South Carolina remains No. 1; top 10 unchanged in women’s hoops Top 25

NEW YORK — Top-ranked South Carolina jumped into the new season by playing three games in the first five days.

The Gamecocks were challenged over the weekend in a tournament in South Dakota but emerged victorious. They remained the top choice in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll released Monday, receiving 29 of 30 first-place votes from a media panel.

The top 10 teams stayed the same as in the preseason poll, with Stanford, UConn, Baylor and Louisville rounding out the first five. South Carolina opened with an 81-point victory over Charleston before topping South Dakota by 10 and then-No. 21 Gonzaga by seven.

“I don’t think a whole lot of teams would come out of here undefeated with the talent that was here,” Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said. “Those were challenging opponents. Challenging. Some people won’t play teams like this because you’re susceptible to losing. It was good that this core group of players found their edge.”

Stanford won its first game, moving coach Tara VanDerveer three wins behind Pat Summitt’s total of 1,098 victories. It might be a while before the Cardinal play again; Santa Clara County on Saturday announced new COVID-19 rules that include a three-week ban starting Monday on practices and games for contact sports.

The Cardinal’s game against San Diego that was scheduled for Monday was canceled. UConn also was waiting to get its season started after the Huskies were put on pause because of a positive coronavirus test in their Tier I group.

Mississippi State, Arizona, North Carolina State, UCLA and Oregon rounded out the top 10.

Texas, under new coach Vic Schaefer, won its first two games and entered the poll at No. 25 for its first ranking since last December. Notre Dame fell out.

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Iowa State had the biggest drop in the poll, falling eight spots to No. 23 after splitting a pair of games. The Cyclones beat Omaha by 26 points to open the season before falling to South Dakota State 76-69. The team was missing coach Bill Fennelly, who is in quarantine after an exposure to COVID-19. He’ll miss games this week against TCU and South Carolina. No. 13 Indiana, No. 18 Gonzaga and No. 21 Missouri State all rose three places in the poll.

CORONAVIRUS COUNT: Over the first five days of the season, 69 games were either canceled or postponed because of COVID-19. No. 3 UConn and 15th-ranked Northwestern are still waiting to get their seasons started.

GAME OF THE WEEK: South Carolina hosts No. 8 NC State on Thursday in an early-season showdown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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South Carolina remains No. 1 in women’s AP Top 25; Texas in

NEW YORK (AP) — Top-ranked South Carolina jumped into the new season by playing three games in the first five days. The Gamecocks were challenged over the weekend in a tournament in South Dakota but emerged victorious.

They remained the top choice in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll released Monday, receiving 29 of 30 first-place votes from a media panel. The top 10 teams stayed the same as in the preseason poll, with Stanford, UConn, Baylor and Louisville rounding out the first five.

South Carolina opened with an 81-point victory over Charleston before topping South Dakota by 10 and then-No. 21 Gonzaga by seven.

“I don’t think a whole lot of teams would come out of here undefeated with the talent that was here,” Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said. “Those were challenging opponents. Challenging. Some people won’t play teams like this because you’re susceptible to losing. It was good that this core group of players found their edge.”

Stanford won its first game, moving coach Tara VanDerveer three wins behind Pat Summitt’s total of 1,098 victories. It might be a while before the Cardinal play again; Santa Clara County on Saturday announced new COVID-19 rules that include a three-week ban starting Monday on practices and games for contact sports. The Cardinal’s game against San Diego that was scheduled for Monday was canceled.

UConn also was waiting to get its season started after the Huskies were put on pause because of a positive coronavirus test in their Tier I group.

Mississippi State, Arizona, North Carolina State, UCLA and Oregon rounded out the top 10.

Texas, under new coach Vic Schaefer, won its first two games and entered the poll at No. 25 for its first ranking since last December. Notre Dame fell out.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley yells at her team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Sioux Falls, S.D.
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley yells at her team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Sioux Falls, S.D.Josh Jurgens/AP

Here are other tidbits from the women’s Top 25:

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Iowa State had the biggest drop in the poll, falling eight spots to No. 23 after splitting a pair of games. The Cyclones beat Omaha by 26 points to open the season before falling to South Dakota State 76-69. The team was missing coach Bill Fennelly, who is in quarantine after an exposure to COVID-19. He’ll miss games this week against TCU and South Carolina. No. 13 Indiana, No. 18 Gonzaga and No. 21 Missouri State all rose three places in the poll.

