NEW YORK (AP) - Between a trick play, a brawl, milestone coaching wins and an incredible comeback, it was quite the week in women’s basketball.
Jeff Walz and Louisville got the week going with a play to start the second half against Duke on Monday that led to an easy layup. He told his team to lineup at the defensive end of the court despite having the basketball and if the Blue Devils went with them, the Cardinals would have a layup.
The play worked to perfection .
“We don’t practice it, we have done it once before years ago against Rutgers in the Big East tournament,” Walz said in a phone interview. “I saw how they came out of halftime, they were late coming out and you could tell with their body language it might work.”
Sure enough it did.
Duke players could laugh about the play after the game because they came away with a victory. UNLV and Utah State didn’t have much to joke about after the two teams got into a fight during their game Saturday night.
Eight players were ejected after a brawl that started with 1:10 left in the third quarter. UNLV’s Katie Powell and Utah State’s Antonia Robinson were tossed for fighting and three players from each team were ejected for leaving the bench. The Mountain West Conference was reviewing the incident before handing out punishments.
Other things that happened this week:
POLL MUSINGS: Kentucky’s run in the Top 25 should end this week. The Wildcats edged Missouri, but fell to Texas A&M in their two games. Kentucky has been ranked for 132 consecutive weeks, the fifth longest active streak and eighth longest ever.
UCONN KEEPS ROLLING: The top-ranked Huskies had just one game, but it wasn’t much of a challenge as they routed East Carolina by 45 points. UConn will face South Florida on Tuesday with a chance to tie the Huskies’ and NCAA record 90 consecutive victories. A win would equal what the Huskies did from 2008-11 and give the team a chance to break their own mark at SMU on Saturday.
MILESTONE WINS: Texas coach Karen Aston and Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman both reached 200 victories this week. Temple coach Tonya Cardoza also passed Dawn Staley for most victories at the school.
COMEBACK KIDS: Trailing by five with 12 seconds left, Oregon found a way to rally and win at No. 20 California on Sunday. Sabrina Ionescu hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to cap an 8-0 Oregon run in the final 12 seconds. Ionescu was playing in her second game after missing four with a broken thumb on her shooting hand.
TRIPLE OVERTIME THRILLER: Army junior Janae McNeal made game-tying shots at the end of regulation and in double OT to help Army rally to beat Lafayette 76-73 in three overtimes on Thursday. Sarah Agnello gave Lafayette a two-point lead with three seconds left before McNeal caught a long pass and scored just before the buzzer to send the game to overtime. Her jumper in the second extra period with five seconds left sent it to a third OT. Madison Hovren scored all seven points in the final OT to lift Army to the win. She finished the game with 35 points. It was the team’s first triple OT game since 2003.
KEEP AN EYE OUT: Colorado high school sophomore Francesca Bellibi had the play of the week . She had a steal, drove to the basket and finished the play with a one-handed dunk.
SCOOTING AROUND: Marquette coach Carolyn Kieger still loves to play basketball. She wanted to get in one more game before Christmas. Little did the 33-year-old know it would be her last game for a while. The third-year coach tore her Achilles and has been forced to use a knee walker.
“I hadn’t even started my move yet, hadn’t started to go,” Kieger said of the injury. “It’s very tough. It’s been frustrating. Me learning how to deal with this, too. Not having the same energy running down the sidelines. My players need to figure out how to get the energy without me pulling them up. That’s part of growing up. Maybe they need to know it can’t always come from me. My girls are learning they need to be floor generals. They’re learning.”
Kieger is learning, too. During the Golden Eagles’ loss to St. John’s on Sunday, the coach wanted to stomp her foot after a bad play. Instead she banged the walker to the ground.
“Yeah I really wanted to stomp my foot there,” Kieger said smiling. “I guess this thing has its uses too.”
TAKING A BREAK: Maine coach Richard Barron is taking an indefinite medical leave. The school announced Barron’s leave Friday. The university says Barron will be replaced by Amy Vachon, an associate head coach in her sixth season on the staff. Maine did not reveal the nature of Barron’s medical condition, but he said he’s on medication that has side effects that interfere with coaching and he feels it is in the team’s best interests for him to take leave. The team won its first game without Barron, beating UMBC 72-40 on Saturday.
This story has been corrected to show that Kentucky’s streak of consecutive weeks in the poll was eighth, not seventh, overall.
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