Hello all and welcome back to my weekly column called ‘Behind the Ballot,’ where I will share my Top 25 women’s basketball rankings that I submit to be included in the Student Media Poll. The SMP is a weekly basketball poll, voted on by student journalists from around the country ‘, and I am fortunate enough to serve as a women’s basketball voter. I looked at previous rankings and games from the past week to determine my weekly ballot. With that being said, let’s jump into this week’s rankings!
- South Carolina
- NC State
- Iowa State
- Notre Dame
- North Carolina
- Virginia Tech
- Georgia Tech
- Ohio State
No. 12 Texas—This week did not have too many good wins, but it did have a lot of losses. Texas was one of the few teams that excelled, picking up a really solid win over No. 13 Iowa State. It wasn’t just a win, either. They brought the Cyclones into the Frank Erwin Center and blew them out by 25 points, largely thanks to Rori Harmon’s monster performance, collecting team highs in points (20), assists (nine), rebounds (six) and steals (six). Harmon has been the point guard that the Longhorns have needed all season, doing a nice job distributing the rock well to her teammates with nearly five assists per game. She will continue to be called on as Texas looks to finish their season strong.
No. 18 North Carolina–Another one of those rare good wins that came this week was recorded by UNC, who took down a surging Louisville team coming off an eight game win streak. The game was neck and neck all the way through, but it was a pair of Kennedy Todd-Williams free throws that put the Tar Heels up by one with just 16 seconds to go. Todd-Williams scored 19 points and grabbed five boards on the day and is really starting to find her consistency at the right time. UNC is far from perfect, but they have proven that they are for real and have grown a lot throughout the season. They will be a fun team to watch in March.
No. 9 Indiana–After rising into the top five, Indiana had one of the more disappointing weeks in college basketball, playing in three unranked games and exiting with just one win to show for it. They lost to Nebraska on the road in a game where the Hoosiers just looked lifeless. They then returned home for one against a mediocre (7-7 in the Big Ten) Northwestern team and then lost to Caitlin Clark and Iowa in a game that was not as close as the score suggested. It’s not time to panic, but it would be nice to see the Hoosiers win out and gain some positive momentum going into the Big Ten tournament.
No. 21 Georgia–There have been few teams colder in recent weeks than the Georgia Bulldogs, who have lost four of their last five games, including one to Auburn, who is 2-12 in conference. Losing to a team like Auburn is an indicator that things are going seriously wrong and that changes need to be made immediately. As of late, Jenna Staiti has been less efficient than she had been, shooting under 46% in each of the four losses. When she’s doing well, things go much better for the Bulldogs.
No. 10 UConn—The Huskies continue to bring players back and will need to build chemistry to pull things together and challenge the best teams in the country. It looks unlikely that Paige Bueckers will make her long-awaited return this week, so gelling will need to happen on the fly as things get further. If anyone can do it though, it’s the coach who has won 11 titles. UConn continues to win games, and it looks unlikely that they will do so again until the NCAA tournament.