COMING UP COLLIER: Charli Collier had a stellar game for newly ranked Texas, scoring 44 points in Sunday’s win over North Texas. It was the highest single-game scoring total for a Texas player since 1994 and the fourth-highest total in school history.

She made 14 of her 17 shots from the field and was 14 of 15 from the free-throw line. Add 16 rebounds and two blocks, and it was a complete effort.

“My mindset was just being confident

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No. 1 South Carolina women beat South Dakota 81-71

Chloe Lamb led South Dakota (0-1) with 18 points, and Hannah Sjerven added 15 points and 12 rebounds.

NO. 10 OREGON 116, SEATTLE 51

EUGENE, Ore. — Taylor Mikesell scored 28 points and Oregon routed Seattle to open the season.

Mikesell, a junior transfer from Maryland, made seven 3-pointers in the first half, helping the Ducks to a 71-25 lead. Sedona Prince added 17 points, and Lydia Giomi had 15 points and 13 rebounds.

McKenzi Williams scored 20 points for Seattle (0-2).

NO. 24 MISSOURI STATE 81, NO. 12 MARYLAND 72

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Brice Calip scored a career-high 26 points and Missouri State overcame a 16-point deficit to beat Marylard in the Gulf Coast Showcase.

Jasmine Franklin had 14 points, eight rebounds and three steals for Missouri State (2-0). The Bearsscored 25 points off 24 Maryland turnovers.

Katie Benzan led Maryland (1-1) with 16 points. The Terrapins had won 18 straight games dating to a victory at Michigan on Jan. 12.

NO. 13 TEXAS A&M 93. NO. 19 DePAUL 91

CHICAGO — Kayla Wells scored 22 points, N’dea Jones had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Texas A&M edged DePaul.

Wells made two free throws with 4.9 seconds left to put Texas A&M (2-0) up 93-90. The Aggies shot 61%, making all three of their 3-pointers.

Dee Bekelja had 24 points for DePaul. The Blue Demons played with masks in their opener.

NO. 14 ARKANSAS 86, FLORIDA GULF COAST 80

FORT MEYERS, Fla. — Chelsea Dungee scored 19 of her 25 points in the second half, 10 in the fourth quarter, and Arkansas made four free throws in the final 11 seconds to beat Florida Gulf Coast in the Gulf Coast Showcase.

Makayla Daniels added 15 points for the Razorbacks (3-0). Ramirez and Destiny Slocum each had 12 and Taylah Thomas had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Tishara Morehouse had 35 points for the Eagles (1-2).

SOUTH DAKOTA 76, NO. 15 IOWA 69

BROOKINGS, S.D. — Haley Greer scored 20 points and Myah Selland added 19 to help South Dakota State beat Iowa in its opener.

Greer, a graduate transfer from Colgate, had three of her four 3-pointers in the first half. South Dakota State went 13 for 13 from the foul line in the fourth quarter and 23 of 26 overall to hold off the Cyclones for its 12th victory over a ranked opponent.

All-American Ashley Joens had 35 points and 12 rebounds for the Cyclones (1-1). They played without coach Bill Fennelly because of COVID-19 protocol.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Players for No. 1 South Carolina women sit during anthem

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina guard Zia Cooke said it was important for people not to forget the issues of social injustice and racial inequality that arose earlier this year.

That’s why she and nine of her teammates chose to sit in their chairs on the sideline while the national anthem was played before the Gamecocks’ 119-38 victory over Charleston on Wednesday.

The team discussed the action months ago while protests went on throughout the country to protest the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, who were Black.

“We just wanted everyone to know we haven’t forgotten about what’s going on,” Cooke said. “Of course, this is a basketball game, but we wanted to use our platform.”

Elysa Wesolek was the only player who stood. Coach Dawn Staley and her staff also stood as “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played.

The team issued a statement on Twitter saying the players’ actions were intended “to shine a light on the need for racial equality, social justice and to end systemic racism in the United States.”

South Carolina guard Zia Cooke, right, Olivia Thompson, and LeLe Grissett, remain seated during the conclusion of the national anthem, as coaches Dawn Staley and Fred Chmiel, left, stand on the sideline before an NCAA college basketball game against Charleston Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 119-38.
South Carolina guard Zia Cooke, right, Olivia Thompson, and LeLe Grissett, remain seated during the conclusion of the national anthem, as coaches Dawn Staley and Fred Chmiel, left, stand on the sideline before an NCAA college basketball game against Charleston Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 119-38.Sean Rayford/AP

Staley was proud that her players took a stand.

