December 16, 2021 

Daily Briefing — Dec. 16, 2021: Duke pushes South Carolina

Elisa Pinzan efficient as usual for South Florida

It’s Thursday — the workweek’s almost passed! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the daily Watch List and Yesterday’s Recap! Day 38 of college basketball is here, and following yesterday’s vaguely competitive top-15 matchup between the ACC and SEC (South Carolina over Duke), we have a top-20 matchup between the ACC and SEC!

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(All times in Eastern)

Watch List, Thursday, Dec. 16


#17 Georgia @ #2 N.C. State, 6 p.m., ACC Network

Good games


Also watchable

Houston @ Florida State, 7 p.m., ACC Network Extra

Sickos games

Furman @ Charleston Southern, 5:30 p.m., ESPN+

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


Wednesday, Dec. 15 recap

#1 South Carolina, #15 Duke: The Gamecocks beat the Blue Devils 55-46, tied for the second-closest margin of South Carolina’s season, though point guard Destanni Henderson remained out with a left leg injury. A sickos game on primetime TV, as the teams combined to go 34.6% from the field (though Duke offset that a bit with 34.8% shooting from three on 23 attempts), and 36 turnovers; The Gamecocks had a +16 rebounding margin, including 19 offensive boards. A ref tripped a Blue Devil in the midst of receiving a pass in transition, and then tried to play it off like nothing happened. That was pretty weird, but I’m sure it wasn’t too consequential, right?

South Carolina was led by center Aliyah Boston’s 19-point, 14-rebound double-double on 8-for-15 shooting (2-3 3pt.) with two steals and four blocks; combo forward Laeticia Amihere had 10 points on 3-for-7 FG (1-1 3pt.), seven rebounds (three offensive), and three assists against three turnovers; off-ball guard Destiny Littleton set Gamecock-career-highs with 10 points on 3-for-6 from three off the bench; combo forward Victaria Saxton grabbed six offensive rebounds in 26 minutes; wing Zia Cooke and off-ball guard Brea Beal combined for nine points on 4-for-22 from the field and 1-for-11 from three, with Cooke committing six turnovers, but Beal tallying six rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Point guard Shayeann Day-Wilson led the Blue Devils with 17 bench points on 6-for-14 from the field and 3-for-8 from three against five turnovers; wing Celeste Taylor notched nine points on 4-for-9 shooting (1-of-2 from three) with three rebounds and five steals against five turnovers; center Jade Williams, combo forward Lexi Gordon, and point guard Vanessa de Jesus combined for eight points on 2-for-18 from the field and 2-for-8 from three and eight assists, with Williams and Gordon together adding 12 rebounds and three steals against five turnovers.

#3 Stanford: 68-42 win over UC Davis, a team that beat Oregon. Shot just 4-for-17 from three but was a +15 in rebounding; committed just eight turnovers and nine fouls; notched 13 steals. Center Cameron Brink notched an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double on 5-for-12 shooting with six offensive rebounds and three fouls in 22 minutes; off-ball guard Hannah Jump had 17 points on 7-for-13 from the field and 3-for-7 from three, six rebounds, two assists, and three steals; the Hull sisters combined for 16 points on 5-for-11 FG (1-5 3pt.), 13 rebounds, seven assists, eight steals and just one turnover; backup big Fran Belibi went 4-for-4 from the field off the bench.

#16 South Florida: 69-50 win over Stetson. Were tied midway through the second, then went on a 16-2 run. Point guard Elisa Pinzan led with a game-high 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting (2-4 3pt.) and six assists against two turnovers; center Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu stayed in the starting lineup and scored seven points on 3-for-8 FG with six rebounds against two turnovers and four fouls in 12 minutes; combo forward Bethy Mununga and combo guard Elena Tsineke, who’d started every game up ‘til yesterday, came off the bench for some reason, Mununga finishing with six points on 3-for-7 shooting and nine rebounds and two blocks against three turnovers in 20 minutes, and Tsineke tallying 10 points on 4-for-7 FG and three assists against two turnovers in 23 minutes; now-backup center Shae Leverett notched 10 points on 3-for-3 from the field, nine rebounds (three offensive), two steals, and three blocks without a turnover in 23 minutes.

