December 22, 2021 

Daily Briefing — Dec. 22, 2021: Getting cocky, as non-conference schedules close

Plus: Diamond Miller returns for Maryland

Happy hump day! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List and Yesterday’s Recap! Day 45 of college basketball is here with South Carolina’s second top-two/fifth top-ten/sixth top-15 win of the season. Folks, we’re officially on “greatest team of all time” watch, as we begin recapping programs’ non-conference results.

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W Roundup

Atlanta: Our Dream reporter, Spencer Nusbaum, looks at how Atlanta’s No. 3 pick fits into their overall offseason plans.

Indiana: Our Fever reporter, Tony East, contextualizes the team once again coming up short in the lottery.

(All times in Eastern)

Watch List, Wednesday, Dec. 22


#20 Notre Dame @ RV* DePaul, 8:30 p.m., FS1

Good games

#12 Texas @ Princeton, Noon, ESPN+

Also watchable


Sickos games

Mizzou @ Illinois, 1 p.m., BTN+

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


Tuesday, Dec. 21 recap

#1 South Carolina, #2 Stanford: The Gamecocks beat the Cardinal 65-61. Stanford had a 94.0% win expectancy with a 17-point lead near the start of the third quarter, and an 80% expectancy with a two-point lead, possession, and under two minutes to go — suffice to say things didn’t work out. The Cardinal blitzed South Carolina’s defense for 42 first-half points, the most it’s allowed this season, but the Gamecocks took the third quarter 22-7. Stanford shot 42.9% from the field and a season-high 46.7% from three, 7.2% and 21.7% better than South Carolina, respectively, but took 17 fewer shots overall thanks to 18 Gamecock offensive rebounds — despite the Cardinal actually being +2 in rebounding margin — and 20 Stanford turnovers. South Carolina notched 13 steals, and committed only seven turnovers.

The Gamecocks were led by center Aliyah Boston’s 18-point, 11-rebound double-double on 8-for-20 from the field (1-4 3pt.), four steals, and five blocks against two turnovers and a lone foul in 38 minutes; point guard Destanni Henderson played for the first time Nov. 29 thanks to a leg injury, going 31 minutes and finishing with 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting (0-2 3pt.), seven assists, and seven steals against two turnovers; wing Zia Cooke and off-ball guard Brea Beal combined for 10 points on 3-for-17 from the field and 2-for-7 from three. Cardinal wing Lexie Hull had a team-high 17 points on 7-for-17 shooting (2-4 3pt.), seven rebounds (three offensive), and two assists; bench big Fran Belibi notched 12 points on 6-for-9 FG and four rebounds in 15 minutes; point wing Haley Jones tallied 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting (0-1 3pt.), two assists, and three blocks against two turnovers; off-ball guard Hannah Jump had nine points on 3-for-9 from three with three rebounds and two turnovers; off-ball guard Anna Wilson committed six turnovers and four fouls in 24 bench minutes.

TDB Cameron Brink Foul Watch: Three fouls in 17 minutes today; 5.2 fouls per 40 minutes (13th percentile), 6.3% foul percentage (13th percentile, per Her Hoop Stats) for the season.

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South Carolina closes its non-conference schedule 12-0 with five top-10 wins, most in the past 20 years, over N.C. State, Oregon (the Ducks were good back then, I swear), UConn (when it was healthy), Maryland, and Stanford, plus a top-15 win over Duke and quality wins over South Dakota and Kansas State. Stanford closes its non-conference 8-3 with big wins over Indiana and Tennessee, quality wins over Gonzaga and UC Davis, quality losses to Texas, South Florida, and South Carolina, and a win over Maryland that needs an asterisk on account of Terp injuries and resulting exhaustion.

#6 Maryland: 98-52 win over Coppin State. Scored 56 first-half points. Shot 49.4% from the field and 50.0% from three with 19 offensive boards; tallied 27 assists; out-rebounded the Eagles by 31; committed only eight turnovers; had 18 fouls. Combo guard Katie Benzan scored a game-high 22 points on 8-for-12 from the field and 6-for-9 from the field with six assists and no turnovers against three fouls in 24 minutes; big Angel Reese had a 12-point, 14-rebound double-double on 4-for-12 FG (0-1 3pt., 4-8 FT) with five rebounds and two assists against two turnovers; combo forward Chloe Bibby notched 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting (2-3 3pt.), nine rebounds (four offensive), and two assists; wing Diamond Miller played for the first time in a month and nearly doubled her season-high in minutes, finishing with 10 points on 4-for-9 from the field (1-2 3pt.), six rebounds, four assists, and two blocks against two turnovers and three fouls in 21 minutes; point guard Ashley Owusu had only seven points on 3-for-11 shooting, but notched seven assists and two steals with a lone turnover.