“They’re the ones are using their voices and their platform,” she said.

Staley said she heard a boo or two from fans and got messages on social media about supporters who pledged not to return.

“As coaches, we were going to support them no matter what they wanted to do, but I’m glad they put themselves in a position of utilizing their voices,” Staley said.

The team statement said it would support all players, whether they chose to stand or sit.

___

More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/Womenscollegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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No. 1 South Carolina women rout Charleston in season opener

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Zia Cooke was so excited to get to play again that she could barely sleep. She and her teammates with top-ranked South Carolina picked up where they left off in a runaway victory to start the fragile season.

Victaria Saxton had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Cooke scored 18 points as the Gamecocks overwhelmed Charleston 119-38 on Wednesday for their 27th straight win.

Cooke was worried her team might not get to play at all as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact college sports as it did last spring, when SEC champion South Carolina missed out on a chance at a national title.

“I had huge worries about that,” she said.

The Gamecocks had no worries about their basketball, though.

“Everybody’s growing, so it’s going to get better and better each year,” Cooke said. “We’ve got so much in store, I’m not going to give away everything we’ve got.”

South Carolina had seven players score in double figures and four had double-doubles, including Aliyah Boston with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

After last season’s NCAA Tournament was canceled, this team’s goal is simple — finish what it couldn’t last spring.

“It felt really great to get back on the court. We were real excited to get back and playing because COVID messed things up for everybody, not only us,” Saxton said.

It was the same quick, offensive-minded Gamecocks.

Destanni Henderson made a layup 5 seconds into the game and the South Carolina never looked back. Taylor Williams got

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Detroit Lions shutout 20-0 in embarrassing fashion in Carolina: Live updates recap

Fourth quarter

2:51 — Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 46

Two runs to drain the clock and a pass that should have been a first down. Wow. The Lions jumped, giving the Panthers fourth-and-inches. They jumped again. This is a new low. This is it, Lions fans.

4:57 — Detroit Lions drive starts on own 25

Stafford to Kerryon Johnson, who makes some nice move on his way to a 14-yard gain. Another first down, this one to Marvin Jones. The Lions are moving and getting up to the line in a hurry. Stafford is a sacked for the fifth time, Panthers still bringing pressure from all the angles. It’s fourth-and-14 — incomplete.

6:17 — Carolina Panthers drive starts on Detroit’s 22

Third-and-long after some nice run defense, Panthers running some clock down in field-goal range. Mike Davis is just short of the marker, flags are down — holding on the offense makes it third-and-16. Detroit has used two timeouts here, Panthers will look to make it 20-0. Okudah is down after the play there, in on the tackle, looks like he took a shot to the shoulder. No good on the kick, but more flags. Running into the kicker, second try is good. That’s a nightmare, wow. Panthers 20, Lions 0

9:10 — Detroit Lions drive starts on own 20

Third-and-10 — Stafford hits Jones well short of the markers. Fourth-and-2 — nice catch by Jones there, took a shot by Shaq Thompson. Brian Burns sprints past a miscommunication, sack makes it second-and-17. Another sack, fourth one of the game here. Third-and-20, short look hits the dirt. Fourth-and-20 — no chance.

14:08 — Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 41

Panthers aren’t wasting any time, Walker hits Anderson for a nice 11-yard catch and first down. D.J. Moore nearly took one to the house on the end-around, 21 yards down the field. Panthers knocking already, looking to put this one well out of reach with the shutout in view.

Panthers with a second-and-goal from the 10-yard line after Mike Davis gets some yards back following the penalty. Nice moves, Lions had him behind the line. Another interception in the end zone, this one by Desmond Trufant.

Lions open the quarter second-and-10 at Carolina’s 25-yard line — incomplete for Agnew, who took a shot on a catchable ball. Great pressure by Brian Burns, and Matt Prater misses the kick from 51 yards. Wow.

Third quarter

1:59 — Detroit Lions drive starts on own 25

Illegal hands to the face on Derrick Brown moves the chains out of the gates. Another touch for Jamal Agnew, nice diving catch, makes it third-and-short. Nice look for Hockenson out of the jumbo set, 35 yards down the field.

