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#25 Iowa came back from 10 down to defeat #22 Syracuse, giving the Orange their first loss of the season. (Also not my fault that ESPN had the Iowa/Cuse game recap for the UConn/UC-Davis game.

Blame the turkey? Purdue had a lead at the half, but then Duke kicked it into gear (And got Coach McCallie to her 499th win).

And then there were 6. Another injury to a scholarship player (ankle sprain) has UConn fans making rhymes (Nine little Huskies, playing oh so great/But one took a tumble, and then there were eight./Eight little Huskies, but one came up lame/Leaving only seven to continue with the game) and the team continuing to make mincemeat of their opponents.

I’m not holding my breath, but I am noticing Clemson has won some games. (First four-game winning streak since the 2008-09.)

Two teams that have made noise, but are semi-quiet this season went at it and had a hoot of a game: Central Michigan over Dayton, 94-91. Were you there, Debbie?

A not insignificant win: Wolfpack 76, Northwestern 61.

Yup, it’s gonna be a long year for Arizona: Blazers 63 – Wildcats 53.

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before the second half of last night’s game, you might have heard this.

That was the sound of Indy girl Kelly Faris revving up to take over the game.

Consider what Rebecca Lobo wrote in her preview piece, Duke ready for big stage:

Chelsea Gray

I haven’t seen a better passer in the open floor than Duke’s Chelsea Gray. The junior point guard has superb vision and strength to make passes that others cannot. She already has more than 100 assists on the season, and many have come from no-look and highlight-reel passes. She has tallied two triple-doubles already this season and a 15-assist game (versus Clemson). If you haven’t seen her play, it’s worth tuning in to this game just to check out Gray.

Now consider what Graham wrote after witnessing Ms. Gray’s encounter with Ms. Faris: Faris delivers ‘one for the ages’: Huskies win with decisive second half, hand Duke its first loss of season

Faris finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Duke point guard Chelsea Gray — who spent a good portion of the night the subject of closer attention from Faris than President Obama received from his Secret Service detail during the day’s inauguration events in Washington, D.C. — finished with two points on six shots, four turnovers and a look of incalculable frustration.

Indeed, the numbers didn’t tell the whole story. They never do with Faris.

The interesting game we saw unfold in the first half turned into a Faris clinic on defense, offense and intensity. The end result? A two-point game turned into a 30-point blowout.

Mel was there to witness (ONE “s” Mel, ONE “s”): Faris solidifies star status as No. 3 Huskies rout No. 4 Blue Devils

“There have been a lot of great players and legends play in this building wearing the Connecticut uniform,” continued Auriemma, whose seven NCAA titles is just one short of Tennessee coach emeritus Pat Summitt’s collection. “But I don’t know if anyone has ever represented themselves, their family, and the University of Connecticut the way Kelly did tonight.

“I know there’s a lot of players out there that are really good … there’s a lot of All-Americans but man oh man, that was one for the ages right there.”

From Clay, we get: Duke takes another dive against UConn

In an epic second-half collapse, previously unbeaten No. 4 Duke unraveled like a cheap shirt, leaving nothing behind but shattered egos and yet another hammering at the hands of the unforgiving Huskies.

Of course, UConn is No. 3 for a reason – well, actually many reasons, but one of them is depth. In this game, for example, the Husky bench outscored the Duke bench 23-9; and two of the Blue Devil starters combined for four points.

Rob chimes in from DWHoops with a Nutshell and Analysis.

Areas For Improvement: Above all else, communication. A season’s worth of being slow to close on shooters, blocking out smaller teams and relying on talent instead of teamwork came back to haunt Duke in this game. They were thoroughly outplayed and outcoached, as UConn made a number of adjustments going into the second half while Duke basically kept doing the same thing. Coach McCallie was never able to find a way to stop the bleeding during the run and get her team’s attention.

In Michigan, the Wolverines were game, but the Lions were gamer. Penn State wins, 59-49.

“It was a quality team and they just wore us out,” said Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico. “I guess that’s why they’re probably No. 8 and we’re probably No. 23 at this point because they had four more minutes than we did.”

Nice to see I didn’t manage to jinx Texas Southern — they easily handled Mississippi Valley State 58-47.

Stetson (school-record 11th consecutive victory) and FGCU were equally immune to the WHB jinx. (You can watch the Hatters/Eagles showdown at 7:05 Saturday, televised by Comcast Sports Southeast)  Ditto with Quinnipiac, which stifled St. Francis (PA) in the first half and then secured a 85-69 victory.

Obviously, by not mentioning them, I assured the Wichita State a 70-51 victory over Drake. The Shockers are now 5-0 in the MVC.

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UConn rides Faris defense past PSU

We’ll learn this weekend whether the time has arrived for the Heisman Trophy to go to a player who spends time exclusively on the defensive side of the ball. This week already demonstrated why a player who does much of her work on defense ought to be in the conversation for some of college basketball’s individual honors.

