FanHouse Terrific 12: Now It's a Season
Now we've got ourselves a season.
Connecticut's 90-game win streak was a great thing for the women's game. It put a spotlight on the game, got people talking (good and bad) and was an impressive demonstration of consistent, unrelenting excellence.
But Stanford ending that streak last week was also great for women's basketball. It proves that the women's game is more than a one-woman show. It removes a third-straight UConn title from the realm of foregone conclusion. It offers possibilities instead of inevitabilities.
And it brings us to a new No. 1 team in the nation for the first time in a really, really, really long time.
Terrific 12 Teams
1. Baylor (13-1). The Bears ascended to the No. 1 spot in the AP poll for the first time in program history. They are the first Big 12 team to be ranked No. 1 since Texas in 2004.
2. Connecticut (12-1). The Huskies may be better for having to experience disappointment. Connecticut hasn't lost two in a row since 1993. Poor Villanova.
3. Duke (13-0). The Blue Devils have a tough week coming up with Kentucky and Maryland.
4. Stanford (10-2). Beating the No. 4 team in the country (Xavier), the No. 1 team (UConn) and then your rival (Cal) all in the same week and by a total margin of 82 points. That's a good week.
5. Tennessee (13-2). The Lady Vols failed to make a 3-pointer against LSU and it was the first time that had happened in 422 games.
6. West Virginia (14-0). The last undefeated team in the Big East. Still haven't allowed an opponent to score more than 60 points.
7. Texas A&M (11-1). The Aggies are forcing 25.4 turnovers a game.
8. North Carolina (13-0). It's a soft 13-0 for North Carolina, but that will change as the ACC season begins.
9. Xavier (10-2). The Musketeers laid a huge egg in their 37-point loss at Stanford last week.
10. Michigan State (13-1). The Spartans have put up their best start in program history. MSU has won 11 in a row.
11. UCLA (12-1). Losing to LSU at home is the only blemish on the Bruins record so far.
12. Kentucky (11-1). Victoria Dunlap's knee bruise should be healed enough to put her on the floor against Duke.
Baker's Dozen: A special shout-out to Michigan, which posted three straight wins over ranked teams last week, defeating Boston College, Ohio State and Iowa.
Terrific 12 players
Jeanette Pohlen, Stanford. Her 31-point performance against Connecticut has brought this Cardinal senior guard firmly into All-American territory.
Oklahoma's Whitney Hand. OK, she hasn't played a minute yet. But the 2008 Big 12 Freshman of the Year is finally back after missing 13 months with a knee injury and the Sooners are glad to have her.
Glory Johnson, Tennessee. Johnson, coming off the bench for Pat Summitt, made the most of the new "opportunity," averaging 15.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in wins over Rutgers and LSU.
Lindsey Moore, Nebraska. Moore, a sophomore guard, pulled off the first triple-double in Nebraska history with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the Huskers' 73-57 win over Florida A&M. She also had four steals for good measure.
Jori Davis, Indiana. The senior guard became the first Indiana player to win Big Ten Player of the Week honors since 2008, scoring 24 points against Northwestern and 31 points in an overtime win over Minnesota.
Adrienne Johnson, Louisiana Tech. The senior forward scored 34 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in a win over Southern Miss last week. It was the most points scored by a player in the WAC so far this season.
Kayla Alexander, Syracuse. The sophomore center scored 64 points in three wins for the Orange last week. She has three double-doubles in the last four games.
Mikah Maly-Karros, UC Irvine. Maly-Karros, a junior forward, leads the Big West Conference with eight double-doubles on the season. She is averaging 18.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, leading the league in both categories.
Tyaunna Marshall, Georgia Tech. The freshman guard shot 73.8 percent from the field and averaged 22.0 points a game in three wins for the Yellow Jackets.
Ebony Rowe, Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders got 26 points and 16 rebounds from Rowe, the freshman in a 67-59 win over South Alabama. Rowe has seven double-doubles this season and four in a row.
Alyssa Baron, Penn. The freshman guard had 23 points in 32 minutes in a win over St. Francis. She averaged 15 points in a three-win week for Penn, its first three-game win streak in nearly two years.
Tiffany Aidoo, Tulane. The senior guard-forward led the Green Wave to a big win over Old Dominion, picking up a charge and coming up with a steal in the waning moments of a 62-59 win. She also hit a career-high six 3-pointers in a victory over Nicholls State.
Terrific 12 Games of the Week
Jan. 4 Kentucky at Duke. The first game in a defining week for the third-ranked Blue Devils.
Jan. 5 TCU at San Diego State. Two teams that tied for the MWC title last year. TCU is unbeaten at 13-0
Jan. 6 Arizona State at Cal. Two teams hoping to return to the NCAA tournament after sitting out last year.
Jan. 6 Maryland at Duke. Terrapins start ACC with 12-game win streak.
Jan. 6 LSU at South Carolina. LSU's six-game win streak ended with loss to Tennessee on Sunday.
Jan. 8 Connecticut at Notre Dame. Another tough road test for the Huskies.
Jan. 8 DePaul at St. John's. DePaul's last road game a tough 79-66 loss at Arizona State.
Jan. 8 Iowa State at Baylor. Iowa State ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring defense (49.9 ppg).
Jan. 8 Ohio State at Iowa. Four losses for Ohio State is a big surprise.
Jan. 8 USC at UCLA. The battle to be second-best in the Pac-10 behind Stanford.
Jan. 8 Gonzaga at Portland. The Zags are still in position to dominate the WCC.
Jan. 9 Dayton at Xavier. Mid-major matchup of the week.