December 10, 2021 

Daily Briefing — Dec. 10, 2021: Nell Yeah, or UCon’t always get what you want

Michigan State star Alyza Winston enters the portal

Happy Friday! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap! Day 32 of college basketball is here, following a day to remember for the Big East: A historic loss for UConn and landmark victory for the “Nell Yeah” Yellow Jackets, a statement win for DePaul, and a ridiculous double-double by Maddy Siegrist in her return.

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(All times in Eastern)

W Roundup

The 2022 schedule has officially dropped! Tipoff is set for May 6th, with the Fever visiting the Mystics, though the national TV slate begins an hour later with the Sparks going into Chicago. All-Star weekend — “pre-All-Star activities” plus the game itself — is set for July 9th and 10th, the Commissioner’s Cup for July 26, and the season finale Aug. 14 with the playoffs between Aug. 14 and Sep. 17. Our Howard Megdal gave a rundown on the intricacies of the overall schedule, while myself and Alex Simon, our Phoenix reporter, give takeaways for the Storm and Mercury, respectively.

Watch List, Friday, Dec. 10



Good games

Penn @ Stony Brook, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Also watchable

Mizzou @ Missouri State, 8 p.m., ESPN+

Sickos games


Pac-12 or Big Ten on national television (or national streaming)

#23 Oregon State @ Monmouth, 7 p.m., ESPN3

Washington @ Seattle, 9 p.m., ESPN+

Thursday, Dec. 9 recap

#3 UConn, RV* Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets beat the Huskies 57-44. A sickos game for the ages, as the teams combined to shoot 34.5% from the field, 21.2% from three, and 56.0% from the line. Georgia Tech entered with a Her Hoop Stats defensive rating in the 99th percentile, while UConn entered missing all three of its point guards against a team known for interior defense. As noted by UConn beat writer Daniel Connolly, the Huskies had more fourth-quarter turnovers than points and notched a single point in the final 8:39; this is UConn’s first loss to an unranked squad in 240 games (St. John’s, 2012) and worst scoring output since 2006.

Point guard Lotta-Maj Lahtinen led the Yellow Jackets with a game-high 15 points on 4-for-12 from the field (2-5 3pt., 5-8 FT), three assists, and two steals against a lone turnover; center Nerea Hermosa had 13 points on 6-for-13 shooting, six rebounds, and three assists; big Lorela Cubaj notched seven points on 2-for-7 FG (1-4 FT), 13 rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and two blocks against three turnovers. The Huskies were led by combo guard Christyn Williams’ 13 points on 6-for-19 from the field and 1-for-8 from three, three assists, and four turnovers while playing the whole game; center Olivia Nelson-Ododa had a double-double with 12 points on 5-for-11 FG and 10 rebounds with three blocks against three turnovers; wing Evina Westbrook scored 11 points on 4-for-10 shooting (1-4 3pt.) with six assists, three steals, and three turnovers.

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#6 Arizona: 59-47 win over North Dakota State. Shot 34.9% from the field and 3-for-17 from three; notched 16 steals. Center Lauren Ware dislocated her knee in the first minute and will be out 1-2 weeks. Point guard Shaina Pellington set season-highs with 16 points and three offensive rebounds and four steals, on 6-for-13 shooting (1-5 3pt.) with three assists against two turnovers in 27 minutes; combo foward Cate Reese scored 13 points on 6-for-18 from the field (0-4 3pt.) with six rebounds; bench center Ariyah Copeland had 13 points on 3-for-6 FG (6-7 FT) against four turnovers.

#10 Indiana: 91-58 win over Fairfield. Won the first quarter 26-8. Shot 61.1% from the field and made 21 free-throws. Big Aleksa Gulbe had 21 points on 8-for-12 from the field and 3-for-4 from three, nine rebounds (three offensive), and three assists against two turnovers; center Mackenzie Holmes scored 23 points in 24 minutes on 9-for-10 shooting with five rebounds and blocks; point guard Grace Berger notched 19 points on 7-for-10 FG (1-2 3pt.), seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, four turnovers, and three fouls.

The Daily Briefing Indiana Bench Scoring Watch: 15 points (16.5% of team total), 12 attempts (23.1%) today; 64 points (9.8%), 56 attempts (10.7%) for the season.

#13 Michigan: 93-81 win over Wisconsin. Badger season-high in scoring by 14. The Wolverines shot 52.2% from the field and 41.2% from three, but allowed only marginally worse marks to the Badgers. Big Naz Hillmon had 21 points on 8-for-15 FG (5-6 FT), six rebounds (five offensive) and five assists against three turnovers while fouling out in 35 minutes; combo guard Danielle Rauch scored 18 points on 5-for-10 from the field and 3-for-6 from three (5-6 FT) with three assists and no turnovers; center Emily Kiser notched 17 points on 6-for-12 FG (5-6 FT) and eight rebounds (four offensive) with two turnovers; wing Leigha Brown tallied 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting (1-3 3pt.), six rebounds, five assists, four steals, and two blocks; off-ball guard Maddy Nolan hit 3-for-6 from deep off the bench for 11 points, plus three assists against four fouls.

