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DWHoops Presents ACC Women's Basketball Digest

  Weekly ACC WBB Digest for 12/11/2013
Volume 3, Number 4
By Rob Clough

Digest ACC Power Rankings

#1 Duke 10-0
#2 Notre Dame 8-0
#3 Maryland 9-1
#4 North Carolina 7-2
#5 Syracuse 8-1
#6 Florida State 8-1
#7 Georgia Tech 6-2
#8 NC State 10-1
#9 Virginia Tech 7-2
#10 Miami 5-3
#11 Boston College 4-5
#12 Wake Forest 5-4
#13 Virginia 3-5
#14 Pittsburgh 5-4
#15 Clemson 5-3

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Parsing The Week's Results:

The ACC beat the Big 10 in their annual challenge, seven games to five. The ACC dominated the games where both opponents were ranked. Duke overcame a halftime deficit against a fired-up Purdue squad and punished them in the second half with ferocious defense and balanced scoring. Notre Dame went to Penn State and pulled away to win by 10 despite poor shooting. Posts Natalie Achonwa and Taya Reimer both had double-doubles. UNC beat Nebraska in what was easily their best win of the year. They held a perimeter-dominant team to just 33% from the floor. The only ranked ACC team to lose to a ranked Big 10 squad was Syracuse, who lost a second-half lead to the hot-shooting Hawkeyes (see below), dropping their first game of the season.

Florida State got its biggest win of the year to date against Michigan State as the Seminoles survived a late surge from the Spartans to hold on as they hit their foul shots. Georgia Tech and NC State easily whipped Illinois and Northwestern, respectively. Boston College was pounded by a good Wisconsin team, while Virginia was humiliated by Michigan (see below). Virginia Tech dropped a close decision to Indiana as Vanessa Panousis had her first bad game. The Hokies fought hard down to the wire, but the Hoosiers were 6-6 from the foul line in the last minute of play. Miami nearly overcame a huge first half deficit but lost to Minnesota in a game they really should have won.

In games outside the Challenge, Duke secured yet another win against a top-25 opponent as they used sizzling three point shooting against Oklahoma to mask their problems on defense. BC bounced back to whip a struggling Hartford club, while Clemson (sitting out the Challenge) edged UNC-G. Florida State continues to count down the minutes until reinforcements arrive with an easy win over Jacksonville. Georgia Tech stayed sharp by blowing out Alabama A&M. NC State whipped Elon, while Notre Dame tacked on another solid win by destroying UCLA, holding the Bruins to just 48 points.

Best Win: Virginia Tech 72, Michigan State 66. A game after the Hokies dropped a close contest to Indiana in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge, they redeemed themselves with a quality win. There's no question that they won this game because of their long range shooting, which is a sentence I never thought I'd write. Vanessa Panousis and Hannah Young each went 3-6 from distance while Uju Ugoka had a double-double. There's no question that VT's starting five can compete with virtually anyone in the ACC. That bench is another matter, but the Hokies are edging closer and closer to being a truly relevant team this season.

Worst Loss: Michigan 73, Virginia 53. The Hoos have claimed the dubious distinction of being the ACC's worst offensive team. They're shooting 35% from the field and 25% from three. There isn't a single player who can be relied upon to get her own shot and carry the team for any length of time. Sarah Imovbioh is showing signs of life in the frontcourt and frosh forward Sydney Umeri has had her moments, but the team's veterans are not delivering. The Wolverines (a good but not great team) dominated Virginia in every phase of the game. The Hoos are in danger of dropping to the bottom of our power rankings if they don't start picking up some wins and getting consistent production from their perimeter players at both ends of the floor.

Trending Up: Maryland. I haven't talked about the Terps too much this season, as they've played a fairly easy schedule to date (other than getting whipped by UConn). They dispatched Ohio State in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge, their final such game before they flip over to the other side of the ledger. Alyssa Thomas leads the ACC in rebounding and is still a top ten scorer. Everything else is in a state of flux, but it's a good state of flux as injured players are starting to regain their form (Laurin Mincy had 4 treys against Siena) and new players are asserting themselves. Their next real test won't come until their ACC opener against UNC; they should be 12-1 going into that contest.

Trending Down: Pitt. The Panthers are starting to tread water as it's become clear that Brianna Kiesel is their only consistent scorer. Defense and rebounding are becoming big problems. Their upcoming non-conference schedule (Old Dominion, DePaul, Washington, Duquesne) could pretty much make or break their season.

Surprise Player Of The Week: Madison Cable, Notre Dame. She had 21 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists against UCLA. Considering that she's about the eighth or ninth option for the Irish, it goes to show just how loaded and deep this team really is.

Stat Of the Week: 11-25, 44% That's what Iowa shot from three against the Syracuse Orange in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. Coach Quentin Hillsman feared teams getting open shots from three against his zone as a result of the new ten second backcourt rule, which meant his zone having to defend against two or three more passes per possession. The Hawkeyes are built to attack such defensive schemes with an excellent point guard in Samantha Logic and a number of accurate long-range shooters. The Orange scored 91 points but gave up 97, and this points to the Orange possibly struggling against opponents with multiple long-range shooters.

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Three Games To Watch (12/4 - 12/10/2013):
  1. Boston University @ Boston College (12/11, 7 PM) This isn't a game to take lightly for the Eagles, given their problems with depth. It's also a big rivalry game, so both teams will be emotional and motivated.

  2. Notre Dame @ Michigan (12/14, 7 PM) This is a solid test for the Irish on the road. Michigan features a sticky defense, one that will take Notre Dame a while to solve. I expect ND's size and offensive diversity to allow them to pull away fairly early in the game.

  3. Temple @ Syracuse (12/16, 7 PM) In a week with a limited number of interesting games, the Orange will be going up against a solid mid-major opponent known for its defense. I expect the Orange's depth will carry them here.

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The weekly Digest will return on Thursday, December 19th, postponed from our usual Wednesday slot to accommodate DWHoops coverage of #1 UConn at #2 Duke on Tuesday, December 17th.


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