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Friday, July 19, 2019

Up and Down the ACC: Hurricanes’ Stormy Night At Georgetown Caps a Quiet Week for the League

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Photo Caption: Virginia’s Ataira Franklin suffered a knee injury, which, though not season ending, required arthroscopic surgery early this fall. Though she nevertheless managed to hold her place as the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 11.3 points per game, her breakout night last week—a career-high 22 points on 9-for-14 (64 percent) from the field—in UVa’s 59-53 win over James Madison promises great things to come for both Franklin and the Cavaliers, making Franklin our Full Court Surprise Player of the Week.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Virginia Athletics Media Relations/Thomas Wilson

By Rob Clough

In a relatively quiet week for the ACC, the league’s major nonconference game of the week proved to be a major disappointment as Miami went to DC ranked No. 7 in the country, only to get plastered by No. 17 Georgetown, 71-46.  The Hurricanes, who boasted the top-ranked offense in the NCAA, scored 41 points fewer than their season average, shot just 21 percent from the field and turned the ball over 23 times in the face of the Hoyas’ defensive pressure.

Worse – if things actually could get any worse from there – the ‘Canes’ troubles started at the top of the roster. Star guards Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams combined to shoot just 3-23 from the floor and, between them, were responsible for 10 of those 23 team turnovers.

This loss was a huge letdown for the ‘Canes, who succumbed early on to Georgetown’s one trick (constant, full-court pressure) and never recovered to make this much of a game. To date, the Hurricanes have badly flubbed both of their nonconference road games against nationally ranked foes. Though they remain highly regarded in the national rankings, dropping to No. 10 after last week’s drubbing at Georgetown, Miami’s performance there demonstrates this team still has a way to go before one could consider them a worthy contender for a Final Four berth.

Parsing The Week’s Results

Good news for the ACC last week came in the form of Virginia’s, 59-53, comeback win over James Madison. The Hoos trailed for much of the game, and by as many as 12 points in the second half. But fueled by a career-high 22 points from sophomore guard Ataira Franklin and 12 apiece from Chelsea Shine and Ariana Moorer, UVa before took over in the last three minutes to defeat a solid opponent. 

On another bright note, Wake Forest collected a 65-53 road win against SMU after an embarrassing collapse at home, were the Demon Deacons fell to humble Howard, 59-63, in overtime.  The Howard loss, which came on the heels of a 57-70 rout a week ago by Delaware, not only wasted a 21-point second-half Wake Forest lead, but also an 18-point, 10-board double-double from Sandra Garcia, her first of the season.

But the Deacs got back on the right track in Dallas, where despite foul trouble that limited her to just 23 minutes of action, Wake’s Mykala Walker had a career night with a game-high 16-points and 11 rebounds for the first double-double of the 6-0 junior forward’s career. The Deacs knocked off the middle-of-the-pack Mustangs team without much difficulty, snapping Wake’s two-game losing streak, pushing their record to 8-3 and keeping alive their chances of postseason play. 

Georgia Tech won the Bahamas Sunrise Shootout by whipping SIUE, 89-38, and then narrowly defeating the delightfully-named Central Arkansas Sugar Bears, 67-61, in the finals.  Sasha Goodlett was named the tournament MVP after averaging 17 points per game in the two contests, surpassing the 1,000-point career scoring mark in the process. 

Duke dominated in every department on its way to a 107-45 win over UNC-Wilmington, coached by Hall-of-Famer Cynthia Cooper-Dyke. The 107 points the Blue Devils put on the scoreboard were the most ever registered against that program in its entire history. Junior center Allison Vernerey led the way for Duke with a career high 22 points, joined in double figures by Tricia Liston (18 points and a game-high six rebounds), Elizabeth Williams (16 plus six boards), Chelsea Grey (14, plus 10 assists), and Chloe Wells (11 points.

North Carolina State was idle last week, after their 66-59 victory over Vanderbilt a week earlier. They’ll take to the court this week in a Hawaii tournament, where they are likely to pick up three easy wins.

However, there was plenty of bad news to go around elsewhere in the league. Florida State dropped yet another marquee non-conference game, falling at home to Vanderbilt, 64-59.  The loss, which dropped the Seminoles to 6-6 on the season, featured some of the ‘Noles’ best defense all year against a sweet-shooting opponent, as FSU held Vandy, the second-best shooting team in the NCAA to just 40.2 percent from the field, its worth field-goal percentage of the season. But unfortunately Florida State was unable to take advantage of their defensive coup, as their own offense proved all but impotent. ‘Noles stars Cierra Bravard and Natasha Howard combined to shoot just 2-10 from the floor. They also had seven turnovers and eight fouls between them. That was a shame, as it wasted a double-double from Chasity Clayton and 16 points off the bench from Chelsea Davis.

After falling to interstate rival South Carolina a week ago, North Carolina managed to pull out a win this week, but after trailing most of the game against lowly East Carolina only to notch a close, 65-61 “W,” you’d have to call it as close to a loss as a win can get. The Heels, whose roster continues to be plagued by injuries, owes its success, such as it was, to senior center Chay Shegog, who staved off what looked like a second-straight upset in the making with a 19-point effort, and junior wing Krista Gross, who posted a dozen points and an equal number of rebounds.

