FanHouse Terrific 12: Surprise Edition
On a week in which the game of women's basketball was a national topic of conversation, we present our holiday version of the FanHouse Terrific 12.
Do any of these other 11 teams stand a chance of beating the Huskies this season? We're going to go out on a limb and say yes.
1. Connecticut (11-0). The Huskies have the consecutive wins record behind them. They have the best player in the country in Maya Moore. And if Stanford can't pull off a win over the Huskies on Dec. 30, it might be a long time before they lose again.
2. Baylor (12-1). Last week's impressive win over Tennessee cements fact that Bears are a much more complete team than they were last season.
3. Duke (12-0). This is the best start for a Joanne P. McCallie team in her 19 years as a head coach. The Xavier win on Tuesday night was a big one.
4. Xavier (10-1). A one-point loss to Duke doesn't diminish the Musketeers' status as a top-five team. Next up, at Stanford on Dec. 28, and Xavier will be looking for revenge for last year's Elite Eight loss.
5. Tennessee (10-2). The Vols made up for a tough loss to Baylor by beating Stanford. But this team isn't a powerhouse yet.
6. Stanford (6-2). It was a rough week for the Cardinal, with losses at DePaul and Tennessee, first losses to someone other than Connecticut in two years.
7. West Virginia (12-0). The Mountaineers have held all of their opponents under 60 points a game so far this season.
8. Texas A&M (9-1). The Aggies have been outscoring opponents by more than 25 points a game.
9. UCLA (10-0). The Bruins are off to their best start since 1980-81.
10. North Carolina (11-0). The Tar Heels have played only one top 25 team this season but are building a strong record heading into ACC play.
11. Kentucky (9-1). The Wildcats have also played only one ranked team thus far.
12. Iowa (11-1). The Hawkeyes wrap up the non-conference schedule with Northern Iowa.
Terrific 12 Players of the Week
Keisha Hampton, DePaul. The junior forward scored 27 points in the big win over Stanford, 23 of them in the second half. She has had six 20-point performances this season.
Kachine Alexander, Iowa. The Hawkeyes senior guard scored a season-high 26 points vs. Drake on Monday night
Jeanette Pohlen, Stanford. The senior guard was the Cardinal's saving grace in a tough week. Pohlen scored 23 and 24 points respectively in losses to DePaul and Tennessee.
Tierney Jenkins, Alabama. The senior forward leads the nation with 10 double-doubles this season.
Brittany Shine, Florida. The freshman guard from Sacramento, Calif., scored 28 points in her first collegiate start Monday night against Alabama State.
Meighan Simmons, Tennessee. The fiery point guard has scored in double figures in all 12 of her games thus far. A nice way to get in Pat Summitt's good graces.
Odyssey Sims, Baylor. Sims made her second career start against Tennessee last week and led the Bears with a 24-point game. She leads Baylor with 19 3-pointers and a .463 percentage behind the arc.
Ashley Corral, USC. The junior guard had a big game Sunday against San Diego State with 23 points, six assists and five rebounds. She left the game with an injury but came back to finish the job.
Courtney Weibel, Marquette. The senior guard set a school record with eight 3-pointers on Saturday in the win over UNC-Asheville. She finished with a career-high 24 points in 22 minutes.
Emily Carter, TCU. The senior guard scored 29 points in a win over Sam Houston State with seven 3-pointers.
Michelle Baker, St. Joseph's. The junior guard scored a career-high 29 points in a double-overtime win over Princeton on Sunday. She added seven rebounds and four assists to the effort.
Lena Gipson, Santa Clara. The Broncos have two wins this year, but Gipson had 22 rebounds last Thursday night against Pacific and it was her third 20-rebound game of her career. She also scored 11 points for her fifth straight double-double.
Terrific 12 Surprises
With many teams taking time off over the holiday break, we're going a different way this week. Here are the top surprises in women's basketball, a little something unexpected for fans to unwrap.
1. Oregon State. The Beavers weren't sure they'd be able to field a team when they had just two returning players and two recruits signed as new coach Scott Rueck took over. But the Beavers have filled out the roster with a public tryout and athletes from other sports, and they are nobody's pushover. They finished the non-conference schedule with a 7-4 record.
2. Hampton. The team picked to finish first in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference has raised the bar even more than that. The Lady Pirates have beaten James Madison on the road and Florida at home.
3. Georgetown beats Tennessee over Thanksgiving weekend in the Virgin Islands. It was the first big upset of the season.
4. DePaul over Stanford. It wasn't so much that DePaul beat Stanford in Chicago, but that DePaul put a 20-point beat down on the Cardinal on a night when coach Tara VanDerveer was going for the 800th win of her career.
5. Kelli Griffin leaves Baylor. The Bears are a national title contender and the team's starting point guard quits one week before the start of the season.
6. Syracuse over Ohio State. The Orange defeated the No. 6 team on their home floor and knocked the Buckeyes back a bit before the Connecticut matchup.
7. Meagan Simmons at Tennessee. The Vols' leading scorer isn't any of the players who have been with Pat Summit the past few years, but a take-any-shot freshman who is making a lot them.
8. Louisville. The team was in the Final Four two years ago but struggled last year. The Cardinals are putting things back together with a 26-point win over Kentucky.
9. Texas Tech. The fans in Lubbock have been waiting a few years for this. Kristy Curry's team is off to an 11-1 start this season, including an 8-0 record at home.
10. Yale over Florida State. The Seminoles came in with a 9-1 record and No. 14 national ranking. They went down to a Bulldogs team with a 1-7 record.
11. Northwestern. Not picked to finish in the top three in either Big Ten preseason poll, is 11-2 and nine points away from an unbeaten season with close losses to Georgia Tech and DePaul.
12. Connecticut. OK, it's not that big of a surprise that the Huskies have kept their spot at the top of the game. But they've done it as a MUCH different team than the one that won back-to-back titles the past two years. Instead of Tina Charles and Renee Montgomery and Kalana Greene, this is the Maya Moore show, complemented by a lot of young talent.