The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: December 4, 2022: Chaos in the Top 25

What a day it was yesterday in D3 women’s hoops! If you were a fan, you had nonstop action for the better part of the afternoon and evening. It was an especially notable day considering six Top 25 teams fell to unranked opponents. The Top 25 on Monday might look pretty different than what it was a week before. I’ll touch on some of those games in addition to a news item about the future of a particular HCAC program that made a fairly big announcement yesterday evening. But first…here’s a look at the Game of the Day.

Game of the Day: #7 Amherst @ NJCU, 3 pm EST

Could we see a third Top 10 team go down on this first weekend of December? It’s possible. But NJCU, who opened the year with such a convincing performance against D-I Monmouth, has dropped three of its last four, and is not quite looking like a team that will claim yet another NJAC title. I’m not sure why the Gothic Knights have been struggling, but it definitely is something they’re working to fix. The key will be finding ways to score on a defense as good as Amherst’s. NJCU is desperately in need of a win and playing at home, but Amherst’s undefeated record is also on the line. I can’t see Amherst dropping this one, though it could be decided by single digits if we see the NJCU team we saw earlier in the year.

How the Top 25 fared + 1 more news item

  • In yet another wild day in WIAC play, two of the Top 25 teams in the league lost to unranked opponents, with #9 Whitewater (vs River Falls, 64-67) and #19 Oshkosh (@ Stout, 58-66), coming up short. The parity in the WIAC this season is going to be, in my opinion, much more noticeable than in years past. Rankings don’t seem to matter in this league, in any sport.
  • To add to that point, River Falls has really impressed me as of late. For a team picked to finish sixth in the league, the Falcons are 6-2, 1-1 in WIAC play, with a three-point loss to #12 UW-Eau Claire, and now a three-point win over Whitewater. Shelby Lyman, as the interim head coach, is doing a fantastic job getting the most out of her guards, as UWRF typically starts four guards in the lineup.
  • Whitewater wasn’t the highest ranked team to fall yesterday. That distinction belongs to #6 Smith, who led by five with seven minutes left, but struggled offensively in the game’s final minutes, losing 78-74, to Framingham State. The loss is Smith’s first of the year, but as I mentioned in my Top 25 breakdown, they’ve struggled at multiple points this season, going into overtime against both Maine-Maritime and Trinity (CT). To their credit, both were solid programs, and so is Framingham State, now 6-1. But it was not quite the performance you want to see out of a team ranked as high as #6 in the nation. Smith will be fine, and very much has the talent to make a tournament run, though their ranking may drop on Monday. I was most impressed by the 21-15 run by Framingham State to end the game, with near-flawless execution in the final minutes.
  • Emory made a big-time statement at home against #11 Tufts, winning by 15, 70-55, in a marquee victory for the Eagles. Maggie Russell was held to a 6-of-20 shooting mark for Tufts, a credit to Emory’s defensive gameplan, and Tufts as a team, were 31.7% from the field, 16.7% from three-point range. Emory’s defense has been a major factor in wins, time and time again this season, and will certainly help once UAA play gets going. Claire Brock scoring 20 didn’t hurt either, as she played 34 minutes.
  • Hamilton has been on my radar since the they went to St. John Fisher and left with a win, but Saturday’s performance was on another level. On their home court, they took down #18 Rochester, 80-75, holding onto a narrow lead throughout the fourth quarter. Rochester shot the ball well, but Hamilton was even better. Take a look at these percentages: 46.8% from the field, 46.2% from 3-point, 80% from the free-throw line. When you shoot the ball with that kind of success, how could you lose? Hamilton went down 22-9 in the opening quarter, but credit to them. They stayed poised, and got right back in it, coming away with what is their most notable win up to this point.
  • Puget Sound, perhaps with a little bit of a statement to make after dropping out of the Top 25, handed #21 Whitman its first D-III loss of the year, 78-63. PS held nothing back, racing out to a 20-7 lead. Whitman also never led at any point, and PS forced 22 turnovers, turning them into 20 points.
  • In what I called the “Game of the Day” yesterday, #15 Calvin traveled to #20 Trine, and in what was honestly a bit of a surprise to me, Trine came away with a 60-45 victory. As the final score suggests, both defenses were fairly effective. Trine stepped up especially in the second half, outscoring Calvin by eight. Gabby Timmer had 20 for Calvin, but the Thunder mostly limited the production of the rest of the lineup in an impressive victory, which moves them to 2-0 in MIAA play.
  • I heard through yesterday morning that Rose-Hulman was going to shut down its program for the remainder of this season, but was unsure of the validity of those claims, so simply waited to see what would happen. At 8 p.m. last night, hours after losing to Transylvania, the athletic department announced it would indeed cancel the remainder of the schedule, citing player safety due to “low roster numbers”. There are 10 listed on the roster, but once you factor in possible injuries and things like that, 10 is not enough to weather the storm that is a college basketball season. Only’ seven played in yesterday’s game. The press release stated that the administration will meet to discuss the future of the program next week. Full press release here:

As always, be sure to read The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops each day, right here on the Daily Dose. Have a great Sunday.