Stock Up, Stock Down: Lamar poised to lead Southland challenge, Horns rolling

Welcome back to the first 2023 edition of Stock Up, Stock Down, where we take a look around the women's college basketball landscape to get a sense of who's trending up and who's trending down in the state of Texas.

Stock Up: Texas

The Longhorns got off to a rocky start, which included a three-game losing streak early on that had the team sitting 1-3 on the year. At that point, the team just looked disjointed. Rori Harmon was hurt, and without their point guard, the Horns were just kind of languishing.

Well...they're 9-1 since then, which includes a seven-game winning streak. Over that span, the Longhorns scored 90 or more points four times, and held four opponents under 50.

We knew this team would be good defensively this year, because that's what you get with a Vic Schaefer team. They rank eighth in the country in defensive rating.

But with Harmon back, the offense is zooming as well. Texas is up to 23rd in the country in points per game. I was concerned that even with Harmon, there would just be too many new faces for this team to find rhythm, but the it's been a real team effort, with six players averaging double-digit points. Sonya Morris leads the way at 11.9 points per game, with Shaylee Gonzales just behind at 11.2. Aaliyah Moore also averages 11.2, but Moore's out for the year with a torn ACL.

Texas opened conference play with a 46-point win over Kansas State. And Kansas State isn't a bad team: the Wildcats actually beat Iowa back in November.

Stock Up: Lamar

The first game of Southland play went well for basically every Texas program. The state went 4-1 in those games, with the only loss being by UIW, which lost to in-state opponent Texas A&M Commerce.

But of the teams in the conference, Lamar's the one that stands out the most right now.

The Cardinals have won three in a row, including a 65-50 win over Sun Belt program Louisiana, and an 82-61 win over McNeese to open Southland play.

In the win over McNeese, Sabria Dean led the team with 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting, while also adding four rebounds and two steals.

Overall, the Cardinals are one of just two Southland programs with a winning record this season, sitting 7-5 on the year.

Stock Up: Sam Houston

The Bearkats are such an intriguing team. They first piqued my interest back on November, when they went on the road and took down TCU. Granted, TCU's the worst team in the Big 12 this year, but WAC programs shouldn't be beating Big 12 programs.

The team followed that with a 1-3 stretch, but that stretch featured competitive losses to UCF, Texas Tech, and Rice. Keeping those games in the low double-digits isn't quite at the level of a moral victory, but those results were a little encouraging when it came to predicting what the team would do in WAC play.

And in that first WAC game, the Bearkats beat Seattle by 20, with six Sam Houston players scoring in double figures, led by Kaylee Jefferson's 18. I don't think the Bearkats are going to win the WAC or anything like that, but this team could land near the top.

Stock Down: North Texas

Conference USA looks like it'll be competitive this year. Through the first two or three conference games, only two Conference USA teams have yet to record a conference victory: North Texas and UAB.

UNT is 2-9 against Division I opponents this year. The Mean Green rank 279th in offensive rating and 288th in defensive rating. There was a thought—just a small thought—that UNT could right the ship in conference play, but the team lost to Florida Atlantic and FIU already, though they did score 67 points against FIU, the most UNT has scored against a Division I team.

Maybe there's still a bounce-back coming, but it's looking less likely by the game.

Stock Down: Texas A&M

I get the sense that the Aggies will be a permanent fixture in the Stock Down part of this column. The SEC is incredibly deep this year, with just one team standing out in a bad way, and that team is the Aggies.

This will change as other teams in the conference face the gauntlet that is the SEC, but right now A&M is the only SEC team with a record under .500, with the team sitting at 5-7 on the season and 0-2 so far in conference play.

It's a small sample size, but per Her Hoop Stats, A&M's current SEC-only stats look bad: last in offensive rating, 11th in defensive rating, 13th in effective field goal percentage. Aaliyah Patty's averaged 7.5 points per game in the two contests, making her the team's leading scorer in conference play.

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