December 9, 2021 

Daily Briefing — Dec. 9, 2021: WNBA schedule announcement imminent; Cy over Hawk

Great finish for Buffalo

It’s Thursday — the workweek’s almost passed! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap! Day 31 of college basketball is here, with WNBA schedule announcements, a likely shootout in Lexington, Ky., and a very weird UConn rotation in Atlanta.

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(All times in Eastern)

W Roundup

Watch List, Thursday, Dec. 9



Good games

RV DePaul @ #14 Kentucky, 7 p.m., SEC Network

Also watchable

#2 UConn @ RV Georgia Tech, 7 p.m., ESPN2

Jackson State @ Arkansas, 8 p.m., SEC Network+

Sickos games

Rutgers @ Penn State, 7 p.m., BTN+

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


Wednesday, Dec. 8 recap

Content warning: the Mississippi State blurb contains references to self-harm, which may triggering to some readers. Discretion is advised.

#3 UConn: Head coach Geno Auriemma revealed Wednesday that bench point guard Nika Mühl is likely out for three weeks with a foot injury. With her and fellow bench combo guard Azzi Fudd most likely out for three weeks each, starting point guard Paige Bueckers out 6-8 weeks with a tibial plateau fracture, big Aubrey Griffin still working back from a high ankle sprain and chronic back issue, and freshman center Amari DeBerry yet to see the court, the only Huskies we know for sure can play are combo guard Christyn Williams, wing Evina Westbrook, freshman reserve off-ball guard Caroline Ducharme, reserve off-ball three Mir McLean, big Aaliyah Edwards, bench big Dorka Juhász, center Olivia Nelson-Ododa, and bench center Piath Gabriel. That’s exactly one total playmaker.

#5 Baylor: 94-40 win over Alcorn State. Shot 52.4% from the field, 45.8% from three, and 81.0% from the line while assisting on 26 of its 33 buckets; the Bears’ second game hitting 11+ threes on 45%+ 3P% since 2019, a thing the rest of the country has done 672 times.

Big NaLyssa Smith had a 25-point, 10-rebound double-double in 20 minutes — which is absolutely absurd, please pause and think about that for a minute — on 10-for-13 from the field, 1-for-2 from three, and 4-for-6 from the line, plus three assists and no turnovers or fouls; off-ball guard Ja’Mee Asberry scored 20 points on 7-for-11 from the field and 6-for-8 from three — season-highs in points, makes, and threes — with two assists and two steals in her first turnover-less game of the season; combo forward Caitlin Bickle notched 13 bench points on 2-for-6 shooting (0-2 3pt., 9-10 FT) with six rebounds, six assists, and two steals — career-highs in assists and free-throw attempts and makes, and season-highs in points and steals; combo guard Sarah Andrews tallied 14 points on 6-for-11 FG (2-3 3pt.), five rebounds, five assists, and a career-high-tying three steals.

The Daily Briefing Baylor 3-Point Shooting Watch: 11-for-28, 45.8% today; 67-for-205, 32.7% for the season (91st percentile in volume and 67th in efficiency, per Her Hoop Stats).

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#8 Maryland, RV Purdue: The Terps beat the Boilermakers 86-71. Maryland didn’t lead for good until the early third quarter, though it won the second half 50-31. Pretty good! The teams shot a combined 45.6% from the field, 34.0% from three, and 76.0% from the line (although Purdue accounted for three-quarters of the threes, and Maryland 84% of the free-throws). The Terps were +11 in rebounding — including 23 offensive boards — and committed a combined 17 fewer turnovers and fouls, leading to 15 more overall shot attempts.

Point guard Ashley Owusu led Maryland with 20 points on 9-for-18 shooting, nine rebounds (four offensive), five assists, and two steals; big Angel Reese notched 15 points on 4-for-10 from the field and 7-for-11 from the line, eight rebounds (three offensive), and three assists against four fouls in 27 minutes; combo guard Katie Banzan had 15 points on 5-for-12 FG (3-9 3pt.), six assists, and three steals without a turnover; big Mimi Collins and combo forward Chloe Bibby combined for 24 points on 11-for-25 shooting (Bibby 1-5 3pt.), 15 rebounds (10 offensive), three assists, and six turnovers, with Bibby adding two steals and three fouls. The Boilermakers were led by combo guard Brooke Moore’s 22 points on 8-for-14 from the field and 6-for-10 from three with five turnovers off the bench.

The Daily Briefing Angel Reese Foul Watch: Four fouls in 27 minutes today; 5.6 fouls per 40 minutes (11th percentile), 6.7% foul percentage (10th percentile, per Her Hoop Stats) for the season.

#12 Iowa, #15 Iowa State: The Cyclones beat the Hawkeyes, 77-70. Iowa State broke a five-game losing streak against its intrastate rival. Iowa took just six free-throws. Cyclone wing Ashley Joens tied a game-high  with 26 points on 9-for-28 from the field, 1-for-9 from three, and 7-for-10 from the line with 11 rebounds (five offensive) for a double-double, plus six assists with a turnover, her first career 26/11/6 game; combo guard Lexi Donarski scored 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting (2-4 3pt., 4-6 FT); off-ball guard Aubrey Joens had a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double on 4-for-9 from three (0-for-2 from two). Iowa point guard Caitlin Clark matched Ashley Joens’ 26 points, going 10-for-26 from the field and 4-for-12 from three with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals against six turnovers; center Monika Czinano scored 13 points on 5-for-13 FG, plus four rebounds, five assists, and two blocks; wing McKenna Warnock had 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting (1-5 3pt.), eight rebounds, three assists, and two blocks.

