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Friday, July 19, 2019

Up and Down the ACC: A Look at the First 10 Days of Early Action

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Photo Caption: Clemson freshman Nikki Dixon (White, No. 21) arrived on campus with little fanfare—she was generally considered a three-star guard and didn’t make the Top 100 in any of the major scouting reports. Credit the Clemson recruiters with spotting a diamond in the rough. Dixon is off to such a great start (21 points and five assists in her collegiate debut; 13 against No. 22-ranked USC) in the opening week of the season that she earned Full Court’s inaugural “Surprise Rookie of the Week” honors.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Clemson Athletics Media Relations/Rex Brown

By Rob Clough

Editor’s Note: In a new column, “Up and Down with the ACC,” Full Court’s veteran ACC correspondent Rob Clough takes a weekly look at one of the best women’s basketball conferences in the land, offering up tidbits, predictions and general scuttlebutt. In addition to making sense of the previous week’s results, Rob will include such features as “Trending Up and Trending Down,” documenting the immediate fortunes of two teams heading in opposite directions, as well as designating his “Surprise Player and Rookie of the Week”—not necessarily the league’s official POTW or ROTW, but rather a couple of players whose success was a bit unexpected.  Finally, Rob will preview the upcoming game of the week. We hope you enjoy—and please visit our message boards and give us your feedback!

The single biggest result in this young season came Sunday in Charlottesville, when a heretofore underachieving Virginia squad knocked off No. 3 Tennessee, 69-64 in overtime.  New coach Joanne Boyle is getting her team to defend above all else, and in this case, that defense reduced the mighty Lady Vols to a jump-shooting squad that had trouble hitting shots.  Chelsea Shine had an impressive line of 18 points and nine rebounds against a much quicker (though not bigger) Tennessee frontcourt.

The Tennessee win boosted UVa to 4-0 after routine but convincing wins against Appalachian State, Providence, and High Point. Look for the Hoos to crack the Top 25 in the next poll.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the week’s ACC women’s basketball action.

Parsing The Week’s Results

Last’s week’s second most interesting ACC contest came on November 15 when Miami, then ranked No. 7 nationally, headed to Knoxville. Before a national TV audience, the ‘Canes kept things tight much of the way, knotting the score at 32 at the half. Miami was still close with about five minutes to go, but didn’t do a great job of defending the perimeter and ultimately fell to the Lady Vols by a score of 92-76. 

Riquna Williams had 24 points but took 28 field-goal attempts to get there, making only eight of them for an uninspiring 28.6 percentage. The ACC’s preseason Player of the Year Shenise Johnson had 17 points on a more efficient 42.1 percent from the floor, and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. 

The problem was that Miami’s vaunted depth didn’t help much, nor did secondary scorers Morgan Stroman (11 points) and Stephanie Yderstrom (6 points). Still, there’s no question that the ‘Canes have all the tools, and Miami, who obliterated over-matched Prairie View and UTPA in their other games, will no doubt learn from this kind of big game experience.


Another big game for the ACC saw No. 10 Maryland run No. 16 Georgetown off the floor in a 72-53 win in College Park on opening weekend.  This win showed two things:

  1. Maryland is far more mature and capable of handling pressure than in the past two seasons; and
  2. Georgetown really misses Monica McNutt’s leadership.

Georgetown pressed for 40 minutes and the Terps took advantage as forward Alyssa Thomas registered 19 points and 15 rebounds.  Maryland’s front line dominated the boards and did so without the services of senior center
Lynetta Kizer, who was suspended for unspecified reasons in the Terps’ first three games.  Maryland has also won routine match-ups with UMBC, Towson and Loyola, games that are, unfortunately, more typical of the sort of unchallenging “contests” we’ll see during Maryland’s non-conference period.

The biggest negative surprise in the ACC has been No. 19 Florida State’s mediocre play.  After knocking off USF and Minnesota on consecutive days, the Seminoles dropped a 52-55 buzzer-beater to surprisingly strong Arkansas on November 13.  The ‘Noles’ lack of depth was glaring as they started to look exhausted in the final game of a tournament held in nearby Daytona Beach. 

