S. Carolina stays at No. 1 for women
South Carolina retained its firm grip on the top spot in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll. The Gamecocks received 26 first-place votes from a 30-member media panel Monday after routing Mississippi in record fashion and beating then-No. 22 Tennessee. Baylor remained No. 2, receiving three firstplace votes. Oregon, UConn and Louisville rounded out the first five teams in the poll.
NEW YORK — South Carolina retained its firm grip on the top spot in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll.
The Gamecocks received 26 first-place votes from a 30-member media panel Monday after routing Mississippi in record fashion and beating then-No. 22 Tennessee. Baylor remained No. 2, receiving three first-place votes. Oregon, UConn and Louisville rounded out the first five teams in the poll. The Cardinals got the other first-place vote.
South Carolina held Mississippi without a point for nearly the first 19 minutes of the SEC game on Thursday. The Rebels finished the half with two points, tying the NCAA record for futility.
The last time a Division I team scored as few as two points in a half was Dec. 16, 2016, when Western Kentucky defeated Lipscomb 87-35 after leading 56-2 at halftime.
The Gamecocks visit No. 25 Arkansas on Thursday before hosting UConn on Feb. 10.
The Huskies hosted Oregon on Monday night.
Stanford, North Carolina State, Mississippi State, Oregon State and UCLA finished off the first 10 teams in the poll. The Bruins fell two spots after losing at Arizona on Friday night. The Wildcats tied for the biggest climb, moving up four spots along with with Maryland. Arizona’s No. 12 ranking is its best since the final poll of 1998, when the team was ninth.
RISING ZAGS: Gonzaga keeps winning and climbing in the poll. The Bulldogs are 11th this week — their best ranking ever. Gonzaga is 22-1 on the season, with the defeat coming in overtime at Stanford. The Zags visit Pacific and Saint Mary’s this week.
TAKING A BREAK: Both UConn and Louisville stepped away from conference play to have exhibitions against members of the U.S. national team last week. The Huskies played the U.S. team even for the first three quarters and had a brief lead in the fourth before falling by 15. The Cardinals lost by 43 after leading 21-17 at the end of the first quarter. Both games served as homecomings for many of the U.S. players. Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles and Katie Lou Samuelson all got to play against their former team and UConn coach Geno Auriemma. Angel McCoughtry had a chance to play at Louisville one more time.
South Carolina, Baylor headline top seeds in NCAA reveal
STORRS, Conn. — South Carolina, Baylor, Louisville and Oregon would be the four top seeds if the women’s NCAA Women’s Tournament began Monday.
The NCAA on Monday provided its first snapshot of the top 16 teams in the tournament field. Those schools would potentially host the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, which begins March 20.
“I will say the committee was pretty consistent on the top four,” said Diane Turnham, chair of the women’s basketball committee. “One to six could elevate themselves to different positions. South Carolina has one loss in November. Baylor, Oregon and Louisville had a lot of discussion. These are tough calls. They could change.”
The Gamecocks would be the No. 1 seed in Greenville, South Carolina. The Lady Bears would be staying close to home in the Dallas Region. Louisville would head to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and be the top seed there. Oregon would also be near home, playing in Portland.
Joining South Carolina would be N.C. State, UCLA and Iowa as the top four seeds in that region. Stanford, Gonzaga and Arizona would be in Dallas with Baylor. UConn, Oregon State and Northwestern would be in Indiana. Maryland, Mississippi State and DePaul would be in Oregon.
That would mean five Pac12 teams would be hosting the opening two rounds.
Turnham said there are seven or eight other teams knocking on the door to be in the top 16.
“We schedule two hours and were well over it,” said Turnham, who is in her fourth year on the committee. “Incredible amount of conversation and reviewing of teams.”
The committee will do one more top 16 reveal on March 2. The bracket will be unveiled on March 16. The Final Four is in New Orleans this year with the semifinals on April 3 and the title game two days later.
“Our top 16 could look very different,” Turnham said of the next reveal. “Some teams trending up and down. Some with injuries. The next reveal will have a lot more to it.”
LEADER AT THE TOP South Carolina coach Dawn Staley communicates with players during the first half against Tennessee on Sunday in Columbia, South Carolina.