The Arguments for Number One in Women’s Basketball

Thanks to Missouri’s huge upset the other night, and there should be a new number one next week in the polls. Four teams are in a position to claim that spot. South Carolina, Louisville, Stanford, and Arizona all have solid arguments. This piece will differentiate between teams and present the arguments for number one. In addition, I will include my pick for next week’s rankings.

The Arguments for Number One in Women’s Basketball

South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina has the most talented roster in the country with Zia Cooke, Destanni Henderson, Aliyah Boston, and Victaria Saxton. Despite the 70-69 loss to Missouri, at 12-1, this team still has an argument for number one. SC has wins over NC State, Stanford, Maryland, UCONN, Duke, Kansas St., and Oregon. That is a total of at least seven tournament-caliber teams they have beaten this season. The win over Stanford is significant and should keep them ahead of the Cardinal next week. However, the Missouri loss hurts because the SEC is extremely tough, and Missouri lost by 30 to Missouri State earlier this year. Typically the AP will change the rankings after a loss. Therefore despite having the most impressive resume and strength of schedule, South Carolina may go down to 2nd or 3rd depending on what the AP voters want to do. As a result, I would rank SC at number two next week.

Stanford Cardinal

Despite the immense talent in Haley Jones, Cameron Brink, Lexie Hull, and Lacie Hull, Stanford’s argument for number one is a bit more challenging to understand. With a record of 8-3, it would be odd for the AP to place them above one or zero loss teams at the top spot. However, they have wins over Maryland, Tennessee, Indiana, and Gonzaga. The Tennessee win was especially impressive, the Cardinal was up 20 in Knoxville, but Tennessee came storming back in the second half to make it close. Winning in Knoxville is no easy feat and should not be overlooked. Stanford is the defending champion from last season; therefore, they have more credibility than everyone else. Unfortunately, they have three losses to SC, Texas, and USF. The USF loss was in their Bahamas tournament, and it was the third game of a three-day stretch. This loss weakens their argument significantly; USF lost to Texas Arlington this season. As a result, Stanford should be number three next week.

Louisville Cardinals

With great talent in Hailey Van Lith, Emily Engstler, and Chelsie Hall, the Cardinals have the strongest argument for number one, with wins over UCONN, Michigan, Kentucky, Boston College, and Belmont have the best resume apart from SC. Their only loss was in overtime to Arizona in the first game of the season. Since then, Louisville has shown just how good they are. The win over Michigan was 70-48, complete domination of a Wolverine team that has beaten Baylor. The win over UCONN is impressive; even though UCONN is not at full strength, winning in Mohegan is extremely difficult, and UCONN gave them a major challenge. Louisville better watches out because they face Georgia Tech on Sunday. Tech took down the Huskies and had a win over Georgia this season. As long as Louisville wins Sunday, they are my pick for number one.

Arizona Wildcats

The Wildcats are one of the best defensive teams in the country, and their defense has led them to a 10-0 start. They have wins over Louisville and Depaul; however, the rest of their schedule is fragile. Arizona missed a significant opportunity recently when their game against Texas was canceled. Winning that game would have made them my pick for number one. The Louisville was very impressive; however, this is not enough to put them at number one. Unfortunately, only two wins over tournament teams do not compare to any of the other top 4 teams. Arizona needs a few more big wins in PAC 12 play to solidify their spot at the top. A victory over the Cardinal later in the season would be very significant. Without that, this team will not be a number one seed, but they are the number four team in the nation for now.

This season is a rollercoaster ride; more teams not on my list will have arguments for number one later in the season. The field is wide open, and this year is the best Women’s basketball has to offer. All four of these teams can make deep runs, but each one has flaws and will be exposed at different times throughout the year. I am excited to watch the rest of the season and see how these teams do in their conferences.

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