#19 Duke: Combo forward Lexi Gordon became one of the first 15 college athletes to sign an NIL deal with WWE, which is pretty cool. Per The Chronicle’s Jake C. Piazza:

The goal of the program is to “recruit and develop future Superstars,” and the NIL deal will give Gordon and the rest of the signed athletes access to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., as well as training in fields like communications, brand building and media training. After the NIL program ends, those who have successfully completed it have an opportunity at a WWE contract, the release said. 

#21 Georgia: 69-40 win over North Florida. Nice. Won the first quarter 20-5. Center Jenna Staiti had a double-double on 17 points (6-14 FG, 1-3 3pt.) and 10 rebounds with three assists, no turnovers, and three fouls in 29 minutes; point guard Que Morrison also had a double-double, with 16 points and 11 rebounds on 6-for-10 shooting (2-4 3pt.) with four offensive rebounds, four assists, and four turnovers in 29 minutes.

#22 Notre Dame: 73-56 win over Valparaiso. Shot 44.4% from the field and 50.0% from three. Point guard Olivia Miles — the consensus^ No. 5 freshman in the country — with 11 points (4-12 FG, 3-6 FT), 13 rebounds, and 13 assists against four turnovers; big wing Maddy Westbeld scored 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting (2-2 3pt.) with four rebounds; 

RV Gonzaga, RV Washington: The Cougars beat the Bulldogs 51-49. Gonzaga entered as 81.2% favorites by ESPN’s win expectancy model and 91.4% by Her Hoop Stats’, and went as high as 94.6% odds to win in the former’s thanks to a 12-point lead in the mid-third quarter; Washington State then outscored them 29-15 to close. A strong sickos game, the teams combined for 39 first-half points and shot a combined 34.5% from the field and 28.6% from three. Only one player took at least three attempts and made at least half.

Mississippi State: Center Jessika Carter posted to her Instagram yesterday for the first time since June. Carter had stepped away from the team for unspecified reasons following a September simple assault charge, but revealed she’d gone through two attempts to end her life, one in July and one just two weeks ago. She detailed the post as her no longer hiding her struggles with depression, and moving on through counseling. She ended, “i will always have people there even when they don’t know me. I AM HAPPY. I AM BLESSED. AND I AM LOVED. Most importantly I AM HERE TO STAY. Check on y’all loved ones, fav players, etc. S/o to my fam, friends, coaches and the people who support me. 🤘🏽 🎂CHEERS to more life 🎉🥳🎁” It’s rare to see this level of public divulgence from anyone, let alone a college athlete, and is a reminder of both the things they deal with that we cannot see, and the inspiration that it is to be able to feel loved and blessed and to keep going afterwards.

If you or someone you know is in crisis — whether they are considering suicide or not — please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.

Tulane: 91-84 win over Troy. Baylor transfer combo guard Moon Ursin put up a triple-double on 18 points (4-11 FG, 2-4 3pt., career-high-8-10 FT), 13 rebounds, and a career-high 10 assists against just two turnovers.

Cal Baptist: 78-77 loss to San Diego State. Were 92.6% favorites, per ESPN’s win expectancy model, and had almost 90% odds as late as the mid-fourth quarter, with a five-point lead. Down two and with 36 seconds left, they intentionally fouled to force another baseline inbounds, then did it again to force a sideline inbounds, then were able to force a jump ball in the backcourt but didn’t have the possession arrow — meaning another sideline inbounds for the Aztecs — then forced a 10-second backcourt violation! And then center Caitlyn Harper missed a makeable layup that would’ve tied the game, and that was basically it.

The nation’s longest regular-season winning streak comes to an end, with the Lancers taking their first home loss since Feb. 19, 2020 — two seasons ago, also a one-possession loss.

Duquesne: 71-66 loss to Kent State. 

Rhode Island: 84-49 win over Hartford. Big Marie Paule Foppossi had 23 points on 11-for-20 shooting and 14 rebounds (10 offensive) for a double-double, plus five assists and four steals — just the second 23/14/5/4 game with 10 offensive rebounds in the Her Hoop Stats era (since 2009), and the first since Jan. 2013. Western Kentucky transfer big wing Fatou Pouye scored a career-high 31 points off the bench on 9-for-16 from the field, 3-for-5 from three, and 10-for-14 from the line with three offensive rebounds and three assists against three turnovers and three fouls. Rule of Threes and all that.

Army: 74-50 win over Bryant. Trailed 36-29 at halftime; won the second half 25-14.

Blown Leads

Manhattan: 65-63 loss to Fordham. Had a 91.8% win expectancy with a five-point lead and three minutes remaining, but missed its next three shots and allowed the Rams to tie the game from the line two separate times; allowed the game-winning bucket on a run-out layup after committing a turnover near the logo while trying to run down the clock for a final possession. Fordham itself had blown a 93.2% win expectancy on a 54-46 lead a quarter-way through the fourth, before missing its next eight straight shots.

NAIA Carroll (MT): 69-66 overtime loss to Idaho State. Had a 97.8% win expectancy with a 55-46 lead and just over three minutes left. Proceeded to go 0-for-4 from the field with two turnovers while the Bengals went 3-for-4, with the Fighting Saints missing two layups as regulation expired.

Buffalo: 62-60 win over VCU. Had a 99.9% win expectancy thanks to a five-point lead with just 54 seconds left and possession out of a timeout. Got intentionally fouled and missed both free-throws, then allowed a Rams put-back, then converted just 1-of-2 on its proceeding trip to the line and allowed VCU to hit a game-tying three with just two seconds on the clock.

Then this happened:

*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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