Folks, do not make the mistake of calling Maryland the sixth-best team in the country. Now rested, it is mostly certainly far better than that, especially with the full lineup healthy for the first time all season. The Terps close their non-conference schedule 10-3, with a quality win over Baylor, a quality loss to South Carolina, and injury-stricken losses to N.C. State and Stanford.

TDB Angel Reese Foul Watch: Two fouls in 25 minutes today; 5.2 fouls per 40 minutes (13th percentile), 6.2% foul percentage (13th percentile, per Her Hoop Stats) for the season.

#13 Georgia: 89-50 win over South Alabama. Shot 55.4% from the field but only 2-for-12 from three; tallied 28 assists; notched 12 steals, part of 21 forced turnovers. Center Jenna Staiti scored 17 points in 18 minutes on 8-for-9 FG with four rebounds, two assists, and three steals; wing Sarah Ashlee Barker had nine points on 4-for-9 shooting (1-4 3pt.), eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals; bench big Jillian Hollingshead and reserve center Malury Bates each had 12 points, Hollingshead on 4-for-4 from the field and Bates 6-for-7 FG.

The Bulldogs close their non-conference schedule 11-1, with a big win over N.C. State, a quality win over Notre Dame, and a quality loss to Georgia Tech.

#15 Iowa: 74-73 loss to IUPUI. Had a 99.2% win expectancy with a 16-point lead near the beginning of the fourth quarter, then lost the period 27-11. The Jaguars had opened their season with a five-point overtime loss to Michigan, and beat up on poor teams, with the exception of a six-point loss to Ball State a couple weeks ago. The Hawkeyes shot just 4-for-22 from deep, while allowing IUPUI to shoot 37.0% from three. Center Monika Czinano scored a game-high 23 points on 11-for-18 FG with two assists and no turnovers; point guard Caitlin Clark had 19 points on 6-for-16 from the field and 1-for-7 from three (6-6 FT), 11 rebounds, four assists, and two steals against four turnovers — the sophomore is now shooting 25.0% from deep, after topping 40% last year; off-ball guard Kate Martin notched eight points on 3-for-9 shooting (0-5 3pt.), five rebounds (four offensive), three assists, and three steals without a turnover or block. Jaguar center Macee Williams tallied 19 points on 8-for-12 FG (3-7 3pt.), seven rebounds (three offensive), and three assists against two turnovers in 27 minutes.

Iowa closes its COVID-shortened non-conference slate 6-3, with a quality win over UCF, a big loss to Duke that ought to be asterisked for coming right after its COVID shutdown, and quality losses to Iowa State and IUPUI. As previously mentioned, the Jaguars close theirs 5-2 with a quality win over the Hawkeyes, a quality loss to Michigan, a bad loss to Ball State, and two unaccounted-for COVID forfeits.

#16 Duke: 78-35 win over Charleston Southern, a team Auburn beat by 49 and Florida State beat by 51. Make of that what you will. Every healthy Blue Devil saw the floor, and every rotation player had between seven and 22 minutes. Won the second half 38-11; shot only 37.8% from the field, 22.6% from three on 31 deep attempts, and 68.2% from the line; shot just 3-for-13 on corner threes and 58.6% at the rim, but put up a 67.4% offensive rebounding rate with a +42 rebounding margin — the first game with that volume and efficiency of offensive rebounding since 2018, and just the ninth in the Her Hoop Stats era (since 2009); allowed only 28.6% from the field and 1-for-16 from three; notched 17 steals.

