December 20, 2021 

Daily Briefing — Dec. 20, 2021: Washington lottery, today’s reward — the No. 1 draft pick

Michigan gets its first-ever top-5 win

It’s Monday, I’m sorry. Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and the longest Yesterday’s Recap of the week! Day 43 of college basketball is here, after the lottery achieved new levels of absurdity after granting the top pick to the 2019 league champions and keeping the Fever away from a premier talent for their fifth-straight lottery. But first, our college contributor Missy Heidrick gives a detailed rundown of the mid-major landscape as non-conference play comes to a close.

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(All times in Eastern)

W Roundup

Lottery: The draft lottery took place yesterday, with the Mystics winning the No. 1 pick despite the third-best odds. Indiana fell to second, Atlanta third, while the Wings stayed put for the fourth-overall pick. This is perhaps some cosmic justice for Washington falling from the best odds in 2013 to the fourth-overall pick, where it missed a combined 15 All-WNBA selections in Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne, and Skylar Diggins-Smith, and drafted a bust in Tayler Hill. It is also perhaps some cosmic justice for the Fever doing, well… [gestures at Indiana draft history and cap sheet].

New York, Phoenix: Former Liberty and longtime Lynx assistant Shelley Patterson’s name “has surfaced” in the coaching searches of the Liberty and Mercury, per ESPN analyst LaChina Robinson.

Watch List, Monday, Dec. 20

Must-watch

None

Good games

RV* FGCU vs. Michigan State, 11 a.m., FloHoops (West Palm Beach Invitational)

Troy vs. Jackson State, 1 p.m., Untelevised? (Mississippi State Classic)

West Virginia vs. #16 South Florida, 1:15 p.m., FloHoops (West Palm Beach Invitational)

Also watchable

None

Sickos games

Furman @ Hampton, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Indiana State @ Purdue Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., ESPN+

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

None

Sunday, Dec. 19 recap

#2 N.C. State: 82-55 win over Virginia. Shot 50.0% from the field, but allowed the Cavaliers to go 45.0% from three; forced 20 turnovers and drew 21 fouls. 11 Wolfpack scored at least two points. Point guard Raina Perez was the only starter to play more than 24 minutes, finishing with 16 points on a perfect 6-for-6 from the field (3-3 3pt.) — 12 of those coming in the first half — four rebounds, and three assists with just one turnover in 34 minutes; center Elissa Cunane had a team-high 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting (0-1 3pt.), six rebounds (three offensive), and two steals; backup center Camille Hobby notched 10 points on 3-for-5 FG (0-1 3pt.) with three fouls in 11 minutes. Virginia combo guard Amandine Toi scored a game-high 20 points on 8-for-14 from the field and 4-for-8 from three with five turnovers and four steals, the fifth-straight game and sixth in the past seven that she’s led the Cavaliers in scoring.

#4 Arizona: Did not play its scheduled game against #11 Texas “due to COVID-19 protocols and contact tracing within the Arizona Women’s Basketball program” — i.e positive case(s) — as announced Saturday.

#5 Baylor, #13 Michigan: The Wolverines beat the Bears 74-68 in overtime, Michigan’s second time covering Her Hoop Stats’ spread in its past five games after covering in four of its first six (HHS doesn’t provide lines for season-openers). If you can make sense of this team, you’re far wiser than me. A maddening affair, neither team reached 60 points until overtime, combining to shoot 37.4% from the field and 25.0% from three. The Wolverines were a +15 in the rebounding battle, including 18 offensive boards.

