The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: January 15, 2023: Surprises in the MIAA, WIAC, and NESCAC

By Riley Zayas

Welcome back to this Sunday morning edition of The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops. Wow, is it tough to remember the last time Hope lost to a team not named Trine. But here we are…let’s get into it and what unfolded in yesterday’s action!

  • I tend to always lead off the most surprising result of the day (in my opinion of course), and yesterday it seemed there was no bigger upset than Albion’s 69-53 win over fifth-ranked Hope. What gets me is the margin of victory…16 points! Albion has been near the top of the MIAA with a 6-1 record, but certainly wasn’t on my radar when I looked through yesterday’s slate of games. The defense was outstanding for Abion, holding Hope to just six points in the second quarter and a shooting percentage of 27.3% for the game. Hope did all it could to pull back into it as the second half progressed, but the damage had been done. Another stat that is notable is the assist numbers for both teams; Hope had just six, while Abion had 14. Albion seemed to be moving the ball better, which created higher-percentage shots as the first half progressed, allowing the Britons to gain a massive 31-18 lead at the half. I think Hope stays in the Top 10, though maybe ends up at #9 or #10. They’ll take a hit for sure in the Top 25 tomorrow.
  • But that wasn’t the only surprise yesterday. In the ever-competitive WIAC, UW-Stout took down #13 UW-Whitewater in a thriller, 72-65. It was a one-possession game for all but the final minute of the fourth quarter, and turned out to be perhaps the most competitive game of the afternoon. Stout came up with points on the offensive end time and time again, as the opponents exchanged scores. Stout raced out of the gates in their most impressive quarter, taking a 21-10 lead after the first. Whitewater outscored the Blue Devils by five in each of the next two quarters, before Stout pulled it out in the fourth. I was most impressed by the level of intensity shown from Stout, as there was no panic, and only confidence coming from that entire sideline, even as Whitewater hung in the game, taking the lead midway through the final quarter. The final team stats were relatively even, and Whitewater even shot 92% at the FT line. But Stout came up with a few more shots and a handful of key stops in the final minutes, not to mention going 6-for-6 at the FT line in the final minute. Miss one or two of those and it could’ve been a completely different result with the number of shooters the Warhawks have. Amanda Giesen was fantastic for Stout, scoring 19 points.
  • Sticking with the topic of the WIAC, UW-Oshkosh pulled out a massive 61-53 win over UW-La Crosse, a team I voted at #25 in this past week’s poll. I was responsible for 7 of UWO’s 10 points received in the poll (I had them at #19), and this is why. Though the sub-.500 WIAC record has turned some people off, I believe UWO is just as battle-tested as anyone in the conference (maybe minus Whitewater), and yesterday displayed that, with the Titans fending off the Eagles, even when the lead got down to three midway through the fourth. Oshkosh was so balanced offensively, and the three-point shooting made up for any size disadvantage in the post. UWO was 10-of-26 from beyond the arc, while UWL won the rebounding battle, 31-23. We’ll see where both go from here. Oshkosh, believe it or not, is likely still in the Pool C conversation, but every game is key at this point. UWO travels to UWSP on Wednesday while UWL hosts UWRF.
  • Yesterday I focused a lot on the NESCAC…and I can’t help but bring up the NESCAC again. Because two of the league’s three undefeated teams fell on Saturday, leaving Trinity (CT) alone atop the standings.
  •      Middlebury, after shocking Amherst and Bowdoin in consecutive games, fell by four, 63-59, at Colby, a sub-.500 team. Colby was much better offensively, and frankly, I wonder if Middlebury was just tired from having run up and down with Bowdoin less than 24 hours before. That NESCAC schedule can be rough on your stamina, especially when you have a small rotation.
  •     Tufts was the other one to fall, previously 2-0 in the league, as Hamilton, a team I’ve been high on for a good part of this season, won 59-43. Talk about stamina. Hamilton beat Bates in OT Friday, then came back with a huge home win yesterday. Hamilton is in the midst of one of the toughest stretches of the season for any team in the nation, having played at Ithaca, at Middlebury, at Williams, vs Smith before this weekend. And the Continentals travel to Babson tomorrow. Hamilton dominated Tufts defensively, holding Tufts before 10 points in each of the first two quarters, and Maggie Russell to just six points. Four Hamilton players finished above 10 points in scoring, but the key was getting it done on the defensive end. Hamilton has played so many high quality offenses already that the Continentals were already well prepared for the offensive threat Tufts posed.
  • S/O to my #1, Trinity (TX), who set a program record for points in a quarter, beating Southwestern, 125-89, in Georgetown. Yes, the game was over before it even began as the Tigers put 42 on the board in the opening quarter, shooting 69.6% from the field. Trinity connected on 20 three-pointers, and continues to be a very impressive shooting team. The Tigers are so deep, and play incredibly hard. The national championship game is in Dallas this year, just sayin’…it’d be pretty cool for an in-state team to make it, as Wabash did making the men’s final four last year.
  • Also, S/O to Luther, who could very well be one of those “deep dive” teams we typically talk about on Hoopsville. Sure, the Norse probably won’t end up ranked, but after beating Loras, are certainly in the A-R-C title race at this point. The blowout losses to Simpson and Gustavus Adolphus don’t look great, but they played Stout close early in the year, and have beaten both UW-Platteville and Loras. Luther pulled out an 94-89 double-overtime win in an offensive-dominated duel. Each team had a 32-point scorer, with Kailey Jones putting 32 on the board for Luther, and Kelsea Hurley scoring 32 for Central. Both teams shot above 40% and Jones’ jumper made it a three-point game with 24 seconds left. After missing on the other end, Central was forced to foul and that just about sealed the win for Luther, now 5-2 in the A-R-C.
  • Schreiner won its fourth straight game on the road on Saturday, beating Texas Lutheran in a tight one, 78-71. I’ve said it before, but Schreiner has something special going, and while nobody in the SCAC is competing to the level Trinity is right now, Schreiner is an up-and-coming team that could get the SCAC two tournament bids, maybe not this year, but next. DeMauria Miles had one of the best offensive performances of the day, putting 33 points on the board on 11-of-20 shooting. Also pay attention to TLU. They gave Trinity a bit of a run in the second half of Friday’s game. Another up-and-coming program that isn’t quite there, but on its way.

Alright, going to shift my attention to the UAA and my Top 25 ballot, which I hope to have out much earlier tomorrow than I did last week (we’ll see…). I can tell you Trinity (TX) will stay as my #1 (I know, no big surprise there), but after that, it will be interesting. Until tomorrow’s post, have a great rest of your weekend, enjoy the NFL playoffs, and God Bless.

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