Women: South Carolina, Pac-12 trio lead the way

1 week ago 22
  • Michael Voepel, ESPN.comNov 20, 2023, 09:00 AM ET


      Michael Voepel covers the WNBA, women's assemblage basketball, and different assemblage sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women's hoops successful 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

Pac-12 women's hoops players and coaches privation to absorption connected the contiguous this season. It's thing they tin effort to control, since the impending breakup of the league to pursuit gross is retired of their hands. And truthful far, the Pac-12 is taking a starring relation successful the 2023-24 season.

Three Pac-12 teams onshore successful the apical five, and 5 teams overall, successful the Week 2 ESPN women's assemblage hoops Power Rankings. The league went 28-0 aft the archetypal week. The Pac-12 is present 47-4 astatine the extremity of the 2nd week. Where volition the league beryllium astatine the decision of Feast Week?

Perhaps the biggest matchup of this upcoming week pits UCLA and UConn successful the Cayman Islands Classic. Stanford could conscionable Florida State successful the astatine Ball Dawgs Classic successful suburban Las Vegas. And Colorado, which acceptable disconnected each kinds of fireworks with the Buffaloes' opening-day triumph implicit defending nationalist champion LSU, volition instrumentality connected NC State successful the Paradise Jam Classic successful the Virgin Islands.

The Tigers, the preseason No. 1 team, person kept observers engaged trying to decipher vague/cryptic societal media posts from past and contiguous LSU players successful an effort to fig retired the existent discord. Star Angel Reese was benched successful the 2nd fractional of Tuesday's triumph implicit Kent State and didn't play successful Friday's triumph against SE Louisiana. Other than saying, "Angel is simply a portion of this hoops team, and we anticipation to spot her sooner than later," manager Kim Mulkey didn't springiness immoderate details connected Reese's absence.

By comparison, things person been upbeat among Pac-12 teams. Other than Utah's nonaccomplishment astatine Baylor, the league's apical squads person cleanable records. Stanford got a scare from Duke connected Sunday, but prevailed. And portion we cognize it's hard to debar immoderate grade of wistfulness successful reasoning astir this last Pac-12 season, the teams are approaching it arsenic they should: staying successful the moment.



Notre Dame's Hannah Hidalgo flexes aft and-1

Notre Dame defender Hannah Hidalgo flips successful the layup positive the interaction successful the archetypal quarter.

Player of the week: Hannah Hidalgo, Notre Dame

Hidalgo was the espnW HoopGurlz No. 5-ranked subordinate successful the Class of 2023, and the top-ranked constituent guard. She's showing wherefore already this young season. The freshman is averaging 25.5 points, 6.8 steals, 5.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds done 4 games. With guards Olivia Miles (out indefinitely aft a Feb. 26 genu injury) and Sonia Citron (out astir 2 weeks aft Wednesday's genu injury) sidelined, Hidalgo's contributions are adjacent much important.

In victories implicit Northwestern and Illinois past week, Hidalgo had a combined 45 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 steals. She has 27 steals, the astir by immoderate Division I subordinate successful her archetypal 4 vocation games implicit the past 25 seasons.

Team of the Week: Kansas State

Last season, Kansas State went 17-16 successful the regular play and precocious to the 3rd circular of the Women's NIT. It was a coagulated play considering the Wildcats were without their champion player, halfway Ayoka Lee. Her instrumentality from a genu wounded has the Wildcats optimistic they could beryllium headed backmost to the NCAA tourney successful March.

They added to their resume Thursday, winning 65-58 astatine then-No. 2 Iowa and becoming the archetypal squad to clasp the Hawkeyes beneath 60 points successful the Caitlin Clark era. Lee picked up 2 fouls successful the archetypal 2 minutes, 15 seconds of the game, yet kept her chill and finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Sunday, K-State handed Wisconsin its archetypal nonaccomplishment of the play -- 75-57 -- down 20 points from Lee.

Win of the week: Davidson 69, Duke 62

Admittedly, these teams person met conscionable 7 times. But it's inactive notable that the lone erstwhile Davidson triumph implicit Duke was successful 1978. The Wildcats' triumph Thursday astatine Cameron Indoor Stadium successful Durham, North Carolina, snapped Duke's 25-game winning streak against unranked foes.

Davidson, which was led by elder Elle Sutphin's 19 points, had different triumph against the ACC this season, beating Wake Forest connected Nov. 11. It's the archetypal clip since 1994 that Davidson has defeated 2 ACC teams successful the aforesaid season. And the Wildcats besides came adjacent to upsetting North Carolina, falling to the Tar Heels 74-70 connected Nov. 12.

Coach of the week: Jennie Baranczyk, Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners mislaid 2022-23 starters Madi Williams, Taylor Robertson and Ana Llanusa to graduation and Liz Scott to a preseason injury. Yet with conscionable constituent defender Nevaeh Tot arsenic a returning starter, Oklahoma is 5-0. That includes wins this past week vs. Alabama State and astatine Virginia. The Sooners besides person a roadworthy triumph implicit then-No. 12 Ole Miss connected Nov. 9.

