Women’s Basketball: Patriot League Power Rankings — Midway Madness

By: Hannah Yoshinaga and Ethan Fuller

Featured image courtesy of Rick Smith/Lafayette Athletics.

WTBU Sports’ Power Rankings are back! The Patriot League is now over halfway through its season and the top teams are still neck-and-neck. Bucknell has a small gap at the top, but the hard-charging Leopards lead a massive middle tier in hot pursuit. With bye weeks beginning for each squad, the second half provides a chance to regroup and chase top playoff seeds.

Ethan Fuller and Hannah Yoshinaga attempted to restore order to a chaotic conference.

1. Bucknell University (15-6, 8-2 PL) 

Previous ranking: 2

Bucknell has stumbled in recent weeks with losses to BU and Loyola, but so have several other teams at the top of the rankings. Their offense has sputtered at times, but their defense has remained as strong as ever. The 60 points they gave up against Loyola on January 25 was their highest total allowed in conference play, and they held BU to 52 points and Army to only 46 points. — Hannah Yoshinaga

This week: February 8 vs. Loyola MD

2. Lafayette College (11-9, 7-3 PL) 

Previous ranking: 7

The Leopards have skyrocketed up the standings and our rankings due to a five-game win streak. Their defense has become a fortress; no opponent has surpassed 55 points during the run. Natalie Kucowski continues to impress after scoring 18 points, including three triples, with seven rebounds, five assists and six blocks in Lafayette’s most recent win. Kucowski is the nation’s leading rebounder, with 13.3 boards per game, and is right in the thick of a tight conference player of the year race. — Ethan Fuller

This week: February 8 at Lehigh 

3. Colgate University (15-6, 7-3 PL)

Previous ranking: 4

The last few weeks have been hit-or-miss for the Raiders, who have flopped wins and losses since January 18. Their success has strong ties to the success of Rachel Thompson. The senior scored 20 or more points in each of Colgate’s last three victories, but in their two losses she managed just 10 and 4 points. But despite those two offensive duds, the Raiders still hold the highest-scoring offense in the Patriot League, which should help them in the near-term when they take on the three lowest-scoring teams in the next three games. — Ethan Fuller

This week: February 8 at Navy 

4. Boston University (11-10, 6-4 PL) 

Previous ranking: 5

BU has strung together three straight wins, including two huge home wins against Holy Cross and Bucknell. The offense, especially as it relates to perimeter shooting, is still a wild card. Katie Nelson has struggled recently, while Maggie Pina remains promising but inconsistent. But her emergence as a clutch bucket-getter, along with Riley Childs’ recent strong stretch and Maren Durant’s breakout as an anchor, have all been positive signs. BU holds the second-best scoring defense in the Patriot League — impressive when considering the squad’s youth. — Ethan Fuller

This week: February 8 at Holy Cross 

5. College of the Holy Cross (13-8, 6-4 PL)

Previous ranking: 1

After struggling mightily on the offensive end in their first few Patriot League matchups, the Crusaders were able to get back on track. However, that has not been reflected in their record the last few weeks. They gave up 76 points to BU and dropped the game in overtime after holding an 18-point lead early on, and they were unable to dig themselves out of a first quarter deficit against Colgate on Saturday. — Hannah Yoshinaga

This week: February 8 vs. BU 

6. Lehigh University (14-7, 6-4 PL) 

Previous ranking: 3

The Mountain Hawks looked like one of the strongest squads in the Patriot League, but they have failed to beat a quality team for several weeks. Since January 11, they have lost to Bucknell, Holy Cross, Lafayette and American. Their only wins came against Navy and Army. Against Bucknell, Holy Cross, and Lafayette, they shot less than 35% from the floor. Lehigh has too many offensive weapons on its roster to put up those kinds of numbers. — Hannah Yoshinaga

This week: February 8 vs. Lafayette

7. American University (8-12, 4-6 PL) 

Previous ranking: 6

Right now the Eagles seem to be treading water as a slightly below-average team in the conference. They nearly took down Colgate again, losing 62-63 in overtime, and beat Lehigh and Loyola Maryland most recently. But American also lost to Holy Cross and Lafayette; those are two reasonable defeats, but the team hasn’t managed a statement win since the conference opener. Two winnable contests against Army and Loyola are next on the schedule to help build some momentum. — Ethan Fuller

This week: February 8 at Army 

8. Loyola University Maryland (6-15, 3-7 PL)

Previous ranking: 8

Loyola has had one of the worst offenses in the conference all season long, and the Greyhounds’ three wins have come by virtue of their defense. Senior guard Stephanie Karcz is the only player averaging double-digit points, which won’t cut it against most opponents. Senior guard Alexis Gray is one candidate for improvement; she is averaging only 8.8 points per game, but she has proved capable of putting 16 or more points on the board. — Hannah Yoshinaga

This week: February 8 at Bucknell 

9. Naval Academy (7-14, 2-8 PL)

Previous ranking: 10

The Mids slide up by default, as Army still has just one win in 2020. Navy asserted themselves as the second-worst team in the conference by taking down Army, building off a nice defensive stand against BU. Still, the complete absence of scoring limits this team’s ceiling. Navy is dead last in points per game and has not eclipsed 60 once in conference play. The Mids are also shooting just 33 percent from the field as a team. — Ethan Fuller

This week: February 8 vs. Colgate  

10. Army West Point (5-16, 1-9 PL) 

Previous ranking: 9

Army had two blowout losses this week. They lost 94-65 against a scuffling Lehigh team and 77-46 against Bucknell. Army’s sole win came against Holy Cross on January 15, and they simply have not looked capable of consistently scoring points or getting stops on defense. They have given up at least 68 points in seven of their 10 conference games and they have scored below 66 points in nine games. — Hannah Yoshinaga

This week: February 8 vs. American

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