This might have been the most movement I've done in my Power 10 since we first tipped off the season. Iowa — who sat at No. 9 in my rankings — falls out of my top-10 after suffering another upset against Iowa State. The first upset came against Duke on Dec. 2.
When a team falls out, that brings an opportunity for another dominant team to break into my rankings. Let's all welcome, Tennessee!
Here are my Power 10 rankings in Week 5 of women's college basketball:
1. South Carolina (1) — So far, the Gamecocks have been untouchable with a 10-0 record. Now taking down Maryland, which makes them 4-0 over top-10 foes, I do not see South Carolina losing a game the rest of the way. This team is known for its dominant paint production with Aliyah Boston headlining its deep front court, but its backcourt is just as good. In the Jimmy V Classic matchup, the dynamic duo of Boston and Zia Cooke took over and both hit the 1000th point milestone on Dec. 12.
2. NC State (3) — The Wolfpack might have fallen to South Carolina earlier this season, but how about a 10-game winning streak since then? NC State has put that game in its rearview and has proved that its deep squad deserves to be recognized as the top-2 team in the nation. It was a great week for head coach Wes Moore's crew, blowing past Pitt with an impressive 15 threes and St. Mary's, breaking the 100th point mark. NC State has notable wins over Maryland and Indiana but will face Georgia next on Dec. 16, who is a tough defensive team in the SEC.
3. Stanford (4) — Welcome back Cardinal! We haven't seen Stanford since they defeated Maryland on Nov. 27 in the Bahamas. The Terps have been resting up and studying during a two-week exam break. Despite not seeing action in 14 days, the Cardinal came in with no rust and cruised past Pacific, 91-62. Cameron Brink continues to have a remarkable sophomore campaign, leading Stanford with 25 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.
4. Indiana (6) — The Hoosiers defeated Penn State for its first Big Ten win, went on to take down Fairfield and then closed out the week with a ranked win over Ohio State, 86-66. Ohio State is the top-4 scoring offense in the nation, averaging 84.8 points per game, yet Indiana's elite defense held the Buckeyes to only 66 points. That's credit to the Hoosiers scoring 26 points off of Ohio State's turnovers while capitalizing in the interior with 56 points in the paint. Mackenzie Holmes led all scorers with a career-high 30 points and seven rebounds.
5. UConn (2) — It's been a rollercoaster for UConn getting hit with multiple injuries at once. National Player of the year Paige Bueckers is out six to eight weeks due to a knee injury and Nika Muhl and the 2021 No. 1 overall recruit Azzi Fudd are both suffering a foot injury. With a depleted backcourt, UConn was tasked with Georgia Tech and did not get the best of that matchup. In fact, the top-3 defense in the nation held the Huskies to only one point in the fourth quarter, and the loss snapped its 240 game winning-streak against unranked opponents. However, the Huskies were able to bounce back against UCLA, 71-61. Evina Westbrook stepped up with 17 points and Dorka Juhasz had a breakout game with 16 points and 16 rebounds. A performance that we all know she's capable of having, based on her time at Ohio State.
Fought for the W— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) December 12, 2021
6. Louisville (7) — The Cardinals used its top-notch defense to take down No. 14 Kentucky in the Jimmy V Classic, 64-58. This marks its fifth straight game over the Wildcats. It's been two years since we saw this in-state rivalry game and the heated battle lived up to its expectations. Louisville limited Kentucky to only six points in the third quarter forced 21 turnovers and used a fourth-quarter attack paced by Hailey Van Lith and Chelsie Hall to call game. Louisville did an incredible job valuing each possession by not allowing Kentucky to steal the ball from them the entire 40-minutes. Next up, the Cards will have Eastern Kentucky and UConn on its plate.
7. Baylor (8) — The Bears are now 9-1 after defeating Alcorn State, 94-40. Ja'Mee Asberry poured in 20 points and NaLyssa Smith dominated the paint with 25 points and 10 rebounds, which helped Baylor outscore Alcorn State in the paint, 34-12. Its pressure defense was also a huge factor to dictate the game, scoring 25 of its points off of the Braves' mistakes. Baylor's next ranked test will be against Michigan on Dec. 19. That will be must-see tv in the paint when NaLyssa Smith battles Naz Hillmon.
8. Maryland (5) — The Terps have started Big Ten play with a two-game winning streak against Rutgers and Purdue. However, the Terps were hit with its third loss in the season going up against No. 1 South Carolina, 66-59. Although Maryland did not come out on top, the Terps hung close throughout the entire ball game with Angel Reese recording 20 points and 10 rebounds. Unfortunately, Maryland couldn't find an answer on the boards against one of the top rebounding teams in the nation. The Terps were out-rebounded, 61-34, with the Gamecocks capitalizing off the glass with 24 second-chance points.
9. Arizona (10) — The Wildcats continue their momentum from last year's championship run to a 9-0 record in the 2021-22 season. This week, Arizona defeated North Dakota State and New Mexico. The Wildcats have been able to carry over its success from last year by taking pride in its elite defense. In fact, Arizona is currently the top-5 scoring defense in the country. Unfortunately, Arizona is without its key post, Lauren Ware, who dislocated her knee in the first minute in Thursday's matchup against the Bisons.
10. Tennessee — Hello Lady Vols! Tennessee has been a bubble team, along with Michigan, Texas and Duke, for my Power 10 for the past couple of weeks. The undefeated Vols have continued its flawless record in Sunday's matchup over Georgia State, which includes notable wins against USF, Texas and Virginia Tech. This squad is missing the absence of its star player Rae Burrell, but players like Jordan Horston, Tamari Key and transfer Alexus Dye have stepped up in her absence to continue its dominance. Up next, Tennessee will face Stanford on Dec. 18. A win over the defending champs could solidify its top-10 spot in my Power 10, and even boost them up in my rankings.