Michigan wing Leigha Brown scored a game-high 25 points on 7-for-16 from the field (0-3 3pt.) and 11-for-13 from the line with five rebounds, four assists, and two steals against two turnovers in 42 minutes; big Naz Hillmon had a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double on 6-for-19 FG with six offensive rebounds, two steals, and five turnovers while fouling out in 33 minutes on… shall we say some controversial calls (Editor’s note: from live look, can confirm these were not great, Bob); wing Laila Phelia notched 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting (2-4 3pt.), five rebounds (three offensive), and two steals in 32 minutes — all tying or setting career-highs — without a turnover. Big NaLyssa Smith led Baylor with a double-double of 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting (1-2 3pt., 4-6 FT) and 14 rebounds, plus three blocks against four turnovers in 42 minutes; combo guard Sarah Andrews scored 16 points on 7-for-17 FG (2-4 3pt.) with three steals against two turnovers in 42 minutes; point guard Jordan Lewis had 15 points on just 2-for-13 from the field (0-5 3pt.) but 11-for-11 from the line, five rebounds (three offensive), seven assists, and four steals against three turnovers; bench combo forward Caitlin Bickle fouled out in 28 minutes.



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#6 Louisville, #7 UConn: The Cardinals beat the Huskies 69-64. The lead changed hands seven times, all in the second half. UConn shot slightly worse overall on 13 more attempts than Louisville, thanks to 17 offensive rebounds, but the Cardinals shot 53.5% from three and took 10 more free-throws. Combo guard Hailey Van Lith and wing Kianna Smith both scored a Louisville-high 16 points on 14 attempts with four rebounds and three assists — Van Lith going 5-for-14 form the field (season-high-tying 2-2 3pt.) with two offensive rebounds and no turnovers, Smith 7-for-14 (1-4 3pt.); big wing Emily Engstler was limited to 21 minutes by foul trouble, finishing with nine points on 2-for-5 shooting (1-1 3pt.), six rebounds, and two assists; off-ball guard Ahlana Smith notched 11 points on a season-high 3-for-4 from three (0-1 from two), a season-high-tying two steals, and two turnovers in 19 bench minutes. Husky off-ball guard Caroline Ducharme scored a game-high 24 points on 10-for-20 from the field and 3-for-9 from three with eight rebounds (three offensive) and two assists against three turnovers while playing all 40 minutes — all career-highs; big Dorka Juhász had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting (0-1 3pt.), eight rebounds (three offensive), and three assists against just one turnover; combo guard Christyn Williams and wing Evina Westbrook combined for 16 points on 7-for-23 FG (Westbrook 0-5 3pt.), six rebounds, four steals, and seven turnovers; big Aaliyah Edwards came off the bench for the second-straight game after starting the first nine.

This is the first time UConn has lost three games before New Year’s since 2004.

TDB Louisville Backcourt+ Minutes Hierarchy Watch: Van Lith (36), Mykasa Robinson (20), Smith (19), Chelsie Hall (18), Norika Konno (6), Payton Verhulst (6) last night; Hailey Van Lith (275), Chelsie Hall (228), Mykasa Robinson (205), Ahlana Smith (137), Norika Konno (135), Payton Verhulst (107) this season.

#10 Indiana: 67-57 win over Western Michigan, a team Purdue beat by eight and USC beat by 30. Make of that what you will. The Hoosiers shot just 39.0% from the field, 12.5% from three, and 65.5% from the line; attempted the same number of shots despite 18 more rebounds (including 18 offensive), but tok 22 more free-throws. Center Mackenzie Holmes had a double-double on a game-high 17 points (7-12 FG) and a career-high 19 rebounds (six offensive), plus four blocks without a turnover in 29 minutes; point guard Grace Berger notched 16 points on 7-for-14 shooting (0-1 3pt.), six rebounds, three assists, four steals, and two turnovers in 38 minutes; combo guard Ali Patberg tallied 16 points on 3-for-9 from the field (0-4 3pt.) and 7-for-10 from the line, four rebounds, and six assists against two turnovers; bench big Kiandra Browne tallied nine points in 14 minutes on 1-for-1 FG (7-10 FT) and a season-high 10 rebounds (career-high seven offensive).

TDB Indiana Bench Scoring Watch: 11 points (16.4% of team total), 7 attempts (11.9%) today; 77 points (9.6%), 66 attempts (10.3%) for the season.

