South Carolina remained the No. 1 spot in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll after a chaotic week in which half of the top 10 teams lost at least one game.
The Gamecocks were again the unanimous choice, receiving all 29 votes from a national media panel after beating No. 2 Stanford in an overtime thriller on Sunday. South Carolina has now won 16 straight games against ranked teams that lost in the 2021 Final Four to Stanford, who stayed second in this week’s poll.
UConn moved up two spots to third after defeating then-No. 3 Texas and 10th NC State last week. Ohio State is fourth and Iowa State is fifth.
There have already been eight losses by teams ranked in the top 10 this season, the most before Thanksgiving since 2000, according to ESPN. Of the eight losses, three were to unranked teams. Seven top 10 teams lost before Thanksgiving last year.
Huskies coach Geno Auriemma sees top team losses as a good thing for the sport.
“It’s a great sign for women’s basketball. I think now you can’t just go to the gym and roll it out there and say, ‘Yeah, well, we’re a top 10 team in the country, and we can just flip (you). Just because you don’t have a rank,'” he said. “I think those days are over.”
Auriemma sees the trend continuing as the season progresses.
“I think if this continues, that’s the kind of thing that March Madness did,” he said. “The madness that’s on the men’s side, right. And we need some of that madness on the women’s side. More of that.”
Indiana jumped six spots to No. 6, while Notre Dame, North Carolina, Iowa and Louisville round out the top 10.
The Longhorns have lost three games in a row and are down 16 places to 19th, in one of the biggest drops since the AP Top 25 became an authors’ poll in 1994-95. Tennessee, which is 2-3 for the first time since the 1981-82 season, fell 12 places to 23rd place.
The Lady Vols lost two games last week, including in the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals against UCLA. The Bruins jumped into the poll at No. 19.
Like many teams across the country, Texas and Tennessee have brought in some new players from the transfer portal and they need to adjust.
“You have a lot of teams now that get really good players through the transfer portal. But they’re trying to learn how this new school plays, what the standards are,” said Louisville coach Jeff Walz, who has two transfers himself. “And it makes it different, I think.”
Kansas State entered the poll at No. 25 after beating then-No. 1. 4 Iowa last week. Oklahoma and Nebraska dropped out of the poll.
BEST RANKED TEAMS
The Big East improved to 6-0 against top 25 opponents this season. UConn and No. 16 Creighton have two each, while No. 23 Villanova and Marquette have one each. The Golden Eagles are just outside the top 25 this week.
North Carolina moved up five spots to eighth, its best finish since 2015, when the Tar Heels also finished eighth. They play the Phil Knight Invitational in Oregon on Thursday and then either Iowa State or Michigan State on Sunday.
Many of the top women’s teams are playing in tournaments across the country as well as in Mexico and the Bahamas this week.
AP basketball writer Aaron Beard contributed to this story on Paradise Island, Bahamas.
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