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Autumn Johnson | January 29, 2022

1 thing to know about every team in the first women's basketball top 16 reveal

Committee chair Nina King breaks down first women's basketball top-16 rankings of 2022

1. South Carolina - The Gamecocks are the only program in DI women's college basketball that can say they are 9-0 against Top-25 opponents. So far, South Carolina has taken down NC State, Oregon, UConn, Maryland, Duke, Stanford, LSU, Kentucky and Ole Miss. 

2. Stanford - The defending national champs are on pace to be a No. 1 seed again and are primed to return to the Final Four with all of its pieces from last year's group, except Kiana Williams. Stanford had some early loses against Texas, South Florida and South Carolina, but have turned around with quality wins over Indiana, Maryland, Oregon, Colorado and Tennessee. 

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3. NC State - The Wolfpack is the only undefeated team in the ACC, recently taking down its rival Louisville. NC State is currently on an eight game winning-streak and projected to bring home the conference championship for the third season in a row. 

4. Tennessee -  It's been a while since Tennessee has been on the one line, and that's because the Vols are looking at its best season since 2007-08 when this program went to the Final Four. Tennessee has earned that spot after stacking its resume with tons of quality wins, but unfortunately, the Vols were upset by Auburn the same night the Top-16 was revealed. 

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5. Louisville - Syracuse transfer Emily Engstler has been a game changer for Louisville after losing its star player Dana Evans. As the anchor of Louisville's top-8 scoring defense in the nation, Engstler leads the ACC in steals and is top-6 in blocks and third in defensive rebounds per game. 

6. Indiana - The Hoosiers are still blazing with its same veteran, balanced attack that went on an historic run to the Elite 8 last year. Unfortunately, its go-to scorer Mackenzie Holmes is out of the equation, as of right now, due to a recent knee injury. 

7. Texas - Vic Schaefer's group is putting together quite the season. The Longhorns knocked off Iowa State, Texas A&M, the defending national champs Stanford and came two possessions from beating Tennessee. 

Top-16: Breaking down the first in-season top 16 women's basketball reveal

8. Arizona - The championship runner-ups have been thriving off of last year's momentum by opening up its season with an 11-game winning streak, which included an eye-catching win over Louisville. This game put the nation on notice that Arizona is still a championship contender and capable of running it back. 

9. Michigan - The Wolverines are becoming more than just Big Ten Player of the Year, Naz Hillmon. Teams have had its hands full with Michigan's balanced attack on the perimeter and its newly formed front-court duo with Emily Kiser to help create a dominate interior presence in the paint with Hillmon. 

10. Iowa State - Three-pointers and free-throws have taken this team far. Iowa State is ranked No. 3 in the nation in threes made and the only program in the country to have three players score at least 50 threes this season. As far as the consistency at the charity stripe, Iowa State is nationally ranked No. 2 in free-throw percentage.

11. UConn - The Huskies have been hit with a plethora of injuries, including reigning National Player of the Year Paige Bueckers. The good news is that Bueckers is on track to return late February, while Azzi Fudd and Nika Muhl have already made their returns back to the court. 

12. LSU - Head coach Kim Mulkey has turned this program around in her first year with LSU. The Tigers are off to their best start since the 2006-07 season and have been ranked in the AP Top-25 poll for eight consecutive weeks. 

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13. Baylor - The Bears are led by NaLyssa Smith, who is projected to go No. 1 in the 2022 WNBA Draft. Smith is the No. 8 rebounder in the nation and ranks No. 6 in the country in double-doubles. 

14. Oregon - The Ducks have been surging as of late. Oregon did not have its complete unit earlier this season due to injuries, but now that its key ingredients are healthy and return to the starting lineup, the Ducks have picked up remarkable wins over UConn and Arizona. 

15. Georgia - The graduate duo of Que Morrison and Jenna Staiti returning for another year has been the core of Georgia's success yet again this season. Both players are the anchor of Georgia's lock-down defense that ranks top-50 in the nation.

16. Kansas State - The Wildcats have been shaking up the Big 12 this season with a strength of schedule at 99. That's credit to the No. 2 scorer in the nation Ayoka Lee, who recently scored a league record of 61 points on Jan. 23. 

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