The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: Thoughts on UMHB’s hire, Carthage’s coaching change announcement, and 2 new open head coaching jobs

By Riley Zayas, @ ZayasRiley

April 18, 2023

Checking back in on this Tuesday morning! April is more than half over and the summer weather is certainly upon us (at least down here in Texas!). Hope everyone had a great weekend.

In Friday’s article, I mentioned towards the very bottom that a major development happened in the UMHB head coaching search. While I do admit that I am (slightly) biased towards Region 10 and pay especially close attention to the ASC as a beat writer covering UMHB, I don’t think it is a stretch to say that besides Loras, Belton was home to the next biggest open D3 WBB job this offseason. After all, this was a team that cracked the Top 10 in Week 2 of the poll this past season and had fairly high expectations entering the year with a solid non-conference slate that included Trinity (TX), Puget Sound, Emory, and UC-Santa Cruz.

Of course we know how it turned out. The Cru failed to reach the ASC Tournament final, and never made it to the Pool C selection table. Drama clouded the final weeks of the season with the dismissal of head coach Mark Morefield, and led us to the point where the job was open until early last week.

As both I and Cory Hogue of Dave Campbell’s Texas Basketball reported, Katie Novak has been tabbed as the program’s next head coach, returning to Texas after a one-year stint at D-II Hawai’i Pacific.

Personally, I really like this hire. I think she fits the university well in terms of her background in the ASC (more on that in a second) and leadership ability. HPU had a tough situation with its head coach previous to Novak, and ended up dismissing him due to alleged mistreatment of players (along the lines of verbal and mental abuse). She came in, re-recruited a good percentage of the players in the program, and brought with her a transfer center in Abby Spurgin, who ended up becoming the PacWest Conference Player of the Year.

Previously, she head coached Sul Ross State, doing very well despite enormous recruiting challenges (for those who don’t know, SRSU might be the most remote school in D3, especially with Finlandia shutting down). She left after five seasons as the program’s all-time leader in wins, and led the Lobos to new heights.

Looking forward to seeing what Novak can build in Belton. With resources available, a good recruiting base, and playing in a competitive, yet wide-open league, I think we could see UMHB competing for the ASC title in year one.

A few additional open head coaching positions came to my attention over the weekend.

Another GNAC job is open, as Colby Sawyer College no longer has a head coach listed on its website. Devon Quattrocchi was at the helm of that program since May 2020, but the Chargers went a combined 12-36 in the program’s two seasons under her direction (they did not play at all in 2020-21).

Pfeiffer did not make any kind of announcement, but the job was posted on on Saturday. Tooey Loy led the program for several years, though I was unable to get an official number from the website. But the bottom line is that the program’s last winning season came in 2017-18, when they went 20-5. Since then, success was not plentiful, with the Falcons going 6-17 overall, 4-12 in the USA South this past year.

There are now 16 head coaching jobs in D3 women’s basketball with a replacement having not yet been announced. The GNAC now has two jobs open (Elms, Colby Sawyer) and the USA South has two open (William Peace, Pfeiffer).

I mentioned it at the end of the Friday post, but will mention it again. I’m working to highlight as many D3 women’s basketball players who are also playing another sport at the college level. My plan is to put it out by Thursday. So if you know of a D3 WBB also playing another varsity sport be sure to let me know. Shoot me an email at

Carthage officially announced the dismissal of Tim Bernero and “has begun” a “national search” for its next head coach. Will be interested to see who takes that position, as the CCIW is a great league to be in right now.

The team went 9-17 in the CCIW this past year, but regardless, let’s just say it was one of the more controversial pieces of coaching news so far this offseason. Bernero had been with the program for 20 seasons, was the school’s all-time wins leader coach, and had a record of 311-208.

I get that firings are part of coaching. But I was not a fan of this move. For Bernero being someone who contributed to a program for so long, put together several competitive seasons in the CCIW, and overall represented Carthage well, I was very surprised when I heard about this one. I wasn’t the only one. There were quite a few frustrated individuals who voiced their opinions in opposition to it.