#11 Texas: 74-58 win over San Diego, a game scheduled yesterday evening after UCLA had to cancel their originally scheduled game. Committed 19 turnovers and 21 fouls but forced 21 and 26, respectively; missed 14 free-throws while attempting only nine threes. Off-ball guard Aliyah Matharu scored a game-high 22 points on 7-for-13 from the field and 2-for-5 from three (6-8 FT) with four rebounds and a career-high seven steals against four turnovers and three fouls in 27 minutes off the bench; big Deyona Gaston had an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double on 3-for-4 FG (5-10 FT), two assists, and two steals against two turnovers and four fouls; point guard Rori Harmon fouled out in seven minutes.

#12 Iowa State: 108-39 win over Prairie View A&M. Won the first half 65-11 — sixty-five to eleven!!! Shot 50.6% from the field and 48.7% from three; notched 27 assists; held the Panthers to 20.8% from both the field and from three; won the rebounding battle by 33, including 19 offensive boards; committed only nine fouls while drawing 22. Combo guard Lexi Donarski scored a season-high 26 points in 27 minutes on 10-for-17 from the field and 6-for-11 from three with three rebounds and three assists without a turnover or foul; wing Ashley Joens had a double-double with 19 points on 7-for-18 shooting (2-6 3pt.) and 10 rebounds, plus two assists and no turnovers; point guard Emily Ryan notched 12 points on 3-for-6 from three (1-1 from two), five rebounds, a career-high 15 assists, two blocks, and no turnovers; off-ball guard Aubrey Joens tallied 18 points on 6-for-9 from three (0-1 from two), eight rebounds, and one turnover.

#15 Duke: Did not play its scheduled game against Miami due to Miami being “in COVID protocols” — i.e. positive case(s) within the program — as announced Friday.

#17 Georgia: 82-45 win over St. Francis (PA). Shot 53.1% overall and 53.3% from deep; held the Red Flash to 38.5% from the field and 16.7% from three; assisted on 28 of its 34 buckets; forced 21 turnovers while committing just eight turnovers and seven fouls. No starter played more than 21 minutes. Center Jenna Staiti scored a game-high 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting in just 13 minutes; point guard Que Morrison had nine points on 3-for-4 FG, three rebounds, and four steals against two turnovers in 13 minutes; bench combo guard Reigan Richardson notched 13 points on 5-for-12 from the field and 2-for-7 from three and a career-high six assists against a sole turnover in 22 minutes; backup big Jillian Hollingshead tallied eight points on 4-for-8 FG, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two turnovers.

St. Francis has now started the season 0-10.

#18 Georgia Tech: 62-45 win over Wake Forest. Shot 45.8% from the field, its second-best mark in the past two months; held the Demon Deacons to 33.3% overall and 28.6% from three; forced 17 turnovers. Center Nerea Hermosa and combo guard Eylia Love each scored a game-high 16 points — Hermosa on 8-for-11 FG with five rebounds and three assists, Love on 6-for-12 shooting (2-2 3pt.) with four rebounds, two assists, and five turnovers; combo forward Digna Strautmane had 12 points on 5-for-12 from the field (2-6 3pt.), seven rebounds (three offensive), and four assists against two turnovers; big Lorela Cubaj fouled out in 26 minutes, finishing with four points (2-5 FG, 0-2 3pt.), 12 rebounds, six assists, and three steals. Wake Forest combo guard Jewel Spear had nine points on 4-for-12 shooting (1-4 3pt.) and five turnovers, the Yellow Jackets sending a double-team nearly every time she got the ball.

TDB Jewel Spear Scoring Watch: 40 points today; 21.4 points per game (100th percentile), 27.3% usage rate (92nd percentile); 26.6% of Wake Forest’s total scoring.

#19 Kentucky: 67-44 win over South Carolina Upstate. Shot only 40.3% from the field and 25.0% from three; notched 14 steals as part of 27 forced turnovers. Wing Rhyne Howard scored a game-high 22 points — 17 coming in the second half — on 8-for-16 from the field (1-6 3pt.) with four assists and a season-high-tying six steals without a turnover; point guard Jada Walker had 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting (1-3 3pt.), three rebounds, three assists, and three steals against four turnovers and fouls each; big Dre’una Edwards notched an 11-point, 12-rebound double-double on 5-for-14 FG (1-1 3pt.) with six rebounds, four assists, and four turnovers.

