Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Silent majority rankings #9 (Jan. 4)

Previous weeks
Week 7
Week 6
Week 5
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

ESPN mid-major rankings
Collegeinsider.com mid-major poll

1. Xavier (10-2)
Last week: 1
The Musketeers essentially no-showed last week at Stanford, although as we saw a couple of nights later, the Cardinal's "A" game can take down anyone. We're leaving Xavier in the top spot because we haven't forgotten how they came within a blocked layup of taking down undefeated Duke in Durham.

2. Marist (10-2)
Last week: 2
The Red Foxes shook of the rust of a nearly two-week layoff - due in part to the storm-related cancellation of last week's game at Arizona State - by downing Rider 81-65 on Sunday for their sixth straight victory. Marist continues to lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game (11.3).
Related: Marist looking to reschedule with Arizona State. Hope they can work it out. The Foxes could really use the RPI boost.

3. Bowling Green (12-1)
Last week: 3
Speaking of low turnovers, the Falcons rank 3rd in fewest turnovers (13.3) while No. 4 Green Bay is 4th in turnover margin. In other words, these teams don't beat themselves. The Falcons wrapped up non-conference play with their 12th straight victory, a 73-64 decision at Butler. Star Lauren Prochaska, author of the NCAA-record 70 straight free throws, actually missed 3 of 9 from the line in that game. But we're not mad at her - she also torched Butler for 28 points.
Related: Falcon men, women set for conference challenges

4. Green Bay (13-1)
Last week: 4
Senior guard/forward Kayla Tetschlag earned Horizon League Player of the Week honors after posting back-to-back double-doubles over Detroit and Wright State. The Detroit game also included Tetschlag's 1,000th career point.

5. Duquesne (12-2)
Last week: 19
Ohio State had a 115-2 record at home against unranked opponents before these Dukes went into Value City Arena and walked out with a 71-67 victory and their program-record 7th straight road victory. Wumi Agunbiade, who has clearly established herself as one of the best freshmen in the country, had 17 points and 10 rebounds en route to her fourth Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week nod. An aside: Duquesne has won 11 of its last 12, has an RPI of 23 and just won at Ohio State, yet couldn't crack this week's AP Top 25. Go figure.
Related: Gensler a cornerstone of booming Duquesne program

6. Florida Gulf Coast (10-0)
Last week: 5
In draining 13 3-pointers against Belmont, the Eagles scored as many points from long distance as the Bruins got from anywhere in a 79-39 victory. While they're not listed in the NCAA's official stats because FGCU is still in a reclassifying status from Division II, the Eagles are averaging 11.1 3-pointers per game. The official No. 1 team in Division I 3-pointers made, Fresno State, is averaging 9.2.
Related: FGCU junior (Courtney Chihil) fights adversity
Eagles not wrapped up in national poll recognition

7. Princeton (8-3)
Last week: 7
Exceptionally impressive week for the Tigers, who won over Davidson, then prevailed at Wake Forest despite the absence of star sophomore Niveen Rasheed. Rasheed suffered a knee injury about four minutes into the second half against Davidson. But it's just the latest example of how much of a team surrounds Rasheed. On Dec. 17, the Tigers held off Drexel on a night when Rasheed played just 16 minutes before fouling out.
Update: Mel Greenberg reports that Rasheed has suffered a torn ACL in her right knee and is out for the season.

8. Gonzaga (12-4)
Last week: 7
The Zags couldn't survive Notre Dame's finishing kick in a 70-61 loss that snapped an eight-game winning streak. But once that was over, they resumed their high-scoring ways, racking up 91 and 102 points in routs over Seattle and Southern Utah.
Related: Redmon and Standish shine for Bulldogs

9. Middle Tennessee State (10-4)
Last week: 10
Add Ebony Rowe's name to that list of the nation's outstanding freshmen, and somewhere near the top, too. Rowe scorched South Alabama for 26 points, 16 rebounds and 3 blocks on Sunday as the Blue Raiders won their Sun Belt opener and the 700th game in program history. Still, MTSU fans can only dream about what might have been - earlier in the week the Blue Raiders led No. 11 Kentucky by 10 with less than 7 minutes remaining before succumbing to the Wildcats' fullcourt press and dropping an 81-72 decision.

10. Louisiana Tech (8-5)
Last week: 14
Not a bad week for senior forward and WAC Player of the Week Adrienne Johnson - 30 points, 11 rebounds in a 13-point win over Georgia, 17 and 10 in a loss to Marquette and 34 and 13 in a home win over Southern Mississippi. Nope, not bad at all.
Related: Johnson putting up All-American numbers

11. Tulane (11-2)
Last week:
Tulane DoubleTree Classic MVP Tiffany Aidoo averaged 18.5 points in the tournament, but it was her steal from a driving Jasmine Parker with 3 seconds remaining that allowed the Green Wave to stare down Old Dominion 62-59 in the title game. Tulane then added an 85-57 bludgeoning of Southeastern Louisiana to hand coach Lisa Stockton her 400th collegiate victory.

12. Dayton (9-5)
Last week: NR
We've been waiting for a signature victory from the Flyers, so all we can say after Monday's 89-77 victory over Boston College is guys, you have beautiful handwriting. Their timing couldn't be better, either, as they'll need a similar effort on Sunday when they visit Xavier in an ESPN2-televised affair.

13. TCU (8-6)
Last week: NR
Huge effort by the Horned Frogs in spoiling Whitney Hand's return and spanking No. 14 Oklahoma. Still, TCU has had a streaky, up-and-down nature this season, so it'll be interesting to see if they can string two good efforts together. And they'll need another one on Wednesday at San Diego State.