Payton Verhulst, a transportation from Louisville, leads the Sooners astatine 15.6 PPG, portion two-time Big 12 Sixth Player of the Year Skylar Vann, present a starter, is astatine 14.8. In Baranczyk's 3rd play with the Sooners, they are again expected to beryllium 1 of the country's highest-scoring teams. They presently mean 89.8 PPG and finished astatine 84.2 past play (second successful Division I) and 82.6 successful 2021-22 (third).

Power Rankings



Staley talks main takeaway from South Carolina's win

Dawn Staley recaps the antiaircraft improvements from the Gamecocks' triumph vs. Clemson portion joking astir MiLaysia Fulwiley's "Harlem Globetrotters" item plays.

1. South Carolina Gamecocks (3-0)
Previous ranking:
This week: vs. South Dakota State (Monday), vs. Mississippi Valley State (Friday)

After opening the play with victories implicit 2 ranked teams, the Gamecocks enactment the wounded connected Clemson. They won 109-40, with 54 points coming disconnected the bench. Raven Johnson 's 17 assists tied for 2nd successful schoolhouse past and was the astir successful a crippled by an SEC subordinate since 2005. South Carolina's 323 points are the second-most done 3 games by a squad successful SEC history; past season's LSU squad is archetypal with 343.

2. UCLA Bruins (4-0)
Previous ranking:
This week: astatine Cayman Islands Classic: vs. UConn (Friday) and vs. Niagara (Saturday)

The Bruins got their archetypal trial Friday against Princeton, a down-to-the-wire 77-74 victory. Lauren Betts, who transferred from Stanford, has had double-doubles successful 3 of her 4 games for UCLA; she had conscionable 1 past play arsenic a freshman with the Cardinal. Heading into the crippled against UConn, the Bruins are 0-7 successful the series, with the astir caller gathering a 71-61 nonaccomplishment successful 2021.



Kiki Iriafen goes 5-for-5 successful cleanable archetypal 4th for Stanford

Kiki Iriafen cannot miss successful the archetypal quarter, making each 5 of her changeable attempts against Duke.

3. Stanford Cardinal (4-0)
Previous ranking:
This week: astatine Ball Dawgs Classic successful Henderson, Nevada: vs. Belmont (Wednesday) and vs. Florida State/Northwestern (Friday), vs. UAlbany (Sunday)

After cruising past Cal Poly by 54 points Thursday, the Cardinal appeared connected their mode to a double-digit triumph implicit Duke. But the Blue Devils rallied and sent the crippled into overtime. The Cardinal's interior duo of Cameron Brink and Kiki Iriafen combined for 56 points and 20 rebounds, and Brink added six blocks successful an 82-79 win. Expect to support proceeding a batch astir those 2 forwards.

4. Colorado Buffaloes (4-0)
Previous ranking:
This week: astatine Paradise Jam Classic successful Virgin Islands: vs. Cincinnati (Thursday), vs. Kentucky (Friday), vs. NC State (Saturday)

Center Aaronette Vonleh looks to beryllium having a breakout inferior season. She didn't get overmuch playing clip arsenic a freshman astatine Arizona, past transferred to Colorado. She averaged 12.2 PPG arsenic a starter for the Buffs past season, and is astatine 19.5 this play portion shooting 71.7% from the field. Vonleh had 23 points successful past week's triumph astatine SMU.



Kim Mulkey evades questions connected Angel Reese's absence

LSU manager Kim Mulkey refuses to sermon Angel Reese's lack from her starting lineup Friday night.

5. LSU Tigers (4-1)
Previous ranking:
This week: vs. Texas Southern (Monday), astatine Cayman Islands Classic: vs. Niagara (Friday) and vs. Virginia (Saturday)

Whatever other is going connected astatine LSU, freshman Mikaylah Williams seems unfazed. Her 42 points connected 75% shooting led the Tigers successful a 109-79 triumph implicit Kent State arsenic her assemblage vocation is disconnected to a beardown start. Many eyes are connected the Reese situation, but arsenic we already knew, determination is simply a batch of endowment connected this team.

6. UConn Huskies (3-1)
Previous ranking:
This week: astatine Cayman Islands Classic: vs. UCLA (Friday) and vs. Kansas (Saturday)

The Huskies clobbered Maryland 80-48 and past won Paige Bueckers' homecoming crippled astatine Minnesota 62-44 past week. But the interest is different wounded to defender Azzi Fudd, who missed some those games. With each she and the Huskies person been done injury-wise, the anticipation is she won't beryllium retired a important magnitude of time.



Saniya Rivers increases NC State's pb precocious with a bully bucket

Madison Hayes gives a bully walk to Saniya Rivers, who finishes with a bully bucket for NC State.

7. NC State Wolfpack (4-0)
Previous ranking:
This week: astatine Paradise Jam Classic successful Virgin Islands: vs. Kentucky (Thursday), vs. Cincinnati (Friday), vs. Colorado (Saturday)

The Wolfpack followed their upset of UConn with victories past week implicit Elon and Rhode Island. The Rams gave NC State a battle. But guards Saniya Rivers and Aziaha James led the Wolfpack's beardown decorativeness successful the past 4 minutes. The 2 combined are averaging conscionable implicit 37 PPG.

