While the Power Rankings on the men’s side have been a headache, things are much more clearcut for the women. For the second time in league play, every single series of the weekend ended in a sweep. The biggest difficulties so far are that some teams have played schedules that might have their records misrepresenting their abilities and that taking last week off makes coming up with this week’s title a little confusing.
Because UIC had to cancel last week’s games due to COVID-19 protocols and Youngstown State still hasn’t played half of its league games, the Flames and Penguins will be left out of the rankings this week.
- IUPUI Jaguars (8-1 overall, 6-0 in Horizon League play)
The Jaguars once again cruised to a pair of wins over a league opponent, this time Robert Morris. IUPUI won 71-49 on Friday and 74-53 on Saturday to move to 6-0 in Horizon League play. With other developments in league play, the list of teams that seems capable of knocking off IUPUI appears to be shrinking even further.
For awhile, it looked like Macee Williams might have some unnecessary competition for her third straight Horizon League Player of the Year award because IUPUI was running up the score so quickly she was hardly playing in the fourth quarter. She came up with a solution IUPUI fans are sure to love this week: rack up double-doubles with over 20 points before the end of the third quarter. Her efforts won her Horizon League Player of the Week.
- Milwaukee Panthers (9-1 overall, 6-0 in Horizon League play)
Milwaukee easily beat Detroit Mercy twice in one of the better showings of balance that we’ve seen from any team this week. The Panthers used a dominant second half on Friday to win 64-43 after trailing by two at halftime. The Panthers blew away the Titans on Saturday, winning 77-38. This time, Milwaukee’s halftime score was enough that they could’ve forced overtime without a point in the second half.
Despite an average margin of victory of 30 points, only two players reached double-figures for the Panthers all weekend. Freshman backup Angie Cera led the team in scoring both days, with nine points on Friday and 13 on Saturday.
- Northern Kentucky Norse (4-5, 4-0 in Horizon League play)
Despite having its series against UIC canceled this weekend, Northern Kentucky kept itself in the power rankings with a last-minute matchup with second ranked Louisville. While the Norse didn’t come away with a win, the 74-64 loss to one of women’s basketball’s elite programs only solidifies NKU’s status as one of the top teams in the Horizon League this year.
Lindsey Duvall shined against her former team, scoring 20 on 7-for-14 shooting. Duvall has burst onto the scene for Northern Kentucky. She leads the team with 15.1 points per game. In Horizon League play, that number jumps to 17.8 points per game with an effective field goal percentage of 58.8. If the Norse can once again shock the college basketball world and beat IUPUI, Duvall could go from a strong favorite to be First Team All-League to a Horizon League Player of the Year candidate.
- Green Bay Phoenix (3-4, 2-2 in Horizon League play)
2020 was the first year since the Horizon League was still called the Midwest Collegiate Conference that Green Bay lost more than 3 games in Horizon League play. On Friday, the Phoenix nearly dropped to 0-3 when Oakland’s game-winning 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer. Saturday’s rematch was much smoother sailing than the 78-76 final on Friday, as the Phoenix cruised to a 92-61 win.
Preseason All-League pick Caitlin Hibner’s 15 points and 10 rebounds per game on 75 percent shooting from the field are a big part of the reason that the Phoenix don’t need to win 16 straight games to avoid another Horizon League season with more than three losses.
- Wright State Raiders (5-3, 5-1 in Horizon League play)
Raiders completed a weekend sweep of Youngstown State in the Penguins’ first action of the 2020-21 season. Despite the 5-1 Horizon League record, Wright State was unable to escape its own series against Oakland undefeated, so it’s hard to punish Green Bay too hard for a worse league record considering they lost to a team above both WSU and the Phoenix.
Destyne Jackson won Horizon League Freshman of the Week after averaging 13.5 points and 4 rebounds per game over the weekend. Jackson had an effective field goal percentage of 61.36 on a weekend where she took over one third of the shots in her young career.
- Cleveland State Vikings (2-2, 2-2 in Horizon League play)
So far, Cleveland State has played all of its games against Horizon League foes – two easy wins at last place Purdue Fort Wayne and two blowout losses at league-leading IUPUI – making it difficult to narrow down what the Vikings bring to the table this year. This weekend, the Vikings beat Purdue Fort Wayne 85-51 on Friday and 72-57 on Saturday.
Mariah White – a Second Team All-League pick a year ago – scored a career-high 36 points on Friday. White is averaging 24 points per game through three contests this year and looks like a strong candidate to live up to her Preseason First Team All-League billing.
- Oakland Golden Grizzlies (3-6, 3-3 in Horizon League play)
If Oakland had managed to beat Green Bay on Friday, it would’ve joined Cleveland State as a very difficult team to rank for completely different reasons. While the Vikings have played up to expectations so far, Oakland would have a loss to what would be a bottom three team in the league and two wins over teams in the Top 5. After failing to win Friday and coming back down to earth on Saturday, the Golden Grizzlies will remain below the Vikings.
Junior forward Kayla Luchenbach averaged 13.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game against Green Bay. Luchenbach hit over 70 percent of her shots on the weekend, and her perfect shooting night on Sunday played a big part in the Golden Grizzlies’ narrow loss.
- Robert Morris Colonials (0-6, 0-6 in Horizon League play)
RMU’s brutal entry into the Horizon League continued with a pair of losses to IUPUI. While the team is 0-6 in league play and has struggled to have a single player hit double-figures on multiple occasions, the team has also played exclusively teams that are a combined 16-0 in Horizon League play.
Freshman Sol Castro scored a career-high 14 points on Saturday, the second time she’s hit double-figures in her career so far. Castro is averaging 6.7 points per game for the Colonials so far this season.
- Detroit Mercy Titans (1-9, 1-5 in Horizon League play)
Detroit Mercy was unable to convert its first win of the season into positive momentum against Milwaukee this past weekend. The Titans competed for a little over one half of basketball before becoming overwhelmed by the Panther defense.
Kaela Webb led the Titans in scoring in both games. but was held below her season scoring average and her season shooting percentage both times. The 5-foot-6 junior averaged 13 points per game while shooting just 27.5 percent from the field.
- Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons (0-8, 0-6 in Horizon League play)
Purdue Fort Wayne finally got a chance to play a team that has lost in Horizon League play and…it didn’t go any better for the team. With a 39-point loss to end the weekend, it’s clear that a transition to a weaker league wasn’t enough to keep Purdue Fort Wayne from a low finish.
Shayla Sellers was a bright spot for the Mastodons, averaging 12.5 points, 3 assists and 2 steals per game. Despite the overall shooting woes that Purdue Fort Wayne faced, Sellers knocked down 55.6 percent of her shots for the weekend.