Big surprise for USC, building a fan base for generations

USC’s Kayla Williams, left, and Okaku Adika celebrate after USC upset Stanford 55-46 on January 15, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Biggest upset of the season so far belongs to USC. The Trojans stunned Final Four candidate Stanford, 55-46, on Sunday at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. It was one of four matches in which an unranked team knocked out a ranked team in the Associated Press Top 25.

The 46 points Stanford scored were the fewest since February 2017 when the No. 8-ranked Cardinals lost to the No. 8 Cardinals. 10 Oregon State, 50-47, According to ESPN Stats & Info. The result is 55% of an average of 82.5 points per game. His previous season low was 60 points against Cal a week earlier in the lowest winning margin, 60-56.

Stanford (17-2, 5-1 Pac-12) and No. 1 South Carolina (18-0, 6-0 SEC), the other team to beat the Cardinals, started the season as clear favorites returning to the Final Four. The other two points have been the subject of much debate. Now Stanford looks more likely to come back.

A few things go well for the Cardinal. Cameron Brink was the only player with a double digit tally of 11 points on a poor 3-of-14 day that included all 5 missed 3-pointers, although she did add 14 rebounds and four blocks. Talana Libolo (9) and Haley Jones (8) are the only other players to go over 5 points.

They trailed from the start, heading into the second quarter trailing 11-4, and were 29.2% (7-of-24) from the field, including making 1 of 9 3-point attempts. By the end of the game, they had made 17 baskets on 55 attempts, both season-lows, and made four three-pointers, tying Cal’s game for the fewest.

In six Pac-12 contests, Stanford has shot 42.9%. But in their last three games, which include a 60-56 win over Cal and a 72-59 win over UCLA, the Cardinals have clipped 35% and average 12 assists per game when they’re at 17.5 for the season.

And Stanford will be on high again on Friday when it hosts Utah (15-1, 5-1), which beat No. 14 Arizona, 80-79 on Sunday. Stanford has yet to face Oregon State (January 29).

USC (13-4, 3-3) is closing in on the 2021-22 Pac-12 with a total of five wins against Oregon State and Cal before Sunday’s victory. Second year head coach Lindsey Gottlieb used seven players led by Destiny Littleton with 18 points (5-of-15) and six assists. USC also struggled offensively, shooting 27% but made up for it, hitting 8 of 19 3-point attempts and double-doubling Stanford at the free throw line.

Loser: Iowa State and Stephanie Soares

Iowa, ranked No. 15, was one of the top 25 teams to suffer an upset loss, 68-53, to a Texas team that had already fallen out of the rankings.

The loss was nasty, but not as damaging as the news earlier in the week that center/forward Stephanie Soares has suffered a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. It’s the same ACL that I tore earlier.

Soares is a 6-foot-6 graduate transfer from The Master University, an NAIA school in California, that has made her way onto the radars of WNBA teams. She is a two-time NAIA Player of the Year and averaged 14.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and three blocks in 22.6 minutes per game. Her 25.5 points in 40 minutes ranks 33rd in the country and her block average is the third best.

The Cyclones (11-3, 3-1 Big 12) entered the conference schedule as a favorite and rebuilt themselves around Soares to take the next step from the Sweet 16. Soares’ loss to Texas (12-5, 3-1 Big 12), showed the defense-minded team , who had a lower threat of anxiety after Ashley Jones. Jones scored 21 and was the only double-digit Hurricane.

Winner: Build Generation

Women’s and girls’ sports are very young. It wasn’t that long ago that women were discouraged from participating in casual sports, let alone doing so on a professional level with salaries and marketing dollars on the table.

The sport has now reached a point where 22-year-olds getting drafted into the WNBA have grown up watching their new teammates on TV. The children of professional coaches are recruited into the leagues. So it was another great moment to see these photos hit my Twitter timeline over the course of the week.

Seimone Augustus was in town for the unveiling of her statue at LSU. the Concert photos And the game was worthy of you people who went out to see August. Also in town was Sylvia Fowles, another LSU great who retired from the WNBA in September. And there’s another WNBA player on board in Angel Reese, the second baseman who brought her double-double total to 18 in as many games. She averages 23.9 points and 15.4 rebounds per game.

One day, Reese could be in August’s boots taking a photo with a little girl who hopes to make it to the pros someday. Although, in this new world, it probably is TikTok.

Loser: Azzi Fad and Okon’s luck

UConn’s season took another rush down the camel’s back when National Player of the Year Azzi Fudd sat out the second half of a 65-50 win against Georgetown.

Food appeared to adjust the right knee that kept her out of the eight beginning in December. This was her second game back from that injury, but she went into the locker room alongside her coach with just over 3 minutes left in the first half.

Coach Gino Auriemma, who returned to the team last week after taking some time off, said afterwards that the doctor was looking at the knee. “It didn’t look serious at all,” he told SNY, though that was the case for previous injuries that turned out to be serious.

Losing Vad again is a blow to the Huskies (15-2, 8-0 in the Big East) for more than their scoring and game-making abilities. Without it, UConn is down to seven healthy players, the minimum the Big East needs to play a game. UConn had to postpone a game against DePaul last week due to the rule.

“If Azzi is out in any amount of time, like she didn’t play on Tuesday, we’ll be back to square one, right?” Auriemma said.

Paige Bueckers and Ice Brady are out for the season. Caroline Ducharme and Ayanna Patterson still have concussions. UConn is set to travel to Seton Hall for Tuesday’s game.

