BIG EAST teams were a combined 20-7 over the past few days during the Thanksgiving holiday, including an impressive 10-3 record on Saturday. There also were five wins over ranked teams during the break. In addition, all 16 teams in the league hold a record of .500 or better and four squads remain undefeated.
No. 4/3 Notre Dame (5-1) won the Junkanoo Jam in Freeport, Bahamas. Senior guard Natalie Novosel missed nine of her 10 shots and just wasn't in sync on offense. Yet she didn't stop shooting, banking in a shot from the foul line with under a second left to lift the Irish to a 56-54 win over No. 7/6 Duke on Nov 26.
"This is unbelievable. It's surreal. It's an amazing, amazing feeling," Novosel said. "I almost fell out of bounds. The ball was supposed to go to the middle. I caught the ball and I had my eye on the rim and I knew that's where I was going. I wasn't even trying to get contact for a foul. Just focused on the rim and shot it. I drove right to the foul line and took off with one leg, and used the backboard to my advantage, and I banked it in."
Junior Skylar Diggins scored 19 points and Novosel had 15 for the Irish, who rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit (36-20). Notre Dame also beat Southern California 80-58 on Nov. 25.
No. 11/12 Louisville (6-1) beat No. RV/24 Florida State 85-76 on Nov. 25. The Cardinals also beat Florida A&M 86-66 on Nov. 26 to complete the Sunshine State sweep. Louisville has won five straight since losing 76-58 at fifth-ranked Texas A&M on Nov. 15.
No. 13/13 Rutgers (6-0) remained perfect on the season and ripped No. RV/25 Georgia Tech 59-40 on Nov. 25 in the San Juan Shootout. The Scarlet Knights also beat Arizona State 59-52 on Nov. 26.
Senior guards April Sykes and Khadijah Rushdan scored in double figures to help hand ASU (4-1) its first loss of the year. Sykes posted a game-high 14 points and grabbed five rebounds en route to being named the San Juan Shootout MVP. Rushdan was selected to the all-tournament team after a 13-point and nine-rebound effort against the Sun Devils.
No. 21/21 Georgetown (4-2) beat No. 10/10 Georgia 64-56 on Nov. 26 in the Lady Rebel Roundup in Las Vegas. The Hoyas not only won their first-ever game against the Bulldogs, they also gave GU head coach Terri Williams her first win against former boss Andy Landers.
"I worked for coach Landers for six years and he taught me a lot," said Williams, a former assistant under Landers at Georgia (1996-2002). "So, it's just a big win for our program, not so much as beating Coach Landers."
Junior Sugar Rodgers scored 23 points for Georgetown, including four 3-pointers.
West Virginia (3-2) also had a nice win with a 63-54 victory against No. 25/RV UCLA on Nov. 25 in the Woodland Hills Holiday Inn Classic hosted by Cal State Northridge. The Mountaineers also lost to host Cal State Northridge 48-47 on Nov. 26.
Cincinnati (5-0) held off a last-second Chattanooga (3-2) comeback and improved to 5-0 for the second-consecutive year when it defeated the Mocs 51-50 on Nov. 25 at the Cancun Challenge at the Moon Palace Resort. The Bearcats also beat South Dakota State 55-22 on Nov. 24 and held the Jackrabbits to just four points in the first half. Cincinnati led 26-4 at the intermission.
The record for the fewest points scored in any half of a Division I women's game is 3. Savannah State trailed Florida State 54-3 at halftime Nov. 23, 2003. Georgia Tech led 49-3 over Tennessee State on Dec. 30, 2010.
Cincinnati will attempt to go 6-0 for the first time since the 2001-02 season when it hosts Morgan State on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena.
Other results on Saturday saw Providence (3-3) beat Dartmouth 63-48 at home and Seton Hall (5-2) knock off Old Dominion 60-49 in the Paradise Jam held in the Bahamas. The win was head coach Anne Donovan's first victory over her alma-mater in seven tries (1-1 at Seton Hall). The Pirates went 2-1 in the tournament with their loss coming in overtime 62-56 to Alabama on Nov. 25.
Elsewhere, St. John's (3-3) beat Temple 59-53 also in the Bahamas. Villanova (4-2) beat the University of the Sciences 77-44 and Syracuse (5-0) knocked off Binghamton 90-57. No. 2/2 Connecticut (5-0) won the first two games of the World Vision Classic by a combined 164-62. The Huskies beat Fairleigh Dickinson 74-28 on Nov. 25 after leading 44-5 at halftime. UConn also topped Buffalo 90-34 on Nov. 26. WATCH UCONN HIGHLIGHTS
Also on Saturday, Marquette (3-3) lost to Michigan 71-51 in St. Thomas in the Paradise Jam and Pittsburgh (3-2) lost at home to Drexel 71-50. USF (4-3) went 1-1 in the Great Alaska Shootout, including an 86-80 win over Central Michigan on Nov. 23.
Material from interviews, the Associated Press wire service as well as league and team sources was used in this report.