As we get closer to the new year, more and more games are being postponed or canceled across the country, while some of the most well-known head coaches have called for a pause to the season. While that currently looks unlikely to happen right now, COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on this 2020-21 season.
Northwestern just played their first game of the season this weekend, while UConn is still waiting to take the court for their first official game this season. They open up on Saturday.
While teams continue battle scheduling difficulties and conflicts, games are being played, and many teams have either already gotten into conference play, or will do so before the new year.
Over the past week, we saw Arkansas, USF, and Kentucky pick up big wins over top-25 opponents, while Baylor, Mississippi State and DePaul suffered unexpected losses. For Baylor, its loss to Arkansas is certainly far from a bad one, as the Razorbacks are a talented, veteran team. USF showed us what it can do in a close loss to Baylor, before defeating Mississippi State. For DePaul, it wasn't the loss itself to Louisville that was unexpected, it was the way in which it lost.
While the top-three remained the same this week, our poll sees a number of changes this week, including three new schools to top-25 in Iowa, South Dakota State and USF.
Below is our updated top 25, as we get set for another great weekend of college basketball.
Women's Top 25 Power Rankings
1. Louisville (5-0)
Nothing changes at the top this week, as the Cardinals remain in the top spot. In fact, Louisville's dominant win over DePaul last Friday night, a 41-point victory, cemented their position for me. The Cardinals followed that up with a 73-49 win over Duke in their ACC opener as well. Dana Evans and Haley Van Lith have been fantastic at the guard position for Jeff Walz's team, but it may have been Olivia Cochran that had the biggest week. The freshman recorded back-to-back double-doubles including a dominating 19-point, 11-rebound performance against DePaul. Previous: 1
2. Stanford (3-0)
It has continued to be a bit of a rocky road thus far for the Cardinal in regards to their schedule, but that is likely to be the norm for teams across the country this season. They traveled to Las Vegas, where they got in games against UNLV and Washington, winning both by a combined 80 points. Sophomore Haley Jones had a terrific week, scoring 54 points in Stanford's two wins, while adding 13 rebounds against Washington. Fellow sophomore Fran Belibi, newcomer Cameron Brink, junior Lexie Hull and senior Kiana Williams have all had solid starts to the season. Their schedule continues to provide difficulties, as their next two games have been postponed or canceled. They hope to play Cal on Sunday.Previous: 2
3. NC State (5-0)
The Wolfpack followed up their big road win over South Carolina with two easy wins over Coastal Carolina and Elon. NC State will open up ACC play this weekend, as it travels to upstart Boston College on Sunday for a mid-afternoon tilt. While this game may not look like a big one on the surface, it should serve as another measuring stick for Wes Moore's team, as the Eagles have been playing really good basketball this season. The Wolfpack have six players averaging greater than 10 PPG right now, and while Elissa Cunane has been very good, it may be Kayla Jones who has been the most impressive thus far this season. This team is deep. This team is experienced. This team is very, very good. Previous: 3
4. South Carolina (4-1)
I don't believe any team has played the type of schedule that the Gamecocks has this season. They have challenged themselves early, and while they dropped a tough home contest to NC State last week, there is still no team setup better to make a run to the Final Four. Following the defeat to NC State, South Carolina did what really good teams do: they rebounded. They didn't just rebound and win a game, they won on the road, against a very strong Iowa State team. Sophomore Zia Cooke leads Dawn Staley's team in scoring at just over 16 PPG, while Destanni Henderson and Aliyah Boston are also averaging double digits. The Gamecocks have only one more game before they open SEC play on New Year's Eve -- a Dec. 17 home game against Temple.Previous: 5
5. Arizona (4-0)
