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3 games to watch in women’s college basketball for Week 5

Week 5 of the women’s college basketball schedule is loaded with key matchups, including the battle for Iowa, between two top-10 teams.

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.

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

3. No. 8 Iowa State at No. 10 Iowa

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 7:00 PM — ESPN2

It’s CyHawk week, y’all! As a new-ish transplant to the state of Iowa, this one’s got me excited. The state of Iowa has two of the best programs in the country and they’ll be taking the court against each other on Wednesday night.

Let’s start with Iowa State. This has been a great offensive team for a few years now thanks to the play of Ashley Joens, but the team added 6-foot-6 center Stephanie Soares this offseason and suddenly the team has some defense too. Last year, the Cyclones had a defensive rating of 90.0, which ranked in the 56th percentile. This year, they’re at 83.8, which ranks in the 79th percentile. Soares still hasn’t fully figured everything out on the offensive end, but her rim protection makes it really tough to drive on the Cyclones. Per CBB Analytics, opponents shooting 48.5 percent at the rim this year against Iowa State. Last season, that number was 62.6 percent.

Which makes this meeting with Iowa fascinating. The Hawkeyes shoot 69.6 percent at the rim this season, and center Monika Czinano is one of the most efficient bigs in the country. She’s currently 33rd in the country in field goal percentage; last season, she finished ninth in that stat. So, we’ve got a really classic matchup here between an elite defensive big and elite offensive big. Who’ll win it?

(Oh, and there’s Caitlin Clark for Iowa, who just set the Big Ten record for career triple-doubles, but Clark and Iowa State’s Ashley Joens are two of the biggest names in women’s basketball this season, so there’s not too much to say about them. Watch this game because of those two stars, but pay special attention to the Soares and Czinano battle.)

2. Toledo at No. 17 Michigan

Thursday, Dec. 8, 8:00 PM — B1G+

Forgive me, but I’ve been looking for an excuse to write about Toledo.

The Rockets sit at 6-2 on the season after beating Missouri State 91-63 on Sunday, and the losses were to Duke and Penn State, with the Penn State loss being by one point. The team’s won three in a row since then. While beating a ranked Michigan team might be asking too much, this is a chance to see some talented MAC players up against a power opponent. The Rockets are a very efficient team, ranking 27th in the country in points per play per Her Hoop Stats, with Quinesha Lockett leading the way at 16.5 points per game. She’s a really solid ballhandler and has been a big part of why the Rockets turn the ball over the seventh-least per game in Division I.

On the other side is Michigan. The Wolverines could have taken a step back with Naz Hillmon gone to the WNBA, but instead the team is 9-0 and ranks 30th in the country in scoring offense. The team’s 12th in the country in field goal percentage, with Emily Kiser averaging 19.9 points per game on 60.6 percent shooting and Laila Phelia just behind at 17.0 points per game.

But Michigan’s schedule hasn’t been the toughest. Their only ranked opponent was Baylor, and the Wolverines won that 84-75, but the Bears are dealing with a lot of injury concerns and were down multiple key players for that one. Michigan’s playing well, but the Rockets could make them sweat on Thursday.

1. No. 3 UConn @ No. 20 Maryland

Sunday, Dec. 11, 3:00 PM — ABC

UConn suffered its first loss of the season on Sunday, falling 74-60 to Notre Dame in a game that was mentioned in last week’s Watch Guide. But it’s really hard to know what that loss means for the Huskies. Azzi Fudd was limited to 13 minutes and didn’t appear at all in the second half because of a knee injury:

If Fudd misses time, it’s hard to really know what to think about UConn. She’s been their best player. Through the first six games, Fudd was averaging 24.0 points per game, the seventh-highest mark in Division I, and was seventh in 3-pointers made per game.

Without her, UConn still has some good players. Lou Lopez-Senechal scored 21 in the loss to the Irish and Aaliyah Edwards is always a threat to make things happen when she’s on the court, but Fudd’s crucial to UConn’s title hopes.

As for Maryland, the Terps sit at 7-3 on the year. They had a big win over Notre Dame but also lost by 25 to South Carolina early in the season. Maybe more concerning is that on Sunday, Maryland lost by 23 to Nebraska, which…yikes. The defense is allowing 69.9 points per game.

There are some fun players on this team. Diamond Miller is averaging 18.6 points per game and has also blocked 1.9 shots per contest. This game could be a shootout, even if the math is kind of simple when it comes to who wins, since it’s tough to see UConn losing this one if Fudd is back.

Other Games of Note

  • No. 12 NC State at Georgia — Monday, Dec. 5, 8:00 PM — SEC Network
  • No. 9 Virginia Tech at Boston College — Wednesday, Dec. 7, 5:00 PM — ACC Network Extra
  • Drake at No. 13 Creighton — Saturday, Dec. 10, 7:00 PM — FloSports
  • No. 16 Utah @ BYU — Saturday, Dec. 10, 7:00 PM — BYUtv
  • South Florida @ No. 12 NC State — Sunday, Dec. 11, 2:00 PM — ACC Network
  • Oregon State @ No. 19 Oregon — Sunday, Dec. 11, 7:00 PM — Pac-12 Networks

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Denise T. Jones

Denise T. Jones is a passionate sports enthusiast with a knack for capturing the electrifying essence of the sporting world. As a dedicated sports news writer for AccessTV.co, Denise brings her unparalleled love for sports and her adept storytelling skills to deliver captivating and insightful content to readers worldwide. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of various sports disciplines, Denise ensures that her articles provide comprehensive coverage of the latest events, matches, and developments in the sports realm. Whether it's the thrill of the game-winning goal, the drama of a nail-biting finish, or the heartwarming stories of triumph against all odds, Denise encapsulates it all with eloquence and precision. Denise's journey in sports journalism has been marked by her unwavering commitment to accuracy, integrity, and excellence. Her ability to blend statistical analysis with compelling narratives sets her apart as a trusted voice in the industry. From the adrenaline-pumping action on the field to the strategic maneuvers off it, Denise brings every aspect of the sporting world to life through her writing. With a finger on the pulse of the sports scene, Denise T. Jones continues to inspire and inform readers with her dynamic and engaging sports coverage on AccessTV.co.

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