7:32 — Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 25

It’s third-and-2 after a nice look from Walker to Moore, Panthers are four for nine on third downs today. Walker gets out and hits Moore for the first, easy business. Walker and Moore are making

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Women’s basketball rankings: South Carolina, Stanford, UConn lead

After a sudden end to the 2019–20 women’s basketball campaign, the offseason brought change to rosters and—more unexpectedly—on sidelines.

Former Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw shocked many when she announced her retirement from the Fighting Irish after 33 years as head coach in April. Three months later, Duke coach Joanne McCallie resigned after 13 seasons with the program while Vic Schaefer left Mississippi State to join Texas.

While unanticipated, the suddenly-available positions allowed for impactful hires to be made. Notre Dame was quick to name former player and assistant coach Niele Ivey as McGraw’s successor, while Duke brought on Kara Lawson, a former Celtics assistant and the Blue Devils’ first Black head coach. Additionally, former WNBA player and South Carolina assistant Nikki McCray-Penson will head the Bulldogs’ program.

The new hires headlined an offseason that also saw the exits of three faces of the college basketball: Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, Texas A&M’s Chennedy Carter and Baylor’s Lauren Cox. The players all began their WNBA careers after their senior seasons were cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New leadership and faces make up the women’s basketball field—though familiar teams will likely remain on top entering the 2020-21 season. From South Carolina’s hold at No. 1 to UConn’s return to the Big East, here is a look at power rankings and burning questions for women’s college basketball as the season gets ready to begin on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

South Carolina players Zia Cooke and Aliyah Boston

Zia Cooke (left) and Aliyah Boston (right) are hoping to lead the Gamecocks to a national title in 2021.

Top 10 Ranking

1. South Carolina: The Gamecocks pick up the 2020–21 season where they left off last year: at No. 1. Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks will have to adjust after losing impact players Mikiah Herbert Harrigan and Ty Harris, but the program is set to build off last season’s success with a young group. Reigning national freshman of the year Aliyah Boston, guard Zia Cooke and Brea Beal will lead the way for South Carolina as the team will look to combine young talent with veteran leadership.

2. Stanford: Coming off a 27–6 season and second-place finish in the Pac-12, the Cardinal enter 2020–21 with one of the deepest rosters in the NCAA. Senior guard Kiana Williams leads the way after averaging a team-high 15.0 points and 3.8 assists last season and is joined by top recruits Cameron Brink and Jana Van Gytenbeek. The versatility of Stanford’s roster should shine this winter.

3. UConn: The Huskies will be powered by youth with a roster made up of seven new players and zero seniors as they make their return to the Big East. Top-ranked recruit Paige Bueckers leads the incoming group while junior guard Christyn Williams is slated as the team’s leader. UConn will have to make up for the loss of leading scorers Megan Walker and Crystal Dangerfield, but the team can have a high ceiling if its young core can mesh under Geno Auriemma’s leadership

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Women’s college basketball 2020-21 SEC predictions — Can anyone challenge No. 1 South Carolina?

As the countdown continues to the start of the 2020-21 women’s college basketball season on Nov. 25, ESPN.com’s panel of experts is making its predictions for all of the nation’s top conferences. We wrap up our league previews with the SEC, where the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks continue to dominate. The Mississippi State Bulldogs and Kentucky Wildcats have new head coaches, and all eyes are on Kellie Harper in her second season with the Tennessee Lady Vols.

Jump to: Superlatives | Roundtable
Biggest Bracketology question | Picks


SEC 2020-21 superlatives

Player of the Year

Mechelle Voepel: Rhyne Howard, Kentucky
Graham Hays: Rhyne Howard, Kentucky
Charlie Creme: Rhyne Howard, Kentucky

Newcomer of the Year

Voepel: Destiny Pitts, Texas A&M
Hays: Destiny Slocum, Arkansas
Creme: Destiny Pitts, Texas A&M


SEC 2020-21 writer roundtable

What does Matthew Mitchell’s abrupt retirement mean for national player of the year front-runner Rhyne Howard and Kentucky?