But what disturbs me even more is that Carthage waited SIX weeks to announce it. It took Bernero going on Twitter to confirm previous reports that he was no longer with the school. That’s not the way it should go. Maybe I’m not aware of the full situation, and I know there was an AD change, but I’ve always been taught in journalism that if you’re going to write something, or say something, that could be considered controversial, you also need to stand behind that. I see it as the same thing here. Carthage made a controversial decision to let Bernero go, but then waited until yesterday to make any kind of announcement. They did not stand behind their decision initially, and perhaps that is because it was a controversial one. UMHB never made any public announcement in regards to the departure of Mark Morefield either, though that story did receive more press.

Regardless, I just don’t like schools treating coaches this way, especially coaches who have been around for as long as Bernero had. Make a public statement, announce the coaching change, and move on. But don’t try to hide it.

Have a great day! If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe for free to The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops!


The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: Championship Game preview: A look at both offenses

This is coming out a day later than I wanted it to, but regardless, it is crazy to think that we have just three days left of the 2022-23 D-III basketball season! What an amazing year…those games in November feel like an eternity ago and part of that is because the women’s season has been extended by a couple weeks as compared to most years, with the D-III national championship being played in a combined setting alongside the D-I Final Four and D-II national championship game.

That matchup features the nation’s top two “vote-getters” in terms of total points received in the year’s 14 Top 25 polls: #1 Christopher Newport and #2 Transylvania. Each carries a flawless record into Saturday’s championship in Dallas, with Transy at 32-0 overall, and CNU, 31-0. Needless to say, this is the #1 vs. #2 battle we always hope for come tournament time, but rarely get, thanks to improbable upsets and geographical seeding.

Splitting this into two parts, I’m planning to take a look at both teams’ offenses today, and follow that up with some notes on the defenses tomorrow. Then, Saturday morning I will have a post live from Dallas before tip-off. So stay tuned for all of that!

Transylvania … on offense


In terms of scoring production, the Pioneers do not lack depth, with four players averaging double figures in points. Second Team All-American Madison Kellione leads the way with 15.3 points per game, followed closely by Kennedi Stacy at 14.1. Dasia Thornton adds 12.2 per contest, and Laken Ball rounds out the group at 10.4. Not surprisingly, those four have started every game of the season for Transy, forming the backbone of the Pioneers’ success.

On the boards

Transy averages just over 15 offensive rebounds per contest, with 484 this season. Thornton leads the way with 111 total. The Pioneers are not great on the offensive glass, but have athletic guards as well as two experienced post players in Thornton and Ball who can pull down an offensive board when needed.


As a team, Transy has shot above 48% from the field in its last two games, and on the season, is 42.5% from the field. The Pioneers have range when necessary, averaging 8.5 3-pointers per game, but tend to work the ball inside whenever possible, taking plenty of mid-range jumpers and shots at the rim. Against CNU’s man-to-man pressure defense, that could obviously change slightly, but it worked for the most part against Smith, who employed a man-to-man defense throughout the national semifinal contest. Transy favored the one-on-one matchup between Thornton and a Smith defender in the post in the semifinal win, which led to 18 points and nine free throws for Thornton. Look for that to be a factor against CNU, especially with the Captains’ limited depth in the post.

Final thoughts

Transylvania isn’t a team that is going to dominate in transition. Rather than pushing the ball upcourt frequently and risking a turnover, the Pioneers tend to be more slow-paced when holding possession, focusing on making good passes and getting the ball to the paint when possible. They aren’t afraid to pass the ball 10 times in order to get the best shot, which, as we saw against Smith, can make for a long day for the opposing defense, especially when that defense is running a man-to-man. Excited to see this disciplined and incredibly efficient offense in person.

Christopher Newport…on offense


CNU may only have two double digit scorers on its roster (one of whom will be unavailable for the title game), but the Captains have exceptional depth and phenomenal shooters up and down the bench. Sondra Fan, a Fourth Team All-American, leads the way with 14.4 points per game. Anaya Simmons, who averaged 13.7 PPG through 26 games injured her knee on the first weekend of the tournament and has been out for the remainder. Gabbi San Diego returned from an injury in the second half of this regular season, and displayed her shooting ability against Tufts in the Elite Eight, putting 32 points on the board. Both Fan and San Diego will be focal points for the CNU offense in Dallas. And while I’m mentioning those two, Gordon Mann of wrote a fantastic piece on their long-lasting connection prior to the national semifinal game against Rhode Island College. Check that out here:

In total, seven of the players expected to be available on Saturday average six points or more per game.

