Sports

Ohio State climbs to No. 2, Stanford up to No. 3 behind unbeaten South Carolina in women's AP Top 25

Ohio State is up to No. 2 in The Associated Press Top 25 women's basketball poll, matching the best ranking in school history.

The Buckeyes, who were fifth last week, have won 11 straight games and their only losses this season have come to USC, UCLA and Michigan. The Buckeyes started as No. 7 in the preseason poll before falling to 20th on Jan. 1. They were 18th on Jan. 15 and have been on the rise ever since.

South Carolina remained the unanimous No. 1 choice, grabbing all 35 first-place votes again in Monday's poll after routing Missouri and then-No. 11 UConn. The Gamecocks did it without star center Kamilla Cardoso, who was playing for Brazil in the Olympic qualifying tournament.

Stanford moved up three places to No. 3. Iowa dropped to fourth and Texas climbed to fifth.

It's the sixth consecutive week that there's a different No. 2 team in the poll after Iowa blew a double-digit lead to Nebraska on Sunday. Caitlin Clark, who is eight points short of the NCAA record for career scoring, was scoreless in the fourth quarter.

The Hawkeyes weren't the only top five team to lose last week. N.C. State dropped three spots to sixth after falling to Virginia Tech. Colorado fell four spots to eighth after a loss at home to Oregon State. Kansas State remained seventh.

UCLA and USC stayed in ninth and 10th.

This is the first time since Week 9 of last season that no new team entered the poll.

RISING BEAVERS

Oregon State made the biggest leap, moving up six spots to 11th after sweeping Utah and Colorado. The Beavers are currently third in the Pac-12 standings behind Stanford and the Buffaloes. They have won five straight and host UCLA and USC this week.

BAD LUCK NO. 2

The six different teams in the No. 2 spot is unusual, though there was a stretch in 2021 when a different team held the spot for seven straight weeks. This season, UCLA and Iowa both held the spot twice before losing. Kansas State had the slot for a week before a loss. It's Ohio State's turn. The Buckeyes had a two-week run at No. 2 last year in January before losing. Ohio State hosts Nebraska this week.

END OF A TOUGH STRETCH

No. 18 Louisville finished off a difficult part of its schedule that saw the Cardinals face four consecutive Top 25 teams. They went 2-2 against them after falling to Syracuse on Sunday. Jeff Walz’s team split two games with the Orange sandwiched around a loss to N.C. State and victory over Notre Dame.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Pac-12, which has been the most dominant conference so far this season, has five teams in the first 11 and six ranked in the Top 25 overall. The ACC and Big 12 are next with five teams each. The Big 12 has three and the Big East and SEC each have two. The Ivy and West Coast each have one.

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Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here. AP women's college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball

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