3 games to watch in women’s college basketball for Week 13

Dec 29, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks guard Zia Cooke (1) passes to a teammate against the Texas A&M Aggies in the first half at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks guard Zia Cooke (1) passes to a teammate against the Texas A&M Aggies in the first half at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /

The women’s college basketball schedule is absolutely stacked this week, with a matchup of two top-five programs and a pair of teams tied in the AP poll.

Welcome back to FanSided’s weekly look around the women’s basketball world. Looking for some games to watch this upcoming week? We’ll be highlighting three of them that should be on your radar.

Whether you’re a long-time viewer who’s just looking for a shortcut to see what you should watch or you’re just getting into the sport and want to know about compelling storylines, we have you covered. And at the end, I’ll include a short “other games to watch” section, if you want to take your basketball watching further.

Let’s dig into the 13th week of the women’s college basketball season!

All stats from Her Hoop Stats unless otherwise noted.

Here are the women’s college basketball games you won’t want to miss this week:

3. No. 10 Maryland @ No. 10 Iowa

Thursday, Feb. 2, 8:30 p.m. — ESPN

Two evenly matched Big Ten opponents — they were actually tied in the AP poll last week — meet on Thursday night in Iowa City as the Terps come to town to face the Hawkeyes.

Maryland enters the week on a four-game win streak and faces Penn State on Monday. Going into that one, the Terps are 17-4. Iowa is on a slightly longer winning streak, having won six in a row, and currently has the same 17-4 record as Maryland.

We could break down plenty of things with this game, but let’s just focus on one thing: the two offensive stars.

Iowa has Caitlin Clark, the country’s second-leading scorer at 27.1 points per game. She’s also second in assists per game at 7.9. There’s no player in the country with the combination of scoring and playmaking that Clark has. Clark’s a star, and you should take every chance you can to watch her while she’s still in college — she’ll be good in the WNBA, but she won’t have this kind of usage.

Meanwhile, Maryland has a little more of a balanced offensive attack, but there’s still one key player: Diamond Miller. In her fourth season at Maryland, Miller is averaging a career-high 18.9 points per game. That’s not 27.1, but it still ranks 31st in Division I. Miller has struggled to shoot from deep, but she shoots 51.9 percent inside the 3-point line.

2. No. 19 Arizona @ No. 8 UCLA

Friday, Feb. 3, 11:00 p.m. — Pac-12 Networks

UCLA enters this game on a two-game losing streak, falling by a combined five points to Colorado and Utah. Can the Bruins bounce back against Arizona, which has lost three of its last five games?

This is a fascinating one because of the conference implications. The Pac-12 tournament in March features byes for the top four seeds. Right now, UCLA has that fourth spot, and Arizona has the fifth spot, making this head-to-head matchup important.

That’s especially true since it’s the only time these two teams will meet in the regular season.

The Wildcats have been the better team by the numbers this year, ranking a good bit ahead of UCLA in offensive rating (31st vs 70th) while the teams are virtually tied in defensive rating, with UCLA 75th in the country and Arizona 81st.

Arizona has shot the ball well, especially from three, where the team’s 36.7% field goal percentage ranks 23rd in the country. Jade Loville has been the star from there, shooting 42.4% from deep.

UCLA rates near the middle of the pack in a lot of offensive metrics, but the team has done a good job limiting turnovers. Charisma Osborne is averaging 15.9 points per game to lead the Bruins.

1. No. 1 South Carolina @ No. 5 UConn

Sunday, Feb, 5, 12:00 p.m. — FOX

Based on rankings, this should be the game of the week, although UConn has been dealing with injury concerns all season. The Huskies just snuck by Villanova 63-58 on Sunday.

Still, UConn is UConn. Despite injuries, this team is 20-2 on the season and has run off 13 wins in a row — which will be 14 by this game, assuming the team stays undefeated in conference play and takes down Providence.

One key to keeping UConn going the right way despite there being no Paige Bueckers this season and Azzi Fudd currently being out? Aubrey Griffin, who has scored in double figures in five consecutive games, shooting 50% or better from the floor in each contest. She’s now 62nd in the country in field goal percentage and 39th in points per play.

But UConn’s about to face its toughest opponent of the year: No. 1 South Carolina.

The Gamecocks are 21-0 on the year. They rank seventh in scoring offense and first in scoring defense, outscoring opponents by an average of 36 points per game. Break it down by offensive and defensive rating and the team looks even more unstoppable: second in offensive rating, first in defensive rating and first in net rating.

Aliyah Boston is their best player (and arguably the best in the nation) but a player who deserves more credit for the team’s success is leading scorer Zia Cooke, who is averaging 15.4 points per game this season. Cooke took on this kind of offensive load back in the 2020-21 season, but her usage and efficiency both dropped last year. This season, she’s shooting over 40% from the floor for the first time.

Other games of note

  • Tennessee @ No. 4 LSU — Monday, Jan. 30, 7:00 p.m. — ESPN2
  • Kansas @ Baylor — Wednesday, Feb. 1, 8:00 p.m.— ESPN+
  • Virginia @ No. 15 North Carolina — Thursday, Feb. 2, 6:00 p.m.— ACC Extra
  • No. 22 Illinois @ No. 13 Michigan — Thursday, Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m. — Big Ten Network
  • No. 25 Colorado @ Oregon — Friday, Feb. 3, 10:00 p.m. — Pac-12 Networks
  • Baylor @ No. 18 Iowa State — Saturday, Feb. 4, 6:00 p.m. — ESPNU
  • No. 16 Duke @ No. 7 Notre Dame — Sunday, Feb. 5, 12:00 p.m. — ACC Extra
  • No. 19 Arizona @ USC — Sunday, Feb. 5, 3:00 p.m. — Pac-12 Networks
  • No. 2 Ohio State @ No. 10 Maryland — Sunday, Feb. 5, 4:00 p.m. — ESPN2

Next. 10 women's college basketball players not on your radar who should be. dark