Big wing Elizabeth Balogun scored a game-high 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting (2-5 3pt.) with seven rebounds (five offensive) and two turnovers; point guard Vanessa de Jesus grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds (five offensive) despite going 0-3 from the field; combo guard Celeste Taylor scored just three points on 1-for-6 shooting (0-2 3pt.), but finished with four rebounds (two offensive), four assists, and three steals against five turnovers; off-ball guard Lee Volker had seven points on 2-for-9 FG (0-4 3pt.), seven rebounds (four offensive), and three assists against two turnovers; combo forward Lexi Gordon went 2-for-8 from the field and 1-for-6 form three (4-6FT) — she’s just 3-for-23 from three since starting the year 16-for-30; combo guard Miela Goodchild notched 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting (2-5 3pt.) and six rebounds.

Duke closes its non-conference schedule 10-1, with quality wins over Alabama and Iowa and a quality loss to South Carolina.

#17 Georgia Tech: 78-49 win over Boston. Held the Terriers to 32.7% from the field and 18.8% from three; committed only five turnovers, but forced only nine. Won the third quarter 27-6. Combo guard Eylia Love scored a season-high 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting (2-4 3pt.) with five rebounds and two assists; big Lorela Cubaj had a double-double with 12 points on 6-for-12 shooting and 14 rebounds (five offensive), plus five assists and three blocks without a turnover or foul in 29 minutes.

The Yellow Jackets close their non-conference slate 10-2 with quality wins over Belmont (I’d argue) and Georgia, bad losses to Auburn and Purdue, and a win over UConn that some may try to trick you into thinking was a quality win.

#18 South Florida: 61-53 loss to Ole Miss. Led by four at the half, but lost the third quarter by 10. Shot 38.9% from three, but 35.6% from the field, while allowing 47.1% shooting — the Bulls’ second-highest mark allowed this season; forced only nine turnovers. Off-ball guard Sydni Harvey scored a game-high 17 points on 5-for-10 from the field and 4-for-6 from three (3-6 FT); combo guard Elena Tsineke had 10 points on 4-for-11 shooting (0-3 3pt.) and four steals against two turnovers. Ole Miss was led by big wing Madison Scott’s 12 points on 6-for-8 FG, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals without a turnover; combo guard Angel Baker notched 11 points on 5-for-13 shooting (0-2 3pt.), three rebounds, and three turnovers off the bench.

Ole Miss is now 12-1 to close its non-conference schedule, with quality wins over Jackson State and South Florida since its season-opening 12-point loss to Belmont.

#21 LSU: 74-60 win over Texas Tech. Allowed the Raiders to shoot 40.0% from three, but had 15 more rebounds, including 20 offensive boards; forced 19 turnovers. Point guard Khayla Pointer had 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting (1-4 3pt., 2-6 FT), seven rebounds, and seven steals with just one turnover; off-ball guard Jailin Cherry tallied 16 points on 8-for-21 FG, five rebounds, and four assists against two turnovers; combo forward Autumn Newby notched a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double on 4-for-10 from the field with seven rebounds.

#24 Ohio State: 66-54 win over San Diego State. Combo guard Jacy Sheldon had a game-high 19 points on 9-for-15 shooting, four rebounds, two assists, and three steals against four turnovers and three fouls; combo guard Braxtin Miller scored 16 points on 5-for-8 from the field (2-5 3pt., 4-6 FT) without a turnover; wing Taylor Mikesell notched 15 points 6-for-12 FG (1-3 3pt.), five rebounds, and two turnovers.

The Buckeyes wrap up their non-conference slate 8-2 with no quality wins and a bad loss to Syracuse.

#25 North Carolina: 83-47 win over Alabama State. Won the first quarter 24-5. Held the Hornets to 26.9% shooting; committed 19 turnovers; notched 13 steals, part of 24 forced turnovers; drew 30 fouls. Combo guard Deja Kelly scored a team-high 16 points on 4-for-9 from the field (2-3 3pt., 6-6 FT) with two steals and no turnovers; combo guard Eva Hodgson had 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting (1-3 3pt.), three rebounds, two assists, and three steals in 18 bench minutes; wing Kennedy Todd-Williams notched 11 points on 3-for-6 FG (5-7 FT), seven rebounds (three offensive), and four assists against three turnovers.

UNC finishes its non-conference schedule 10-0, with no quality wins and a too-close-for-comfort victory over Minnesota.

