Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Silent majority rankings #7

Previous rankings
Week 5
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

1. Xavier (10-0)
Last week: 1
Critics of the Musketeers schedule to date will have to quiet down for a while as the Musketeers will put their 25-game regular-season winning streak on the line Tuesday night at Duke. A week later, they visit Stanford.

2. Marist (9-2)
Last week: 9
No disrespect to Bowling Green and Green Bay, but no team has had a better three-day stretch this season than the Red Foxes' string of wins over Louisville, Nebraska and Houston at the Duel in the Desert. On Monday, senior guard Erica Allensbach earned MAAC Player of the Week honors for averaging 16.5 points in the wins over Louisville and Nebraska. A few hours later, she dropped a career-high 34 on Houston. Guess no one told her she already had the award.

3. Green Bay (10-1)
Last week: 3
Evansville has a solid team - the Lady Aces nipped Bowling Green by a point in the teams' season opener - so Green Bay's 24-point win showed the Phoenix have gotten themselves back on track after the disappointment of their loss at Marquette.

4. Bowling Green (10-1)
Last week: 2
Life isn't always fair as the Falcons did nothing wrong to drop two spots; in fact they didn't even play. That's how much we think of what Marist did. The Falcons get back to building their case Tuesday against Canisius with two impressive streaks intact - the team's 10-game winning streak and senior foward Lauren Prochaska's NCAA-record 67 straight free throws.

5. Florida Gulf Coast (8-0)
Last week: 5
We're not emotionally committed to the idea of the Eagles being the fifth-best team in this poll because frankly, they haven't played anywhere near the level of competition of several other teams. But hey, 8-0 is 8-0, and the Eagles sure have looked impressive in building that resume. They'll step up in class a bit Tuesday when Indiana visits. Should be interesting: Last week, the Eagles drained 16 3-pointers against Florida International. Three days later, Indiana made 11 3s against FIU. The Eagles have won 27 straight at home.

6. Charlotte (9-2)
Last week: 9
The 49ers came out of their exam break with a sluggish but highly effective 62-44 road suffocation of Arkansas State for their sixth straight victory. Big ups to freshman Gabby Tyler, an Emporia, Va. native who earned Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Week honors delivering 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting and 7 rebounds in a highly efficient 18-minute stint against Arkansas State.

7. Princeton (8-3)
Last week: 4
Highly impressive effort in Friday's 62-54 win over Drexel, as the Tigers rallied even after star Niveen Rasheed fouled out after playing just 16 minutes. Didn't see Sunday's double-overtime loss at St. Joseph's coming, but we're not going to hold that too much against the Tigers. Just means we need to start paying more attention to St. Joe's.

8. Gonzaga (8-3)
Last week:
In addition to jumpers, layups and nifty passes, add half-court shots to Courtney Vandersloot's repertoire as the star guard drained on at the first-half buzzer in last week's 93-62 torching of Idaho. That's six straight wins for the Zags heading into Tuesday's home showdown with BYU.

9. Houston (8-2)
Last week: 11
The Cougars had nearly as good a time at the Duel in the Desert as Marist, scoring decisive victories over Nebraska and Louisville before falling by 8 to the Red Foxes in the title game. Senior forward Courtney Taylor had 10 points and 12 rebounds in the contest for her 8th double-double of the season and school-record 48th of her career.

10. Middle Tennessee State (8-3)
Last week: 14
The Blue Raiders backed up last week's decision over James Madison with another quality decision, this one a gritty 58-53 triumph over St. Bonaventure in the UTSA Holiday Classic. Freshman Ebony Rowe led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Another challenge in San Antonio looms Tuesday as the Blue Raiders will take on Kansas State.

11. UC Davis (8-2)
Last week: 12
A 25-0 first-half run helped the Aggies win big at Wichita State, and Heidi Heintz led a balanced effort with 14 points in a 75-55 pounding of Sacramento State. The 8-2 start in UC Davis' best since the 2001-02 season.

12. Drexel (6-2)
Last week: 7
The Dragons missed an opportunity for a quality win against Princeton as they had a second-half lead against a Tigers team without Niveen Rasheed (fouled out) but couldn't close the deal. We think that says more about the Tigers' depth and how well-coached they are than any weakness with these Dragons. But for the Dragons to stay up relatively high in this poll - and we're sure that's what's driving them - they'll need to bounce back with a strong effort Tuesday at high-scoring Penn State. Tough assignment.

13. Temple (7-4)
Last week: NR
Looks like the Owls have figured things out. Sunday's 55-43 win over Villanova was their fifth straight, and it marked the third game in a row the Owls have held an opponent under 50 points. 