Among the league’s bottom dwellers, Virginia Tech was walloped by Florida Gulf Coast (41-69), Clemson came up short at Providence (63-73), and defending MEAC champion Hampton beat Boston College by eight in Chestnut Hill (63-71).

Trending Up: Virginia


That win over JMU put the Hoos at 10-2, and suddenly they’re poised to be a top-six finisher in the ACC. Fourth place is not out of the question for them, but it’s more likely that they will be looking at 5th or 6th place.  The win over JMU was all the more impressive when one considers that Virginia’s starting point guard Chyna Crosby went down with a knee injury in the game’s opening moments.  Crosby had been playing rather well and thankfully reports indicate that this won’t be a season-ending injury.

Trending Down:  Miami

A top-ten team should have been more prepared to deal with the sort of pressure that Georgetown exerts for 40 minutes. Instead, Miami’s stars were shackled, and its bench didn’t do much of anything either.  If Miami can learn from this, they could still wind up with a Final Four berth.  That said, they clearly have a lot to learn and the bench has a lot of developing to do.

Current Standings

ACC Women’s Basketball Standings
(As of December 28, 2011)
Rank School Conf. Pct. Overall Pct.
1 Maryland 0-0 .000 12-0 1.000
2 Virginia 0-0 .000 10-2 .833
3 Miami 0-0 .000 11-2 .846
4 (tie) Duke 0-0 .000 8-2 .800
4 (tie) North Carolina 0-0 .000 8-2 .800
6 Georgia Tech 0-0 .000 9-3 .750
7 Wake Forest 0-0 .000 8-3 .727
8 NC State 0-0 .000 7-3 .700
9 Florida State 0-0 .000 6-6 .500
10 Clemson 0-0 .000 4-6 .400
11 Boston College 0-0 .000 4-8 .333
12 Virginia Tech 0-0 .000 3-8 .272
Source: TheACC.com

Full Court Surprise Player of the Week: Ataira Franklin, Virginia

Franklin was the chief engineer of UVa’s comeback with 22 points against James Madison.  This is great news for the Cavs, who have been frustrated that one of their top guns has been slowed by a knee injury suffered in an early fall practice. Fortunately, the injury was relatively minor, requiring only arthroscopic surgery, and Franklin has been able to start every game this season. But Franklin did not seem to hit her stride until late November and her career night against JMU was a sign of great things to come for Franklin, who has been averaging 11.3 points per game to date this year, but was an efficient 9-14 from the floor last week, finding just the right balance between aggressiveness and team play.

Full Court Surprise Rookie of the Week:  Danielle Butts, North Carolina

The strong and springy forward had 10 points on a perfect four-of-four from the field), plus four rebounds in North Carolina’s narrow win over East Carolina, but her contribution was far from trivial given the Heels’ painfully short bench. The Tar Heels need all they can get out of the few hands they currently have on deck, and Butts certainly delivered on that last week. Moreover, Butts is one of those players whom one senses will get better as she figures out how best to use her athleticism against elite opponents.

Five ACC Games To Watch, 12/26/2011 - 1/2/2012

1. North Carolina State v. Florida Gulf Coast, 12/28/2011 (Hawai’i Tournament).  A number of teams are still looking to pick up additional quality wins against nonconference opponents.  The Wolfpack Women will have a great opportunity to do so in Hawai’i against one of the best mid-major teams in the country.

2. Yale @ Florida State, 12/28/2011.  This is the Chris Gobrecht return game. A year ago, Gobrecht, now the Elis’ head coach, got a measure of revenge against the Seminoles team she previously coached for a single, disastrous season, as Yale, in its first-ever win over a nationally ranked program, handed Florida State an 85-91 loss in New Haven. This year, FSU will host the Yalies and will be looking to avenge that embarrassing loss, while at the same time continuing its effort to build confidence as a team after a disastrous preconference slate this season.

3. Virginia @ Duke, 1/2/2012.  Call this one the “Joanne Boyle return game,” as the former Duke player and assistant coach makes her first appearance in Cameron Indoor Stadium at the helm of an opposing team. The Hoos have not beaten the Blue Devils since 2000 and haven’t done so in Cameron since 1997, but Boyle has been bringing her new team along. Virginia is one of the better defensive teams in the conference and must jam Duke’s shooters (the Devils lead the league in three-point shooting at 37 percent from beyond the arc).  Rebounding could prove to be the key here, as Duke is quite adept at it and Virginia will lack the size to keep Duke off the boards.

4. Georgia Tech @ North Carolina State, 1/2/2012.  This is an intriguing early-season battle between two teams who will likely end up fighting for fourth or fifth place in the ACC.  It’s actually one of the more difficult games of the season for the Jackets, who, of course, have the easiest ACC slate. The Wolfpack Women need this win to establish some league credibility. If NC State can keep its turnovers down, the Wolfpack may be able to wear the Jackets out by attacking the basket.

5. Virginia Tech @ Clemson, 1/2/2012.  We highlight this game not because it will feature great basketball (it will not), but because the loser will be the “frontrunner” to finish last in the league this season.  Home-court advantage will likely help Clemson win out, but just barely.

Originally published Thu, December 29, 2011

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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.
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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.