The Weekly Roundup: January 4

Undefeated teams, a look at win shares, and prepping for WNBA free agency

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After more than a month of NCAA action, the list of undefeated teams has whittled down to just 19 teams across 10 different conferences. Of course, the number of wins cover a wide range because of scheduling differences. (Teams like NC State and Texas A&M have 10 wins, while no one from the Patriot league took the court until January.) UC Davis, who hasn’t played since Nov. 25 because of regional COVID restrictions, is the only 1-0 team. 

The SEC currently has the most undefeated teams with three, and the ACC, Big 10, Mountain West, Atlantic-10, and Patriot league all have two unbeaten teams remaining. With Oregon’s loss to UCLA on Sunday, Stanford is the lone unbeaten team in the Pac-12. 

The nation’s best offensive and defensive teams are currently unbeaten; Ohio State (4-0) leads Division I in offensive rating and Ole Miss (6-0) leads in defensive rating. 

On Jan. 5, 2020, there were only four undefeated teams (UCLA, UConn, NC State, and Oregon State) in the country. UCLA was the final team to stay undefeated until a loss against USC in double overtime snapped their 16-game winning streak. In a season that is truly like none other, it’s anyone’s guess as to if or when we’ll see the final unbeaten team, but as conference play goes on, the list will surely be cut down. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to monitor how far some of these teams (like Stanford, UConn, NC State, Louisville, and Michigan State) go before tarnishing their perfect records. 

The Best Upset

Nebraska upsets Northwestern (65-63)-- The Huskers out-rebounded the No. 15 Wildcats 47-35, but the most important board came with one second remaining. With the game tied and a little more than six seconds on the clock, junior Sam Haiby split defenders to drive to the basket for a layup, which hit the rim before falling out. She quickly grabbed her own miss and threw a one-handed reverse layup high off the backboard which swiftly fell in as time expired. The upset snapped a three-game losing streak for Nebraska and the feat earned Haiby the top spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays on New Year’s Eve. 

Haiby, who currently leads the team in scoring, rebounding, and assists, left the game a few minutes into the fourth quarter with a severe leg cramp. Without her on the floor, the Wildcats were able to bring the game within reach before tying it at 61 with 1:41 left, a little less than a minute after Haiby returned to end the game. 

Northwestern, who is ranked third in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio and second in steal rate, kept their turnovers to a minimum (seven compared to Nebraska’s 24) and forced 15 steals. It was the Wildcats’ shooting, though, that ultimately lost them the game. The team had more second-chance opportunities than the Huskers but only scored 12 second-chance points compared to Nebraska’s 18. The team also shot a season-low 45.5% (10-for-22) from the charity stripe. That’s one of just four games between power conference schools where a team shot less than 50% with 20 or more free-throw attempts.

Nebraska’s lockdown defense shined the most in the third quarter by holding the Wildcats to just seven points. The Wildcats did not score a field goal in the third until Veronica Burton made a jumper with nine seconds remaining in the quarter. All together, Northwestern only shot 35.3% from the field that night. 

HHS Top 25

  1. Stanford (9-0)

  2. Louisville (7-0)

  3. UConn (4-0)

  4. NC State (10-0)

  5. South Carolina (6-1)

  6. Baylor (8-1)

  7. Arizona (8-1)

  8. UCLA (6-2)

  9. Kentucky (9-1)

  10. Texas A&M (10-0)

  11. Oregon (8-1)

  12. Maryland (6-1)

  13. Arkansas (10-2)

  14. Michigan (7-0)

  15. Mississippi State (6-2)

  16. Texas (8-1)

  17. DePaul (5-3)

  18. Ohio State (4-0)

  19. Indiana (5-2)

  20. South Florida (7-1)

  21. Northwestern (4-2)

  22. Michigan State (8-0)

  23. Missouri State (3-2)

  24. Iowa (7-1)

  25. Syracuse (4-1)

By The Numbers

As part of the update to our stats site ahead of the NCAA season in November, we added both win shares (including offensive, defensive, and per 40 minutes) and player efficiency rating (PER) for the NCAA. Win shares is an advanced statistic that estimates the total number of wins a player produces for their team through their play on the offensive and defensive end of the court. PER was developed by ESPN columnist John Hollinger and sums up a player’s positive accomplishments and subtracts the negative accomplishments in a per-minute rating. 

Megan Gauer took a look at the top 20 NCAA Division I returners who recorded the most win shares last season in November, and unsurprisingly, there are multiple players from that list who continue to lead in win shares this season. 

This week, I wanted to highlight players who are leading their teams in win shares, win shares per 40 minutes (win shares normalized by minutes played) and PER. For this exercise, I only looked at players who have played in at least four games and have averaged at least 10 minutes of action, which I found using Her Hoop Stats’ reSEARCH tool. 

