Down goes number 1!
Yes, the Gamecocks are led by young players. Yes, it is only the first week of the season. And yes, NC State is a very talented, well-coached team. It is still shocking to see a South Carolina loss after more than a calendar year went by without one.
The Wolfpack came in to the matchup 2-0 after routing North Florida and NC Central, but head coach Wes Moore was concerned with their defensive effort, as they allowed 70 points against NCC. After watching the film he said, “We got to have more urgency and compete a little bit harder”.
That film session certainly got through to the players, as they held South Carolina to only 46 points, their lowest output in 7 years. It wasn’t flashy defense that forced a lot of turnovers, rather gritty, get in your face on a shot defense that made the Gamecocks go 20-for-74 from the field.
Kayla Jones had a 16-point double-double for the Wolfpack in what will probably be the signature win of their season, barring an ACC foe like Louisville being undefeated before their matchup in late January.
And for all the South Carolina haters that are jumping with joy (if those exists), settle down. The Gamecocks dropped a similar contest last year to Indiana and went on to not lose the rest of the season. As long as Dawn Staley is at the helm, everything will be all right in Columbia.
Staying in the SEC, Kentucky will see Rhyne Howard on the court for the first time this season. The potential player of the year served a two-game suspension to start the season, the details of which the school did not announce. The Wildcats went 2-0 without their junior super-star, who already has ground to make up in the early player of the year debate.
Charli Collier has been lighting it up for Texas through the first three games of their season. The future first overall pick in the WNBA draft (wouldn’t an Ionescu and Collier pick and roll be magical?) is leading the nation with 34.5 points per game and is just dominant inside.
Depending on how tonight’s draft lottery goes, the team that gets Collier’s services may be the one that just signed their new head coach.
The Dallas Wings have agreed to a deal with former Las Vegas Aces assistant and New York Liberty all-star Vickie Johnson. She has one year of head coaching experience in the WNBA, an 8-26 campaign in with the San Antonio Stars in 2017 before their relocation. Johnson will get a better chance to lead a team in Dallas, who have a lot of young players that could learn from her professional experience.
The WNBA saw another hiring on Thursday, with Phil Cook set to be the league’s first ever Chief Marketing Officer. Cook worked at Nike for 20 years and will bring his ability to market athletes on a global scale to a league that is swimming in unrecognized talent.