Maryland dropped six spots to No. 8 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll Monday after losing two games in a week that saw eight of the top 10 teams change places behind unanimous No. 1 South Carolina.
UConn reclaimed No. 2 spot – up one spot and shared with N.C. State – after the Terrapins were blown out by the Wolfpack and new No. 4 Stanford, which climbed three spots. The Terrapins were shorthanded with only seven available players due to injuries and illness.
The Gamecocks grabbed all 30 first-place votes from a national media panel for the second consecutive week after holiday tournaments that saw many of the top teams play each other.
Baylor was No. 5 while Indiana fell two places to sixth after losing to the Cardinal.
South Florida made the biggest jump this week, moving up five spots to No. 13 after beating then-No. 7 Stanford. It was coach Jose Fernandez’s second consecutive win over a top 10 program and only the third in school history.
While most schools will be heading into exams over the next few weeks, coaches weren’t afraid to test their teams on the court the last few days with three matchups pitting top 10 teams against each other. So far this season, teams that were in the top 10 this month have lost 11 games combined.
“We all wanted to be tested early I think,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We have so much respect for our league and prepare our kids for what they have to look forward to in the Pac-12. This is great for our game. This is a barometer where we’re at. This is going to serve us well down the road.”
Stanford wasn’t the only Pac-12 team moving up: Arizona climbed two spots to seventh after winning three games in the U.S. Virgin Islands over the weekend..
Iowa and Louisville round out the top 10. The Cardinals were the only other top 10 team besides South Carolina to stay in the same spot this week.
ENTERING THE POLL
Georgia, BYU and Notre Dame joined the Top 25 this week at 20, 21 and 24, respectively. The Cougars were last ranked for one week in 2019. The Bulldogs were in the poll for the final nine weeks last season. The Irish were in the preseason poll last year before falling out.
EXITING THE POLL
West Virginia, Virginia Tech and UCLA all dropped out of the Top 25.
Iowa had to cancel its trip to Cancun, Mexico, over the holiday because of a COVID-19 issue in the program. The Hawkeyes also missed a game against in-state rival Drake. Iowa’s next game is potentially on Thursday against Duke in the Big Ten/ACC challenge.
“We’re obviously disappointed but understand this is the right decision,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “Our team and staff have followed best practices. But unfortunately, a number of individuals experienced symptoms and tested positive. We will continue to follow the guidance of our medical staff and look forward to returning to the court.”
No. 12 Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico won her 200th game at the school on Saturday with a victory over Mississippi State. She’s 200-103 at the Big Ten school. Barnes Arico has won 470 games in her entire coaching career.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
The Big Ten/ACC Challenge has a few tantalizing matchups including N.C. State at Indiana and Michigan at Louisville.