On the boards

The Captains have tallied 469 offensive rebounds per game this season, but 101 of those came from Simmons. Hannah Orloff is the next best rebounder offensively for CNU, with 59 this season. As a team, CNU has a number of guards who have pulled down a handful of offensive boards throughout the season, and that could very likely be the case on Saturday.

Shooting wise

CNU converts on 45.9% of this shooting attempts, the sixth-best mark nationally, and that consistency has contributed greatly to the Captains’ perfect record this season. On average, the Captains tally 30.8 made field goals per game, and while they have a group of guards with plenty of 3-point range, CNU’s aggressive attack on both ends of the floor results in plenty of drives to the basket. The Captains just have this ability to put their heads down and get to the rim, often drawing fouls along the way. They’ve been sent to the free throw line 20+ times in each of the last two games, and expect that to be a source of point production for CNU on Saturday.

Final Thoughts

CNU is a fun team to watch, because the guards and post players work so well together and they have a speed element to their offense that is very tough to defend. RIC held them to a shooting percentage of just 28.1% in the national semifinal, so CNU will obviously be looking for a better offensive showing in this one. They’ll need it against Transy’s defense, and I think we’ll see it. As mentioned above, the Captains’ fearless ability to get to the rim makes for exciting offensive possessions and can generate momentum in a hurry.

That’s a look at both offenses! Hope it was informative and on-point as we get ready for this showdown on Saturday morning. They posted photos of the court today and man, it is a great venue for a basketball game. Looking forward to it!

For any questions/feedback/corrections email me at or DM me on Twitter (@ZayasRiley).

The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: 5 teams who did not receive a Top 25 vote, but deserve recognition

I have started working on some postseason analysis articles, and something I was interested in putting together was the top five teams (in my opinion, mind you) who never received a Top 25 vote this season, but separated themselves for one reason or another. We focus so much on the Top 25 during the season, but there are a number of teams doing great things within their own conferences who don’t quite have national relevance (usually because of a weak conference/weak SOS). So I thought I’d look at five of those teams here. This list isn’t perfect by any means, and in non particular order. But I tried to give some insight into this past season, as well as what the future might look like for the program heading into next season. So here you go…

Ripon (20-7 overall, 14-1 MWC): Interestingly enough, the Red Hawks did not make the NCAA Tournament, but were one of the two teams ranked in Scott Peterson’s Top 50 that did not receive a single Top 25 vote this season. Despite falling to Knox in the MWC Tournament final, Ripon really impressed me this season in the games I watched them play, including in non-conference. The Red Hawks battled UW-La Crosse down to the wire in mid-November, falling 69-62, and took down what ended up being a very solid UW-Stout team, 67-59, on a neutral court. Ripon also played UW-Oshkosh tough, outscoring the Titans in both the third and fourth quarters.

Alison Leslie, Skyylar Brescia, Bonnie Jensen, all averaged double figures in points, and Leslie and Jensen do each have one year of eligibility remaining. Brescia was a fifth-year. So technically, Leslie and Jensen could return for a fifth season, but considering Ripon is a college, there is a good chance neither comes back. Without graduate degrees (from what I understand), it makes it much tougher for players to return for a fifth season. So keep an eye on that.

St. Norbert (24-4, 18-0 NACC): Due to playing in the NACC, SNC was overlooked by and large this season. To be honest, they weren’t a team I really even considered for my ballot, though I did follow the NACC closer than I had in years past, and going 18-0 in any league is very difficult. There were some solid teams in that league too, which kept parity present, and the standings competitive. But SNC was atop the whole time, and like Ripon, ranked in Scott’s Top 50.