Voepel: First off, you feel for Matthew Mitchell and his family, and hope for the best for them. In an interview published by the Lexington Herald-Leader on Oct. 28, Mitchell said his recovery — he had brain surgery in the summer after a fall in March — had gone slower than he expected, but he was “rounding the corner” and anticipated being back to his full duties by the time the season started. Then, shockingly, he resigned on Nov. 12. Howard and the rest of the Wildcats are obviously sad and concerned for Mitchell. But by the same token, interim coach Kyra Elzy had essentially had been acting in a head coaching capacity while Mitchell was recuperating. So the players already have had time with her in that role.

2 Related

Elzy said philosophically she is a lot like Mitchell, especially with her emphasis on defense, and she has a great relationship with Howard. So this change — while difficult emotionally for all involved — is probably going to be relatively smooth. It’s also notable that now the 14-team SEC has seven Black women as head coaches with Elzy’s elevation, and four SEC head coaches are former Tennessee Lady Vol players.

Hays: I agree that, first and foremost, what this means for Mitchell is the most important part of the story. In a Zoom call a week or two before he retired, even while sounding a note of optimism, he didn’t hide the difficulty of his recovery. Hopefully he now has an opportunity to continue and complete that recovery at his own pace and figure out what comes next in his life.

On the basketball side, Mitchell’s retirement was abrupt ,but Kentucky had been adjusting to his absence for months because of the difficulty of that retirement. Elzy and the rest of what is now her staff were largely running things on a day-to-day basis throughout most of the summer. So not only do the players know her well, they know what it feels like when she’s the one who has the final word. In that sense, as sudden as

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South Carolina is near-unanimous No. 1 in USA TODAY Sports preseason women’s basketball poll

The preseason USA TODAY Sports women’s college basketball poll is out, and South Carolina will open the year right where it ended last season – at No. 1.



a group of people posing for the camera: South Carolina players celebrate after defeating Mississippi State to win the 2020 SEC women's basketball tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.


© Jeremy Brevard, USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina players celebrate after defeating Mississippi State to win the 2020 SEC women’s basketball tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

While South Carolina already has one national championship under coach Dawn Staley, this is the first top preseason ranking in program history, getting all but one of the 32 first-place votes from the panel of coaches. The Gamecocks, who swept the SEC regular-season and tournament titles a season ago, were also voted No. 1 in the final rankings when the NCAA tournament was called off in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The preseason voting for second was much closer. Stanford will start in the No. 2 position, claiming the remaining first-place vote and finishing eight points ahead of No. 3 Connecticut. With Baylor and Louisville in the next two spots, five different conferences are represented in the top five.

From NFL plays to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day.

TOP 25: Complete USA TODAY Sports preseason women’s basketball poll

POLL ANALYSIS: Outlooks for the Top 25 in the women’s basketball poll

NO DECISION: NCAA considering women’s basketball tournament locations

The power leagues dominate the poll, with the SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten entering the season with five ranked teams each. The Pac-12 has four in the top 10, however, while No. 11 Maryland heads the Big Ten contingent. The ACC features four ranked squads, with two each from the Big 12 and Big East.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: South Carolina is near-unanimous No. 1 in USA TODAY Sports preseason women’s basketball poll

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Will Muschamp gets $13 million parting gift with South Carolina firing

Will Muschamp has been fired by an SEC football program before the completion of its season. Again.

South Carolina axed Muschamp on Sunday with four years remaining on his contract, prompting a buyout of $13.2 million. He also had been fired by Florida in November 2014 with three years remaining on that deal.

South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner announced that offensive coordinator and former Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo will serve as the interim coach for the remainder of the season.

The Gamecocks (2-5) were torched for 708 yards of offense in Saturday’s 59-42 loss to Ole Miss, their third straight defeat.

“I appreciate all that Will Muschamp has done for our program and wish him and his family the best moving forward,” Tanner said in a statement. “I believe our program will be well served by Coach Bobo as the interim head coach as we search for a new leader for Gamecock Football.”

The 49-year-old Muschamp led South Carolina to three straight bowl appearances in his first three seasons in Columbia, but the Gamecocks have posted a 6-13 record the past two seasons. He similarly led Florida to an 11-2 mark and a Sugar Bowl appearance in his second season in Gainesville before going 10-13 over his final two seasons.

The 46-year-old Bobo was fired last year at Colorado State after posting a 28-35 record in five seasons with the Rams. South Carolina has three games remaining this season, home games against Missouri and No. 13 Georgia and a road game Dec. 5 at Kentucky.

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