WBB Watch Guide 1-20: Baylor looks to rebound after Iowa State loss

Photo by Pat Carrigan

Amid of rash of COVID postponements and a few programs from outside of Texas joining SMU in canceling its seasons, the 20-21 women's college basketball season keeps going. The Aggies lost their first game of the season last week, while Rice continued to show why they're going to come out on top in Conference USA.

Note: UIW has postponed its next six contests through February 1 due to COVID-19 protocols. Houston Baptist has postponed its next four for the same reason. UTRGV's games this week are canceled due to a positive COVID-19 test involving New Mexico State. 

 

Wednesday, January 20

Temple at Houston at 12 p.m.
ESPN+

Early basketball! It's always a treat to watch some basketball during lunchtime, and this one between two of the top teams in the American shouldn't disappoint. Temple was 0-3 in non-conference, but have gone 4-1 so far since tipping off this portion of its schedule. The Owls have shooting 41.8 percent as a team in conference games while holding opponents to 35.1 percent shooting. Houston had a bit of a rough patch early in conference play, losing three in a row, but are on a two-game winning streak. Their offense can be tough to stop, especially when they can get the 3-point shooting of Britney Onyeje and Dymond Gladney going. This should be a fun matinee game.

Abilene Christian at Sam Houston at 5:30 p.m.
ESPN+

It's a little tough to get a read on this Bearkats team. They should be a top team in the Southland, but are just 2-2 in conference play. They have a two-game conference winning streak at the moment, but it includes them just sneaking past Lamar in its last game. Amber Leggett continues to lead the way for this team, but can they slow down ACU, who rank in the 98th percentile in net rating and have won both its conference games? 

Stephen F. Austin at Northwestern State at 6:30 p.m.

No. 9 Baylor at Oklahoma State at 6:30 p.m.
ESPN+

So, Baylor lost to Iowa State. The Lady Bears were missing a couple of players and Iowa State and its junior star Ashley Joens are a very good team, but seeing the Cyclones win in Waco for the first time this century was still a shock. Now, Baylor tries to avoid a two-game conference losing streak as they head to Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls are 9-4, but two of those losses have come in their last two conference games. Baylor will need to find a way to limit Natasha Mack's effectiveness inside, but if they can do that then they'll be in good shape to get back in the win column.

New Orleans at Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 7 p.m.
Islanders Digital Network

Texas Tech at Kansas at 7 p.m.
ESPN+

Coming off an upset win over Texas, Krista Gerlich's Tech squad heads to Kansas. The Jayhawks have lost their past two games, but both of them -- road losses against Texas and TCU — were incredibly close contests. Tech's Vivian Gray will need to score a lot against a good defensive Kansas team if the Lady Raiders want to get the road victory.

TCU at Texas at 7 p.m.
Longhorn Network

Texas has lost two of its past three games, including a blowout loss to West Virginia. Center Charli Collier has been struggling with her shot and to stay out of foul trouble, which has hurt this Longhorns team. Let's not forget this is a fairly young team; if the starters struggle to score, there's not a lot else this team can do. Growing pain, you know? TCU is 1-5 in conference play, so Texas should be able to pull this one out, but it has a chance to be a lot closer than people on the outside will think it should be.

 

Thursday, January 21

No Texas teams are scheduled to play, but there are four games around the country featuring top-25 schools facing off: No. 23 Syracuse visits No. 1 Louisville, No. 3 UConn is on the road at No. 25 Tennessee, No. 22 Georgia faces its toughest test at No. 4 South Carolina, and in the Big 10, No. 11 Michigan visits No. 17 Ohio State.

 

Friday, January 22

UAB at Rice at 2 p.m.
ESPN+

Louisiana Monroe at Texas State at 4 p.m.
ESPN+

Tarleton at Seattle at 5 p.m.

The Texans opened WAC play in maybe the worst possible scenario: they had to face the unstoppable force that is Cal Baptist. But they managed to keep the first game of the series close, and that learning experience should help them against a much more beatable Seattle team.

Old Dominion at North Texas at 5 p.m.
CUSA.TV

The Mean Green started conference play 5-0 before dropping a road contest to UTEP. Jalie Mitchell's squad is turning heads this year, as they look like one of the top teams in Conference USA despite being picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll. If they can make the most of this two-game series against ODU, then North Texas can head into next week's big series against Rice with a lot of momentum. (Stay tuned to Texas Basketball for more on this Mean Green team later this week.)

UTSA at Southern Miss at 6 p.m.
CUSA.TV

UTSA is still searching for its first conference win and is the only CUSA team that's 0-6 in conference play. Good thing Southern Miss is only 1-5 in the conference. This young Roadrunners team has their best chance yet to get in the win column.

