Can you believe we’re already a quarter of the way through February?
That was the postgame musing late Thursday of the one and only Caitlin Clark, shortly after her teammate Hannah Stuelke poured in a career high 47 points in Iowa’s 111-93 win over Penn State.
Clark’s point: March will be here before we know it and with it, the madness. Now is the time for other players to grow their confidence so come tournament time, they can make a push and play deep into the postseason.
Clark, Stuelke and the Hawkeyes are set up to do just that, particularly if they take care of business Sunday at Nebraska. But believe it or not, that game — where Clark could conceivably break the women’s NCAA scoring record — is not the biggest of the weekend. In fact it’s not even the second or third biggest of the weekend.
Curious what is? Read on for our five women’s college basketball games to watch this weekend. (And yes, all of them should be over by the time the Super Bowl kicks off. No need to fret.)
All times Eastern.
No. 19 Oregon State at No. 21 Utah
Friday, 9 p.m., Pac-12 Network
When these teams met just two weeks ago, Oregon State put together its best performance of the season while Utah laid an egg (and that’s putting it nicely). Oregon State won 91-66 in a game that wasn’t even that close. The Beavers shot 69% that day in Corvallis, a number that the Utes surely remember and are determined to decrease significantly. But Oregon State also had no answer for Utah forward Alissa Pili, who scored 28. The odds of OSU shooting lights out on the road are low. The odds of Pili going off are high. This should be a tight contest.
No. 22 West Virginia at No, 17 Baylor
Saturday, 3 p.m., Big 12 Network/ESPN+
At first glance, this is puzzling — why is Baylor, with its 6-5 conference record, ranked ahead of West Virginia, which is 9-2 in the Big 12 and currently sitting in second place? It’s complicated, but it has to do with who Baylor has beat, and the fact that the Bears’ NET ranking (18) is better than the Mountaineers (20). And yet, if West Virginia can beat Baylor — a historically tough place to play, where the Bears are 10-2 this season — maybe these rankings flip. Baylor has a balanced scoring attack, with both Sarah Andrews and Dre’Una Edwards averaging 12 points per game. Meanwhile WVU’s JJ Quinerly, who scores 19.5 per game, will need to have her usual output to get her team a win.
No. 15 Louisville at No. 23 Syracuse
Sunday, noon, CW Network
Who is the best team in the ACC? We still don’t know, and it may very well come down to who has the best day on the last day of the regular season. But Louisville picked up a nice win over Notre Dame earlier this week and another win on the road — over the team that’s right behind them in the standings — would go a long way toward building momentum. Louisville forward Olivia Cochran, who works harder for position than any post in America, knows how big this game is, and she’ll be anxious to improve on her seven point, four rebound performance vs. the Irish. Dyaisha Fair (21.6 points) will also be looking to make a statement.
No. 9 UConn at No. 1 South Carolina
Sunday, 2 p.m., ESPN
What was supposed to be one of the biggest non-conference games of the regular season has lost some of its luster, unfortunately. UConn hasn’t looked like UConn in awhile, still besieged by all sorts of injuries. (We miss you, Azzi Fudd!) It’s gotten so bad in Storrs that after Geno Auriemma won his 1,200 game the other night, his postgame press conference took on a somber tone and now there’s speculation about if he’ll be retiring after this season. Meanwhile, South Carolina is cruising through its schedule but will be without the services of Kamilla Cardoso, who is with the Brazilian national team playing in an Olympic qualifying tournament. That means it’ll come down to Paige Bueckers (20 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists per game) vs. Te-Hina Paopao (11.9 points, 4.0 assists, 2.8 rebounds per game), and we’re OK with that battle.
No. 5 Ohio State at Michigan State
Sunday, 4 p.m., Peacock
Ohio State already proved its one of the best teams in the nation this year, knocking off Iowa earlier this season behind an inspired performance from sophomore star Cotie McMahon (14.3 points, 6.3 rebounds) who is capable of taking over a game. Meanwhile Michigan State has been agonizingly close a couple times this season, losing four conference games by six points or less. Feels like it’s about time for Moira Joiner (15.2 points), Julia Ayrault (14.9) and the Spartans to pull off an upset.
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