#21 Notre Dame: 85-59 over Pitt. Scored 56 points in the middle half. Point guard Olivia Miles had 21 points on 8-for-15 from the field and 3-for-7 from three, six rebounds, 11 assists, and a career-high six steals against a lone turnover; wing Sonia Citron notched 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting (3-7 3-pt.), eight rebounds (three offensive), three assists, and three steals with one turnover off the bench; big wing Maddy Westbeld scored 13 points on 5-for-11 FG (1-3 3pt.) with seven rebounds (three offensive) and two assists without a turnover; bench combo forward Sam Brunelle tallied 12 points on 5-for-12 from the field (1-5 3pt.), four rebounds, season-high three assists, and two turnovers.

#23 Texas A&M: Did not play its scheduled game against Rice “due to COVID-19 related issues within the Rice program” — i.e. positive case(s) — as announced Saturday.

#24 Ohio State, RV UCLA: Did not play their scheduled game “due to COVID-19 protocols within the Bruins’ program” — i.e. positive case(s) — as announced Saturday. The UCLA program has been on pause since Thursday, and will not play again until Dec. 2u at the earliest.

#25 North Carolina: 76-73 win over Boston College. Trailed by 13 after three quarters, but won the fourth 29-13; had a 1.3% win expectancy down 15 early in the fourth quarter and 2% win expectancy down seven with 1:33 to go, but the Eagles committed four-straight turnovers between 1:19 and 0:08. Shot just 39.3% from the field and 20.0% from three, but took 30(!) free-throws; allowed Boston College to shoot 50.9% overall and 43.8% from deep; lost the rebounding battle by 13; notched 16 steals, part of 27 forced turnovers; the teams combined for 46 fouls.

The Tar Heels were led by their combo guards: Carlie Littlefield’s season-high 22 points on 6-for-12 from the field (1-6 3pt.) and 9-for-9 from the line, three rebounds, and three steals against two turnovers; Deja Kelly’s 19 points on 6-for-15 FG (1-2 3pt., 6-7 FT), three assists, and four steals against two turnovers; and Eva Hodgson’s 15 points on 3-for-8 shooting (1-5 3pt, 8-10 FT), four rebounds (two offensive), six assists, and season-high four steals; combo forward Alyssa Utsby fouled out in 29 minutes, finishing with seven points on 3-for-11 FG, five rebounds, and three steals. Eagle point guard Marnelle Garraud and wing Cameron Swartz both scored a team-high 20 points, Garraud on 7-for-11 shooting (4-6 3pt.) with six rebounds, six assists, two steals, and four turnovers, and Swartz on 8-for-13 from the field (3-4 3pt.)with five rebounds and two assists.

RV DePaul: 107-93 win over St. John’s. Trailed at the half and did not hold the game-winning lead until midway through the third quarter; The teams combined to shoot 51.0% from the field and 42.2% from three. Off-ball guard Sonya Morris led the Blue Demons with 35 points on 16-for-29 shooting (2-4 3pt.),eight rebounds, and two steals against two turnovers; big Aneesah Morrow had a 29-point, 14-rebound double-double on 10-for-17 FG (1-2 3pt.) with six offensive rebounds, two steals, three blocks, and three turnovers; point guard Lexi Held notched 21 points on 7-for-11 from the field and 5-for-7 from three, four rebounds, six assists, and four turnovers; wing Darrione Rogers tallied nine point (3-8 FG, 2-4 3pt.), eight rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. The Red Storm were led by wing Leilani Correa’s career-high-tying 35 points on 13-for-19 from the field and 4-for-8 from three (5-6 FT), eight rebounds, three assists, and four steals against two turnovers.

