Week of Upsets Shakes Up Women’s Basketball

Sports|Week of Upsets Shakes Up Women’s Basketball

The Nos. 1, 2 and 3 teams all lost, pushing South Carolina to the top of the poll.

Week of Upsets Shakes Up Women’s Basketball
Arizona State celebrated its second upset of the week, over Oregon State.Credit...Darryl Webb/Associated Press
Week of Upsets Shakes Up Women’s Basketball


The No. 1 team lost. Then the No. 2 team lost. Then the No. 3 team lost.

An unexpected week in women’s college basketball ended with No. 4 South Carolina ascending to the top spot in the rankings on Monday.

No. 1 Connecticut lost at home to No. 6 Baylor on Thursday. Unexpected? UConn had won 98 straight games at home, dating to 2013.

The No. 2 team, Oregon, lost when it visited unranked Arizona State on Friday, 72-66. And when the No. 3 team, Oregon State, made the same road trip on Sunday, it too lost to Arizona State. That was the first time any team had back-to-back wins over top-five teams in the regular season since 2010, and the first time that feat was performed by an unranked team.

That left South Carolina (16-1), which beat No. 21 Arkansas and Vanderbilt last week, to take over the top spot in the Associated Press poll. South Carolina began the season at No. 8, and lost to Indiana in November, but also has several good wins, including a defeat of Baylor, then ranked No. 2, in the Virgin Islands. It is South Carolina’s first time at the top of the poll since 2015.

Baylor was back at No. 2 after its upset of UConn, followed by Stanford at No. 3.

Voters dropped Connecticut to No. 4, Oregon to No. 6 and previously unbeaten Oregon State all the way to No. 8. (Both Connecticut and Oregon have won since their upset defeats, Connecticut by a typical Husky margin of 40 points over Houston.)

Arizona State (13-4), the team that foiled the chances of the state of Oregon to grab the No. 1 spot, entered the poll at No. 18.

Just one unbeaten team remains in the top 25, U.C.L.A., which, moved to No. 7 from No. 8.

In all, 11 of the top 25 teams in last week’s women’s poll lost. What makes the week more remarkable is that the very best teams in women’s college basketball lose a lot less frequently than the men. The four No. 1 seeds at last year’s women’s tournament, for example, lost one, two, three and three games. The four No. 1s on the men’s side lost three, three, five and six times.

The last time the top three women’s teams lost in a single week was at the 2011 N.C.A.A. tournament.

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