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Autumn Johnson | January 10, 2022

Women's basketball rankings: South Carolina back at No. 1, Tennessee leaps in Week 9's Power 10

Women's basketball rankings: South Carolina returns to No. 1 in latest Power 10

Not too much commotion in Week 9 for my Power 10 rankings, except South Carolina rightfully reclaiming the No. 1 spot. Plus, huge upsets suffered by Michigan and Arizona reshape the backend of my power rankings.

Let's break it all down: 

1. South Carolina (2) — Make that 8-0 against top-25 opponents for the Gamecocks! They are back on track after being tasked with a tough week in SEC play, handling No. 13 LSU and No. 21 Kentucky to improve to 15-1. Despite its first and only loss of the season against Missouri, the Gamecocks are using its dominant interior game to propel itself to be a championship contender. 

2. Louisville (1) — The Cards are now 13-1 after blowing past Pitt to advance to 3-0 in ACC play. Louisville struggled to get into an offensive rhythm but made up for it on the defensive end with a high of 35 forced turnovers. The Cards continue to soar with a 13-game winning streak. 

3. Stanford (3) — The Cardinal are now 2-0 in the Pac-12 with a win over Oregon thanks to Lexi Hull's tremendous, career-high 33-point performance. Stanford was supposed to suit up against Oregon State on Jan. 9, but the Beavers had COVID-19 within its program and had to postpone until further notice. Instead, Stanford faced Gonzaga for the second time this season — a team that nearly gave the Cardinal a scare earlier this season, only losing 66-62. Different story this go around as Stanford cruised past the Bulldogs by double figures. 

4. Indiana (4) — The Hoosiers used a balanced attack to take down Wisconsin and improve to 4-0 in Big Ten play. The strong start to conference play marks Indiana's second time in program history notching this start. Its next tough task will be against Nebraska, who upset Michigan earlier this week.

5. NC State (5) — The Wolfpack gave North Carolina its first loss in an in-state rivalry game this week, holding the No. 12 offense in the nation to a season-low of 45 points. NC State finished Week 9 strong with a victory over Miami (Fla.).

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6. Tennessee (10) — The Vols muscle their way up in my Power 10 after an impressive week taking down No. 25 Texas A&M and a gritty Ole Miss team. Jordan Horston has owned the moment all season long, especially against ranked opponents, as Tennessee's top scorer led the way in both matchups. Now 15-1, Tennessee is having its best start since 2017-18 when the Vols went 15-0. Its first and only loss comes against Stanford earlier this season. After seeing Tennessee continuously dominate and watching other upsets take place in the lower half of my Power 10, it was a no-brainer to give Tennessee a major push in my rankings. 

Tennessee's Jordan Horston

7. UConn (6) — After four postponements, the Huskies return with a victory over Creighton to start 1-0 in Big East play. Caroline Ducharme continues to show out in her freshman campaign, leading the way with 17 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Despite playing without its backcourt depth and reigning National Player of the Year Paige Bueckers, I believe the Huskies are going to be just fine. UConn has plenty of talent on its roster but will have to find its rhythm of playing without its lead scorer. However, I did drop UConn one spot considering Tennessee's record and dominance.

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8. Arizona (7) — We haven't seen the Wildcats since Dec. 17 due to COVID-19 protocols. Despite the pause, Arizona came back strong to defend its unbeaten record against Washington State. However, it was short-lived as Southern California pushed Arizona to the brink with a massive upset to give the Wildcats their first loss of the season, 76-67. 

9. Maryland (9) — Diamond Miller returning to the court full-time after playing just four games before Week 9 and limited minutes due to an injury was the spark Maryland needed. The Terps took down Penn State and Minnesota thanks to Miller's resurgence. Maryland's record does not define this team. The No. 7 offense in the nation has nearly six players averaging double figures and is adding on an impressive defensive effort along with it. Unfortunately, injuries continue to plague this team as its key sixth man, Faith Masonius, tore her ACL this past week. 

Maryland women's basketball

10. Michigan (8)  — The Wolverines were making a ton of noise this week — they took down Baylor and Ohio State back-to-back, but Nebraska gave them a heat check blowing them out, 79-58. The upset caused Michigan to fall a couple of spots in my Power 10, but an impressive win over Rutgers on Sunday keeps the maize and blue within the rankings.  

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