Friday, February 23, 2024

Ohio State climbs to No. 2, Stanford up to No. 3 behind unbeaten South Carolina in women’s AP Top 25

Ohio State ranks No. 2 in the Associated Press women’s basketball Top 25 poll, matching the highest ranking in school history.

The Buckeyes, ranked fifth last week, have won 11 straight games and their only losses this season came against USC, UCLA and Michigan. The Buckeyes started at No. 7 in the preseason poll before falling to No. 20 on January 1. They were 18th on January 15 and have been on the rise ever since.

South Carolina remained the unanimous No. 1 choice, again winning all 35 first-place votes in Monday’s poll after routing Missouri and then no. 11 UConn. The Gamecocks did it without star center Kamilla Cardoso, who was playing for Brazil in the Olympic qualifying tournament.

Stanford jumped three spots to No. 3. Iowa dropped to fourth and Texas climbed to fifth.

This is the sixth straight week that there is another No. 2 team in the poll after Iowa blew a double-digit lead to Nebraska on Sunday. Caitlin Clark, who is eight points shy of the NCAA career scoring record, was scoreless in the fourth quarter.

The Hawkeyes weren’t the only top-five team to lose last week. NC State fell three spots to sixth after falling to Virginia Tech. Colorado fell four spots to eighth after a home loss to Oregon State. Kansas State remained seventh.

UCLA and USC remained ninth and tenth.

This is the first time since Week 9 of last season that no new team has entered the ballot.

Oregon State made the biggest leap, moving up six spots to 11th after sweeping Utah and Colorado. The Beavers are currently third in the Pac-12 standings behind Stanford and the Buffaloes. They’ve won five in a row and host UCLA and USC this week.

The six different teams in second place are unusual, although there was a period in 2021 where a different team held the spot for seven straight weeks. This season, UCLA and Iowa both held the spot twice before losing. Kansas State had the spot for a week before a loss. It’s Ohio State’s turn. The Buckeyes spent two weeks in second place last year in January before losing. Ohio State hosts Nebraska this week.

No. 18 Louisville finished a tough stretch of its schedule that saw the Cardinals face four straight Top 25 teams. They went 2-2 against them after losing to Syracuse on Sunday. Jeff Walz’s team split two games with the Orange sandwiched around a loss to NC State and a win against Notre Dame.

The Pac-12, which has been the most dominant conference so far this season, has five teams in the top 11 and six ranked in the Top 25 overall. The ACC and Big 12 come next with five teams each. The Big 12 has three and the Big East and SEC each have two. The Ivy and the West Coast each have one.


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