Winner: Tennessee Yarns

This Mrs. Falls looks cute.

More teams should have a vintage look to break out, though few programs are arguably as iconic as Tennessee’s. Lady Falls legend Candace Parker was at home (Graduate back home was a trend This weekend) and Summitt Blue looked pretty clean in court proceedings. It was especially sharp against Black Georgia.

win, win.

Loser: Not supporting your hometown team

There was a lot of strong crowd performances this weekend. North Carolina played to its first sellout since 2015 and defeated top-ranked NC State, 56-47, in Chapel Hill. Indiana drew 10,422 fans, the largest regular season crowd in program history and the second-largest, for its 93-56 thrashing of Wisconsin. Hook Nation continues to appear in large numbers.

This is not the case for other programs, such as at Syracuse where 3,736 turned out to watch the high-performance Orange (13-5, 4-3 ACC) top ten at Notre Dame (14-2, 5-1). Many of those fans were there for the Fighting Irish, packing the section behind the visitor’s seat in navy blue.

First-year Syracuse head coach Felicia Leggett-Jack was asked about it after a 72-56 loss that was closer than the final score came out.

“It’s really cool and easy to get on a team when it’s already developed,” said Leggett Jack, a 1989 graduate and native of Syracuse. “But getting in there at the grassroots level and helping them get up, that’s a special feeling. That’s the feeling I had when I was a student athlete here and they grew up from a place where [the men’s team] I had to get out of Manley Field House because there were so many fans out there that wanted to [watch]So the dome was built. Next thing you know, 34-35,000 people were coming to see District 2-3, right? And great players. Well, we have one of the most exciting players on our squad right now and she’s going to need some support.”

Legette-Jack was referring to Dyaisha Fair, whose 19.6 points per game is third in the ACC behind Florida State freshman Ta’Niya Latson (24.3) and Louisville’s Hailey Van Leeth (20.8). This star also has local roots as she grew up with 90 Minutes all the way. Two more players from Rochester and Albany.

The men’s team averages about 17,000 fans at the game these days and 20,666 turned out the night before to watch Syracuse get snubbed by a winless ACC Notre Dame men’s team. This is largely because watching the Men’s Games was created as an event that should have been through years of growth, yes, including winning, but it also involved other forces.

School support, fan groups, local businesses bringing in celebrities, posters in business lobbies for consumers to see, small businesses promoting them while ignoring women even when women are better off. It’s not just Syracuse’s problem. It was a problem almost everywhere until the roof was broken, usually by a woman beating it until it finally shattered.

Leggett Jacks, who developed the program in Buffalo, could be that woman at Syracuse. Her callout pitting cities in the North against each other is a great opportunity. And the challenge.

“I just think if you’d join us now, you’d be very proud of yourself,” Leggett-Jack said. “We’ll take you when we’re growing, if you want to come up late. But we’ll see you weren’t in that seat when we were growing this team. I’m Phil. I don’t forget. And so the challenge is what we learned in Buffalo. We asked the community out, and we told them to try and join us.” As they built it, and they did. And we’ve grown and grown and gotten better…. And if you want Buffalo to overtake you, just keep not showing up. We’ll keep winning, though.”

Games to watch

Wednesday

Indiana (16-1, 6-1 Big Ten) at Illinois (15-3, 5-2), 8 p.m. ET, B1G

Thursday

Miami (12-6, 5-2 ACC) at NC State (13-5, 3-4), 6 p.m. ET, ACCN

Duke (16-1, 6-0 ACC) at North Carolina (12-5, 3-3), 8 p.m. ET, ACCN

Arkansas (16-3, 3-1 SEC) at LSU (18-0, 6-0), 9 p.m. ET, SECN

Friday

Utah (15-1, 5-1 Pac-12) at Stanford (17-2, 5-1), 9 p.m. ET, Pac-12

Villanova (16-3, 7-1 Big East) at Creighton (12-5, 6-3), 9 p.m. ET, FS1

Saturday

Kansas (12-4, 2-3 Big 12) at Iowa (11-4, 3-2), 6 p.m. ET, Big12/ESPN+

Oklahoma State (13-4, 3-2 Big 12) at Oklahoma (14-2, 4-1), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Sunday

NC State (13-5, 3-4 ACC) at Louisville (14-6, 5-2), 1 p.m. ET, ABC

Arkansas (16-3, 3-1 SEC) at South Carolina (18-0, 6-0), 3 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Colorado (14-3, 5-1 Pac-12) at Stanford (17-2, 5-1), 5 p.m. ET

Texas (13-5, 4-1 Big 12) at Baylor (12-5, 3-2), 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2

1 – South Carolina (18-0)

2 – Ohio State (18-0)

3. LSU (18-0)

4- Stanford (17-2)

5- Ocon (15-2)

6- Indiana (16-1)

7 – Notre Dame (14-2)

8. Utah (15-1)

9. UCLA (15-3)

10. Iowa (14-4)

11. Maryland (14-4)

12. Virginia Tech (14-3)

13. Duke (16-1)

14. Michigan (15-3)

15 – Oklahoma (14-2)

16 – Gonzaga (17-2)

17. North Carolina (12-5)

18- Iowa (11-4)

19. Arizona (14-4)

20- NC State (13-5)

21 – Illinois (15-3)

22 – Villanova (16-3)

23- Oregon (13-5)

24- Colorado (14-3)

25- Texas (13-5)

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