They make this list in part because they did schedule very well….the four losses were to UW-Eau Claire (#13 at the time), Carroll (strong bubble team at one point), Randolph-Macon (First four out sort of team) and Hope (in the NCAA Tournament). Add that to a non-conference win over UWSP, along with the flawless conference record, and you have a quality, under-the-radar type of squad.

Don’t get me wrong…losing 71-43 to Carroll isn’t pretty, and the number of NACC games doesn’t leave a lot of room to play in more than one multi-team event, or make a long road trip in non-conference play. But SNC did well with the schedule it had, and also made the NCAA Tournament for the first time as the NACC’s Pool A qualifier.

Five seniors were listed on the roster this past year. Not sure what the outlook is heading into next season, but Kaycee Gierczak (who averaged 14.5 PPG) has two years of eligibility remaining, as does Natalie Cerrato (who played in all 28 games this past year). Two others have one year of eligibility left. Gierczak is the key. If she returns next year, SNC could make waves nationally with a good schedule and record. But like Ripon, St. Norbert is a college, and the fact that Gierczak was already listed as a senior despite this being her third collegiate season (per SNC website) makes me think she is close to graduating. Maybe we see her transfer to another program to continue her studies and basketball. Maybe there is a way she stays. I’m just speculating at this point.

Maine Maritime (22-7, 13-1 NAC): Maine Maritime put together its third 20-win season and tallied the most wins in a season since 2006-07, also reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 16 years. They tallied 2,000 points in a season for the second time in program history, and watching them play, it was clear they had things figured out.

An NCAA Tournament team but probably not a Top 25 team, Maine Maritime fit into that category of being a name to know within Region 1, and a 20+ win team at that, though the SOS and number of notable wins weren’t there. They ranked in the Top 15 nationally in assists per game, and that ball movement paid dividends throughout the conference schedule.

Here is what I really like when it comes to Maine Maritime though. Of their top five starters (4 of whom started 27 games or more), four will presumably be back next season. One was a freshman, two were sophomores, and one was a junior. Only Lauren Plissey, the team’s second-leading scorer, will depart, having been a grad student this season. Obviously players can transfer, and things can come up, but if Maine Maritime can retain those four, including leading scorer Maria Barela, the future could be bright heading into next season.

Eastern Connecticut (22-6, 15-1 LEC): An NCAA Tournament team, EConn entered the national tournament ranked fourth in Region 2, just behind Rhode Island College, who made a Final Four run as the year’s undoubted “Cinderella” team. The fact that EConn lost in the Little East Conference championship put two LEC teams in the NCAA Tournament, and of all the teams on this list, I liked EConn’s resume best. Without winning the Pool A, Ripon, Maine Maritime, and St. Norbert don’t get in. But EConn was taken off the Pool C table within the first 15 rounds from what I understand, in large part because they were the second team in Region 2, just behind Babson, who was picked early.

What I’m trying to say is that while EConn never received a Top 25 vote, the Warriors’ national presence was there, landing them on this list. All four regular season losses were to NCAA Tournament teams (Trinity CT, Babson, Smith, RIC), and the margins were all respectable. In fact, Trinity won narrowly, 59-54, and Babson only beat EConn by eight, 77-69. Along with a win over Middlebury, the Warriors had a fairly strong schedule that prepared them well for LEC play, where they won the regular season conference title.

They nearly won an NCAA Tournament game too, leading 28-23 at halftime against Marietta. The Pioneers came back in the second half for a 51-47 victory in what was likely the final collegiate game for most (if not all) of EConn’s starting five. You never want to say a team is heading into a rebuilding year, having no idea what kind of young talent is up and coming within the program, but if the Warriors do indeed have to replace all five starters (consider all were seniors), it could be a tough start to the 2023-24 season come November.

Case Western Reserve (15-10, 6-8 UAA): The fifth team on my list, and again, these are in no particular order, comes from what may have been the toughest league this season (though my personal opinion would give the WIAC that title). CWRU went toe-to-toe with the likes of NYU, Chicago, WashU, and others in the UAA, and really improved over the course of the season.

