NCAAW top 5 performances of the week: Oregon's Nyara Sabally goes coast-to-coast

Cassandra Negley
·5 min read

The shortened non-conference schedules are almost finished and NCAA women’s basketball teams are shifting their focuses to conference dominance.

Week 4 of the season featured four upsets of ranked squads and promising performances from a top-5 recruit in Syracuse, a redshirt sophomore in Oregon with a recognizable surname and a junior center contributing nearly 50 percent of the team’s offense.

Upsets to know about: UNC, Tennessee, DePaul

There were three upsets during the week and an additional one over the weekend by South Dakota State, which gets its own shoutout below.

  • No. 24 DePaul 86, No. 9 Kentucky 82 — DePaul (4-2, 1-0 Big East) had five players in double digits, led by Sonja Morris’ 23, and kept national player of the year contender Rhyne Howard from hitting too many 3-pointers (2-for-8). The Wildcats (7-1) were 6-of-24 as a team. It was the Blue Demons third game against a ranked opponent with two meetings against UConn looming.

  • North Carolina 92, No. 18 Syracuse 68 — North Carolina (6-2, 1-2 ACC) cruised in its first ACC win of the season after losing two by a combined seven points. Janelle Bailey scored 25 and Petra Holesinka added 21 while the Tar Heels coasted behind a 21-9 first-quarter lead.

  • Tennessee 66, No. 15 Indiana 58 — Rennia Davis led the Lady Vols (5-1) with 19 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. They led by as many as 16 points, but the Hoosiers cut it to one with 6:57 to play. Indiana (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten) was coming off a loss to ranked Kentucky and struggled from the floor. Tennessee’s only loss is in overtime to West Virginia and is looking to be a contender in SEC play.

South Dakota State defeats third ranked squad

The South Dakota State Jackrabbits took a 60-52 road victory over No. 20 Missouri State on Saturday, making them 3-for-3 against ranked opponents on the young season. They defeated Iowa State, then ranked 15th, in the opener and a week later took down Gonzaga, then 18th.

The Jackrabbits (5-2) scored nine points at the start of the fourth quarter and rode the sizable 55-42 lead to a win. Myah Selland’s 19 points and 10 rebounds were her third double-double of 2020 — joining a 21-point, 11-rebound performance against Drake four days prior — and the fifth of her career. The six assists and four steals were season-highs.

South Dakota State has two more non-conference games before beginning its Summit League schedule in January.

Syracuse rookie quietly building solid start

Kamilla Cardoso scored a game-high 24 points for Syracuse in its 83-70 victory over Boston College on Sunday. The rookie 6-foot-7 center was nearly perfect in her 28 minutes making 10 of 11 shots and going 4-for-4 from the free throw line. She scored 14 in the first quarter, adding a game-total seven rebounds and a block. The Orange were without star guard Tiana Mangakahia, who injured her foot on Dec. 10.

Cardoso is the highest-ranked recruit in program history at No. 5 overall in the 2020 class and first at her position. She’s on the Lisa Leslie Award watch list for the nation’s best center and is averaging 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game. Her 14 total blocks (2.3 BPG) ranks top-25 in the nation and her 60.3 shooting percentage ranks similarly.

Take a look at Nyara Sabally

Oregon Nyara Sabally
Oregon's Nyara Sabally is back on the court after two ACL tears. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

Oregon collected its NCAA Division I-best 25th consecutive victory on Saturday with a 73-49 win over Washington. Freshman Sydney Parrish, ranked eighth in the recruiting class, had a team-best 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range. There are plenty of stars to talk about in Eugene as she was the fifth Duck in six games to lead Oregon in scoring.

One we’ll focus on this week is Nyara Sabally, the younger sister of Dallas Wings star rookie Satou Sabally. Nyara, a highly regarded recruit, missed the past two seasons with two ACL tears and came off the bench in the first two games of 2020-21.

She’s started the last four, beginning with a 20-point, 9-for-9 performance against Colorado. She’s averaging 11.0 points and 7.0 rebounds and makes going basket-to-basket look easy.

Get ready for Oregon (6-0, 4-0 Pac-12) in the new year.

Jessika Carter is Mississippi State’s offense

Mississippi State (5-1), ranked No. 13 for the week, closed Sunday’s action with a 72-49 dismantling of Central Arkansas (2-6). It was the Jessika Carter show.

The junior center scored a career-high 29 points on 12-for-16 shooting. All four misses were from the free throw line where she was 5-for-9. Carter added 15 rebounds — nearly double the second-best eight by teammate Madison Hayes — two steals and three blocks.

Carter had 47 percent of the Bulldogs points by the time her night ended with a 62-37 lead, via Her Hoop Stats. Her 15 rebounds were 42 percent of the team’s total at the time.

Carter is averaging 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in the non-conference part of the schedule. SEC play begins next week.

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