With just under a month until the end of the regular NCAAW season, the playoff picture is starting to crystallize (well, sort of). The temptation to hone in on who could go all the way is more tempting than ever, but plenty of the best players in the nation right now probably won’t make it that far. So while there’s still time to appreciate their phenomenal seasons, take some time away from your appointment Baylor and South Carolina viewing to watch some of the individual stat leaders from around Division I.
(Procedural note: we’re sticking to starters, and going by the NCAA’s official stats.)
Points per game
Stella Johnson, senior, Rider University — 25 PPG
The almost-hometown hero (she’s from Denville, New Jersey, about an hour from the Rider campus) has lead the NCAAW in scoring for nearly the entire season — plus, she’s snagging an average of 7.5 rebounds and 2.6 steals. Her 17-3 Rider Broncs lead the MAAC by just one game, and they’ll be guarding that top spot when they play No. 2 Marist at home Tuesday night (Feb. 11, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3). The last Rider/Marist match-up went to OT, so though Johnson’s output has tapered slightly in recent games, she’ll probably get plenty of chances to show out.
Three-point shots per game
Taylor Robertson, sophomore, Oklahoma University — 4.78
There are sharpshooters, and then there’s Robertson, who is on track to at least challenge both the men’s and women’s NCAA three-point shooting records (the men’s record-holder is a guy you may have heard of named Steph Curry). Unfortunately, her Sooners probably won’t make the NCAA tournament (barring a major upswing), but who among us doesn’t love a good hot streak? Their next nationally available game is vs. Kansas State on Sunday (Feb. 16, 3 p.m. ET, FS1).
Oklahoma is where Taylor Robertson always wanted to be. The countless hours spent in the gym made her dream a reality.— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_WBBall) January 27, 2019
The story from @JessicaCoody https://t.co/Q7k4z6Hrlh pic.twitter.com/dsVjZM3q0a
Field goal percentage
Monika Czinano, sophomore, Iowa — 69.2 percent (nice)
When star forward Megan Gustafson graduated last year, she probably should have left a hole. After all, there aren’t many players who are that unstoppable under the basket — she led the league in field goal percentage with (you guessed it) 69 percent. But 6’3 center Czinano has stepped up in a big way. Just this past weekend — immediately after healing from a scary ankle injury — Czinano went 10 of 11 (!) against Purdue on Sunday. The Hawkeyes will face off in what will almost inevitably be a battle vs. the No. 10 Terps on Thursday (Feb. 13, 6 p.m. ET, BTN). Iowa beat Maryland in their last matchup, but this time they’ll meet in College Park.
Kelly Campbell, senior, DePaul University — 5.54
Campbell is about as balanced a player as you can find. With eight points, eight rebounds and nearly six assists a game, the guard is filling in the gaps on an extremely talented DePaul team (they’re currently No. 1 in the Big East, and three games ahead of anyone else). She may not be owning the highlight reels (those mostly belong to her fellow senior star Chante Stonewall), but Campbell is taking better care of the ball than almost anyone in the country. The Blue Demons play Butler on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14, 8 p.m. ET, BEDN), and Campbell (who hit her season-high scoring in their last match-up) will inevitably be a key component.
Unique Thompson, junior, Auburn University — 19
There’s no question that Auburn is struggling right now. But the 6’3 Thompson really is unique, just as her Twitter handle asserts. There are only two games in which she hasn’t had a double-double this season, and that’s off 56 percent shooting from the field. Thompson, one of two upperclassmen on the whole Auburn roster, has the second-highest offensive rebounding average in the country. So when they play No. 1 South Carolina Thursday (Feb. 13, 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network) in what might very well be a slaughter, look out for how Thompson turns lemons in lemonade and tries to spark the Tigers to a brighter 2021.
Highlights from today's Auburn victory over Vanderbilt!#WarEagle | #TeamOfExcellence pic.twitter.com/iEJPIMgDae— Auburn Women's Basketball (@AuburnWBB) February 2, 2020
More games to watch
No. 5 UConn at No. 1 South Carolina (Feb. 10, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Obvious appointment television: UConn is trying to get back on track after an ugly loss to Oregon, and South Carolina is looking to beat UConn for the first time in front of what promises to be a sellout crowd in Columbia. It doesn’t get much better than this.
No. 9 Louisville at No. 4 NC State (Feb. 13, 8 p.m. ET, ACC Network)
After two consecutive losses (including one to unranked Syracuse), the Cardinals desperately need to right the ship — and a statement win vs. the conference-leading Wolfpack would be just the ticket. Elissa Cunane certainly won’t make it easy for them, though.
No. 3 Oregon at No. 7 UCLA (Feb. 14, 11 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)
You say you love women’s basketball, but do you love it enough to watch this truly great matchup (UCLA’s first big test) at 11 p.m. on Valentine’s Day? If your date is down, you’ll know you’ve found the one, is all I’m saying.