Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Silent majority rankings #5

Xavier and Green Bay continue to make doing the top of these rankings a snap. Everything else is pretty tricky, although thanks to Bowling Green, this week No. 3 didn't require a lot of thought, either.

Previous rankings
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

1. Xavier (8-0)
Last week: 1
Amber Harris continues to be a 20-and-10 double-double machine for the Musketeers, who have won 25 straight regular-season games since a 72-71 loss to Michigan on Dec. 14, 2009.

2. Green Bay (8-0)
Last week: 2
Never mind UConn. Can the Phoenix go undefeated through the regular season? Sunday's trip to Marquette should be tricky. But if they can survive that, we're calling ESPN to start the hype. For now, at least it's nice to see that enough AP voters finally concur that the Phoenix belong in their Top 25.

3. Bowling Green (8-1)
Last week: 5
Death, taxes and Lauren Prochaska at the free throw line? Pretty much. The multi-talented senior has made a MAC-record 61 straight one-pointers for the Falcons, who are riding an eight-game winning streak. For the season Prochaska is 69-of-70 from the line; her lone miss came on Nov. 15 at 10:19 of the second half of Bowling Green's second game, a 79-53 victory over Creighton.

4. Princeton (5-2)
Last week: 7
The much-anticipated (at least by us) Delaware-Princeton matchup fizzled when Blue Hens star Elena Delle Donne had to sit out with an illness. But all credit to these Tigers, who rolled Delaware by 18 and took even fewer prisoners in a 42-point rout of Rider. Sophomore sensation Niveen Rasheed had 22 points against Rider - in 20 minutes.

5. Florida Gulf Coast (6-0)
Last week: 9
The Eagles are in their final year of the reclassification process from Division II so their numbers do not show up in the NCAA's official D-I statistics. According to those stats, Villanova leads Division I with 9.6 made 3-pointers per game. Meanwhile, Florida Gulf Coast is making 10.5 3s per game.

6. Tulane (7-1)
Last week: 12
You'd think these guys would be thrilled with a 7-1 start, but most of the talk from Green Wave coach Lisa Stockton and her players after Sunday's victory over Detroit was about how much better this team believes it can get. They'll have two weeks to work on it before they resume play Dec. 17 against Louisiana Tech.

7. UC Davis (6-1)
Last week: 14
We now know how good these Aggies are at home, as last week's quality 71-62 win over St. Mary's was the Aggies' 12th straight at the Pavilion. Let's see if they can keep it up on the road as they'll be traveling for the next four games. The Aggies are 2-1 in road games so far.

8. Drexel (5-1)
Last week: 13
In two games last week - a loss at Virginia and a win vs. Tulsa - Dragons junior guard Kamile Nacickaite made 12 of 15 3-pointers en route to CAA Player of the Week honors. Then again, deadly long-range shooting is a team-wide thing at Drexel, which leads all of Division I with 47.5-percent 3-point accuracy.

9. Marist (4-2)
Last week: 3
The Red Foxes rarely lose at home, but they always seem to have trouble scoring against St. Bonaventure. Saturday was no exception, as the Bonnies prevailed 45-40 to snap Marist's four-game winning streak this season and its 12-game winning streak at the McCann Center. A side note: the Red Foxes shot 28.6 percent for the game; the Bonnies were even worse at 27.5. So with all due respect to the two teams, we're glad we didn't see it.

10. Charlotte (6-2)
Last week: 22
Instead of patting themselves on the back for their "good loss" against Duke, the 49ers have continued playing at that level and ripped off three straight victories. Love this headline on Charlotte's official site - "49ers explode in 2nd half for 66-50 win over UNC Wilmington." Really? Wow, must have been messy.

11. Fresno State (6-2)
Last week: 23
When it comes to 3-point shots, the Bulldogs operate on the idea that you've got to take 'em to make 'em. Only Sacramento State (269) has attempted more shots from distance than Fresno (242), and the Bulldogs connect at a mere 29.3-percent clip. But when it works....well, the hit 13 of 'em (out of 40 attempts) in a 75-72 victory over TCU. So hey, guys, keep shooting.

12. Old Dominion (3-3).
Last week: 6
Throughout her first three seasons, forward Russia Voronina was pretty much a spare part. Now she's one of the Lady Monarchs' most important assets, and the elbow injury she sustained early in last week's loss at Florida was crippling to an ODU team that lacks depth in all areas but is particularly thin in the frontcourt. The Lady Monarchs had nothing for Tennessee Sunday.

13. James Madison (5-3)
Last week: 21
The Dukes couldn't handle Duke - few teams can - but they did snap back to take care of Longwood and nip Liberty. And they did it without getting a lot from high-scoring guard Dawn Evans, who sat out against Liberty because of illness.

14. Houston (5-1)
Last week: 4
OK, so we overseeded the Cougars a bit last week. But it's not as though a 69-57 loss at TCU says they stink, especially since Houston was within two points with less than five minutes remaining. Nice bounceback victory Sunday against Texas A&M Corpus Christi, with Brittney Scott leading the way with 7 3-pointers and 29 points.