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#22 LSU: 100-36 win over Alcorn State. Won the first and fourth quarters a combined 54-15. Shot 61.3% from the field and 37.5% from three, despite 11 misses at the line, while holding the Bears to 26.0% and 24.0% marks, respectively; notched 17 steals en route to forcing 26 turnovers. Point guard Khayla Pointer had a double-double with 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting (2-4 3pt.) with 10 rebounds in 20 minutes, plus four assists and three steals without a turnover; combo guard Alexis Morris scored 14 points on 7-for-11 from the field (0-2 3pt.) with two steals and no turnovers.

#24 Ohio State: 97-51 win over Alabama State. Shot 36.1% from three on 36 attempts; notched 13 steals, part of 29 forced turnovers. Wing Taylor Mikesell scored a season-high 27 points on 7-for-16 from three and a perfect 3-for-3 from two, with two assists and two steals in 26 minutes without a turnover; combo guard Jacy Sheldon had 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting (2-4 3pt.), five rebounds (three offensive), two assists, and two steals against five turnovers; big Rebeka Mikulášiková notched a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double on 5-for-10 FG (0-3 3pt.) with two assists and three blocks against two turnovers; combo guard Rikki Harris tallied a career-high 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting off the bench (1-2 3pt., 3-6 FT), three rebounds, three assists, and a career-high-tying six steals.

Minnesota: 99-93 win over Ohio. The teams combined to shoot 51.5% from the field and 55.6% from three while somehow also missing 11 free-throws. The Gophers out-rebounded the Bobcats by 13, but also committed 19 turnovers. Wing Sara Scalia scored 37 points on 14-for-21 from the field and 9-for-13 from three — all career-highs, and one three short of Rachel Banham’s single-game program record — with eight assists and no turnovers in 36 minutes — just the 10th 37-point game without a free-throw in the Her Hoop Stats era (since 2009); point guard Jasmine Powell finished one assist shy of a triple-double, with 18 points (5-11 FG, 1-3 3pt., 7-9 FT), 11 rebounds, and nine assists, against three turnovers.

Wake Forest: 94-40 win over South Carolina State. Shot 50.0% from the field and 43.8% from three with 57 rebounds. Combo guard Jewel Spear scored 25 points on 9-for-19 from the field and 5-for-11 from three with 10 rebounds for her first career double-double, adding five assists and two steals without a turnover in 32 minutes; point guard Elise Williams — the consensus^ No. 156 freshman in the country — set career-highs with 18 points (7-11 FG, 4-5 3pt.) and eight assists, plus five rebounds and two steals against three turnovers; freshman off-ball guard Alyssa Andrews scored 19 points on 8-for-16 from the field and 1-for-6 from three with 11 rebounds for a double-double, with three assists, a steal, and a block against four turnovers and two steals — all setting or tying career-highs; wing Raegyn Conley had her first career double-double off the bench, on 13 points (4-15 FG, 3-7 3pt.) and 12 rebounds (four offensive), plus two assists.

The Daily Briefing Jewel Spear Scoring Watch: 25 points today; 22.5 points per game (100th percentile), 27.3% usage rate (91st percentile); 30.1% of Wake Forest’s total scoring.

Oklahoma State: 75-33 win over Southern. Outscored the Jaguars 47-7 in the middle half, which just seems rude.

Jacksonville: Did not play its scheduled game against No. 25 North Carolina “due to COVID protocols within the Dolphins’ program” — i.e. positive case(s) within the program — as announced Tuesday.

Sacred Heart: Did not play its scheduled game against DII Southern Connecticut State “due to a positive COVID-19 case within the SHU program,” as announced Monday.

Blown leads

Miami (OH): 60-58 loss to Western Kentucky. Had over a 97.5% win expectancy with a seven-point lead and less than 90 seconds to go, before committing a turnover and three unintentional fouls to allow nine-straight points to the Hilltoppers.

UNC-Greensboro: 52-49 loss to Elon. Had win expectancies of 97.4% with a 40-21 lead in the mid-third quarter and 96.1% with a 49-40 lead in the mid-fourth, after which it allowed a 12-0 run for the Phoenix to close, during which the Spartans committed six turnovers, two unintentional fouls, and missed all three of their shots.

*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.

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