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Autumn Johnson | December 7, 2020

Women's basketball rankings: Stanford is the new No. 1 atop the Power 10

Women's basketball rankings: Stanford is the new No. 1 atop the Power 10

There’s a new No. 1 team and a flurry of movement in my Power 10 rankings for Week 2 of the women's college basketball season.

First, here's my top 10 (with last week's ranking in parentheses):

  1.  Stanford (3) 
  2.  UConn (2)
  3.  South Carolina (1) 
  4.  Louisville (5) 
  5.  NC State (8)
  6.  Baylor (5)
  7.  Arizona (7)
  8.  Oregon (9)
  9.  Kentucky (10)
  10.  Mississippi State (6)

Let’s break it down.

NC State knocks South Carolina off the throne and moves into Top 5

NC State victory over No. 1 South Carolina

Undefeated Stanford is my new No. 1, taking over for South Carolina after NC State snapped the top-ranked Gamecocks' 29-game winning streak. The 3-0 Cardinal hold opponents to under 55 points per game, which, coincidentally, would've been almost enough for South Carolina in the loss to NC State. Instead, the Wolfpack prevailed, 54-46.

NC State held South Carolina to 27 percent shooting, took away the paint and forced the Gamecocks into 11 turnovers. That consistent defense was the difference-maker and the reason why I’m moving the Wolfpack up to No. 5 in this week’s rankings. South Carolina is still a formidable team, but drops two spots to No. 3.

We haven’t seen UConn play yet due to a positive COVID-19 test within the program, but the Huskies remain at No. 2.

RECAP: How NC State beat  South Carolina in a top-10 women's basketball showdown

Baylor falls after getting beaten by Arkansas 

I moved Louisville up to No. 4 and dropped Baylor to No. 5 after the reigning national champs were stunned by Arkansas.

The Bears had 44 points in the paint and and won the rebounding game, but they turned the ball over 22 times.

Baylor also found itself in foul trouble with three key players fouling out: Queen Egbo, DiJonai Carrington and Sarah Andrews. That’s a credit to Arkansas relentlessly attacking the basket and getting to the stripe. The Razorbacks shot 30-of-39 from the free-throw line.

Graduate transfer Carrington stepped up for the Bears and knocked down 24 points. NaLyssa Smith also chipped in 16 points and seven rebounds, but it wasn't enough to get the job done against the Razorbacks. 

DON'T MISS: Key players and teams to watch in 2020-21

Mississippi State drops to No. 10 after South Florida upset 

Mississippi State was previously No. 6 in my Power 10, but drops to No. 10 after getting upset by unranked South Florida in overtime, 67-63. This was first time the Bulls had beaten a ranked opponent, and they'd also given Baylor a run for its money earlier in the week.

The Bulldogs struggled with 21 turnovers. South Florida converted those mistakes into 25 points. Although Mississippi state had three players score in double digits — Rickea Jackson (18), Jessika Carter (15) and Aliyah Matharu (17) — the Bulldogs struggled behind the three-point line. They shot 15 percent from deep and also gave up 23 offensive rebounds.

To round out my Power 10, Arizona remains at No. 7 while Oregon and Kentucky move up to No. 8 and No. 9, respectively. Both the Ducks and Wildcats have started the season strong with a 4-0 record.

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