09 Jan

South Carolina climbs to No. 1, LSU and UConn drop

There were a lot of questions about how the South Carolina Gamecocks would adjust after losing the most historic class in program history. Dawn Staley answered all of them with a pair of dominant wins that earned the Gamecocks the No. 1 spot in this week’s AP Top 25.

For the first time in program history, South Carolina scored 100+ points in each of its first two games. The Gamecocks non-conference schedule is anything but easy, but South Carolina beat Notre Dame 100-71 in Paris on Nov. 6, and Maryland 114-76 later in the week. Both opponents were ranked in the top 15 at the time. The 114 points against Maryland were also the most points the Gamecocks have ever scored against a ranked team.

The Gamecocks showed they have a deep roster, from their senior leader Kamilla Cardoso, to freshman extraordinaire Milaysia Fulwiley.

Meanwhile, the defending national champion LSU had entered the season as the top-ranked team in the country but opened the 2023-24 campaign with a 92-78 loss against Colorado. That result dropped them to seventh place this week.

UConn, the previous No. 2 team in the nation, also dropped six spots after getting upset 92-81 against NC State. The team has star player Paige Bueckers back, and she registered 27 points against the Wolfpack, but the Huskies still got outshined on Sunday while NC State junior guard Saniya Rivers had a breakout game.

Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes were business as usual. Clark broke the program’s all-time leading scoring record during the 94-53 win over Northern Iowa. She finished that game with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. That became her 12th career triple-double, and she has officially joined now-WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu as the only players in Division I history to record a triple-double in four different seasons.

The Pac-12 took care of business going 28-0 as a conference. No other conference in women’s basketball managed to stay undefeated in Week 1. Five of the top 10 teams this week are from the Pac-12.

UCLA climbed one spot to No. 3, while Colorado had the biggest jump (15 spots) to No. 5 after stunning LSU. This is the Buffaloes best ranking since 1995. Meanwhile, the USC Trojans moved up 11 spots, mainly due to their 83-74 win over then-No. 7 Ohio State. The Trojans hadn’t been ranked in the top 10 since 1994.

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