December 7, 2021 

WATCH: Early trends in college basketball

Notes and takeaways from the first month of the 21-22 season

It is hard to believe that we are almost one month into the 2021-22 women’s college basketball regular season.  So much has already happened with great matchups to watch, new head coaches making their debuts and teams starting the season in a new conference or learning that they will have a new one next year.  What have we learned and what stands out?

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I always say ‘to be the best, you have to beat the best’ and it rings true in this first month of the season.  Defending national champion Stanford suffered their first loss early in November to Texas, sending South Carolina to the top of the polls.  The Gamecocks will stay at #1 until they are beaten and that is a tough task for everyone.  With a roster that is stacked from top to bottom with talent, this team can elevate their game when needed and wear down opponents with 40 minutes of fast and physical play.  

Other teams around the country are moving up and gaining momentum – teams such as Arizona, BYU and Georgia.  But injuries and illness have also impacted this first month.  Maryland and Oregon have struggled in recent games without the services of key players.  Tennessee’s Rae Burrell went down with an injury early and is out indefinitely, but her team is finding a way to win without her.  South Dakota State was without their All-American candidate, senior Myah Selland, for the first few games but are finding their swagger again with her back in the lineup.

We must not lose sight that COVID is going to be part of the college basketball landscape from here on out this season, for both men’s and women’s teams.  Iowa did not travel to the Cancun Challenge because of COVID issues and UTEP and UC-Riverside have cancelled recent games because of COVID protocols. Wright State also had to cancel multiple games already this year due to the pandemic.  It will be something we must keep an eye – will it impact league play come January?

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Written by Missy Heidrick

I am a retired Kansas State shooting guard and spent almost 20 years working in Higher Education and Division 1 athletics. I am currently a basketball analyst for television and radio, contributing correspondent at The Next, Locked on Women's Basketball podcast host, WBB Naismith Award board of selectors member and run my own consulting business. I am a proud mother of two and wife to a patient husband who is almost as big of a sports junkie as I am!

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