14. Old Dominion (7-5)
Last week: 21
The Lady Monarchs got their first victory away from their Constant Center by slaying Charlotte in Tulane's DoubleTree Classic, then earned its first true road win by besting Towson in their CAA opener. The game marked the return of senior forward Alena Voronina, who dropped a career-high 25 points on the Tigers in her first game since she suffered an elbow injury on Nov. 30 at Florida. Voronina continues to author one of the most dramatic final-season transformations in Division I. Prior to this season, Voronina's career high was 7 points.

15. Charlotte (12-3)
Last week: 6
Junior guard Epiphany Woodson earned Atlantic-10 Co-Player of the Week honors (along with St. Joseph's Katie Kuester) after averaging 21 points in three games. The 49ers rebounded from a loss to Old Dominion to rout Nicholls State before surviving a 60-58 war with resurgent Virginia Tech.

16. Houston (9-3)
Last week: 9
A major disappointment to see the Cougars rolled over at home to Georgetown (77-37). But the larger concern is over the health of senior forward Courtney Taylor, who sat out the Hoyas game and Thursday's 30-point win over Houston Baptist with a knee injury.
Update: Lamar 69, Houston 60: Cougars fall despite leading by 12 in the second half. Taylor (15.8 ppg, 11.7 rpg) missed her third straight game.

17. Richmond (9-5)
Last week: 16
It's been a nice non-conference season for the Spiders, but they struggled a bit with physical play in Monday's 75-62 loss at Virginia and are about to start play in an Atlantic 10 full of physical teams.

18. Hampton (8-4)
Last week: 17
Senior forward Quanneisha Perry earned Georgia State tournament MVP and MEAC Player of the Week honors after leading the Lady Pirates to the title courtesy of a 30-point pasting of the host school. Hampton will take a 7-game winning streak into Thursday's game at Wake Forest.

19. Nevada (11-2)
Last week: 22
Saturday's 57-53 victory over BYU was Nevada's fifth straight. But rather than talk about that, senior guard Johnna Ward used her blog entry to detail the strength and character of teammate Tahnee Robinson, the nation's No. 6 scorer (22.7 ppg) after the passing of Robinon's grandfather.

20. James Madison (7-5)
Last week: 20
Dawn Evans leads the nation in scoring (25.6 ppg), but one of our favorite JMU efforts came last week when she had just 15 in an 82-47 rout of Western Carolina. Four other Dukes scored in double figures and the team had 25 assists against just 9 turnovers. You don't want Evans passing too much when she's really feeling it, though, and on Sunday, she made 13 of 16 field-goal attempts and scored 31 points as the Dukes opened Colonial Athletic Association play with an 84-61 win over Northeastern.

21. Central Michigan (8-4)
Last week: 13
When a team, in this case Pittsburgh, makes 12 of its first 15 3-pointers, even these high-powered Chippewas can't score enough to keep up. That explains the Panthers' 94-78 victory on Sunday. The result was especially disappointing since it came at home. It's tough to get schools from the Big 6 conferences to visit, so you hope to be at your best when they do. Still a solid non-conference season for CMU, though.

22. UC Davis (11-3)
Last week: 11
Cal State-Fullerton surprised the Aggies on New Year's Eve to snap UC Davis' 13-game homecourt winning streak. The Aggies rebounded with a 22-point win over Cal State Northridge to level their Big West record at 1-1.

23. Drexel (8-4)
Last week: 12
The Dragons drop in our poll, but we're cutting them some slack for Sunday's 69-61 loss at UNC Wilmington since it was Drexel's third road game in five days, with the other two coming in San Diego. But it does make us wonder if we've been missing the boat on Cynthia Cooper-Dyke's improved Seahawks, who blitzed the Dragons with 64.4 percent shooting from the field.

24. St. Joseph's (10-3)
Last week: 23
Almost wet the bed in the first round of their own tournament before surviving New Hampshire 67-66. They then blitzed Lafayette by 35 to take the title and join Middle Tennessee and the newest members of the 700 victory club. Maryland trumped the Hawks 74-60 on Sunday despite a career-high 23 points from junior guard and Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Week Katie Kuester.

25. Missouri State (11-3)
Last week: 25
Sophomore forward Christiana Shorter had 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Lady Bears past Evansville to go 2-0 in Missouri Valley Conference play. Shorter was the MVC Freshman of the Year in 2009-10.

Hey, what about us?

St. Bonaventure (10-5) - Big showdown on Saturday at Duquesne.

Illinois State (10-3) - We suspect these Redbirds aren't getting enough respect in these rankings.

Memphis (11-3) - The Tigers closed non-conference play on a 7-game winning streak.

UC Irvine (9-4) - Senior G Jade Smith-Williams scored a career-high 28 points against UC Riverside to earn Big West Player of the Week honors.

Fresno State (9-5) - Shot 52 percent from 3-point range (12-of-23) in an 80-57 win over UC Riverside.

Arkansas-Little Rock (8-5) - Tuesday night's game vs. South Dakota State has been postponed until 2011-12.

UNC Wilmington (9-3) - Surprised us with Sunday's win over Drexel, but apparently not themselves.

San Diego State (6-6) - Interesting matchup with TCU on Wednesday.

Hofstra (8-4) - Wasn't expecting the Pride to fall to a Delaware team minus Elena Delle Donne.

Temple (8-6) - Satoria Bell came off the bench and scored 22 points in a rout of Akron.

Lamar (10-3) - Back in the picture after winning 5 straight. Love this headline on their official site: "Lady Cardinals Steam Past Rice"
Update: Lamar 69, Houston 60: Lady Cards roar back from a 12-point second-half deficit to win their 20th straight at home. Senior forward Trashanna Smith, all 5-11 of her, blocked 3 shots to set the program record for career rejections (180).

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