Stanford passes first real test, remains atop women’s Top 25

Sports

Stanford players celebrate during a timeout as they jump ahead of UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stanford faced its first real test of the season and passed to remain the top team in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll.

The Cardinal beat then-No. 10 UCLA 61-49 on Dec. 21, pulling away late in the only game between ranked opponents last week. Stanford again received 26 first-place votes Monday from a 30-member national media panel. Coach Tara VanDerveer’s team has another tough game ahead, visiting sixth-ranked Arizona on Friday.

While Stanford stayed on top, there was a little movement among the next few teams. Louisville remained No. 2 while North Carolina State moved up to third, edging UConn by a point in the poll. South Carolina stayed fifth.

The Huskies won their lone game last week, routing Villanova, but lost two points in the voting.

Arizona remained sixth, followed by Baylor, Oregon and Texas A&M. Arkansas switched places with UCLA to move into the top 10 for the first time since Jan. 20, 2003.

It was a relatively quiet week because of Christmas, as women’s basketball teams took off from Dec. 23-26. More than half of the Top 25 teams didn’t play a game over the past seven days.

Here are a few other tidbits from the poll:

ON PAUSE

Syracuse became the latest program to have to take a break because of the coronavirus. The 22nd-ranked Orange announced Sunday that a positive test was confirmed within the program. The team canceled its game with Morgan State scheduled for Monday night and could have to postpone its home game against North Carolina on Thursday.

South Carolina also lost a game this week against Mississippi on Thursday after the Rebels announced they had positive COVID-19 tests and were doing contact tracing and quarantining individuals according to SEC protocols.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN

Georgia sits just outside the Top 25 and the Bulldogs have a shot to enter the rankings next week. They host No. 12 Mississippi State on Thursday. Georgia (8-0) finished its nonconference schedule unbeaten for the fifth time in school history and first since 2009. The team has won its first eight games for the first time since the 2014-15 season. That squad won its first 12 games.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Michigan at Northwestern, Sunday. The 16th-ranked Wolverines finally are off pause and will face No. 15 Northwestern in an early season Big Ten contest. Michigan hasn’t played since Dec. 9. Both teams also play Thursday afternoon.

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