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NCAA women’s basketball poll, week 5

South Carolina and Stanford will clash again tomorrow in a rematch of last April’s national semifinal game, above. Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports photo.

Another exciting week in women’s college basketball has come to a close, and as we head into the final games before the Christmas break, we take a look at how this week’s top 25 shakes out.

Despite being without senior point guard Destanni Henderson, South Carolina picked up another top 25 win last week, as they escaped Durham with a nine-point win over Duke. They face another tough opponent tomorrow night against the team who sits second in our poll this week: Stanford. The Cardinal went into Knoxville on Saturday and handed Tennessee its first loss of the season. They dominated the second quarter against the Lady Vols to have a comfortable lead at the half, but another third quarter performance like they had on Rocky Top could brew trouble in Columbia Tuesday night.

Louisville defeated UConn on Sunday in a victory that marked their tenth in a row, and Jeff Walz’s first win over Geno Auriemma and the Huskies. After a season opening loss to Arizona, the Cardinals seem to have found a grove, but will need to continue to activate more offense if they want to make a late run into March. Texas was suppose to face Arizona Sunday, but COVID-19 issues within the Wildcat program had the Longhorns scrambling at the last minute to find an opponent in Las Vegas. San Diego answered the call, and Texas handled business and helped themselves jump into the top four for the first time this season. NC State lost an overtime thriller versus a tough, gritty Georgia team who has looked good thus far this season. But despite the loss, the Wolfpack remain in the top five this week.

Indiana rises to six after squeezing out a win over Western Michigan; the Hoosiers face Wright State before heading into the Christmas break. We’ve seen moments of how good this Indiana team can be, but they will need more consistent to compete in a tough conference like the Big Ten. Leigha Brown was phenomenal for Michigan in their upset of Baylor over the weekend, and they take the seventh spot. The Bears drop five spots to eight after the loss, and will be tested early in conference play when they travel to Kansas State. Tennessee showed promising signs in the third quarter against Stanford Saturday, but the Lady Vols are missing consistent half court offense, and they fail to capitalize on opportunities from the free throw line. If Tennessee can control those two things, they are as good as anyone, but without them, they may struggle in SEC play. After an opportunity to showcase how talented they are and a chance to climb the rankings was cancelled due to COVID-19, Arizona stays put at 10 this week.

Maryland had the week off and will face Coppin State Tuesday before departing for Christmas, and they come in at 11 this week. It’s rare to see Connecticut outside the top five, let alone the top 10, but with three losses on the season heading into the break, the Huskies find themselves sitting 12th. Iowa State takes the 13th spot with a lone loss to Georgia Tech on the season. Georgia is 14th, and Iowa rounds out the top 15.

Although falling to South Carolina at home, the Blue Devils are showing promising signs under new coach Kara Lawson, and could be a problem in ACC play; they fall one spot to 16. Kim Mulkey’s Tigers continue to impress, and sit at 17. LSU is followed by Georgia Tech, South Florida and BYU to round out the top 20. Steady at spots 21, 22 and 23 are Oklahoma, Kentucky and Texas A&M, respectively. The final two spots saw changes, as 11-0 Nebraska and Notre Dame entered the poll in the 24th and 25th positions, respectively.

Top 25

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

RV: Colorado, Florida Gulf Coast, North Carolina, Missouri State, DePaul, Kansas State, Ole Miss, Gonzaga, UCLA, Arkansas

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