The Conference USA women’s basketball season is creeping closer and closer to March. Here’s where things stand with roughly half the conference games in the books.
The driving story of Conference USA women’s basketball remains the incredible undefeated run from the Rice Owls. Through eight games of the current season, Rice has won an astounding 27 consecutive games against C-USA foes. The Owls are as good as advertised, and they’ve done it while missing games from two of their most prominent stars: Erica Ogwumike and Nancy Mulkey.
UTEP has been a pleasant surprise, after being picked to finish near the cellar the Miners are two games out of first place. With Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee and UAB have emerged as a tier above the rest, but matchups between the remaining teams (save for 1-7 FIU) feel like a toss up on any given night.
Roughly at the midpoint of C-USA play, here's are the women's basketball standings. pic.twitter.com/tkVOTHq8y4
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) January 28, 2020
Early Player of the Year pick
It’s hard to pick against Preseason Conference USA Player of the Year Erica Ogwumike. The Owls’ do-it-all guard has scored 51 points in the past two games after missing the two prior contests with an injury. She’s had double-digit rebounds in six straight contests and continues to wow every time she takes the court. As long as she’s healthy, it’s going to be hard to beat this team.
For the most part, the women’s standings reflect preseason expectations. The teams that were supposed to be good have proven to be good and vice-versa. The only possible exception could be Middle Tennessee. The Lady Raiders were the only other non-Rice team to receive first-place votes. Since the preseason, though, they’ve fallen three games behind the Owls in the standings. There would be no shame in finishing runner up to the Owls, but it would mean to NCAA bid and a disappointing season for MTSU.
February game to watch
Circle February 8 on your calendars for the matchup which could decide who wins Conference USA. Middle Tennessee visits Rice for a 2:00 p.m. tip. The Owls could be playing for their 30th consecutive C-USA win at that point. A stumble against a quality opponent could open the door for someone else to win the conference crown down the stretch.
Conference USA women’s basketball is projected to remain a one-bid league in the latest Bracketology. Charlie Breme has current frontrunner Rice as a 12-seed in the Portland region, squaring off against Kentucky in the first round. Whether it’s Rice or someone else, the odds off C-USA being anything more than a single-bid, double-digit seed seems decidedly unlikely.