The Spartans lost their two “high-quality” non-conference games to Marietta and Baldwin Wallace, but opened UAA play with a one-point win over Carnegie Mellon before adding a 74-64 victory over WashU later in the month. A win over Rochester and another win over WashU (this time in St. Louis) caught my attention, and watching them play via livestream several times, you could see the improvement taking place as they battled each week over the final two months of the season.

Next season, CWRU may be without Isabella Mills, who averaged 18.0 PPG and was the heart and soul of the team. But she does have one year of eligibility left, and everyone else who averaged above 5 PPG is either a junior or below. This could be a program on the rise in the UAA. Kayla Characklis is a name to remember, as she stepped up late in the season, and ended up averaging 11.4 PPG. The forward will be a senior next year.

That’s a wrap on this post. Scott Peterson and I will be doing another YouTube video (though this one will not be livestreamed) recapping the season and taking a look at some various topics in D3 WBB. Once it goes up next week, I’ll put a link here. It should be insightful, and will be interesting to look at some numbers from the preseason now that we are essentially at the season’s end.

Is anyone heading to Dallas next week for the national title game? Hope to see a great crowd. 1 week from tomorrow! Can’t wait. Have a great day.


The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: The Elite Eight field is set!

March 11, 2023

By Riley Zayas

Well, our Elite Eight field is set for today! Here is who is still playing after what was a great Round of 16 last night…

#1 Christopher Newport vs #21 Tufts, 7 pm EST

#6 NYU vs #2 Transylvania, 6:30 pm EST

#20 Trinity CT vs #4 Smith, 8 pm EST

Rhode Island College vs #13 Babson, 7:30 pm EST

As you can see, our final eight teams are almost 100% located in the northeast with the exception of CNU and Transylvania. Rhode Island College is also the only non-Top 25 team still alive in this tournament, which is pretty notable. All the way around, I think we will see some incredible basketball tonight. Lots to like about the way these sectional have shaken out.

Now to take a look at last night’s Round of 16 matchups…

I think you have to start with your buzzer beater alert. And of all teams, it was Smith who needed a 3-pointer at the end of overtime in order to break the 75-75 tie against Mary Washington, and win 78-75. It was wild! Smith dribbled around for close to 12 seconds before the ball found its way into the hands of Ally Yamada, who fired an off-balance 3 that hit nothing but net. Those are the moments you live, and Smith is now one win away from the Final Four because of it.

The game appeared close to over entering the fourth, as Smith led by 15. Then Mary Washington flipped the switch. The Eagles mounted a 20-5 run to close the game, and I was very impressed by how efficient UMW was under pressure. They didn’t seem to rush their offensive possessions, even though they were down by double digits with about six minutes left, and they stayed aggressive, which did not make it easy on Smith.

Of course in OT, it was just as tight, with Smith outscoring UMW 11-8. Smith controlled the boards in this game BIG-TIME, outrebounding UMW 46-29. That is huge.

Chicago hadn’t played great in either the first or second round, but still, I did not expect Rhode Island College to end the Maroons’ season last night. RIC played a very complete game, and came out with a 64-56 victory, leading by as many as 17 points. RIC jumped out to a 20-13 lead and never looked back, shooting 8-of-15 from 3-point range and 42.3% from the field. Chicago never could catch up, and had some good 3-point looks in the final minutes that were missed, sending RIC to the Elite Eight. RIC feels like a wild card. They were one of my deep dive picks on Hoopsville a while back, but even in the LEC Tournament, didn’t impress me all that much. Whatever they’re doing must be working. A win over Babson today, and they’re into the Final Four.

Trinity TX vs Tufts was the big one for me, as I anticipated it would be competitive and feature some emotion with the “controversy” when it came to who hosted this sectional pod. As it turned out, the hosts did prevail, as Tufts came alive in the second half, winning 65-52. It was closer than the final score, but the Jumbos certainly kept their foot on the accelerator and never let up. Trinity was outscored 32-18 in the second half.

Maggie Russell was fantastic for Tufts, with 32 points and 21 rebounds. That might be the most dominant performance of this entire tournament. She literally took over the game, and carried the Jumbos to victory. I’m interested to see how CNU approaches Russell today, especially with Anaya Simmons out.