And why a team with its share of imperfections this early in the season therefore remains perfect in the standings.

On the game: Mosqueda-Lewis helps UConn hold off Penn St. (interesting when a 15pt margin merits a “hold off). About the game: Refs leave a mark: Foul-plagued game ‘unfortunate’ occurrence and Officials Ruined What Could Have Been A Spectacular Game

The Terps skewered the Cavaliers. Say the BasketCases:

Three Freshmen, a Walk-on, and a Transfer Walk Into a Bar …

The bartender asks them, “How did you stay so cool tonight when the rest of your team fouled out?” They answered, “No problem . . . we were surrounded by fans.”

Georgia Tech was no match for Elizabeth Williams… I mean, Duke.

Friend-of-the-Blog Sue requested – and gets – a shout out to Ball State for taking down Detroit in OT.

My friends in Fayetteville are pleased: Arkansas hands No. 17 Kansas first loss of season

Temple can’t make up its mind who it wants to be this season — the Owl gave Kent State their first victory of the season.

First Hand, then the Cougars’ leading scorer: BYU women’s basketball loses Eaton for the season. Totally sucks.

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which one was the BIGGEST one, asks Nate: Finding The NCAA Women’s Basketball Upset of the Year By Reframing Expectations

Shortly after the San Francisco Dons defeated the BYU Cougars on Thursday night, Matt Olson of Omni Rankings tweeted what many women’s basketball fans were already thinking: Jennifer Azzi’s Dons might’ve pulled off the upset of the year.

Helen of Women’s Hoops Blog reiterated the point on Friday, also suggesting that USF’s feat wasn’t quite as “sexy” as the Alabama Crimson Tide’s 77-75 upset win over the Kentucky Wildcats. Then there was the St. John’s Red Storm’s 57-56 win over the UConn Huskies, which was an upset in part because of the Red Storm interrupted a 99-game home win streak for the Huskies.

But this brings up a fun dilemma for basketball geeks, inspired by the very existence of Omni Rankings’ upset rankings: What constitutes the “Upset of the Year? And how on earth would we go about determining that with all the games that are played during any given season?

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team’s 10-year journey: St. John’s Announces Its Arrival Noisily 

“A couple of years ago, when we were first on the scene nationally, it was a different role for us to fill,” said Barnes Arico, whose 170 wins are more than any other coach in program history. “But these kids have been there. They know what it takes to be successful. They’re not afraid of it. I think winning at UConn showed they’re fearless.”

Seems Kevin Armstrong was on point with his Times’ piece two year’s ago: Coach’s Career Risk Keeps Paying Off at St. John’s

A self-made coach who has had head jobs in Divisions I, II and III, Barnes Arico, 39, has St. John’s off to a 16-3 start going into Wednesday’s game at Syracuse. In her eighth season, she has refashioned the Red Storm from a winless outfit against Big East opponents to a trendy program attracting the nation’s No. 11 recruiting class according to HoopGurlz.com.

“We had a lot of parties in the office last year,” Barnes Arico said of the signings, which were highlighted by Shenneika Smith, a spindly guard from St. Michael Academy in Manhattan.

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From her chat:

kevin (macon ga): In the last week, 10 ranked teams have lost to unranked opponents. Is parity a reality?

Mechelle Voepel: I asked Geno Auriemma about this Monday. He said that parity is kind of like global warming: Not everybody believes in it or always sees the evidence, but it really is there. Now … for those folks who don’t believe in global warming, I guess I can’t convince them that either thing really exists. :) I actually think “parity” to a degree has been around a long time. It’s just taking a while for it to reach the very top with any consistency. I do think weeks like this past one are good evidence of progress. And, yes, I believe in global warming.

After yesterday’s events, she blogs: You can wake up, St. John’s. It wasn’t a dream

Opposing coaches watch film, do the scout, and run their players through practice before facing UConn, just like going against any other team. Except it’s not. You wonder how many coaches – for instance, one of a program that had lost its last 27 in a row to the Huskies – could truly keep 100 percent faith that this preparation really mattered.

Yet that’s what being a coach is: Believing you always prepare to win because that possibility always exists. Even if you are about the only one on Earth who believes it.

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some pre-game reading:

From DWHoops: Will New Faces Bring Different Results?

From the Post: Hartley ‘one confident kid’ for UConn

From the Post: UConn women’s game day

From the Courant: Tough road games test Huskies

From the Courant: Capsule: No. 3 UConn at No. 5 Duke

From the Register: Matchup with Duke features two freshman phenoms

From the Day: No. 3 UConn visit No. 5 Duke tonight

From the Hour: Women’s basketball glance – UConn at Duke

From the Republican: Preview: UConn at Duke

From ESPN: Big Monday preview

From the News & Observer: Duke’s Grey combines skill with unmatched vision

From the Durham Herald Sun: Duke veterans find their niche

From Beth and Debbie: Previewing the Duke-UConn game and chatting with Auriemma.

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