NCAA women’s basketball poll, week 3

Duke, now 8-0, enters our top 25 poll for the first time. Duke Athletics photo.

Another wild week full of upsets has shaken up this week’s top 25 poll.

South Carolina continues to dominate, and although starting point guard Destannni Henderson remains day-to-day with an injury, her teammates have stepped up big as the Gamecocks took down NC A&T and Kansas State this week. NC State squeezed past Indiana before thumping Elon, to keep them at two this week. Baylor was tested by a  then-undefeated Missouri squad, but survived a thriller in Waco, while also dismantling Morehead State earlier in the week.

A short-handed UConn team may be without starter Paige Bueckers after she injured herself with 38 seconds remaining in a blowout win over Notre Dame on Sunday; the Huskies will be tested as their next three games feature matchups at Georgia Tech, vs. UCLA and vs. Louisville. Stanford received a much-deserved and needed rest this week, and rounds out our top five.

Texas continue to impress, even while being without freshmen Aaliyah Moore and Kendall Hunter. The Longhorns went into College Station Sunday and defeated the Aggies handily, which bumps them up to six this week. Despite losing to NC State at home, the Hoosiers slide just one spot to seven. After an outstanding outing vs. Michigan and a win over Belmont, Louisville moves all the way up to eight. The Cardinals are followed by Maryland and Arizona to round out the top 10.

The Lady Vols got a big road win over Virginia Tech Sunday, and move up three spots to 11. Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes struggled to find a rhythm following the COVID break when they traveled to Duke last week, but put things back together over the weekend, as Clark dropped a triple-double and Iowa torched Michigan State; the Hawkeyes drop to 12. Kentucky defeated West Virginia easily at home and followed it with another win over Merrimack to move them up to 13. Michigan falls to 14 after their 1-1 week and BYU enters the top 15 after a couple more scorching performances keeps them undefeated.

Kim Mulkey’s Tigers have the talent, and big things are happening in Baton Rouge after her first win vs a ranked team (Iowa State) last week. And with the help of a couple of other top 25 upsets, LSU has climbed to 16, while Iowa State falls to 17. South Florida was stunned by UT Arlington, but their wins over Stanford and Oregon help the Bulls stay afloat, as they drop just three spots to 18 this week.

It’s not often that losing keeps you in the position from week to week, but Texas A&M stays put at 19. To round out the top 20 we welcome Kara Lawson and the Duke Blue Devils. The decision to put Duke in the top 20 this week was not simply because they defeated Iowa handily at home, but because Lawson seems to be building something special in Durham. The Blue Devils’ defense is impressive, but their offense is starting to gel, and they are getting contributions from everyone. This unbeaten team is oozing with talent, and could be dangerous down the stretch.

Oregon sustained another loss last week and drop four spots to 21. And after a hard-fought victory at Texas Tech earlier in the week, Georgia lost a heartbreaker to in-state rival Georgia Tech Sunday, which drops them to 22. At 23, we welcome another newcomer to the poll: the Oklahoma Sooners. With only one loss on the season to Oregon, Oklahoma seems to be clicking right now. And Notre Dame looked good for three quarters vs UConn, but couldn’t piece together a fourth quarter run to pull out the win, so they fall one spot to 24. Florida Gulf Coast suffered their first loss of the season to Princeton, but nudge out Missouri State to claim the final spot in this week’s poll.

Top 25

  1. South Carolina
  2. NC State
  3. Baylor
  4. UConn
  5. Stanford
  6. Texas
  7. Indiana
  8. Louisville
  9. Maryland
  10. Arizona
  11. Tennessee
  12. Iowa
  13. Kentucky
  14. Michigan
  15. BYU
  16. LSU
  17. Iowa State
  18. South Florida
  19. Texas A&M
  20. Duke
  21. Oregon
  22. Georgia
  23. Oklahoma
  24. Notre Dame
  25. Florida Gulf Coast

Receiving votes: Missouri State, Gonzaga, Florida State, Oregon State, UCLA, Colorado, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Missouri, Virginia Tech, Purdue, Ohio State, Georgia Tech and Nebraska.