We saw plenty of action, in addition to numerous postponements and cancelations, in the first week of the 2020-21 women's college basketball season.
Now that the season is officially underway, here are my Week 1 Power 10 rankings (with my preseason rankings in parentheses next to each team).
1. South Carolina (1): The Gamecocks started off hot with a 3-0 record. In its season opener, South Carolina defeated Charleston in an 81-point blowout. It finished the weekend in a close fight against No. 21 Gonzaga that was won in the final minutes, 79-72. That’s credit to forcing the Zags to 15 turnovers and winning the rebounding game. Throughout the weekend, Naismith Coach of the Year Dawn Staley showed she has endless talent, allowing for multiple substitutions without missing a beat.
1st 🏆 of the season!— South Carolina Women's Basketball (@GamecockWBB) November 30, 2020
Our 2020 Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic in 1:00 pic.twitter.com/9EwCHzjLQq
2. UConn (2): The Huskies did not see any action in Week 1 after a member of the program tested positive for COVID-19. Four of their games have been suspended, but I’m keeping this team in my top three and believe that they will make a lot of noise when they can resume play on Dec. 15.
3. Stanford (3): Just like the Gamecocks, the depth of the Cardinal is almost scary. It was great to see Haley Jones back in the starting lineup, after she sat out the remainder of her standout freshman year due to a knee injury. In Jones' return, she recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. It was also great seeing highly-touted freshman Cameron Brink immediately become a star, putting up 17 points and nine rebounds in her collegiate debut.
4. Baylor (4): The Bears might be without Defensive Player of the Year Didi Richards, but they still look resilient in her absence. Junior forward Caitlin Bickle made her first career start and stepped up, recording her first double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds in their season-opening win against Central Arkansas, 82-37. Baylor's top scorer NaLyssa Smith led the way with 25 points and a career-high-tying 15 rebounds.
5. Louisville (6): Hailey Van Lith came in as a freshman starter and immediately looked like a veteran helping the Cardinals to a 2-0 start. Not only was Van Lith an offensive threat, she rebounded the ball extremely well. She makes a great duo with ACC player of the Year Dana Evans and relieves a lot of the scoring pressure off of her.
HOW IT STARTED: Recap of the first ay of the 2020-21 women's basketball season
6. Mississippi State (5): The Bulldogs started their new era under first-year head coach Nikki McCray-Penson by defeating Jackson State, 88-58. Rickea Jackson posted 19 points and seven rebounds. Not only did the Bulldogs shoot 41 percent overall from the field, they capitalized on a strong defensive effort, forcing 19 turnovers.
7. Arizona (7): The Wildcats opened their season strong beating Northern Arizona, 76-63. All-American guard Aari McDonald finished with an incredible stat line — 18 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals.
8. NC State (8): The Wolfpack have early momentum with a 2-0 record to start the season. Their game against North Carolina Central was their second-highest shooting percentage in program history (68 percent). Elissa Cunane was an incredible offensive threat for the Wolfpack, putting up 17 points and five rebounds to help her team win, 108-70.
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9. Oregon (9): Head coach Kelly Graves made it known that this is the best 3-point shooting team he’s ever had. We saw that in transfer Taylor Mikesell’s Ducks debut as she finished 8-for-10 from beyond the 3-point line for 28 points overall. Te-Hina Paopao did an incredible job at the point guard position. And Sedona Prince dominated the paint with 17 points.
10. Kentucky (10): Naismith Player of the Year Rhyne Howard was suspended two games, so we didn’t get to see her in action, but the Wildcats remained strong without her. Dre'una Edwards stepped up with a career-high 27 points and 15 rebounds to help the Wildcats defeat Belmont, 70-50. Adding Howard back in the equation makes this a tough to beat.