UTEP at Lousiana Tech at 6:30 p.m.
CUSA.TV

You really have to feel bad for how the schedule shook out for the Miners. Because each week in CUSA features two games against the same opponent, UTEP's first four conference games were against the two teams playing the best basketball in CUSA: Rice and North Texas. So a team that started 5-2 has now dropped three of their last four games, and now they get to head on the road to face the Lady Techsters, who are 9-3 so far. That's just a wildly tough gauntlet, but if they can get a split of this series, they'll be well-positioned moving forward.

UT-Arlington at Little Rock at 6:30 p.m.
ESPN+

The second and third place teams in the Sun Belt's West division face off this week, with both teams hoping to wins so they can keep pace with division leader Arkansas State. After COVID issues earlier in the year postponed some UTA games, the Mavs are 3-1 in conference play. These teams already faced each other twice earlier in the season, so they should really accustomed to seeing each other by the time this weekend is over. And considering how close those first two games were — a 57-56 Little Rock win followed by a 59-54 UTA win — we should be in for some close, competitive basketball.

Saturday, January 23

Central Arkansas at Abilene Christian at 1 p.m.
ESPN+

Texas Tech at TCU at 1 p.m.

Both of these teams had surprisingly strong 2019-20 seasons, but have a combined Big 12 record of 3-10 this season. Tech is coming off an upset win over Texas after almost upsetting West Virginia, so you have to give Krista Gerlich's team the advantage here. But the Horned Frogs have some really good players, including Lauren Heard and Yummy Morris, and should be able to keep this one competitive. These teams might be moving in opposite directions right now, with Tech trending up and TCU down, but they meet at a time when anything can happen.

Prairie View A&M at Mississippi Valley at 2 p.m.

Texas Southern at Arkansas - Pine Bluff at 2 p.m.
Texas Southern Athletics

Lamar at Stephen F. Austin at 2 p.m.

SFA is clearly the better team here, right? Well, probably, as the Ladyjacks are off to a 4-0 start to conference play and have just been bowling over teams, with their smallest margin of victory being 41 points. This team is firing on all cylinders and it's hard to see anyone outside of Abilene Christian really putting up a fight right now against them. But Lamar has two Southland wins and an overtime loss to Sam Houston, so this could be the closest conference game SFA has had so far.

UAB at Rice at 2 p.m.
CUSA.TV

Old Dominion at North Texas at 2 p.m.
CUSA.TV

UTSA at Southern Miss at 4 p.m.
CUSA.TV

UTEP at Lousiana Tech at 4 p.m.
CUSA.TV

Louisiana Monroe at Texas State at 4 p.m.
ESPN+

UT Arlington at Little Rock at 4 p.m.
ESPN+

Tarleton at Seattle at 5 p.m.

UCF at Houston at 5 p.m.

The first time these teams met, UCF's defense smothered the Cougars, holding them to 46 points. But Houston managed to keep UCF from running away with it, holding them to 55 points. Like that first meeting, this one seems like it will be determined by whether or not UH is able to find a way to get out to a fast start, keep the pace up, and get some threes to fall.

Texas at No. 24 Iowa State at 5 p.m.
ESPNU

Here come the Cyclones! In what should be considered the top game of the week, the Texas Longhorns head to Ames to face an Iowa State team that just upset Baylor and earned a spot in the top 25. Texas, meanwhile, dropped out of the rankings with a loss to Texas Tech. Texas will have to find some way to slow down Ashley Joens, a scoring machine for ISU who had 27 points and 12 rebounds against Baylor. It's hard to see how Texas accomplishes that task, which means the Longhorns probably need to outscore Iowa State. That task will fall to Charli Collier, who has struggled in the past two Texas losses, taking just two shots against West Virginia and then shooting 16.7 percent against Texas Tech. 

Oklahoma at No. 9 Baylor at 7 p.m.
ESPN+

 

Sunday, January 24

No. 8 Texas A&M at Missouri at 4 p.m.
SEC Network

The only game in the state on Sunday's schedule sees the Aggies head to Missouri. The 5-4 Tigers have just one SEC win and it came against Ole Miss, but they've been competitive in most of their games, losing by three to Arkansas and two to LSU. This seems like a potential trap game for the Aggies, who are coming off a huge win over Mississippi State. A&M needs to focus on getting the N'dea Jones/Ciera Johnson inside game going and they should be able to win this one.

 

Monday, January 25

Texas Southern at Mississippi Valley at 5 p.m.
Texas Southern Athletics

Prairie View A&M at Arkansas - Pine Bluff at 5:30 p.m.

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