14. BYU (8-3)
Last week: NR
The Cougars will take a 5-game winning streak into Tuesday's showdown at Gonzaga. The game will feature one of the best passers in the nation in Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot against one of Division I's best passing teams. The Cougars average 20.5 assists per game.

15. Louisiana Tech (6-4)
Last week: NR
Props to the Lady Techsters for going into Tulane, ripping down 19 offensive boards and generally using a team approach to take down the Green Wave. Tech's record is in part a reflection of its schedule, which collegerpi.com ranks as the 29th toughest in Division I (and tougher than all but two of the teams on this list). The grind will continue next week when the Lady Techsters take on Georgia in Florida International's Fun and Sun Classic.

16. Tulane (8-2)
Last week: 6
The Green Wave did a nice job silencing Louisiana Tech star Adrienne Johnson (8 points) but got absolutely killed on the boards (53-26) in a 78-72 home loss that snapped a three-game winning streak. 

17. Hampton (6-4)
Last week: 19
In the five games she's played start to finish, Jericka Jenkins is averaging 19.8 ppg and the Lady Pirates are 5-0 with wins over James Madison, East Carolina and Florida. In the five games she either didn't play (4) or couldn't finish due to injury (1), Hampton is 1-4, with the victory a one-point escape from Radford.

18. Fresno State (8-4)
Last week: 13
A sluggish first half - we see this a lot coming out of an exam break, particularly on the road - doomed the Bulldogs to a 64-62 loss to 5-6 UC Santa Barbara that robbed Fresno of a chance to face the nationally ranked host school in the St. John's Holiday Classic. Draining 15 3-pointers and burying Southern Mississippi by 37 offered some consolation. But where was that the previous night?

19. Richmond (7-4)
Last week: 15
The Spiders continued their dominance of Virginia teams on Monday with a 67-57 win at William and Mary. In addition to the Tribe, Richmond has also scored double-digit victories over Hampton, VCU and Old Dominion.

20. Duquesne (8-2)
Last week: 16
Surprised the Dukes couldn't offer a bit more resistance in last week's 80-59 home loss to Vanderbilt. The defeat snapped Duquesne's seven-game winning streak.

21. James Madison (6-5)
Last week: 20
A scintillating 42-point night from Dawn Evans rescued the Dukes from a 13-point late second-half deficit in an 82-80 win over Virginia. But the Dukes will need more consistent performances from her supporting cast if they want to maximize the potential of a roster which on paper appears significantly deeper and more multi-dimensional that it often shows.

22. TCU (6-5)
Last week: 21
Iceland native Helena Sverrisdottir went for 18 point, 10 rebounds and 7 assists in Sunday's 94-76 rout of Sam Houston State. But it was far from her most impressive feat; last Saturday; Sverrisdottir graduated with a degree in communications in just three-and-a-half years.

23. Old Dominion (4-4)
Last week: 22
The Lady Monarchs have struggled on the road but have been money at home - one ugly showing against Tennessee notwithstanding - and should be able to solve Stony Brook Tuesday at the Constant Center. A considerably more formidable test looms next week when they open against Charlotte in Tulane's tournament.

24. St. Joseph's (7-3)
Last week: NR
After losses at Drexel, Lehigh and Tulane knocked them out of the conversation, the Hawks have come on to win four straight including Sunday's 70-61 double-overtime decision over Princeton.

25. Monmouth (8-2)
Last week: NR
Seven straight victories, but given the quality of their opposition, we weren't sure what to make of it until Saturday, when the Hawks downed James Madison 69-66. Monmouth's losses are at Maryland and at Marquette.

Whatever happened to.... 

Missouri State (8-3) - A 13-point loss at Georgetown snapped the Lady Bears' winning streak at five. But falling to a team of that caliber shouldn't diminish what else this team has done against a solid schedule.

Dayton (6-5) - The Flyers' two most recent games, a 74-62 loss to San Diego State and a 70-50 win over Colorado, sum up their season perfectly. When the Flyers have been good (their six wins, all by double-digits, are by an average of 22 points), they've been really good. But about half the time, they really haven't been that good.

Appalachian State - Ouch! The Mountaineers fell by a point to Furman when senior Kendra Berry, who had never made a 3-pointer in her career, rattled home a bomb at the buzzer.

Hofstra (7-1) - The Pride has won 7 straight, but we're still looking for that one quality victory.

Delaware (6-2) - Tough outing in Sunday's 66-54 loss at Penn State.

Nevada (7-2) - Injected themselves into the discussion with Sunday's 9-point win over Illinois State.

Illinois State (5-3) - Slid lower in the discussion with Sunday's 9-point loss to Illinois State.

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