15. Middle Tennessee State (5-2)
Last week: 10
Sure, the Blue Raiders lost by 20 to Georgia Tech. But the fact that the Yellow Jackets did pretty much the same thing to nationally ranked Georgia a few days later suggests that result said more about Georgia Tech than it did about MTSU. We're about to learn a whole lot more about the Blue Raiders, though, as after visiting a good UCF team they're set to host Xavier and James Madison.

16. TCU (4-4)
Last week: 11
Not always sure what we're going to get from these Horned Frogs, who followed up a nice win against Houston by blowing a 14-point second-half lead at Fresno State.

17. Appalachian State (6-2)
Last week: 15
No shame in Sunday's 81-65 loss at Maryland, as the Terrapins succeeded in slowing what has been one of the nation's best offenses. The Mountaineers average nearly 83 points a game, shoot 50.1 percent from the field and dish out 21 assists per contest.

18. Dayton (5-3)
Last week: 16
We're probably tougher on the Flyers than most other teams, but that's only because we believe they're capable of being up there with Xavier and Green Bay at the very top of this poll. They have won three straight and five of their last six. But we're eager to see how they handle themselves Saturday at Louisville.

19. Illinois State (4-2)
Last week: 19
Talk about great escapes. The Redbirds trailed Illinois-Chicago by 13 with less than 4 minutes remaining, only to storm back to force overtime and ultimately prevail 94-86. Kenyatta Shelton finished with 22 points and 22 rebounds while Emily Hanley had 24 points and 13 boards.

20. Gonzaga (6-3)
Last week: 20
The Zags have won four straight and five out of six after easy victories over Eastern Washington and Montana. Courtney Vandersloot earned West Coast Conference Player of the Week honors after averaging 30 points (highlighted by a career-high 33 against Eastern Washington), 7.5 assists and 3.5 steals in the two games.

21. Duquesne (6-1)
Last week: NR
The most noteworthy thing about the Dukes' five-game winning streak is all games have been on the road. Speaking of noteworthy, how about freshman Wumi Agunbiade, the 6-1 forward from Ontario who tops Duquesne with 14.3 ppg and 10 rpg and has taken the past two Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week awards.

22. Delaware (6-1)
Last week: 8
Obviously the Blue Hens are at one level with a healthy Elena Delle Donne in their lineup and a few notches down from that when she's not. Blue Hens coach Tina Martin said she believes Delle Donne was sidelined by a virus infection, and the star clearly didn't appear to be over it Sunday when she made just 7 of 23 shots in a 5-point victory over Navy. Delaware doesn't play again until Dec. 19, though (at Penn State), so here's hoping whatever has been ailing Delle Donne is completely out her system by then.

23. St. Bonaventure (5-3)
Last week: NR
Last week's 45-40 victory over Marist marked the third time in five games the Bonnies held an opponent to 47 points or less. They are 4-1 in their last five games, with the loss coming by 11 to No. 20 St. John's.

24. Richmond (5-4)
Last week: NR
Got back on track last week with a terrific shooting effort in a one-point loss at then-No. 12 Georgetown and a 15-point throttling of city rival VCU.

25. Missouri State (5-2)
Last week: NR
The Lady Bears rebounded from a loss to Oral Roberts by going 2-0 last week, dominating Eastern Michigan holding off Arkansas State. By beating EMU, the Lady Bears became the 30th Division I program to reach 700 victories.

Whatever happened to....

- UALR (3-4): Lost 3 of their last 4, albeit to good teams.

- South Dakota State (3-4)- Three-game losing streak includes a home loss to (gulp) North Dakota State.

- San Diego State (2-4): Maybe last week's OT win over San Diego will get them going.

- Temple (5-4): Struggled out of the gate, but current 3-game winning streak includes wins over Rutgers and Auburn.

- Hartford (1-7): This rebuilding job is a bit more extensive than a lot of us thought.

- Hampton (3-4): The return of point guard Jericka Jenkins (ankle injury) has Hampton looking like Hampton again.

- Lamar (6-3): Losses last week at Tennessee and at New Mexico snapped a 5-game winning streak. Recovered well on Saturday to win 86-83 at Cal-Poly.

- Central Arkansas (4-4): The Sugar Bears have won two straight, but with so many returners, we were expecting a lot more from these guys out of the gate.

   - Liberty (3-5): Getting leading scorer Devon Brown back should help the Lady Flames get last season's groove back.

   - St. Mary's (5-4): Victories in 3 of their last 4 games indicates the Gaels are coming on.



  1. LadySwish -- Don't fall asleep on Louisiana Tech. The Lady Techsters are 3-3 after a win on the road at SEC Mississippi State last week. They did have a tough three-game stretch where they didn't play well and lost to #14 Houston (by 4), #25 Missouri State (by 9) and ORV UALR (by 4). Have road games at Tulane, LSU and Georgia coming up in next few weeks.

  2. Fair points. Even with the losses you can make a case LaTech is a Top-25 team, and we definitely should have included them in that "whatever happened to..." pile. Haven't forgotten about 'em, though, and we're looking forward to those upcoming games. Wouldn't be surprised if the Lady Techsters knock some of those folks off.

  3. One reason for UALR's recent losses...I noticed that Chastity Reed has been in and out of the lineup during that streak.