break the Cardinal will return to face No. 6 Arizona on Jan. 1.
No. 11 UCLA is coming into the weekend off a 21-point win over USC and will face Cal on Saturday. The Bruins open the new year with an Oregon trip, where the Ducks are atop the Pac-12 standings.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Stanford has the fifth-best scoring offense in NCAA Division I with 95.8 points per game. The Cardinal are also fifth defensively with 48.6 points per game allowed. Granted, none of their opponents have been tough tests yet.
Five players are averaging double-digits in points, including three starters: Haley Jones (18.4 PPG, .695), Lexie Hull (11.8 PPG, .413) and Francesca Belibi (11.6 PPG, .628). Jones is averaging a team-best 9.0 rebounds per game and Cameron Brink is doing big work off the bench averaging 12.4 points and 6.4 rebounds. She’s 24-of-40 (.600) from the floor).
UCLA is playing with eight players and is led by Charisma Osborne (19.2 PPG) and Michaela Onyenwere (16.2 PPG, 9.2 RPG). The team ranks top-50 in points per game (80.2) and top-25 in points allowed (54.6).
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