In a game that began pretty close, NYU raced away from Trine, and won convincingly, 66-49. Can’t wait to watch NYU battle Transylvania this afternoon. Big stats that jumped out to me…

  • NYU was +12 on the boards (41 rebounds to Trine’s 33)
  • NYU had 12 more points in the paint
  • NYU had 15 2nd-chance points, Trine had 6
  • NYU grabbed 10 of the game’s first 11 offensive rebounds

Natalie Bruns had a double-double for the Violets, with 16 points, and 13 rebounds, while Belle Pellecchia went toe-to-toe with Trine’s guards, scoring 15 points.

Top-ranked CNU ended Wartburg’s magical run with a 60-51 win early in the evening. CNU went up 21-9 early, and Wartburg, despite a valient effort down the stretch, never caught back up. CNU shot just 22% from 3-point range and had 10 fewer assists, but tallied 18 points off turnovers and scored 14 2nd-chance points. CNU had just 1 2nd-chance point. As I mentioned above, it will take that sort of defensive effort once again today if CNU wants to reach the Final Four. The Captains need to contain Russell and limit Tufts’ offense as a whole.

Babson did one thing incredibly well in the 73-59 win over Marietta: the Beavers got to the FT line, and were automatic there. That’s right…Babson was a perfect 20-for-20 from the charity stripe. I can’t think if many situations where you don’t win a game doing that. Not to mention, the Beavers shot 42% compared to Marietta’s 32%, and though Marietta won the rebounding battle by six, it didn’t make up for Babson’s exceptional free throw shooting.

Trinity CT is now one win away from playing in the Final Four on its home court. How cool is that? The Bantams took down UW-Whitewater, 63-56, ending the season for the last team standing that is located west of the Mississippi. It’s an all-eastern Elite Eight now, as Trinity got out to a 17-9 lead and stayed there. We’ve been talking about how much Trinity needed to establish a scoring presence outside of Reilly Campbell in some of these games, and that’s what they did against the Warhawks. 3 starters scored in double figures. Aleah Grundahl did not play for Whitewater due to an injury, and that definitely challenged the Warhawks in the post.

Transylvania punched its ticket to the Elite Eight once again, now 30-0! The Pioneers sent Ohio Northern home after jumping out to a 23-11 advantage and outscoring ONU in all four quarters. As usual, I thought Transy’s defensive intensity was incredible; ONU shot just 29.8% from the field and just 20% from 3-point. 25 points off turnovers helped too and I think Transy HC Juli Fulks put almost her entire bench into the game when the final buzzer sounded. 15 different players saw action for the Pioneers in the victory. NYU-Transy might be the game of the day in the Elite Eight round.

Enjoy today’s action! I’ll check back in tonight or tomorrow with some thoughts as our Final Four field gets set. Such an exciting day in D3 hoops! Looking forward to it.


The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: #1 Trinity goes down in exciting weekend of action

By Riley Zayas
February 5, 2023
Well…how do you put this past weekend into words? I don’t think you do. #1 went down this afternoon, 3 Top 25 teams fell in their respective conferences on Saturday, the OAC provided us with some thrilling matchups, and so did the UAA. Don’t forget about the WIAC, where Whitewater made a statement on its home court. And Trinity and Tufts are now locked in battle for 1st place in the NESCAC. Let’s get into it! (I broke this weekend article into categories because there was just so much to cover!)

