Power Rankings
CBU guard Chloe Webb has been on a tear for the Lancers to start the 2023-24 season. Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

WBB: Power Rankings, Notes after Feast Week

Feast Week has come and gone with conference openers in just a couple of days. Before those openers tip off, it’s time to delve into our first WAC Hoops Nation women’s basketball power rankings of the 2023-24 campaign.

Before we do that, we also dive into some RPI information.

Through Saturday’s games, here are the WAC women’s basketball team RPI rankings courtesy of RealTimeRPI.com.

25. CBU, 134. Tarleton, 158. Utah Valley, 197. UT Arlington, 209. Utah Tech, 220. Grand Canyon, 284. SFA, 305. Southern Utah, 326. Seattle, 333. UTRGV, 352. ACU

The WAC is 26th in conference RPI ranking with a strength of schedule rated at 15th best in the country.

Here are the rankings.

1. CBU (5-0)

Jarrod Olson put together one of the more challenging schedules that a mid-major program could play without playing a power conference opponent and leaving California.

In their first three weeks of action, the Lancers have played three WNIT qualifiers (Long Beach St., UTEP, and San Diego St.), an NCAA Tournament team in Portland, and UCSD. It should be noted that UCSD would’ve qualified for last season’s Big West Women’s Tournament if eligible.

Chloe Webb is leading the Lancers at 20.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game while shooting 45 percent from 3-point range. Preseason All-WAC First-Team selection Grace Schmidt is averaging 15.6 points and 8.0 rebounds and Anaiyah Tu’ua is also averaging in double figures. They make their first out of state trip to begin WAC play on Tuesday at Southern Utah.

This Week: at Southern Utah on 11/28

2. GCU (4-2)

After a pair of close losses to Oregon and Montana, the Lopes head into WAC play with wins over Fresno State and Nicholls State in the GCU Classic.

Trinity San Antonio has picked up right where she left off after leaving CBU, averaging 13.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest. Naudia Evans, who hit the buzzer beater heard ’round the world in the season opener, is just under the double digit scoring threshold.

Their vaunted defense is off to a good start so far, holding opponents to 54.8 points and just under 32 percent 3-point shooting. The Lopes have also forced 95 turnovers so far.

This Week: home v UTRGV (11/29) and at UT Arlington (11/2)

3. Utah Tech (4-2)

The Trailblazers split their four game road trip with wins in the Northeast against New Hampshire and Stonehill. After missing the New Hampshire game with an injury, Preseason Player of the Year Breaunna Gillen returned from injury for Saturday’s win against Stonehill and had 13 points and six rebounds in 32 minutes.

This Week: at Utah Valley Saturday 12/2

T4. SFA (3-2) and Tarleton (1-3)

After a tough home loss to North Texas, the Ladyjacks posted an undefeated Feast Week with wins over Texas Southern and Rice (the preseason third place team from the American Athletic Conference). Kurstyn Harden averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds in the Ladyjacks two wins this week.

This Week: at Tarleton 11/29 and v Abilene Christian 12/2

Although the Texans have not recorded a Division I win yet they’ve been in all three games, losing by seven at Texas Tech, nine at mid-major power New Mexico, and to Big Sky favorite Eastern Washington on a missed 3-pointer at the buzzer. Jakoriah Long had 16 points in the loss against the Eagles. Bill Brock might have something cooking in Stephenvile.

This Week: v Stephen F. Austin on 11/29 and at UTRGV on 12/2

6. ACU (2-2)

ACU split their trip to the Navy Classic with a narrow loss to CAA defending co-champion Towson and a blowout win over the hosts on Sunday. In that 87-62 victory over the Midshipmen freshman Payton Hull tied a Wildcat record for highest scoring game in program division one history with 34 points on 9-16 from beyond the arc. Bella Earle also recorded a triple double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Not to be outdone Addison Martin added a double-double of 14 points with 11 rebounds.

This Week: v UT Arlington on 11/29 and at Stephen F. Austin on 12/2

7. UT Arlington (1-5)

After losing Starr Jacobs in the offseason it has not been a great start for the Lady Mavs but they do enter WAC play on a winning note after defeating North Carolina A&T 87-76 on Saturday. Taliyah Clark had 25 points on five of six three point shooting with six rebounds to lead the charge. Avery Brittingham added a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds while Nya Threatt added 13 points, four rebounds and five assists.

This Week: at Abilene Christian on 11/29 and v Grand Canyon on 12/2

8. Utah Valley (3-2)

It was a rough year for Utah Valley a season ago but the Wolverines are off to a nice start in 2023 with two Division one wins against the lower three Big Sky Conference teams. Most recent of those wins was yesterday at Idaho where Utah Valley prevailed 66-59. Ally Criddle had 15 points to lead the way while Kaylee Byon and Saige Gibb added 14 and 11 respectively.

This Week: at Seattle U on 11/29 and at Utah Tech on 12/2

9. Southern Utah (1-3)

Although the Thunderbirds have been competitive in their Division I games, they haven’t yet been able to get into the win column. Thus the reason for being so low in these power rankings.

Megan Smith is leading the way in averaging 18.0 PPG and 5.5 RPG. Daylani Ballena (15.0 PPG) and Ava Ulrich (10.3 PPG/6.0 RPG) have also impressed early.

This Week: v CBU on 11/28 and v Seattle U on 12/2

T10. UTRGV (0-5) and Seattle (0-6)

Power rankings are funny. It’s hard to decide which winless team to put ahead of the other in these rankings.

UTRGV has been in every Division I game except for a blowout loss to Texas Tech but with a ton of experience back from last year it’s been a disappointing start. Iyana Dorsey is averaging just under 20 points per game while shooting 32% from 3-point range to lead the Vaqueros. Kade Hackerott is averaging 10.6 PPG and 8.0 RPG early after transferring in from Central Missouri. Charlotte O’Keefe and Mele Kaliahi are also off to good starts so far.

This Week: at GCU 11/29 and v Tarleton on 12/2

Seattle opened their season with an overtime loss to CSUN and has lost three games by 20 points or more. Mya Moore is averaging 14.3 PPG and just under seven rebounds per game while Irena Korolenko averages 13.2 PPG and 7.8 RPG.

This Week: v Utah Valley on 11/28 and at Southern Utah on 12/2

 

 

About the author

Derryl Trujillo

Derryl Trujillo is a Southern California based sportswriter who won the 2019 Inland Empire Baseball Coaches Association's Supporter of the Year award. He joined the WAC Hoops Digest staff in 2020 and also covers local sports for Inland Sports and the Valley News. Before transitioning to media Derryl was a high school, collegiate and club volleyball official along with serving as a high school basketball scorekeeper for ten years.

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