8. Iowa Hawkeyes (4-1)
Previous ranking:
This week: astatine Gulf Coast Showcase successful Estero, Florida: vs. Purdue Fort Wayne (Friday), vs. Delaware/Florida Gulf Coast (Saturday), vs. TBD (Sunday)

The Hawkeyes looked retired of sync successful their 63-58 nonaccomplishment to Kansas State past Thursday. Their violative skid lasted each of 1 game, arsenic they bounced backmost to bushed Drake 113-90 connected Sunday. Caitlin Clark, who was 9-of-32 from the tract vs. the Wildcats, looked similar her accustomed aforesaid against the Bulldogs: 35 points connected 14 of 22 shooting and 10 assists, positive a career-high 7 steals.



Baylor pulls distant precocious for triumph implicit Harvard

Baylor pulls distant precocious for triumph implicit Harvard

9. Baylor Bears (3-0)
Previous ranking:
This week: vs. McNeese (Friday), vs. Alcorn State (Sunday)

The Bears determination into the apical 10 acknowledgment to a 84-77 triumph implicit Utah connected Tuesday. They followed that with a 10-point triumph Sunday implicit Harvard. Aijha Blackwell's 16 points against the Crimson were the astir she has scored since getting 23 past November against Incarnate Word. Blackwell played conscionable six further games aft that past play due to the fact that of injury.

10. Utah Utes (4-1)
Previous ranking:
This week: vs. Merrimack (Friday)

Utah has scored astatine slightest 100 points successful its victories this play but was constricted to 77 successful a nonaccomplishment to Baylor. The Utes bounced backmost from that decision to triumph the Great Alaska Shootout with victories implicit Alaska Anchorage and Eastern Kentucky. Alissa Pili, the reigning Pac-12 subordinate of the year, is shooting 73.2% from the field.

11. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1)
Previous ranking:
This week: vs. UNC Greensboro (Monday), astatine Cayman Islands Classic: vs. Kansas (Friday) and vs. Tulane (Saturday)

The Hokies followed a nonaccomplishment to Iowa connected Nov. 9 with a blowout 105-36 romp against Houston Christian past Thursday. Georgia Amoore had a single-game school-record 16 assists and the 69-point borderline of triumph was the largest successful programme history. Virginia Tech's upcoming matchup with Kansas should beryllium much challenging.

12. Texas Longhorns (4-0)
Previous ranking:
This week: astatine Paradise Jam Classic successful Virgin Islands: vs. Arizona State (Thursday), vs. High Point (Friday), vs. South Florida (Saturday)

With 4 victories against overmatched foes, Texas seems hardest for present to genuinely measure successful the Power Rankings. We could get a amended consciousness of the Longhorns based connected their Paradise Jam performance, but Dec. 3 against UConn is Texas' astir anticipated crippled earlier league play starts.

13. USC Trojans (3-0)
Previous ranking:
This week: astatine Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship successful Bahamas: vs. Seton Hall (Monday), vs. Penn State (Wednesday)

The JuJu Watkins amusement continued, arsenic the freshman scored 35 points against Le Moyne successful a triumph past Monday. She is averaging 28.3 points and 7.3 rebounds. USC inferior Rayah Marshall is shooting 70% from the field.

14. Florida State Seminoles (4-0)
Previous ranking:
This week: astatine Ball Dawgs Classic successful Henderson, Nevada: vs. Northwestern (Wednesday), vs. Belmont/Stanford (Friday)

Sophomore defender Ta'Niya Latson scored a career-best 35 points -- 17 successful a monolithic 4th fourth -- for a 79-75 triumph implicit in-state rival Florida connected Friday. That was followed by a blowout triumph implicit South Alabama connected Sunday, which besides was notable for Latson arsenic she got a career-high 11 rebounds.

15. Kansas State Wildcats (4-0)
Previous ranking:
This week: astatine Gulf Coast Showcase successful Estero, Florida: vs. Western Kentucky (Friday), vs. North Carolina/Vermont (Saturday), vs. TBD (Sunday)

How overmuch did K-State's defence stymie Iowa connected Thursday? The Hawkeyes had 22 tract goals successful the game, compared to a school-record 45 Sunday against Drake. On Sunday, the Wildcats held Wisconsin to conscionable 20 tract goals successful a 75-57 win. Interestingly, there's a accidental Iowa and K-State could conscionable again successful the Gulf Coast Showcase final.

16. Ohio State Buckeyes (2-1)
Previous ranking:
This week: astatine Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship successful Bahamas: vs. East Carolina (Monday) and vs. Oklahoma State (Wednesday), vs. Cornell (Sunday)

The Buckeyes bushed Boston College 88-66 Thursday arsenic the Ohio State starters changeable astir 70% from the field. Cotie McMahon, the Big Ten freshman of the twelvemonth past season, has bounced backmost from an opening nonaccomplishment to USC erstwhile she was constricted to 7 points. She has scored 22 and 24 successful her past 2 games.

Fell out: Maryland