Things are heating up as the march to March Madness continues.
The 2021-2022 D1 Women’s Basketball season has been both entertaining and overwhelming, with a whopping 150 games played from the 2nd of January to the time of writing. The league’s schedule is grueling to say the least, so it can be hard to keep up with every recent match or development. So to fill in those gaps, we’ve got you covered with a list of brief updates on the division, ranging from Ayoka Lee’s new record to the NCAA’s first projection reveal. Let’s get into it.
The Huskies March On
UConn’s second month without talisman Paige Bueckers has been a bit of a mixed bag. For every moment like their impressive performance against Seton Hall, there’s another loss to an unranked team or slip in the AP rankings waiting around the corner.
But let’s focus on the most recent positive: their thrilling victory over DePaul last Wednesday. It’s not every day that a game is decided on a single basket, and the hype that such an occasion generates can be great for a team’s morale. Plus, wunderkid Azzi Fudd has finally returned from injury, so maybe the Huskies will be able to establish more consistency and finish the month strong.
CAROLINE. DUCHARME. pic.twitter.com/SSTNDDpkec— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) January 27, 2022
The wait is over: the projected top-16 teams have been revealed for the first time this season. There aren’t any major surprises, and odds are that these rankings will hold up for the next few weeks. Keep an eye on Texas’s place, though: they’re facing some tough opponents in Baylor and Oklahoma between now and the second projection on February 10th. Perhaps a minor rankings shake-up is in the cards…?
The Upsets Keep Coming
In retrospect, Missouri ending 2021 with a victory over No. 1 South Carolina was a sign that January would be the month of the underdog. We saw the Lady Vols fall to Auburn, an unranked Arkansas beat projected No. 12 LSU, and FOUR new entries in the AP Rankings all within the space of a week. Let’s hope that this trend continues for the next month or so, because who doesn’t love a good upset?.
Speaking of upsets, Kansas State took down Oklahoma last week, but the David vs. Goliath narrative isn’t the part of the match that made headlines. That honor belongs to Ayoka Lee, who scored an unfathomable sixty-one (!!!) points to help the Wildcats pull off the win. She now holds the record for most points scored in an NCAA D1 game.
Sixty one points. SIXTY ONE POINTS. The more you say it, the less real it sounds.
Welp, it’s happened. The previously-undefeated Colorado fell 52–60 to Stanford on the 14th, meaning that no team in the Division has a perfect record anymore. Colorado had a ridiculously good start to the season; they were 13–0 coming into their match against the Cardinal. But now, they’re on a four-game losing streak, and need an away win against the Utah Utes to stop their downward spiral.
The Buffaloes’ woes are a microcosm of one key theme this season: no one is safe. We’ve seen the fall of a former titan in UConn, upsets galore, and the death of multiple undefeated streaks. What’s more, it’s impossible to tell if the current hierarchy of teams will remain unchanged for the next few weeks, let alone until March. After this month, one thing’s for certain: things in Division 1 have gotten very interesting.