February 6, 2024
ACC notebook: Louisville settles in at No. 1, Hidalgo hits 100 career steals and Fair averages 33 points
Notes from a busy week 13 across the conference
As ACC women’s basketball gears up for its last month of conference play, the usual suspects are continuing to thrive and set the league up for a thrilling conference tournament. Freshman phenom Hannah Hidalgo of Notre Dame surpassed 100 career assists in the Irish’s win over Georgia, while Dyaisha Fair averaged 33 points across Syracuse’s two games this week. The intensity across the ACC has continued to increase, and plenty of teams have risen to meet the moment.
Here’s your week 13 roundup of ACC play.
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What everybody’s talking about: Hannah Hidalgo hits 100 career steals, scores career-high 35 points
Despite her rookie status, Hannah Hidalgo is hardly a new name for college basketball fans at this point in the season — but that doesn’t make any of her first-year milestones any less impressive.
In the Irish’s win over Georgia Tech this week, Hidalgo cemented herself as the fastest women’s Division I player to 100 career steals since the 1999-2000 season. Hidalgo currently leads the nation in steals per game with 5.1.
The freshman continues to make an impact on both sides of the ball, averaging 28.5 points per game in Notre Dame’s two matchups this week. Hidalgo’s efforts were rewarded with ACC Rookie of the Week honors for the 10th time this season.
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This caught my attention: Louisville pulls away for a decisive win over Syracuse
Just last week, the Cardinals stole the No. 1 spot in the ACC from Syracuse after two 15-plus-point wins over Boston College and Pittsburgh. Many doubted Louisville would hold that spot for long, as the team has yet to face some of the toughest ACC squads. But the Cardinals put those doubts to rest when it hosted the Orange on Thursday and sent the visitors home with an 81-69 loss to prove that they’re willing to put up a fight to remain at the top.
Sophomore forward Nyla Harris tied her season-high 18 points against the Orange, following close behind graduate guard Kiki Jefferson’s team-high 21 points. The Cardinals also received double-digit contributions from graduate guards Sydney Taylor and Nina Rickards.
However, the Cardinals don’t have the luxury of letting their guard down any time soon: Louisville faces two arguably greater tests in week 14, in nationally ranked No. 3 NC State and No. 14 Notre Dame, where it has the opportunity to further prove itself as top dog in the ACC.
Syracuse will have a chance to get its revenge on the Cardinals when the two face off on the Orange’s home court on Sunday, Feb. 11.
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Other notable headlines
Dyaisha Fair averages 33 points
Graduate guard Dyaisha Fair was unstoppable this week in the Orange’s games against Syracuse and Boston College. She put up 28 points in a loss to the Orange and followed it up with a career-high 38 points in a win over the Eagles that included five 3-pointers. The graduate student is averaging 21.6 points per game this season.
Throughout conference play, Fair has been an integral part of Syracuse’s success. She has hit three 3-pointers in every conference game this season and ranks sixth on the NCAA Division I all-time scoring list. Fair was named co–ACC Player of the Week alongside Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley.
Georgia Amoore posts back-to-back double-doubles
Senior guard Georgia Amoore recorded two double-doubles — both consisting of points and assists — this week in Virginia Tech’s wins over Virginia and UNC–Chapel Hill.
In the Hokies’ win over the Tar Heels, Amoore scored or assisted on 13 of Virginia Tech’s 16 points in the overtime session. Her constant energy and hustle kept the team alive against a gritty Chapel Hill squad.
Amoore currently leads the ACC in assists by a wide margin. The Hokie has recorded 160 assists this season, while Hidalgo sits at second in the conference with 119. In terms of scoring, Amoore ranks sixth in the ACC and averages 17.7 points per game.
NC State grinds out rivalry win over UNC–Chapel Hill
Although it wasn’t a pretty one, the Wolfpack gutted out a 63-59 win over the rival Tar Heels in a rowdy Reynolds Coliseum on Thursday night.
NC State fans gave UNC their worst — undoubtedly fueled by head coach Courtney Banghart’s comments about their “small gym” in years past — and provided a critical boost for the red-and-white when it stumbled in the third quarter.
NC State maintained the upper hand throughout the first two quarters but let up in the third to let the Tar Heels bring the game within one, 49-48. Critical baskets from junior guard Aziaha James in the final quarter and a solid defensive effort that held the Tar Heels to just 11 points in the fourth put the Wolfpack back on track. James scored eight of her 10 points in the final period.
With the win, the Pack jumped back up to the No. 3 spot in AP Poll that it had held for four weeks earlier in the season.
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This week in ACC action
- Thursday: Notre Dame plays Louisville at 6 p.m. ET
- Thursday: Virginia Tech plays NC State at 8 p.m. ET
- Sunday: Notre Dame plays Florida State at 12 p.m. ET
- Sunday: Louisville plays Syracuse at 12 p.m. ET
- Sunday: UNC–Chapel Hill plays Duke at 2 p.m. ET
- Sunday: Miami plays Georgia Tech at 2 p.m. ET