The last week in women’s college basketball might have been the wildest we’ve seen this season.
That might sound a bit hyperbolic, but consider this: 11 teams ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll lost to teams who were either ranked below them or unranked. Last week’s top three — Uconn, Oregon and Oregon State — all suffered defeats, and No. 9 N.C. State saw its undefeated season end.
With that, the AP Top 25 Poll looks much different this week. There are two newcomers to the poll in Iowa and Arizona State, and — for the fourth time this season — we have a new No. 1.
Let’s take a closer look at what the voters decided on.
|1||South Carolina (20)||16-1||737||4|
South Carolina is the new No. 1
Since losing to then-ranked No. 17 Indiana in the Paradise Jam in November, South Carolina has continued to roll. Dawn Staley’s team has wins over Maryland, Baylor, South Dakota and Kentucky, and last week took victories over then-ranked No. 21 Arkansas and Vanderbilt.
The Gamecocks are building a resume to get one of the top four seeds when tournament time rolls around. This week, they garnered 20 first-place votes, ahead of Baylor’s seven, Stanford’s one and Louisville’s two.
Stellar freshman Aliyah Boston powers South Carolina this season. She leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 13.2 points and 8.8 boards per game. She is also fourth in the nation in blocked shots, having swatted away 53 this season. The Gamecocks are seventh in scoring offense this season too, putting up 84.1 points per game.
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Staley’s squad has a road game Thursday at Missouri. Aside from a tough SEC slate, they face one more non-conference test on Feb. 10, taking on UConn at home.
Arizona State checks in at No. 18
Should the school ditch the Sun Devils and rename themselves the Giant Killers? Charli Turner Thorne’s side has won three straight and last week took down then-ranked No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Oregon State. The Sun Devils beat the Ducks by seven points and bested the Beavers by eight points.
Ja’Tavia Tapley led the way in both improbable victories for the Sun Devils, getting 16 points and six rebounds against Oregon and 14 points and six rebounds against Oregon State. What was key for Arizona State in both upsets was their defense, as they forced the Ducks into 17 turnovers and held them to 27.8 percent from the three-point line, and caused the Beavers to turn the ball over 15 times while shooting 31.1 percent from the floor and 2-of-20 from three.
Three of Arizona State’s four losses this season have happened away from Tempe, Arizona. They’ll be tested on the road again this week, taking on Washington and Washington State.
UCLA is the last undefeated team
While UConn, N.C. State and Oregon State all saw their undefeated seasons end last week, UCLA survived and the Bruins are now the last remaining unbeaten in women’s Division I college basketball.
The Bruins checked in at No. 7 in this week’s poll after getting road wins at Utah and Colorado. Their 16 straight wins stand as the best start in program history.
Stepping up in both of those games was Michaela Onyenwere, who totaled 37 points, 17 rebounds and three assists across the pair of wins.
The Bruins’ road swing continues as they travel to crosstown rival USC on Friday.