With a handful of days down in the 2019-20 collegiate season, it’s not too early for somewhat of a shakeup in the Power 10 rankings. The top teams in the nation are just warming up, getting settled and in most cases, winning big. But in some cases, there are already big matchups happening, defining teams’ prospects for the early part of this season.
A top 10 matchup Sunday between No. 8 South Carolina and No. 4 Maryland showed that the Gamecocks with all of that young talent, are a little more ready for prime time at this point than a Terps team finding a new rhythm in a new season.
If you want to see the tone set for an entire season in one early-November weekend, look no further than Eugene, Oregon. The No. 1-ranked Ducks threw down the gauntlet for the rest of the country with a win that doesn’t even count on their record, becoming the first college team in 20 years to be the U.S. National Team, 93-86 on their home floor Saturday afternoon.
It may not have counted, but it clearly mattered to Sabrina Ionescu and her teammates, who have their eyes set on a prize in New Orleans in April.
Here’s the NCAA Power 10 for the week ending November 10, 2019. The number next to the team's name is the ranking from the previous Power 10, which was our preseason rankings:
1) Oregon (1). Beating the U.S. team propels the Ducks into the season on a very, very high note. Sabrina Ionescu’s line in that game — 30 points, including 25 in the second half, to go with seven assists and one turnover — shows that she is squarely focused on her team’s success this season. Ruthy Hebard has always been Ionescu’s right-hand running buddy, but look out for junior wing Satou Sabally, who made a statement with her 25-point game against the U.S. team. Now Oregon begins the regular-season in earnest on Monday against Northeastern, followed by a game on Wednesday against Utah State.
2) Baylor (2). The defending champs have won their first two games by a combined margin of 142 points, and it's not likely the Bears will be challenged truly until they face South Florida — a team that upset No. 15 Texas in the opening weekend — on November 19. The Bears’ 120-46 win over Grambling State was their 31st in a row overall and their 41st straight win on their home floor. Lauren Cox is back on the floor and thriving, with double-doubles in the first two games, and NyLyssa Smith had 21 points and 12 rebounds in 20 minutes on the floor against Grambling.
3) Stanford (3). What the Cardinal have showed so far in two dominating wins is that they will be one of the deepest teams in the country and that they can score, averaging 94.5 points so far. Twelve players have scored in each of Stanford’s first two games, dominating wins over Eastern Washington and San Francisco. Eleven of those players are averaging double-digit minutes, and the early leading scorer is sophomore forward Lexie Hull, averaging 18.5 points over the first two games. Stanford plays its next three games at home, including a November 17 matchup against Gonzaga that’s worth watching.
4) Texas A&M (4). Chennedy Carter’s 34-point night against the U.S. National Team, the highest single-game scoring performance by a collegian against the U.S. team, was a tone-setter. And Sunday’s win over Duke was an extension of that tone. The Aggies and Carter — who put up 25 points against the Blue Devils — are here to play. It’s a tough stretch coming up for the Aggies, including a road game next Sunday against Rice and then a road game in Los Angeles against a potentially dangerous USC team.
5) Connecticut (7). The Huskies opened the season with a 72-61 home win over a Cal team that is projected to finish near the bottom of the powerful Pac-12 this season. An 11-point margin tells us that the Huskies are very much a work in progress. The news that Evina Westbrook will be unable to play for UConn this season is a definite blow, but not one that will slow Connecticut in the early part of this season. The Huskies will go on the road for the next two games at Vanderbilt and Temple before returning home to host Virginia on November 17.
6) South Carolina (9). Opening the season with a relatively easy road win over a top-five opponent in Maryland is definitely a statement for the Gamecocks that they are ready to be considered among the nation’s elite teams. Freshman Aliyah Boston is off to a star-making start. She opened with a triple double of 12 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks in her collegiate debut and followed up with 14 points and five blocks against the Terps. Three freshmen in the starting lineup would seem to indicate there still may be bumps to come for Dawn Staley’s young team, but Sunday’s win was a very promising start.
7) Oregon State (6). The Beavers opened the season in the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) with a win over UC Irvine, after facing off in an exhibition game against the U.S. national team earlier in the week. Freshman forward Taylor Jones is already making a big impression, with 20 points and 10 rebounds in her collegiate debut vs. Irvine. Three more WNIT games will follow as the Beavers aim for a big barometer check at Miami on November 29.
8) Mississippi State (8). The Bulldogs are off to a solid start with a dominating win over Southern Mississippi to begin what might be viewed as a rebuilding season. Six players made their debut for MSU in the opener. Junior forward Chloe Bibby, back on the floor for the first time since January after injuring her knee, led the way with 16 points and six rebounds. The statistic that will keep Vic Schaefer up at night, 21 turnovers. Luckily, the Bulldogs have some time to work it out, playing three straight at home before their first road trip of the season.
9) Maryland (5). Losing convincingly at home to a youthful South Carolina team means that the Terps’ returning starters — all five of them — still have to find the chemistry they will ultimately need for a title run. Maryland struggled offensively against the Gamecocks, shooting 31.4 percent from the floor and just 12.5 percent beyond the arc. Hard to imagine those shots won’t start falling. The Terps move forward with a Wednesday road game at James Madison, followed by a Sunday home date against Delaware.
10) UCLA (10). The Bruins have opened the season with two very solid wins, including a revenge victory over Loyola Marymount, a team that upset the rebuilding Bruins a season ago. Sophomore Lindsey Corsaro is making her presence known in a lineup that already includes Michaela Onyenwere and Japreece Dean, with a career-high 18 points and six assists against LMU. UCLA played the first two games without Dean, who was obligated to sit out the first two games as a term of her waiver by the NCAA for a fifth season. She will be back for the Bruins’ Thursday game against Long Beach State.