Win Shares 

  1. Charli Collier (Texas): 3.9

  2. Ashley Joens (Iowa St.): 3.6

  3. Macee Williams (IUPUI): 3.6

  4. Arella Guirantes (Rutgers): 3.5

  5. Haley Jones (Stanford): 3.5

  6. Chasity Patterson (Kentucky): 3.4

  7. Hannah Sjerven (South Dakota): 3.3

  8. Naz Hilmon (Michigan): 3.3

  9. Elissa Cunane (NC State): 3.2

  10. NaLyssa Smith (Baylor): 3.2

Win Shares per 40 Minutes

  1. Cameron Brink (Stanford): 0.72

  2. Alexis Morris (Texas A&M): 0.68

  3. Macee Williams (IUPUI): 0.64

  4. Olivia Nelson-Ododa (UConn): 0.64

  5. Hannah Sjerven (South Dakota): 0.63

  6. Naz Hilmon (Michigan): 0.63

  7. Jacy Sheldon (Ohio State): 0.62

  8. Olivia Cochran (Louisville): 0.61

  9. Jenna Staiti (Georgia): 0.58

  10. Madison Greene (Ohio State): 0.57

  11. Madison Scott (Ole Miss): 0.57

  12. Haley Jones (Stanford): 0.57

Player Efficiency Rating

  1. Cameron Brink (Stanford): 49.6

  2. Hannah Sjerven (South Dakota): 49.3

  3. Katie Scott (Grand Canyon): 46.4

  4. Macee Williams (IUPUI): 45.3

  5. Naz Hilmon (Michigan): 45.2

  6. Alexis Morris (Texas A&M): 44.8

  7. Ayoka Lee (Kansas State): 44.3

  8. Angel Reese (Maryland): 44.3

  9. Kierstan Bell (FGCU): 43.6

  10. Unique Thompson (Auburn): 43.4

Games To Watch

Now that we’re into conference play, there’s no shortage of exciting and high-stakes games to watch. Here’s a look at some intriguing ranked matchups scheduled for this week, including three nationally televised games. All times are in eastern standard time. 

What We’re Working On

Her Hoop Stats has WNBA Salary Cap Sheets now on! Released just in time for WNBA free agency, you can now view salary cap information for every player on every team, broken down by contact type through 2025.  Total team salary cap and guaranteed salary, 2021 draft picks and rookie scale contract info, and easy access to CBA terms and rules, are also available, all in an easy-to-digest and clean layout. HHS Founder Aaron Barzilai breaks down more about this awesome feature, which couldn’t be done without the work of Richard Cohen, who independently double-sourced the numbers, and Morgan Reeder who led the way with the design layout. 

Gabe Ibrahim, Richard Cohen, and Ben Dull broke down all the moves from our first Her Hoop Stats WNBA Mock Free Agency podcast.  Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or read Ben’s reactions to each team’s moves and projected depth charts. 

In a special edition of The Weekly Roundup, I did a yearly recap and highlighted five major moments in women’s basketball last year. Also included is a reading list of great stories from Her Hoop Stats as well as other fantastic reads from a variety of writers in 2020. 

Calvin Wetzel broke down Iowa freshman star Caitlin Clark’s midrange game, which goes against everything analytics says about the shot

Ahead of the opening tip of SEC play last Thursday, I took a look at how all 14 SEC teams stacked up heading into league play, including 2019 results, 2020 stats, incoming and outgoing players, and some quick notes. 

Other Recommended Reading

For ESPN, Graham Hayes wrote about Stanford women's basketball -- How Haley Jones gives the Cardinal their best shot to win another NCAA title.

For Floor Game, Ben Dull broke down the 2021 WNBA Draft’s impending point guard problem. 

For Hoopfeed, Cheryl Coward profiled Denver head coach Doshia Woods, who serves as an inspiration for other coaches to live as their authentic selves and escape the closet.

For the Des Moines Register, Mark Emmert has a very cool review of Iowa’s win over Rutgers and how they did it in four scenes. 

This isn’t a read, but it’s very enjoyable and highly recommended. If you’re not familiar with Secret Base on YouTube, it's known for deep rewind analyses of some high-profile or dramatic moments in sports. Their most recent video is a deep rewind of the last-second Game 5 finish of the 2016 WNBA finals between the LA Sparks and Minnesota Lynx and it's a must watch. 

Before You Go

I recommend watching this (again and again and again) while waiting for WNBA free agency chaos to begin. Multiple players featured in the Top 10 are free agents in 2021 (including the player involved in the No. 1 play, who is a reserved free agent).

Thanks for reading the Her Hoop Stats Newsletter. If you like our work, be sure to check out our stats site, our podcast, and our social media accounts on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also buy Her Hoop Stats gear, such as laptop stickers, mugs, and shirts!

Haven’t subscribed to the Her Hoop Stats Newsletter yet?