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Autumn Johnson | January 31, 2022

Women's basketball rankings: Week 12's Power 10 welcomes back the Baylor Bears

Women's basketball rankings: Baylor reenters, Louisville rises in latest Power 10

February is upon us, but the presence of March is already being felt with some early madness! 

In Week 12, the NCAA DI women's basketball selection committee revealed its first top-16 seeds, projected No. 1 seed Tennessee gets handled by Auburn the same day and LSU gets knocked out of Power 10 rankings after suffering back-to-back loses against Florida and Arkansas. 

One team out means a new team breaks in... but this time, an old friend. I knew it wouldn't be for long that this team would be out of my Power 10 — welcome back, Baylor Bears! 

1. South Carolina (1) — Make that 9-0 against ranked opponents. The Gamecocks took down No. 24 Ole Miss. It was a fun front-court showdown between Aliyah Boston and Shakira Austin, but South Carolina got the best of that matchup by nearly 30 points. The Gamecocks went on to finish the week with a victory over Florida to extend to a seven-game winning streak.  

2. Stanford (2) — The Cardinal breezed past Arizona State and then finished the week with a championship rematch against Arizona. Cameron Brink had herself a night with 25 points, which included draining her first three of the season. The victory continued Stanford's 22-game winning streak over Pac-12 foes. 

3. NC State (3) — The in-state rivalry between NC State and North Carolina never disappoints. North Carolina came out and took the first punch to lead at the first half, but the energy shifted in NC State's favor straight out of the locker room with a 16-2 run. North Carolina tried to stick close with a late run in the final stretch, but a balanced effort of clutch shooting allowed the Wolfpack to put away the Tarheels to remain undefeated in ACC play. 

4. Louisville (5) — The Cards defeated Florida State and then went on to shut down Duke with a combined effort of elite defense and raining threes. Louisville drained 11 buckets beyond the arc, paced by Hailey Van Lith who knocked down five of those treys. 

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

5. Tennessee (4) — The Vols were listed as a No. 1 seed in the first top-16 reveal of the season; however, Tennessee was not able to sustain a late 11-0 run by Auburn in the final frame and suffered an upset that same night, 71-61.

6. Indiana (6) — The Hoosiers will return from a 15-day COVID-19 pause to take on Michigan in a top-10 battle on Jan. 31.

7. Michigan (7) — The Wolverines are on a six-game winning streak after taking down its rival Ohio State in a ranked battle by dictating the paint and limiting one of the top offenses in the Big Ten to only 58 points. Naz Hillmon led the way with 20 points and grabbed 12 boards to become Michigan's all-time leading rebounder. Michigan closed out the regular-season series against the Buckeyes, 2-0. 

8. UConn (9) — The Huskies escaped a scare from DePaul with Caroline Ducharme gliding past her defenders to find an open lane for a game-winning layup. The freshman sensation has stepped up tremendously for the Huskies with nine-straight double-figure games. UConn finished the week with a win over Providence.

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

9. Arizona (8) — The Wildcats started off Week 11 with a win over UCLA, but fell to Stanford in a national championship rematch. Cate Reese went on a third-quarter attack on her own to bring it back in reach, finishing with 17 points, but it wasn't enough to put away their Pac-12 foe. It doesn't get easier for Arizona in conference play as the Wildcats will host Oregon next in a rematch after falling to the Ducks in overtime earlier this month. 

10. Baylor — Welcome back, Baylor! The Bears suffered back-to-back losses to open up Big 12 play, but since then the Bears have turned things around and have been on a roll winning five-straight, including a notable win over Iowa State. The Bears will have a tough stretch against top-25 and Big 12 foes when they face Oklahoma and then Texas back-to-back.

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