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Autumn Johnson | November 22, 2021

Women's basketball rankings: Oregon falls and Arizona breaks into Week 2's Power 10

Women's basketball rankings: Arizona enters this week's Power 10

Week 2 was filled with tons of thrillers and nail-bitters, but no major upsets as all but one top-25 team came out victorious! This means no major shifts in my Power 10; however, Oregon receiving its first loss of the season against the No. 1 team in the nation welcomes a new team in my Power 10 — Arizona. 

Here are my Power 10 rankings in Week 2 of women's college basketball: 

1. South Carolina — The Gamecocks remain unbeatable after defeating Clemson, Buffalo and its second top-10 test of the season Oregon. South Carolina's stifling defense reflects its 5-0 record, holding its opponents to only 50.8 points per game while capitalizing in the interior and off the offensive board. But a bigger challenge awaits the No. 1 team when they face-off in a top-2 battle against UConn on Monday, Nov. 22. This will be a rematch from last season when the Huskies defeated the Gamecocks in overtime. 

2. UConn — Week 2 has been flawless for the Huskies as they compete in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. UConn cruised past Minnesota with Christyn Williams' 31-point performance and outlasted a single-digit win against South Florida with a breakout game from the No. 1 overall recruit Azzi Fudd and Paige Bueckers bouncing back with 21 points. The Huskies are eyeing the No. 1 throne and have an opportunity to claim that spot on Monday when they face the Gamecocks in the championship round in Mexico.

3. Maryland — The Terps cruised past Mount St. Mary’s and UNC Wilmington, but what added a cherry on top off a great week was a gritty win over Baylor, 79-76. This battle was Maryland's first true test in a top-10 matchup. The Terps competed with a limited bench with Katie Benzan out and Diamond Miller with limited minutes but had multiple sparks from key pieces like Angel Reese (despite foul trouble) and a typical Ashley Owusu takeover. Owusu's 24-point performance led the Terps to a win and a personal milestone of scoring 1000 points early in her third year. 

Ashley Owusu scores her 1000th point

4. Stanford — The defending champs bounced back from the upset against then-No. 25 Texas by defeating Portland, but Gonzaga kept Stanford on its toes with a game that came down to the wire. The Cardinal were without its leader Haley Jones and struggled a bit, but were able to escape the upset, 66-62, with crucial free throws down the stretch. 

5. Indiana — The Hoosiers continue their momentum after a huge week taking down Kentucky by defeating Norfolk State and Quinnipiac. Balanced scoring got the job done in both matchups as this team showcased that any Hoosier can be the lead scorer on any given night. However, a bigger test awaits as Indiana will have revenge on its mind in an Elite 8 rematch. On Thanksgiving in the Bahamas, Indiana will look to take down Stanford at the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Classic after the Cardinal ended the Hoosier's historic run in last year's NCAA Tournament.  

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6. NC State — The Wolfpack went 4-0 in the WNIT Preseason Classic after taking down Towson in its first 100 point victory of the season and Kansas State to finish the week. Elissa Cunane and Diamond Johnson were the top two scorers in both matchups, as Johnson is starting to adjust well into the Wolfpack's system after transferring from Rutgers. The only blemish on NC State's record comes from South Carolina in its first game of the season, but now that the Wolfpack have some games under its belt, this program will be able to see where they stand when they face two tough contenders in the Bahamas — Maryland and Washington State. 

7. Iowa — Three games have been canceled, including the Cancun Challenge in Mexico, for the Hawkeyes due to positive tests for COVID-19 within the program. Before the cancellations, Iowa defeated Southern University, 87-67, led by Caitlin Clark and Monika Czinano with 16 points each. The Hawkeyes are currently 4-0. 

8. Louisville — Since the upset against Arizona, the Cardinals are starting to make some strides going 3-0 in Week 2. The Cardinal breezed past Bellarmine and UT Martin, but Washington presented a closer battle on Nov. 20.  Louisville was able to withstand the Huskies, 61-53, scoring 17 points off of its turnovers. This is a squad who's putting a team effort together without its star Dana Evans, and so far, head coach Jeff Walz great production out of key transfer Emily Engstler. 

9. Baylor — The Bears received its first loss of the season after falling to No. 3 Maryland, 79-76. Despite the loss, I kept the Bears at my No. 9 spot after watching the gritty fight they put against a team who held the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation last year...and only fell by one possession. Typically the Terps average 90 points a game, but the Bears' elite defense held them to 79 points. On the offensive end, NaLyssa Smith went on a scoring rampage in the paint, putting up 30 points while grabbing 15 rebounds, which is Smith's 3rd consecutive double-double. Jordan Lewis chipped in 29 points. Don't count the Bears out! 

Sam Thomas block

10. Arizona — Hello Arizona! I've had my eye on the Wildcats who were a bubble team in my preseason rankings, and now break into my Power 10 after Oregon received its first loss of the season against No. 1 South Carolina. In Week 1, the Wildcats stunned Louisville in overtime. In Week 2, Arizona's pressure defense has limited its opponents to under 40 points to keep a flawless 4-0 record. Despite not having its go-to scorer and defender Aari McDonald, the Wildcats have collectively stepped up in the WNBA star's absence to prove they are still a championship contender. Arizona's next test will be in the Paradise Jam when this team faces Vanderbilt, DePaul and Rutgers.

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