NCAA women’s basketball poll, week 4

Diamond Johnson and Zia Cooke battle for position in the first game of the year last month. Ethan Hyman photo.

In what seemed would be a relatively quiet week in women’s basketball due to finals, there was quite a bit of shakeup in this week’s top 25.

The Gamecocks were tested yet again this week with a matchup against Maryland. In their fourth game versus a top 10 opponent this season, South Carolina squeaked out a seven-point victory over the Terrapins to hold tight at the top spot. They’ll face another tough task this week as they travel to Duke. NC State continued their dominating ways, defeating Pitt by 35 on Friday and putting up 101 vs Saint Mary’s on Sunday; their performance keeps them at two this week. In their lone matchup this week, Baylor dominated a winless Alcorn State squad, and remain at three. Stanford slides up one spot this week to four; the Cardinal will travel to Knoxville this week for a top 10 matchup with Tennessee. Texas climbs into the top five, and have another tough test ahead as they take Arizona in the “Coast-to-Coast Challenge” Sunday.

After an early season loss to the Wildcats on a neutral court, Louisville seems to have found their groove. The Cardinals defeated Kentucky in the Bluegrass State rivalry, and will have another chance to boost their resume when they face UConn Sunday in the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase. Indiana stays put at seven after impressive wins over Fairfield and Ohio State. We welcome the Lady Vols into the top 10 this week as they enter the poll at eight. Tennessee has continued to find ways to win without Rae Burrell, as both Tamari Key and Jordan Horston have been impressive. But they will face their toughest challenge yet against Stanford. UConn drops to nine this week after a lopsided defeat at Georgia Tech, who held them to just five points in the fourth quarter. The Huskies recovered with a win over UCLA but they’ll need more from Christyn Williams and more consistent play from Dorka Juhasz as the season goes on. Arizona stays put this week after home wins over North Dakota State and New Mexico.

Maryland drops three spots to 11 this week after their loss, but they are getting healthy, and had opportunities to defeat the Gamecocks. They’ll be a team to continue to watch as we near conference play. Michigan jumps two spots to 12 after a 2-0 start to conference play, with victories over Wisconsin and Minnesota. Iowa State climbs to 13 after a big win over rival Iowa and a one-point victory over Northern Iowa. The Hawkeyes drop just two spots to 14, and will look to get back on track with a matchup with UCF Saturday night. Duke had the week off, but upsets across the country help propel them into the 15th spot. They’ll host the Gamecocks Wednesday in a matchup on the ACC Network.

LSU may be one of the most under-the-radar teams in the country, but with the balance and depth that they have, coach Kim Mulkey could do something special in Baton Rouge this season. We have them at 16 in this week’s poll. South Florida needed a fourth quarter surge to survive another upset this week, but the Bulls found a way and move up to 17. BYU lost a thriller in overtime to Oklahoma Friday and they’ll look to bounce back later this week as they host Washington State, who recently defeated Gonzaga. We were impressed with the Sooners prior to their matchup with the previously-undefeated Cougars, but their upset win helped propel them into the top 20 this week, as they sit at 19. Georgia jumps two spots to round out the top 20. They will travel to NC State this week for a Thursday night battle in Raleigh.

After two losses last week to DePaul and Louisville, the Kentucky Wildcats drop eight spots to 21. Georgia Tech got a big win over UConn to help muster their way back into the top 25, at 22. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Yellow Jackets associate head coach Tasha Butts, as she begins her battle with breast cancer. Texas A&M’s loss at the hands of a TCU team who has struggled mightily to find their groove this year drops them to 23. They’ll look to get back on track Sunday, as they face Rice. Filling the final two spots was difficult this week, as several teams could have made cases, but Florida Gulf Coast and Colorado won out, as they claim spots 24 and 25, respectively.

Top 25

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

RV: Nebraska, Missouri State, Oregon, North Carolina, DePaul, Ole Miss, UCLA, Gonzaga, West Virginia, Kansas State, Arkansas, Purdue, Washington State and Ohio State