The Upsets

  • There was no bigger upset than the one of Sunday afternoon in the final game of the week. Colorado College, on its home floor, took down #1 Trinity (TX), 70-64. I was very surprised, thought I thought CC might have a chance with the way they’d be playing as of late. On the other hand, I really thought Trinity was unbeatable. Even giants can fall. But I’d also add that CC is very sound on both ends of the floor, and is a team we’ll likely see in the regional rankings this coming week. On top of that, this loss might be good for Trinity. Remember what Hope said about last year’s loss to Trine that ended “the streak?” The loss took off some of the pressure that had been weighing in the team and allowed them to refocus, reset, and play a bit looser en route to a national title. Trinity didn’t have as much of a streak to defend in this instance, but the comparison seems valid nonetheless. As far as the game itself, CC did an exceptional job defensively, perhaps better than any Trinity has faced so far. CC challenged nearly every shot, and held Trinity to a 1-of-13 mark from three-point range. That’ll hurt you. Ashlyn Milton had just 2 points for Trinity, which also didn’t help. Audrey Bayston was excellent for CC, with 23 points, and converted FTs late when it really mattered, with no lead entirely safe against a team like Trinity. They played team basketball, were engaged defensively, and took quality shots, which allowed them to overcome their 20 turnovers.
  • #14 Baldwin Wallace was my “dubious” pick on Hoopsville this past week, and Otterbein seemed to prove that correct, pulling off a massive victory on senior day at home, 58-55. It was a complete game from Otterbein on its home floor, as BW was held to a shooting percentage of 27.8% while the Cardinals were 40% with 10 more points in the paint than the opposition (28 to 18). This is one of those late-season situations where Otterbein’s win here could really play “spoiler” in BW’s quest for the OAC title and conference tournament hosting privileges. I was really impressed by the toughness displayed by Otterbein, who erased a four-point BW lead in the early minutes of the fourth quarter.
  • Moravian was been a team I thought had a shot against #24 Elizabethtown, especially at home, but at 11-9 overall an with a sub-.500 record in the Landmark Conference (4-5), I wasn’t sure how the Greyhounds would fare against a prominent program like Elizabethtown. ETown was 18-2 entering the game with its only losses having to to #4 Scranton, but Moravian added its name to that list in a 75-70 win. It was such a closely-contested game, and a look at the box score reveals just that. Both teams shot above 40%, though Moravian really won the game at the FT line. Moravian was 9-for-9 at the line in the final quarter.
  • Wheaton also pulled off a fairly surprising win over #25 Millikin, who I have been voting for in each of the last four polls. It more because of the 85-66 margin than anything else, especially since Millikin was 11-0 in the CCIW entering that one. Wheaton shot the ball so well, and ended up with four players in double figures in points. Wheaton seems to be one of the midwest’s more overlooked teams.

The upsets that were…then weren’t

  • It looked like Capital had #13 Ohio Northern all but defeated, leading 42-29 at halftime. It had the makings of the day’s biggest upset, especially with Capital at home. But ONU pulled off a scoring run to a degree that I haven’t seen this season. Down 65-56 with just over three minutes to play, the Polar Bears rattled off a 14-0 run that closed the game, winning 69-65. It was incredible. Every shot seemed to fall, and on the other end, Capital’s hot shooting quickly fizzled out.
  • UC Santa Cruz led #3 Christopher Newport by five at halftime, and though this wouldn’t have been a “big-time” upset, it would’ve been a surprise regardless. Though it was competitive through the second half, a few key UCSC players got into foul trouble, and CNU looked so much sharper over the final two quarters, winning 73-62. In fact, the Captains held UCSC to just 4 points in the entire 3rd quarter. I’m anticipating a rematch in the C2C Tournament Championship here in a few weeks.


  • If you’re looking for a statement-making type game, a good one is probably a battle between the two highest ranked teams in the conference. #23 UW-Whitewater took it to #17 UW-Eau Claire in a huge way, dominating in an 84-52 win. The Warhawks closed the game by outscoring the Blugolds 44-26 in the second half. It started on the defensive end, as Whitewater held UWEC to a shooting percentage of 32%, the second straight game in which the Blugolds, normally a high-scoring squad, struggled offensively. I was really impressed by the way Whitewater got its outside shooters in position for 3s, as they went 10-of-21 from beyond the arc. UWEC will drop quite a bit in the Top 25, after an 0-2 week.
  • After taking its first loss in the NESCAC on Friday, Trinity (CT) responded with a 60-47 win at Middlebury on Saturday, showing that the Bantams are very much here to stay. Middlebury shot just 27%, as Trinity looked very solid on the defensive end. A wide disparity in the number of free throws for the two teams wasn’t there either, which seemed to help. Reilly Campbell posted yet another double-double, with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
  • WashU, who successfully completed a season sweep of Rochester on Friday, found a late surge en route to a very solid 78-61 win over Emory on Sunday afternoon. I continue to be impressed by the Bears, and if they’re not ranked this week, I’ll be shocked. Despite three Emory players scoring in double figures, led by Claire Brock with 18, WashU pulled away in the 4th quarter, outscoring the Eagles 24-11. Watching the Bears’ big run in the opening minutes of the 4th, it’s no surprise why WashU has won so many big matchups in the UAA. They are able to generate momentum in a matter of seconds, and before you know it, they’re up by double digits. Maya Arnott had 26 points, and 12 boards in the win for WashU.

