January 21, 2023
By Riley Zayas, @ZayasRiley
We’re back after a Friday night that saw some interesting results in the UAA to say the least. You just never know what to expect from these leagues that are seven and eight teams deep. This was something Scott Peterson, Dave McHugh, and I discussed on Hoopsville Thursday night. If you haven’t gotten a chance to watch that yet, there was a lot of WBB represented throughout the entire show, with the D3 WBB Top 25 panel in addition to interviews with Trinity (TX) HC Cameron Hill and Smith HC Lynn Hersey.
Now let’s get into it!
- Well if there was one surprise of Friday night I did not see coming it was undoubtedly the shocker that took place in a gym in Watham, Massachusetts. That’s where Brandeis, previously 0-3 in UAA play, and just 5-9 overall, took down the nation’s seventh-ranked squad, #7 Rochester, by a score of 77-71. The Judges played their most complete of the season against the Yellowjackets, 13-1 entering the matchup, shooting 53.35% from the field, and outscoring Rochester in the paint, 42-36. They led by as many as 15 with five seconds left in the second quarter, and never allowed Rochester to recclaim the advantage. It seems like sometimes the most pressure on the underdog in that type of an upset situation is when a significant lead is held, because now there is a lead to defend, while knowing the opponent can erase that in the blink of an eye if only given the chance. I’m not going to make a wild claim that Brandeis will go on a tear for the rest of UAA play or anything, but I do think performances like these will help the Judges stay competitive in the league, because they now have added confidence and a sense of “we beat a Top 10 team” every time they step on the floor. Emma Reavis had a team-high 19 points for Brandeis in the win.
- Case Western Reserve had an upset of its own, taking down a WashU team that had beaten both Chicago and NYU in the past two weeks, 74-64. WashU, who had picked up both of those marquee wins at home, struggled a bit back on the road, though it was not a contest that every got out of hand. In fact, WashU took a 19-15 lead at the end of the opening quarter, and CWRU led by just two at the half. The Spartans extended their lead to five at the end of the third, but it wasn’t until WashU went nearly three minutes without scoring and CWRU took a nine-point lead that the game ever felt out of reach. Isabella Mills was the go-to offensive weapon for the Spartans pouring in 36 points and 11 rebounds. Nobody else on the team had more than nine points in the 10-point win.
- SUNY New Paltz came away with a key win in the regional rankings conversation, taking down Cortland in Region 3 action, 71-67. Though New Paltz shot just 36.5% compared to Cortland’s 41.9%, the Hawks were 9-of-17 from beyond the arc, which helped greatly. In fact, in almsot every stat cateogry, Cortland ended up with the advantage. But New Paltz converted at the line when it counted, and pulled out its 10th straight win, moving to 9-0 in SUNYAC play. This was a critical contest, as Cortland is the main challenger for the league title right now.
Looking ahead to today…what game’s should you be paying attention to? Here’s a couple
- #16 UW-Eau Claire at UW-La Crosse, 4 pm EST: UWL has a lot of height in the post, but so does UWEC. If UWL can contain the outside shooting of Jessie Ruden and others, this could be a key home win for the Eagles.
- New Jersey City at TCNJ, 1 pm EST: The NJAC is anyone’s league to win right now, and despite a very rough start, NJCU seems to be on the right track, with five straight wins. Both NJCU and TCNJ are 7-3 in league play, trailing Ramapo by just a game in the standings. For that reason, both teams will be bringing their best this afternoon.
- Augustana at Millikin, 3 pm EST: Millikin is 8-0 in CCIW play, and at home in this one, but Augustana has been somewhat unpredictable this year. They have played plenty of tough competition, and recently beat a solid Carroll team, 67-64. I think this could be closer than a lot of people expect. But as long as Millikin wins in this one, they will stay in my ballot for Week 8.
- UW-Stout at UW-Oshkosh, 4 pm EST: Maybe the most critical WIAC duel of the day, both of these teams have cases to be ranked, and more importantly, remain in the WIAC title fight. Even if neither wins the regular season league title, conference tournament seeding is on the line in matchups like these. Both young squads have shown improvement over the course of the year, and have come a long way since first taking the court back in November. This will be a close one, no doubt.
- Hamilton at Amherst, 3 pm EST: This NESCAC duel could go either way, and I feel like Hamilton is right on the verge of picking up what would be considered a “notable win”. They’ve neatly beaten Baldwin-Wallace, Ithaca, and Babson, already beat Rochester and Tufts, and have a 9-7 record that doesn’t reveal how good they are. If they can take away some things from Williams, Chapman, and Concordia-Moorhead, who all recently beat Amherst, and find ways to score, this could end up as a pivotal win for Hamilton in the NESCAC race. Both Hamilton and Amherst are 2-2 in league play entering this one.
Kept it short on this Saturday morning, but hope you get the chance to watch some great basketball at some point today. There are so many contests playing out from coast-to-coast on this mid-January afternoon. In case you missed it, the Pre-Championship manual was released by the NCAA yesterday morning. I’ll link it below. Until tomorrow’s post, have a great day, God Bless.