Welcome back to Stock Up, Stock Down, where we look around the women's basketball landscape in Texas to see who's trending up and who's trending down.
Stock Up: Houston
There's really not a team in the country that makes less sense than the Houston Cougars. At 7-3 in conference play, the Coogs sit second in the American. But at 10-13 overall, they're one of just three teams in the country to be second in their conference with a losing record overall, joining Bethune-Cookman and Oral Roberts.
Houston is currently on a four-game win streak, and included in that streak was a 71-69 win over a ranked South Florida team. That's been the only loss in conference play for the Bulls so far.
Over the last five games, Houston has a conference-best 21.3 net rating, fueled in part by some great defense. The Cougars have a 73.9 defensive rating over this span. For the season as a whole, their defensive rating is 88.0—which is admittedly still good, as it ranks in the 81st percentile.
Houston still has some offensive struggles. The Coogs rank 242nd in the country in points per game and even over this winning streak, they've been mostly just closer to average than before, ranking in the 54th percentile in true shooting percentage over the past five games, which is better than their 20th percentile mark in that for the full season.
If Houston continues to play the exceptional defense it's played all year and can provide just average offense, this team could steal an NCAA bid in the conference tournament.
Stock Up: Lamar
The Cardinals have won four straight, vaulting them from the basement of the Southland into fourth place. Could Lamar find a way to win this conference?
Over the past five games, the Cardinals have the best net rating in the conference at 19.0, and the best offense by a good margin—the team's 113.5 net rating dwarfs second-place Southeastern Louisiana's 98.7.
A big part of what this offense has done? Akasha Davis, who is averaging 18.8 points per game over the last three games, which ranks third in the Southland over that span behind Houston Christian's N'Denasija Collins and TAMUCC's Makinna Serrata. Davis is shooting 66.1% from the floor over this span, and she's been dominant on the offensive glass, averaging 4.6 of them per game over this span.
Davis isn't the only player scoring well lately—Portia Adams and Sabria Dean rank top 20 in the Southland in scoring over this span of games as well—but she's been the main key to this run due to her ability to score at the rim.
Stock Up: Texas State
I'm not watching as much Sun Belt basketball as I used to since the conference is down to just one remaining Texas team, but I really need to make sure I catch more Texas State games because what I've seen has been good.
The Bobcats sit third in the conference right now, one game back of first-place Troy. They've won three in a row and five of their last six, with the only loss over that span coming against Troy. The Trojans are just a matchup nightmare for Texas State—they play so fast that it ends up negating a lot of the good things about the Bobcats' defense, which is why Troy has the top two scoring performances against Texas State this season.
Still, outside of Troy games, this defense has been good. Over the last 10 games, the team allowed more than 60 points just once, and that was the Troy game.
Offensively, Da'Nasia Hood has scored 17 or more points in six straight games, and she's made multiple threes in all but one of those.
Up next for the Bobcats: James Madison, who they share second place with. After that, two of their final three games are against the bottom two teams in the conference standings. Hmm.
Stock Down: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
While Lamar has won four in a row to put itself in the conversation to win the Southland, A&M Corpus has lost three straight, which has knocked the Islanders out of the lead.
It's not even that A&M Corpus has been that bad during this stretch, though. The team's net rating over the last five games is 6.0, and the losses were all by single digits, with the worst being a 59-51 loss to first-place Southeastern Louisiana.
I don't think this losing streak really says much about the Islanders as a whole—they've just had some bad shooting luck over this span. Still, in a one-bid conference, getting that No. 1 seed in the conference tournament (and the guaranteed spot in the WNIT if you don't win the tournament) is huge, and the Islanders have put themselves in a position to lose that. Luckily for the Islanders, they don't play Southeastern again, though they do have two games against third-place A&M Commerce.