Happy New Year women's basketball fans!
Week 8 was packed with the end of 2021's drama and the start of 2022's chaos all in one, which caused a new No. 1 team in my Power 10 rankings.
In the mix of all of the upsets and thrillers we witnessed, there were also a plethora of game cancellations and postponements that disrupted many teams' action. Despite the multiple pauses, the start of conference play did not disappoint.
Let's take a look at the movement in my Power 10 rankings for Week 8:
1. Louisville (2) - It was a showdown between the top-4 defenses in the nation when Louisville faced No. 16 Georgia Tech, but the Cards were able to outlast the nation's leading defense, 50-48. Emily Engstler saved Louisville from the upset by finding an open lane to the basket with a game-winning layup. Earlier in the week, Louisville cruised past Boston College and are now 2-0 in ACC play and 12-1 overall, going on a 12-game winning streak. So far, Louisville has taken down four ranked opponents — Michigan, Kentucky, UConn and Georgia Tech. Its only loss of the season comes from Arizona, which is now considered the No. 4 team in the nation, according to the Associated Press.
2. South Carolina (1) - The Gamecocks suffered their first loss of the season against Missouri in overtime, 70-69, after a game-winning layup from Lauren Hansen with only one second left on the clock. The loss snapped South Carolina's 46-game winning streak against unranked opponents, which was the longest active streak in DI women's basketball. South Carolina defeated Mississippi State, 80-68, to bounce back in Week 8 and are currently 1-1 in SEC play. I still believe the Gamecocks are the No. 1 team in the nation, but Louisville's hot streak with impressive ranked wins has to be rewarded.
3. Stanford (3) - The Cardinal cruises past Washington State, 82-44, to start conference play. Haley Jones led all scorers with 24 points and 16 rebounds. Stanford was still able to prevail over the Cougars even without its depth and key players in the front court as Cameron Brink and Ashten Prechtel did not suit up.
4. Indiana (4) - The Hoosiers won its first game ever over Maryland in a top-10 battle, 70-63, in overtime. The Hoosiers held the top-7 offense in the nation to under 70 points with its No. 3 defense in the Big Ten. In fact, the Hoosiers held the Terps scoreless in the extra quarter. Indiana's Ali Patberg led the way with 18 points to take down the Big Ten defending champs. So far, Indiana is 3-0 over conference foes.
5. NC State (5) - The Wolfpack defeated Clemson, 79-52, to advance to 3-0 in ACC play. Three Wolfpack recorded double-figure points in the victory led by Jada Boyd's 18 points. Its next tough task will be against North Carolina in an in-state rivalry game on Jan. 6. Last season, the Tar Heels upset NC State to split the series. This season, North Carolina is one of three unbeaten teams in the nation, so far.
6. UConn (6) - The Huskies have not seen action since Dec. 19 due to three game postponements. UConn will resume action on Jan. 7 when it faces Big East foe Villanova.
7. Arizona (8) - We have not seen the Wildcats since Dec. 17 due to game cancellations and postponements. Arizona will resume action on Jan. 7 when they face Washington State for Pac-12 play.
8. Michigan (9) - The Wolverines continue to blaze with a huge win over its rival Ohio State, 90-71, in a top-25 battle. Michigan did a phenomenal job holding the top-5 offense in the nation to 71 points, while scoring 50 points in the paint and out-rebounding the Buckeyes, 48-27. That's credit to Michigan's go-to, Naz Hillmon's strong interior presence, scoring 29 points while grabbing 15 rebounds. Her duo Leigha Brown poured in 24 points to help blow past the Buckeyes.
9. Maryland (7) - The Terps are now 1-4 over ranked opponents after falling to Indiana for the first time in program history. Maryland's Ashley Owusu tried to will her way back to a win with back-to-back buckets to force overtime. Unfortunately for the Terps, the No. 3 defense in the Big Ten did not allow Maryland to score a field goal in the extra quarter. Angel Reese lead all scorers with 22 points. On a strong note, Diamond Miller came off the bench once again after sitting out majority of the season due to an injury. Miller scored 17 points and four steals, playing a season high of 31 minutes against the Hoosiers.
10. Tennessee - Goodbye Baylor (for now) and hello Tennessee...again! Tennessee returns in my Power 10 rankings after taking down Arkansas, 70-63, led by Tamari Key's 17 points and five blocks. The future looks bright for the Vols, returning its lead scorer Rae Burrell on Jan. 2 after she suffered an injury early in the season. Even without its star player, Tennessee has mustered a strong 13-1 record. Its only loss comes against Stanford on Dec. 18.