South Dakota women drop to No. 25 in AP Poll


NEW YORK – South Dakota women’s basketball ranks No. 25 in this week’s poll to post its third week in the Associated Press Top 25 this season.

South Dakota drops three places in the writer’s poll after a week filled with upsets in women’s basketball. Eleven ranked teams lost 13 games during the week with eight of those losses coming against unranked opponents. Both No. 18 Arizona State and No. 22 Iowa climbed into the poll after two wins each against top-25 teams. The Sun Devils knocked off then-No. 2 Oregon and then-No. 3 Oregon State in back-to-back games. South Carolina, one of the Coyotes’ two losses on the season, moved to No. 1 in the poll for the first time this season.

No. 25 South Dakota (15-2) handled Omaha with a 77-44 victory in its lone game last week. Senior guard Ciara Duffy was one of four players in double-figures, recording a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists. She became the first Coyote since the 2015-16 season to record 10 or more assists in a game.

Joining Duffy in double-digits was junior center Hannah Sjerven with 12 points, senior forward Taylor Frederick with 11 points and junior guard Chloe Lamb with 10 points.

No. 25 South Dakota remains in the Associated Press Poll for back-to-back weeks and its third week this season. The Coyotes have been in the AP Top 25 for five weeks over the last two seasons combined with its highest ranking of 22nd coming a week ago.

The Coyotes tip-off at North Dakota State at 7 p.m. Thursday in Fargo, North Dakota. South Dakota then returns home to host in-state rival South Dakota State at 1 p.m. Saturday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center. Tickets for the game against the Jacks are available on GoYotes.com.

NEW YORK (AP) – South Carolina moved up three spots to No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll after the top three teams from the previous week all lost.

It was a rough week for ranked teams, with 11 of them losing at least one game, including Nos. 1-3 falling in a four-day span. The last time the top three teams in the AP Top 25 lost within a span of seven days was during the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

It wasn’t just the top teams that lost. Eight of the Top 25 programs were beaten by unranked teams, showing more parity in the sport than before. Only two teams – No. 9 North Carolina State and No. 16 Gonzaga – stayed in the same place.

Baylor jumped up four spots to No. 2 on Monday after beating then-No. 1 UConn. The Lady Bears, who received seven first-place votes from the 30-member national media panel, were followed by Stanford, UConn and Louisville. Oregon, UCLA, Oregon State, N.C. State and Mississippi State rounded out the top 10.

South Carolina, which got 20 first-place votes, was last No. 1 on Feb. 9, 2015 – the end of a 12-week run atop the poll.

“Our ‘Women Up’ theme this season is about approaching each practice and game with a focused, disciplined and trusting mindset. Our players have embraced this process and their commitment to hard work has earned them the No. 1 ranking in the country,” coach Dawn Staley said.

The Gamecocks are the fourth different team to hold the top spot in the poll this season. It’s only the third time since the AP Top 25 became a writer’s poll in the 1994-95 season that there have been four different No. 1 teams in the same year. The other two times occurred in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

There has never been five different No. 1 teams in the same year since it became a writer’s poll.

There is no clear-cut favorite now to win the national championship. A handful of teams look like they could win the NCAA title in New Orleans.

“I don’t think there is one team that is head and shoulders above anybody. There are about six teams that have the ability the talent and the coaching to win it all,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “Don’t ask me who those six are, but I think there is about six and I think we are one of them and I think Connecticut is one of them.”

Here are a few other tidbits from the poll:

WHAT A WEEKEND 

Arizona State had one of the greatest weekends in Division I history, knocking off then-No. 2 Oregon on Friday and No. 3 Oregon State on Sunday. It’s the first time a team has beaten two AP top-five teams in back-to-back games during the regular season since 2010, when Stanford topped No. 4 Xavier and No. 1 UConn.

“We have a lot of great teams, including us, in our conference,” Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “Clearly, we were young and injured early, but we’ve gotten healthy.”

The Sun Devils vaulted into the Top 25 this week at No. 18.

RISING HAWKEYES 

Iowa had its own stellar week, entering the poll at No. 22 after knocking off then-No. 17 Maryland and beating then-No. 12 Indiana in double overtime. The Hawkeyes moved into a tie atop the Big Ten standings.

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