Other games of note that really provided some excitement this weekend

  • Rowan won in crunch time at Kean on Saturday, 78-76, to tie for 1st place in the NJAC. Those are the kind of unranked matchups that may not catch a lot of national attention, but at this point in the year, determine a lot when it comes to regional rankings and the Pool C conversation. A big third quarter powered Rowan to the win, though I honestly liked a lot of what I saw from Kean. Kean was 12-of-34 from 3-point range, won the rebounding battle by +6, and had 9 more assists. But where Rowan was really strong was in its bench. 45 of their points came off the bench, compared to just 4 for Kean.
  • Sofia Gonzalez stepped up for Tufts on Saturday in a key win at Bowdoin to keep the Jumbos tied for 1st in the NESCAC, scoring 23 points. The 66-54 victory saw Tufts really elevate its intensity defensively, as Bowdoin shot just 28%. The Jumbos were also 6-of-14 from 3-point range.
  • UW-Stout came up with a fierce comeback at UW-Platteville, and ended up winning by 9 (70-61), despite trailing by 3 entering the 4th quarter. 4 of Stout’s 5 starters scored in double figures, led by Haylee Yaeger (17). Anna Mutch had 16, Raegan Sorensen had 15, and Amanda Giesen tallied 12. Stout’s 9-0 run midway through the 4th gave way to a 62-55 lead with 3 minutes left that put the Blue Devils in control for the final few minutes. The one glaring stat in this one: Stout had 17 second-chance points, Platteville had just 3.
  • The MIAC continues to be a fun conference to watch…Carelton, just 5-12 in league play, pulled off an overtime win against Bethel, who was 11-6 in the MIAC. It was a thrilling game regardless of where the two teams stood in the standings. Bethel led by as many as 11 with 6:26 to go, before the Royals went ice cold offensively and did not score for the rest of regulation. Carleton took advantage, with an 11-0 run, capped by a pair of free throws with seven seconds left from Jasmine Choi, that tied the score. Both sides played strong defense in OT, though Carleton scored first and never relinquished the lead.
  • #10 Chicago bounced back from the home loss to Emory on Friday with a 9-point win over #18 Rochester on Sunday. The 87-75 victory saw Chicago outscore the Yellowjackets 30-20 in a high-scoring 4th quarter. The crazy thing was that both teams seemed to be trading shot for shot throughout the game’s entirety; Chicago shot 50%, Rochester shot 46%. The key for Chicago in the win was attacking Rochester in the post. They had 52 points there, and weren’t forced to shoot for the perimeter as much as usual, it seemed. Chicago’s outside shooting isn’t necessarily a weakness, but a 3-pointer will almost always be a lower-percentage shot than a short-range jumper or layup in the paint. It’s hard to compare teams because not everyone has the same personnel or style of play, but that is one thing I thought Emory did a fantastic job in Friday’s win over Chicago. They forced the Maroons into 25 3-point tries (and they made just 7 of them), while Chicago had just 15 3-point attempts today (and still only made 4). If you’re going to beat Chicago, you have to stop the ball from getting into the post.

That’s probably long enough for today, haha. This weekend was truly packed with impressive results, and now I have the task of putting together a Top 25 ballot. I had said in past articles on the Top 25 that the easiest spot for me to fill in each week was #1. Not this week. #1-25 will be tough all the way around. So many teams are playing excellent basketball right now. Anyway, thanks for following along. Hope you have a great start to your week!