What was more troubling was the relative ease with which Florida dispatched its archrival four days later, hanging 72 points on FSU while holding the Seminoles to just 58 points. Center Cierra Bravard has played well, but FSU is clearly missing departed point guard Courtney Ward’s scoring, passing and leadership. Soph Tay’ler Mingo has a long way to go to fill her shoes.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise in the ACC has been the encouraging play of Virginia Tech.  This is the least talented roster in the ACC (there are only a couple of real ACC-level players in the starting lineup), yet new coach Dennis Wolff has them playing with discipline and confidence.  I’m not saying they’re on track for a postseason berth,
but they’ve already picked up road wins at Old Dominion and George Washington.  Neither of those opponents fields a great team this year, but for a team like Virginia Tech, these games are far from cupcakes. 

The only loss thus far for the Hokies was to Charlotte (65-71, in overtime), a game where VTU made a comeback to send the game into extra minutes.  We’ll see if this thin roster can continue to overachieve as the season grinds on.

Georgia Tech and frosh Sydney Wallace have looked very impressive in beating Alabama State, Old Dominion and Marquette.  The latter game was in Milwaukee, but the Jackets won by a comfortable 12-point

The young Duke squad, which started the season ranked No. 8 nationally, trailed briefly in the second half in their season opener against BYU on November 11 before pulling out a six-point win (61-55). The Blue Devils have also picked up easy wins over Auburn and Western Kentucky. Frosh Elizabeth Williams has been erratic on offense but brilliant on defense.

North Carolina State was without leading scorer Bonae Holston (concussion) for its first few games, but frosh Krystal Barrett has been great in assisting a solid attack.  The Wolfpack women have knocked off SE Missouri State, UNC-WIlmington and TCU.  The latest of those games was in Fort Worth on Sunday, November 20, and was impressive win (85-79) for a team still trying to find its footing.

Predictably, North Carolina has defeated a bunch of weak opponents (Gardner-Webb, USC-Upstate, UNC-Greensboro) without much difficulty. Given the soft schedule, we won’t find out much about them until January.

The conference’s lesser achievers so far begin with Boston College, which has been pounded on the road at No. 15 Rutgers (58-74, November 16) and at Arizona State (54-79, November 20), but managed to
beat Farleigh-Dickinson at home (68-57, November 11).  The team’s top returning scorers (Kristin Doherty and Kerri Shields) have struggled against defensive pressure keyed to slow them down. 

A young and thin Clemson roster beat Davidson and South Carolina State but got stomped on its own home floor by archrival South Carolina (48-65, November 17).

Finally, Wake Forest notched wins in “gimmes” against Monmouth and Coppin State but lost a squeaker of a statement game to Kansas at home on Sunday, November 20, 73-74.  That loss could come back to haunt the Demon Deacons later in the year.

Trending Up: Virginia

Despite the coaching change this season, this is a veteran group who are playing like they are all on the same page.  Next task: Proving they can win on the road.

Trending Down: Florida State

That bench is a serious problem, and they’re just not the same team when Bravard is sitting on the bench.

Current Standings

ACC Women’s Basketball Standings
(As Of November 23)
Rank School Conf. Pct. Overall Pct.
1 Maryland 0-0 .000 5-0 1.000
2 (tie) Georgia Tech 0-0 .000 4-0 1.000
2 (tie) NC State 0-0 .000 4-0 1.000
2 (tie) North Carolina 0-0 .000 4-0 1.000
2 (tie) Virginia 0-0 .000 4-0 1.000
6 Duke 0-0 .000 3-0 1.000
7 Wake Forest 0-0 .000 3-1 .750
8 Miami 0-0 .000 2-1 .667
9 Florida State 0-0 .000 3-2 .600
10 Clemson 0-0 .000 2-2 .500
10 (tie) Virginia Tech 0-0 .000 2-2 .500
12 Boston College 0-0 .000 1-2 .333
Source: TheACC.com

Surprise Player of the Week: Monet Tellier, Virginia Tech

Tellier had 29 points and nine rebounds against Old Dominion; just five points, but seven rebounds and seven assists
against George Washington; and 10 points against Charlotte.  Tellier was a Top-100 recruit coming into Blacksburg last year, and she seems capable of competing with the cream of the ACC.

Surprise Rookie of the Week: Nikki Dixon, Clemson

Clemson’s Nikki Dixon actually took home the official ACC Rookie of the Week honors for the first week of the season, but her impressive performance has far exceeded the relatively modest expectations (three star guard, not in the Top 100) with which she arrived. Dixon has quickly become the team’s best guard and perhaps best player overall.  She
posted 21 points and five assists against Davidson in her college debut, 11 points against South Carolina State and 14 points against No. 22 USC.

