Ranks of the Unranked
Showing the depth and toughness of the BIG EAST, ranked teams aren’t sure to win in league play. Providence defeated then-No. 20/18 DePaul 60-52 on Jan. 7 at home. It was the program’s first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since Jan. 7, 2009, when the Friars defeated then-No. 19/20 Pittsburgh 77-69. Providence senior forward Teya Wright leads the league with 10.4 rebounds per game and has posted a conference-leading 12 double-doubles this season. St. John’s defeated then-No. 14/12 Louisville 72-64 on Jan. 8 in a game televised on ESPNU. Three Red Storm players scored in double digits, led by junior Eugeneia McPherson’s 16 points.
This season, the top seven teams in the conference standings have been protecting their homecourt in order to ensure success, having combined for a record of 62-3 at home for a .954 winning percentage. Overall, there are four teams undefeated at home this season: Connecticut, DePaul, Louisville and Notre Dame. There are also six teams that have registered just one loss at home so far this season: Marquette, Rutgers, St. John’s, USF, Villanova and West Virginia.
Notre Dame Gains Steam
The Fighting Irish posted a 74-67 overtime victory against then-No. 2/2 Connecticut on Jan. 7 before defeating No. 18/17 Georgetown 80-60 on Jan. 10. The Irish have won 13 straight games, with their only loss coming at No. 1/1 Baylor on Nov. 20. Junior Skylar Diggins leads the squad, averaging 16.9 points per game and dishing out 5.5 assists per game.
UConn defeated Providence 96-35 at the XL Center on Jan. 10. The win was UConn’s 168th in a row against an unranked opponent, a streak that dates back to 1999. The Huskies haven’t lost at home to a team outside the Top 25 since March 1993 - a span of 259 games. That was the same year the Huskies last lost back-to-back games in the BIG EAST.
Bitten by the Injury Bug
DePaul will play the remainder of its season without Preseason All-BIG EAST selection Keisha Hampton. Louisville is playing the remainder of the season without two starters, Tia Gibbs and Preseason All-BIG EAST pick Monique Reid, while St. John’s just returned two starters to the court- Da’Shena Stevens and Nadirah McKenith.