RV Oklahoma: 83-76 win over Utah. Had a 3.7% win expectancy down 19(!) in the mid-third quarter and 5.4% expectancy down 11 in the early fourth — then won the fourth quarter 32-14. lol. Lost the rebounding battle by 13, but notched 13 steals while forcing 23 turnovers. Off-ball guard and third-highest-scorer Ana Llanusa did not play after suffering what appeared to be a severe knee injury last game, and apparently has COVID and cannot be further evaluated; combo guard Taylor Robertson tied a game-high of 19 points on 4-for-9 from three (1-1 from two) with two assists and steals in 39 minutes; wing Madi Williams notched 17 points on 6-for-17 shooting (0-3 3pt., 5-7 FT), six rebounds, two assists, and four steals against three turnovers; backup point guard Nevaeh Tot had 10 points on 3-for-6 from the field (1-2 3pt.), two assists, three steals, and two turnovers. Utah off-ball guard Gianna Kneepkens tied the game-high of 19 points on 7-for-16 from the field and 3-for-9 from three with five rebounds; backup center Peyton McFarland notched the second double-double of her career, with 14 points on 7-for-12 FG and a career-high-tying 11 rebounds (four offensive) and two blocks against two turnovers in 19 minutes.

The Sooners close the competitive portion of their non-conference schedule going 10-1, with quality wins over South Dakota, BYU, and Utah, their lone loss by six to then-No. 9 Oregon (the Ducks were good back then, I swear). Utah closes its non-conference with quality losses to BYU and Oklahoma and a poor loss to then-RV Gonzaga.

RV FGCU: 86-50 win over High Point. Forced 20 turnovers and drew 22 fouls. Big wing Kierstan Bell notched a 30-point, 12-rebound double-double on 11-for-18 from the field and 4-for-9 from three with three blocks and no turnovers in 25 gosh darn minutes! Point guard Tishara Morehouse had 16 points on 4-for-10 shooting (1-2 3pt., 7-10 FT), five rebounds, and five assists against three turnovers; wing Emma List tallied 10 points on 3-for-6 FG (4-6 FT), six rebounds (three offensive) and four assists against two turnovers.

TDB Kierstan Bell Watch: 26.8 points per game — 100th percentile; 10.7 field goals — 100th; 21.3 attempts — 100th; 50.0% FG% — 88th; 66.1% 2P% — 99th; 2.4 threes — 98th; 8.9 3-point attempts — 100th; 4.7 free-throw attempts — 96th; 9.1 rebounds — 98th; 2.2 assists — 81st; 1.4 steals — 84th; 1.6 blocks — 97th; 3.9 fouls drawn — 95th; 39.9% usage — 100th; 1.03 points per play — 94th; 9.4% TO% — 95th.

Arkansas: 81-72 loss to Creighton. The teams combined to shoot 43.6% from the field and 49.0% from three with only 20 turnovers. Makayla Daniels scored a career-high 34 points — her second time setting a career-high this season — on 11-for-17 shooting (5-6 3pt., 7-8 FT) with three steals against two turnovers.

The Razorbacks close their non-conference schedule 10-3 with what I’d argue are quality wins over Belmont and Jackson State, quality losses to UCF and Creighton, and an expected loss to UConn (when it was healthy). The Bluejays close their non-conference 8-3 with this quality win over Arkansas and quality losses to Drake, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Lehigh: 70-57 win over George Washington. Combo guard Mackenzie Kramer scored 31 points on 10-for-16 from the field and 7-for-10 from three (4-6 FT) with three rebounds and assists against two turnovers; center Emma Grothaus had a 12-point, 20-rebound double-double on 4-for-9 FG with two steals and three blocks against four turnovers.

COVID: 23 games were not played as scheduled, including those of No. 6 Indiana, UCLA, and Oregon (the Hoosiers and Ducks are not dealing with positive cases; the Bruins are).

Blown leads

Appalachian State: 89-84 double-overtime loss to Eastern Kentucky. Had a 99.5% win expectancy with a seven-point lead and 38 seconds remaining in the first overtime period, before immediately committing a shooting foul, then a turnover for a run-out layup, then another turnover and an offensive rebound that led to a game-tying three. Combo guard Janay Sanders had a points-rebounds-turnovers triple-double with 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting (1-1 3pt.), 12 rebounds (six offensive), and 10 turnovers — including the turnover that led to the aforementioned overtime game-tying three — plus three assists.

*Receiving Votes

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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