RV Nebraska: 89-68 win over Drake, the Huskers’ second win against a top-55 team in Her Hoop Stats rating; held the Bulldogs to their second-lowest scoring output of the season. The teams combined to shoot 46.8% from the field and 41.9% from three. Nebraska notched 14 turnovers, part of 27 forced turnovers. Combo guard Ashley Scoggin scored 16 points on 4-for-10 from three (1-2 from two) with three steals against four turnovers; point guard Sam Haibey had 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting (3-7 3pt.), three rebounds, four assists, and two turnovers; backup center Alexis Markowski notched a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double on 6-for-8 FG with five offensive rebounds.

RV Washington State: 69-62 loss to Stony Brook. Shot just 32.8% from the field and 20.0% from three, perhaps because they had no time to sleep. Here’s the Cougars’ schedule this past weekend, according to the Seawolves’ broadcast (in Eastern time):

Saturday, 2 p.m.: tipoff at Provo, Utah
Sunday, 3:15 a.m.: arrived at JFK airport
11:15 a.m.: left hotel
12:45 p.m.: arrived at Stony Brook’s stadium
2 p.m.: tipoff at Stony Brook

This game was scheduled at the last minute, but Wazzu had originally planned to play Cornell yesterday, in upstate New York. This is absolutely egregious.

Purdue: 82-76 win over Miami (OH). Point guard Jeanae Terry notched a triple-double with 11 points (1-6 FG, 9-12 FT), 12 rebounds (four offensive), and 10 assists, plus two steals against four turnovers — secured the triple-double from the line with 36 seconds remaining.

Virginia Tech: 92-75 win over Florida State. Shot 56.4% from the field and 47.6% from three and 20-for-25 from the line; allowed 46.7% shooting and 41.2% from deep; committed only nine turnovers, but forced only nine turnovers. Center Elizabeth Kitley tied a career-high with 34 points on 13-for-19 form the field and 8-for-10 from the line, plus 13 rebounds (five offensive) and four blocks without a turnover; point guard Georgia Amoore set season-highs with 20 points on 5-for-7 from three (1-5 from two) and four rebounds, adding eight assists against a lone turnover.

East Carolina: 79-50 win over UNC-Wilmington. Wing Taniya Thompson scored a career-high 31 points in 33 minutes on 13-for-19 from the field and 3-for-6 from three with six rebounds against two turnovers.

Troy: 94-51 win over South Carolina State. Won the third quarter 28-4.

Fairleigh-Dickinson: Did not play its scheduled game against Fordham “due to COVID-19 protocols” — i.e. positive case(s) within the program — as tweeted Saturday. Fordham added that the schools are working on a makeup game.

Chicago State: Did not play its scheduled game against Evansville “due to health and safety protocols within the program” — i.e. positive case(s) — as announced Saturday. The Cougars suggested that the game could be rescheduled.

Cornell: Did not play its scheduled game against Wazzu “due to COVID-19 concerns and safety protocols at Cornell University,” as announced Wednesday. Unlike other schools’ announcements, the Big Red not directly indicating positive tests within the program is not wordsmithing: The school shut down all campus operations last week due to a spike in COVID in Ithaca, N.Y.

Belmont: Did not play its scheduled game against Middle Tennessee “due to COVID-19 complications” — i.e. positive case(s) — as announced Friday, putting the program “on pause through Christmas.”

Blown leads

Dartmouth: 65-53 loss to Maine. Had a 90.5% win expectancy with a 43-30 lead and 12 minutes remaining, then allowed a 16-2 run.

Manhattan: 73-70 loss to Niagara. Had a 98.0% win expectancy with a 15-point lead and a minute and a half left in the third quarter; closed on the losing end of an 18-8 run from 5:30 in the fourth.

Gonzaga: 69-66 loss to UC Davis. Had a 98.0% win expectancy with a 15-point lead and 12-and-a-half minutes to go, and still led by 10 at 7:33 in the fourth.

*Receiving Votes
+As a pure wing, Kianna Smith is not included here

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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