#14 Kentucky, RV DePaul: The Blue Demons beat the Wildcats 94-85. Kentucky was without its second-best player, big Dre’una Edwards, because of a one-game suspension for violating academic policies. The teams combined to shoot 48.6% from the field, but DePaul hit 31.8% of its 22 three-point attempts, while the Wildcats missed all 14 of their tries; the Blue Demons were a +16 in rebounding, including 19 offensive boards. Off-ball guard Deja Church led DePaul with 20 points on 9-for-15 shooting (1-4 3pt.) with three rebounds against two turnovers and four fouls; big Aneesah Morrow had an 18-point, 17-rebound double-double on 9-for-18 FG with nine offensive rebounds and three assists against two turnovers and four fouls; wing Darrione Rogers tallied 17 points on 6-for-12 from the field and 3-for-8 from three, nine rebounds (three offensive), and five assists against four turnovers; point guard Lexi Held notched a double-double with 10 points (4-8 FG, 1-4 3pt.) and 11 assists with three steals against four turnovers and fouls. Kentucky off-ball guard Robyn Benton had 22 points, seven rebounds (five offensive), and two blocks — all Kentucky-career-highs — on 11-for-15 shooting (0-4 3pt.) with a season-high four steals against three turnovers; freshman point guard Jada Walker — the consensus^ No. 57 recruit — made her first career start, scoring 18 points on 7-for-18 from the field (0-2 3pt.) with two assists and steals.

#18 Texas A&M: 88-43 win over Texas Southern. Head coach Gary Blair is now the winningest coach in Aggie basketball history, surpassing former men’s coach Shelby Metcalf. Shot 47.2% from the field and 61.1% from three; notched 15 steals against just eight turnovers committed. Wing Kayla Wells scored 25 points — most since her freshman year — on 9-for-17 shooting (4-4 3pt.) with five rebounds, three assists, and no turnovers; off-ball guard Qadashah Hoppie notched 14 points on 5-for-9 from the field and 4-for-6 from three with a career-high five steals against a lone turnover; point guard Jordan Nixon had 12 points on 4-for-9 FG (3-6 3pt.), six rebounds, and five assists against just one turnover; big Aaliyah Patty tallied 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting and five rebounds (three offensive) against three turnovers.

The Daily Briefing Texas A&M Wells/Nixon/Pitts Watch: combined share of Aggies’ scoring — 56.6%; rebounds — 30.8%; assists — 55.0%; turnovers — 42.7%; steals — 28.2%; combined 47.6% FG%, 47.4% 3P%, 1.24 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Michigan State: Combo guard Alyza Winston, the team’s second-leading scorer, has entered the transfer portal. The true junior was putting up 12.2 points, 3.0 assists, and 1.4 steals per game in just 27 minutes; she ranked above the 75th percentile among backcourt players in those three marks, plus usage, FG%, 2P%, and assist-to-turnover ratio. Suffice it to say this is a season-altering loss for the Spartans.

Villanova: 76-67 win over James Madison. Maddy Siegrist is back! In her first game since Nov. 12, the star wing put up a 36-point, 17-rebound double-double on 13-for-26 from the field, 1-for-3 from three, and 9-for-14 from the line, with five offensive boards against two turnovers. She would absolutely be today’s cover photo if it wasn’t for that immaculate broadcast shot.

Arkansas: 66-62 win over Jackson State. The Tigers are one of the better mid-majors you may not know about (despite how the stats may rank them), and the difference between this result and the Razorbacks’ in Orlando, Fla. was a Goforth three going in and Jackson State’s response hitting back rim. Point guard Makayla Daniels scored 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting (1-4 3pt., 5-6 FT) with eight rebounds (four offensive), three assists, and no turnovers to lead Arkansas. Tiger center Ameshya Williams-Holliday finished three blocks shy of a triple-double, with 18 points (8-18 FG, 2-6 FT), 21 rebounds, and seven blocks against four turnovers.

*Receiving Votes
^Consensus rankings are drawn from an aggregation of ESPN, Blue Star, Prep Girls, ASGR, and Prospects Nation

Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the WNBA at large and college basketball for The Next, with a focus on player development and the game behind the game.


  1. Martin Ruben on December 12, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    I am a huge UConn fan. Let’s just start there. Yes, the loss to Georgia Tech was bad, really bad. Props to GT. They fought hard for that win and earned it. Now let’s jump to UConn vs. UCLA. We all thought, no, not again. But then Ducharme hits the 3 near the end of the 2nd quarter, and the switch got flipped on. Evina and Dorka made huge contributions. Even UCLA’s 10 point run wasn’t enough. UConn, even with those missed free throws, did what a good team does. They fought for the win. Now, as Geno said, no one feels sorry for UConn. He’s right. They have good players who, when they figure out who they are on the court without Paige, will put some oil in the machine. Of course, seeing a player like Paige go down, maybe for the season, is devastating. But it happens to every team. Then those teams either find a way or fold. My guess is that UConn won’t fold, and when Azzi, Nika, and Aubrey come back, that will add some needed oil to the machine. There’s a saying I heard when I was learning to fly small airplanes. You’re the pilot in command; don’t let the plane fly you. So what I say to the UConn team is – you’re the players in command. Don’t let the game play you. Don’t count this team out.

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