clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Down The Stretch in the Women's ACC

In this year of parity for the women's ACC, every game in the first
stretch of the second half of the season has been competitive, and
predicting winners has been next to impossible. Let's take a look at
recent games and try to figure out NCAA possibilities:

Duke 11-1 (20-3, RPI 3)
UNC 8-4 (18-5, RPI 27)
Maryland 7-6 (15-9, RPI 49)
NC State 7-6 (15-11, RPI 46)
FSU 6-7 (13-11, RPI 50)
Clemson 5-7 (15-8, RPI 52)
Virginia 5-7 (12-12, RPI 60)
Ga Tech 4-8 (13-11, RPI 57)
Wake 3-10 (10-14, RPI 100)

Wake has lost 5 in a row and is headed towards another losing season
unless they can turn it around immediately. Three of those losses were on
the road and they weren't very close. The Deacs did play NC State tough
at home, even outrebounding them, but shot poorly. After beating UNC and
Georgia Tech, Wake looked like they had a solid shot at at least a WNIT
bid, but their frontcourt problems have really started to betray them.

Following a 40-point loss at Duke, Georgia Tech has retooled and won
their last 2 games. Both were at home, but knocking off solid clubs like
Virginia & Maryland not only boosted the spirits of the team, it lifted
them out of the league's basement and gives the Jackets a chance at
getting a good seed in the ACC tournament and a possible WNIT bid. Fallon
Stokes continues to play like an All-ACC selection, scoring 18 against
Maryland in a 1-point win. With winnable road games against Clemson &
Wake and home tilts versus UNC & NC State, Tech actually has a chance at
getting all the way back up to .500.

Virginia suffered a couple of recent setbacks on their quest for yet
another NCAA bid. After pounding Maryland inside for an easy win and
going out of conference to beat Big East rival Georgetown, the Hoos
dropped a road game to Georgia Tech and then got whipped inside by NC
State. Virginia must finish at least 8-8 and most likely 9-7 to have a
shot at an NCAA bid; if that happens, it means road wins against Duke and
UNC, which would certainly enhance their resume. With Brandi Teamer back
and LaTonya Blue playing great ball, they certainly have a chance to do
it, but they must perform better on the boards.

Clemson is another reeling club, having lost 5 in a row after looking
like an NCAA tourney lock. What's really disturbing is that they've been
blown out five straight times (though the last game was an 11 point
margin). Their shooting has been awful and their defense inconsistent,
and they've struggled with their rebounding all year. A big reason why is
the recent struggles of Lakeia "Chicken Bone" Stokes; after leading the
team in scoring in 15 of 16 games, she's struggled to get into double
figures as other teams are making other players beat them. Still, if
anyone can turn it around, it's Jim Davis. Clemson has to play at Duke,
but gets Tech & Maryland at home and gets last place Wake on the road.
Don't be stunned if you see a turnaround, especially since Clemson will
have had a week to prepare for Tech and shake things up.

Florida State continues to confuse everyone with their play. On the one
hand, they had a brilliant performance in being the first ACC team to beat
Duke in three years. On the other hand, they went to Maryland and got
pounded on the boards. Still, the Seminoles took care of business against
Wake & Clemson and have a solid shot at a WNIT bid. They'll have to win
at Virginia & NC State and play UNC at home. The best news for the 'noles
is that they're relying a lot less on Tasheika Allen as Shante Williams,
Trinetta Moore, Lauren Bradley & Alicia Gladden have all been recent high
scorers. Williams is really pushing UNC's Camille Little and Ivory Latta
for ACC rookie of the year.

NC State is the biggest story of the year, rising from the ashes of an
0-5 start to sport an incredible 7-6 record. Recently, they took games at
UNC and Virginia, outrebounding both clubs. They seem to get better with
every game as their frosh become more and more confident; their tough
early season games made this group better. With a good RPI, NC State
should get in the field of 64 if they beat their next 2 foes (FSU at home
and Tech on the road), or manage to upset Duke on Senior Day. Kaayla
Chones is a mortal lock for All-ACC, getting better as her teammates improve.

Maryland is still in great shape for an NCAA spot of their own, but
losing at Georgia Tech puts them in a tight spot. They have road games
against UNC and Clemson and host Duke on the Terps' Senior Day. Maryland
must beat Clemson and probably either one of Duke or UNC to assure
themselves of an NCAA bid. Barring the latter, a win in the ACC
tournament will probably do it. The Terps are great at home but have
trouble on the road, so any road wins would improve their resume.

UNC was neck-and-neck with Duke, pulling within 1 game of the Devils
when Duke lost to FSU. Losing at home to NC State and then dropping the
Dean Dome showdown to Duke, falling behind by 3 games once again. The
remainder of their schedule is favorable as their 2 tough games are at
home (Maryland & Virginia), though Florida State could be a potential
upset considering what they did to Duke and UNC's problems inside. UNC is
still a lock for the NCAA's and looks to be around a 4 seed.

Lastly, there's Duke. They're in great shape with a 3 game lead with 4
to go, but some pitfalls remain. The biggest are road games against
surging NC State and Maryland, and a home game against a desperate
Virginia team who has played Duke tough of late. Duke is still in the
hunt for a #1 seed but can't afford any stumbles, so hopefully that will
keep their competitive fires stoked.