Duvall leads NKU’s continued recovery
With another week of Horizon League play, another perceived contender showed it’s going to have a lot of work to do if it hopes to knock IUPUI off of the top spot in the standings. Wright State seemed like a contender who had the talent to beat the Jaguars, but splitting a series against perennial bottom-half Horizon League finisher didn’t do much to strengthen that appearance.
On the flip side, NKU seems like it might have completely rebounded from a tough non-conference season. With the help of former 5-star recruit Lindsey Duvall, the Norse look like they could be on a similar trajectory as last season.
Youngstown State is still waiting to play its first Horizon League game, and this week Green Bay joins the Penguins out of the rankings after being missing in action.
- IUPUI Jaguars (6-1 overall, 4-0 in Horizon League play)
It’s still early in the Horizon League season, but it’s already starting to look like IUPUI might need one of a small number of adequately talented teams to play lights out while the Jaguars simultaneously come out flat in order to lose a Horizon League game this year. IUPUI easily cruised to a pair of wins over Cleveland State this weekend. The Jaguars won 78-44 on Saturday and 72-52 on Sunday.
Macee Williams once agains shined – briefly – for the Jaguars. She averaged 16 points and 9 rebounds in just 22 minutes per game in the pair of blowout wins. The senior missed out on another Horizon League Player of the Week award in large part due to the fact that she didn’t need to play much.
- Milwaukee Panthers (7-1 overall, 4-0 in Horizon League play)
Milwaukee continued its strong start with a pair of comfortable victories over Horizon League newcomer Robert Morris. The Panthers left the halftime break dominant in both games to pull away for comfortable victories.
Last week’s Horizon League Payer of the Week Megan Walstad averaged 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in the wins. While Walstad has seemingly taken over as the Panthers’ go-to player in her return from injury, Preseason All-League pick Brandi Bisping put forth a strong pair of performances as well. She averaged 10 points and 7 rebounds per game.
- Northern Kentucky Norse (4-4 overall, 4-0 in Horizon League play)
After a rocky start with a pair of understandable losses and a pair of disappointing ones, Northern Kentucky has things moving in the right direction in Horizon League play. The Norse cruised to 4-0 in Horizon League lay with a pair of wins over league newcomer Purdue Fort Wayne.
Louisville transfer Lindsey Duvall earned Horizon League Player of the Week after averaging 19 points and 6 rebounds per game for the Norse. Like Walstad, she looks like a player who could be an All-League pick after being left off of the Preseason All-League team.
- Wright State Raiders (3-3 overall, 3-1 in Horizon League Play)
The biggest shock of the weekend came when Wright State fell to Oakland 75-69 on Saturday. The Raiders have been one of the better teams in the Horizon League in recent years – with a pair of 12-6 seasons the school’s worst in almost a decade – while the Golden Grizzlies have been above .500 in Horizon League play just once since joining in 2013-14. While the Raiders get the nod over Oakland due to the more convincing win on Sunday, the split does beg the question about whether WSU might struggle to live up to preseason expectations.
2020 All-Freshman Team pick Jada Roberson averaged 17.5 points and 11 rebounds on the weekend. Her 18 points and 13 rebounds set the tone for WSU in Sunday’s blowout win and allowed several starters to get extended rest.
- Oakland Golden Grizzlies (3-4 overall, 3-1 in Horizon League play)
In addition to the weekend split with Wright State, Oakland (presumably) finished off its non-conference schedule with a game against nationally ranked Michigan State. Predictably, the Golden Grizzlies were no match for the Spartans and fell 94-56.
Kahlaijah Dean led Oakland in scoring in each of the three contests last week, averaging 17.3 points per game. Considering OU was on the receiving end of two blowout losses – one to an opponent that obviously outmatched the Golden Grizzlies – Dean’s 41.8 percent shooting from the field is more than respectable.
- Cleveland State Vikings (0-2 overall, 0-2 in Horizon League play)
As was the case with Detroit Mercy on the men’s side, Cleveland State’s pair of losses to IUPUI aren’t going to do too much damage to the team’s status in the Power Rankings. In CSU’s case, this is especially true since the team behind them in the rankings has been on the receiving end of four double-digit losses.
After missing Saturday’s game, Preseason First Team All-League pick Mariah White was CSU’s only player to eclipse double-figures against the Jaguars, putting in 19 points.
- Robert Morris Colonials (0-4 overall, 0-4 in Horizon League play)
Getting tossed directly into Horizon League – play particularly against two of the three 4-0 teams in the league – probably wasn’t the ideal way for Robert Morris to make its transition up from the NEC.
The Colonials once again failed to get a double-digit scorer in a league game on Sunday. Esther Castedo came off the bench on Saturday to tally 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting.
- UIC Flames (2-5 overall, 1-3 in Horizon League Play)
UIC is halfway to its 2020 win total just two weeks into Horizon League play, and has done so without the help of a full non-conference schedule. The Flames split with Detroit Mercy, winning in overtime 76-72 on Saturday before falling 72-58 to close out the weekend.
Kristian Young won Horizon League Freshman of the Week after helping the Flames to their first Horizon League win of the year. Young averaged 10.5 points per game on an efficient 58% shooting for the weekend.
- Detroit Mercy Titans (1-7 overall, 1-3 in Horizon League play)
UDM won its first game of the 2020-21 season on Sunday. While there’s an argument to boost the Titans above UIC based on a stronger head-to-head performance, the season is young enough that UIC’s past results still give it the edge for now.
Kaela Webb secured her fifth 20-point night of the season in Saturday’s contest with UIC. While recent All-Horizon League picks have generally come from the top of the league standings, Webb’s 18.6 point per game average will likely make for a very tempting inclusion even if the Titans can’t improve on recent Horizon League win totals.
- Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons (0-6 overall, 0-4 in Horizon League play)
Like Robert Morris, there’s an argument to be made that a part of Purdue Fort Wayne’s 0-4 Horizon League start is due to facing two of the top three teams in the league out of the gate. Unlike Robert Morris, the Mastodons haven’t been able to remain competitive in any of the four contests. Purdue Fort Wayne’s best result so far was Sunday’s 80-63 loss to NKU where the Mastodons trailed by 23 with less than a minute to play before tightening the final score in garbage time.