Five Top ACC Games To Watch, 11/21 - 11/27/11

1. Louisville @ Florida State: 11/25/2011. FSU has a chance to redeem itself for two losses against unranked teams by taking down No. 11 Louisville.  How Tay’ler Mingo plays against Cardinal guard Shoni Schimmel will go a long way toward determining the game’s outcome.

2. Virginia vs Texas: 11/25/2011 (Hawai’i Tournament). After knocking off Tennessee, Joanne Boyle will be going up against her former coaching mentor Gail Goestenkors.  Though the Cavs are as yet unranked and the Horns are pegged at No. 24 in the Coaches’ Poll, this should be a very evenly matched game. However, if Cokie Reed can establish herself early, UVa might not be able to overcome that.

3. Georgia Tech vs Rutgers: 11/25/2011 (San Juan Tournament).  First one to 50 points wins in this match-up of teams that specialize in defense and grind-it-out play.  The Jackets have experience and depth, but can they survive the zone press of No. 15 Rutgers? We’ll quickly see how good George Tech guards Ty Marshall and Sydney Wallace really are.

4. Duke vs Notre Dame: 11/26/2011. If we were picking a Game of the Week, this would be it. The likely championship match-up at the Junkanoo Jam, pits the Irish, an experienced club that went to last year’s national championship game, versus a young but highly talented team in Duke. Notre Dame dropped to No. 3 in the polls after falling to top-ranked Baylor in Waco last week; Duke, which has risen to No. 6 this week, is still largely untested.  Duke has superior size, but can anyone on their team slow down Skylar Diggins?  The Devils will show flashes of brilliance, but unless they can consistently score in the half-court, they have no chance of winning this game.

5. Virginia vs Califorinia: 11/27/2011. The Hoos are on here twice, as Boyle will have to deal with matching up against her former players just days after taking on her old boss.  The real question for Virginia here is whether its thin bench can sustain excellence playing three games in three days.

Originally published Wed, November 23, 2011

Reader Discussion
Posted by harleyshenoy November 25, 2011

Good to know about the statistics.

Posted by juliancrony November 29, 2011

Statistic says it all…


Posted by harleyshenoy November 25, 2011

Good to know about the statistics.

Posted by juliancrony November 29, 2011

Statistic says it all…


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Week: February 7, 2012
1 Baylor (31) 24-0 1 1 1 775
2 Notre Dame 23-1 2 2 2 743
3 Connecticut 21-2 3 4 3 710
4 Stanford 20-1 4 5 4 685
5 Duke 19-3 6 8 5 650
6 Miami (FL) 20-3 7 7 6 604
7 Kentucky 21-3 5 15 7 584
8 Maryland 20-3 10 10 8 534
9 Wisconsin-Green Bay 20-0 9 24 9 530
10 Ohio State 21-2 11 NR-RV
10 483
11 Tennessee 17-6 8 3 11 476
12 Delaware 20-1 13 NR 12 434
13 Georgetown 18-5 15 11 14 379
14 Texas A&M 16-5 16 6 15 378
15 Nebraska 19-3 18 NR 13 309
16 Rutgers 17-4 14 12 17 372
17 Louisville 17-6 12 9 20 276
18 Gonzaga 21-3 19 NR-RV
19 234
19 Purdue 19-5 17 21 16 222
20 Georgia 18-6 20 12 21 202
21 Penn State 18-5 21 14 18 176
22 DePaul 17-7 23 18 NR-RV
23 Georgia Tech 16-6 22 NR-RV
22 104
24 South Carolina 18-5 NR-RV
NR 24 46
25 Vanderbilt 18-5 NR-RV
NR 45
Dropped Out: No. 24 North Carolina, No. 25 Kansas.
First-place votes: Total first-place votes received (if any) are indicated in parentheses following school name.
Others receiving votes: St. Bonaventure (22-2) 34; North Carolina (17-6) 19; California (17-6) 18; Florida Gulf Coast (21-2) 16; Middle Tennessee (19-5) 15; Texas-El Paso (20-2) 8; Texas Tech (16-6) 5; Brigham Young (21-4) 4; Fresno State (19-4) 4; St. John's (15-8) 4; Princeton (15-4) 3; Oklahoma (15-7) 2; West Virginia (17-6) 2; Kansas State (15-7) 1.
Rank remains unchanged since last week
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Credit: Courtesy Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The weekly Division I Top 25 Coaches' Poll, sponsored by USA Today and ESPN, is based on voting by a Board of Coaches made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions all of whom are WBCA members.