Women's Basketball Games of the Week 1/30 - 2/3

Miami at Boston College Women's Basketball

Women’s Basketball Games of the Week 1/30 – 2/3


Three of the strongest matchups take place in the early week of the schedule, with a big showdown between Connecticut and Duke to start things off. A couple of mid-major matchups at week’s end dot the schedule and give the lesser conferences a chance to show off.


No. 5 CONNECTICUT at No. 6 DUKE (7 p.m. Monday at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina)

This is a non-conference contest but it’s still a potential late-tournament showdown come the NCAA in March. The Huskies (19-2, 8-1 Big East) have four straight games against solid ranked opponents, including this game, Rutgers, Louisville and Georgetown. Like with most women’s basketball elite teams, the losses are to the top schools (Baylor and Notre Dame). Connecticut’s last win was 77-62 against South Florida behind 33 points from Tiffany Hayes. UConn has won 97 in a row at home but this game is on the road. Duke (17-2, 8-0 ACC) has won 11 straight since a loss to Kentucky earlier in the season, and that includes the most recent 81-37 win over Clemson. Tricia Liston had 16 points in the Clemson win.


No. 2 NOTRE DAME at No. 15 RUTGERS (7 p.m. Tuesday at Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway, New Jersey)

This is billed as a Big East showdown and it is a matchup between two top-25 teams, but don’t be surprised if it turns into a blowout. Still, counting out a Vivian Stringer-coached team might be foolish in women’s basketball circles. Notre Dame (21-1, 8-0) hasn’t lost since November 20 against Baylor, a span of 18 games. The most recent win was 71-56 against St. John’s behind 24 points by Skylar Diggins. The last team to hold Notre Dame to under single digits in victory margin was Connecticut. As for Rutgers (17-4, 6-2), the team has been topsy-turvy in the last five games. It needed overtime to beat Louisville, lost to St. Johns, won over South Florida and DePaul by single digits, and then fell by 18 points to Georgetown. This game will either be worse than that blowout or a big surprise. No middle ground here.


No. 10 LOUISVILLE at DePAUL (9 p.m. Tuesday at McGrath Arena in Chicago, Illinois)

If you’re looking for a closer Big East game, this might be a better one. The Cardinals have two tough road contests ahead with this game and West Virginia, but Louisville (17-4, 6-2) looks up to the challenge. Louisville has won three straight over Providence, Georgetown and Villanova following a rough stretch. Shoni Schimmel scored 18 points in the win over Villanova. DePaul (16-6, 4-4) is out of the Big East hunt for all intents and purposes, but a few key wins could help seeding come tournament time. DePaul hadn’t lost four straight since the 2003-04 season, and it avoided that fate thanks to Jasmine Penny’s 19 points in a 71-59 win over Seton Hall. DePaul has two games left with Louisville and one with Notre Dame.


STEPHEN F. AUSTIN at TEXAS STATE (8 p.m. Wednesday at Strahan Coliseum in San Marcos, Texas)

Despite having stronger overall records in the Southland Conference’s West Division, both these schools stand a half-game behind Sam Houston State in the league standings. Stephen Austin (14-5, 4-2) has two games with Texas State in the coming month, February 1 and 18. Austin’s league losses have come against Texas-San Antonio and Texas-Arlington. As for Texas State (12-7, 4-2), it has also lost to Texas-San Antonio and to McNeese State, from the Southland East Division. Sam Houston has one game each with these teams, and they are both at the end of the regular season.


TEXAS-PAN AMERICAN at UTAH VALLEY (3 p.m. Thursday at UCCU Center in Orem, Utah)

The Great West Conference, with only six teams, does not get a lot of media attention in women’s basketball, but three of its teams are tied for first. These are two, and North Dakota is the third. NJIT and Chicago State are a half-game back. Whoever said smaller conferences weren’t any fun? Texas-Pan American (9-12, 2-1) was upset 41-40 by NJIT before coming back to beat Houston Baptist 55-41 in its last game. Utah Valley (10-10, 2-1) is coming off a loss-win pattern as well, falling 69-42 to Chicago State but beating NJIT 61-54. Neither of these teams is particularly any good, but the fact remains. The winner of this game could be on the way to a Great West title.


No. 19 NEBRASKA at No. 16 PURDUE (8 p.m. Thursday at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana)

One of the Big Ten Conference’s top games of the week takes place in Indiana, when the Cornhuskers come to Lafayette. Nebraska (18-3, 7-2) just topped Illinois 67-47 and is tied for second place along with Ohio State. The conference leader is none other than Purdue (18-4, 8-1). The Huskers have back-to-back losses to Ohio State and Penn State, and this is the only time during the regular season these two teams face off. Purdue’s lone league loss is against Iowa, a 59-42 setback that snapped the Boilermakers’ win streak at 11 games. Brittany Rayburn scored only 10 points to lead Purdue in this game.