Adia Barnes really has her Wildcats playing some defense. Arizona picked up a big in-state win over Arizona State on Thursday, when they gave up fewer than 10 points in three of the four quarters en route to a 65-37 win. Thursday's win marked the third win over a Pac 12 opponent already for Arizona. Aari McDonald and Cate Reese have been fantastic for the Wildcats in the early going, with McDonald averaging over 21 PPG and Reese averaging 16 PPG. The two Wildcat stars have combined for 80 points in their last two games. The Wildcats can really defend, but their offense goes as McDonald and Reese go. They continue Pac 12 play next weekend when they travel to take on Colorado and Utah. Previous: 7
6. UConn (0-0)
I'm not sure any team has had a more arduous start than the Uskies. They have yet to play a game, as they had to pause their team activities due to COVID concerns, but are set to open up this weekend against UMass-Lowell. They have had their Big East opener against Butler next week postponed and will now open Big East play at Seton Hall on Dec. 17. Previous: 6
7. Oregon (4-0)
The Ducks have cruised to a 4-0 start, with a 29-point win over Colorado accounting for their closest game to date. Things will get a bit tougher for Kelly Graves and the Ducks, as they head to Corvallis, Oregon, on Sunday to battle their in-state rival Oregon State to open up conference play. Oregon has continued where they left off last season on the offensive end, as they are averaging 92 PPG. The Ducks have been led by senior Erin Boley's 16.8 PPG, with Taylor Mikesell, Sedona Prince, and Nyara Sabally all averaging double digits. Conference play should be a true tell in regards to how deep this team actually is. They have 13 players averaging double digit minutes right now. My gut says that doesn't continue, but regardless, depth is going to be key for this team as it looks to win another Pac 12 title. Previous: 9
8. Baylor (3-1)
Following a close road victory over USF, the Bears dropped a road contest against a good Arkansas team out of the SEC. Baylor picked up a nice win over West Virginia on Thursday night in their Big 12 opener. Graduate transfer DiJonai Carrington was terrific in those two games, scoring a combined 43 points. Didi Richards continues to build on her remarkable comeback story, as she recorded a season-high 37 minutes against Arkansas, and followed that up with 36 minutes on Thursday night. Kim Mulkey's team will play four games next week, including a game against Texas Tech on Monday, before having a bit of a rest until the new year. Previous: 4
9. Kentucky (5-0)
The Wildcats now has their preseason All-American Rhyne Howard back and they picked up a big-time 72-68 win over Indiana this past weekend. Howard dropped 22 points in the victory. Kentucky has a big matchup next Wednesday against DePaul, which will be their last big non-conference test before entering the gauntlet that may be the SEC this season. Kentucky opens up SEC play with Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M and South Carolina. That is tough. If Kentucky wants to get through those games at 3-1 at a minimum, they will need more from their star. Howard, who missed the first two games, is averaging just over 14 PPG, as sophomore forward Dre'una Edwards currently leads the team in scoring at 14.4 PPG. The Wildcats have been really good defensively this year, outsourcing their opponents by just under 20 PPG. They will need to find more production offensively if they want to compete for an SEC title. Previous: 10
10. Texas A&M (5-0)
Gary Blair's team is back in the top-10 following a 5-0 start, including a really solid 66-61 win over Texas on Sunday. The Aggies now hold road wins over DePaul and Texas. While the combined margin of victory in those two wins is just 7 points, a win is a win, and the Aggies got them both. Senior N'dea Jones is off to a great start this year, averaging 16.2 PPG, while fellow seniors Aaliyah Wilson is right behind her at 13 PPG. Those two non-conference wins over DePaul and Texas are huge, especially as they get set to enter what promises to be a brutal SEC schedule. The knack for notching victories in close games early, could be big for this team. The Aggies begin SEC play on New Year's Eve, but before that, Texas A&M gets set for four more non-conference tilts. Previous: 11
|13. Mississippi State||2-1||8|
|18. Ohio St.||4-0||23|
|19. Missouri State||3-1||21|
|24. South Dakota State||3-1||NR|
|25. Oregon State||3-1||22|
First five out: UNC, DePaul, Texas, Iowa State and South Dakota
Who fell out? Iowa St., UNC and DePaul
Who entered? South Dakota St., South Florida and Iowa