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Autumn Johnson | December 20, 2021

Women's college basketball rankings: Michigan breaks into Week 6's Power 10

Women's basketball rankings: NC State falls, Michigan enters Power 10

Week 6's slate of games in women's basketball was one for the books! 

There were a plethora of ranked matchups, which caused some movement in my Power 10 rankings. The biggest headline is Michigan storming into my rankings for the first time with a massive upset over Baylor. 

Let's dive into my Power 10 rankings in Week 6 of women's college basketball: 

1. South Carolina (1) - The Gamecocks came across a gritty Duke team, who climbed back from a 16-point deficit to single-digits down the final stretch. Thankfully, South Carolina was able to protect its No. 1 throne and undefeated record, giving Duke its first loss of the season, 55-46. This makes the Gamecocks 5-0 over top-25 foes. But there's no time to take an exhale just yet. We have a Final Four rematch on Tuesday, Dec. 21, as the Gamecocks look to avenge its one-point loss against the defending champs, Stanford. 

2. Stanford (3) - The Cardinal used a two-week exam break to recharge and study (of course), and since then this team has blazed on with a four-game winning streak with Week 5 wins over Pacific, UC Davis and finished the week with a massive win over then-No. 7 Tennessee. Stanford struggled coming out of the half with only nine points in the third quarter, and it looked like the game was turning into Tennessee's favor, but down the stretch Ashten Prechtel stepped up with eleven straight points to end its scoring drought. Haley Jones also had a breakout game, finishing with 18 points and 19 rebounds. 

Stanford vs Tennessee

3. Indiana (4) - The Hoosiers defeated Western Michigan, 67-57, led by Mackenzie Holmes' incredible double-double performance with 17 points and 19 rebounds. Holmes' 19 rebounds ties the program's history book for 10th-most in a single game.   

WBB ACTION: Recapping Sunday's busy top 25 slate of women's college basketball

4. Louisville (6) - The Cardinal jumps over the Huskies in my rankings, after Louisville defeated UConn, 69-64. This marks the Cards' first win in Connecticut. Kiana Smith was a force throughout the entire ball game with 16 points, and then Hailey Van Lith took over, scoring 10 of her 16 points in the final frame to pull out the win. Louisville also picked up a victory earlier in Week 5 over Eastern Kentucky. 

5. NC State (2) - The Wolfpack were smooth sailing with a 10-game winning streak until it was snapped in overtime by a single possession against Georgia. The Bulldogs are one of the best defensive teams in the nation, and they flustered NC State early. Plus, its go-to scorer Elissa Cunane was plagued with early foul trouble and only played four minutes in the first half. Cunane came off the bench in the third and was a huge spark for the Wolfpack, but it wasn't enough down the stretch for some big-time shots by Georgia and its elite defense going up against Jenna Staiti. NC State went on to finish the week with its second conference win over Virginia, 82-55.

6. UConn (5) - The Huskies remain without its depth in the backcourt, but they managed to put up a great fight against Louisville's stifling defense with the elite talent they have. Despite a limited bench, its given players like freshman Caroline Ducharme an opportunity to step up. Ducharme had a breakout game scoring a career high of 24 points and was a consistent scorer at all areas on the floor for the Huskies to remain competitive. UConn just couldn't find an answer for Hailey Van Lith, who was down the stretch. 

7. Maryland (8) - The Terps did not have any games scheduled in Week 5. Maryland will face Coppin State on Tuesday, Dec. 21 and will be full swing in Big Ten play when they face Illinois on Dec. 30. The Terps are currently 2-0 in the conference. 

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8. Arizona (9) - The Wildcats cruised past its in-state rival Northern Arizona, 82-55, with an incredible defensive performance with 28 points off of turnovers, including 52 points in the paint. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 protocols and contact tracing within the Arizona Women's Basketball program, Arizona canceled its game against No. 11 Texas. 

9. Michigan - Hello, Michigan, a team who's been sitting on my bubble. What better way to break into my Power 10 after avenging its Sweet 16 loss against Baylor in overtime, 74-68. Michigan lost its go-to scorer Naz Hillmon due to foul trouble with .22 seconds left in regulation. Hillmon's teammates stepped up in her absence and carried the momentum paced by Leigha Brown, who finished with 25 points. This marked the Wolverines' first ranked win over a top-5 opponent in program history. 

Michigan's Naz Hillmon and Leigha Brown recap OT upset over Baylor

10. Baylor (7) - The Bears played its first game in 10 days and suffered an upset against Michigan in overtime. This knocked Baylor down three spots (but not out) in my Power 10. Michigan just so happened to be the better team off the glass, out-rebounding the Bears, 50-35. Baylor especially struggled off of the offensive glass, only scoring three second chance points compared to Michigan's 29. NaLyssa Smith led all scorers with 21 points and 14 rebounds, with an opportunity to tie the game, but couldn't get it to fall. 

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