If the South Carolina Gamecocks and Stanford Cardinal meet again this season in the Final Four, both teams will no doubt look back on everything they learned from Sunday’s women’s college basketball game.

The Gamecocks walked away from a 76-71 away overtime victory with increased faith in their bench (overtaking the Cardinal 34-9), their superstar (Aaliyah Boston struggled but still finished with a double-double and never faltered) and their resilience (after in the first, second, and third quarters, they outscored Stanford 32–17 in the fourth period and overtime).

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Cardinal left Sunday’s game disappointed because they were in control in the fourth quarter and then didn’t score for the next six minutes. Striker Cameron Brink had a great game but faced a foul again. The Cardinal blocked 10 shots and made a very solid defense during the first three quarters.

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Then everything changed. What caused Stanford’s goal drought in the fourth quarter? The South Carolina defense took him up a notch and made it harder for Cardinal freshman point guard Talana Lepolo. To that end, coach Dawn Staley had a bit more speed on the Gamecocks court, with sophomore Bree Hall putting more pressure on the ball. Staley then said she noticed some fatigue in her team about three minutes into the quarter and called a timeout.

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“It was the hit they needed to keep playing at the same pace,” Staley said. “I thought [we] clicked all the cylinders in terms of defense and then in terms of offense, we just simplified.

“I think in big games like this, you want to play so well that sometimes it works against you.”

Overall, it was an exciting game that gave both teams food for thought. Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said her team may just not be ready to be No. 1 just yet. But whether or not the Cardinals are ready, South Carolina won’t give up that easily.

The two remain at the top of the strength rankings in week 2. Quite a lot of movement happens after that, including two top-five preseason teams, the Texas Longhorns and Tennessee Lady Volunteers, dropped out of that 16 list after five losses. still.

Player of the Week: Azzi Fudd, UConn Huskies

In wins over the top 10 teams in Texas and NC State, the sophomore guard scored 64 points in total, shooting 55.6% from the field. So far, she has scored 90 points, more than any other UConn player in the last 20 years in the first three games of the season. Among them are Maya Moore (81 points), Breanna Stewart (74) and Diana Taurasi (73), all of whom were then starting their senior seasons.

Team of the Week: Kansas State Wildcats

The Wildcats are missing star center Ayoki Lee, who is out of action this season following knee surgery. But they started 5-0, including an 84-83 upset then-no. 4 Iowa, Thursday. Gabby Gregory, a senior defenseman from Oklahoma, is averaging 21.4 points per game. Sophomore quarterback Serena Sandell is second in scoring (14.6 ppg) and leads in rebounding (7.0) and assists (5.0).

Win of the Week: UCLA 80, Tennessee 63

Admittedly, a standout win came from South Carolina over Stanford. But let’s spread the word and give credit to the UCLA Bruins who won the Pac 12-SEC battle. The Lady Vols had a disappointing start, but that doesn’t detract from the excitement UCLA is having with a 5-0 heading into Monday’s Battle 4 Atlantis championship game.

The nod here also refers to Marquette, UCLA’s opponent on Monday, for his victories over Texas and Gonzaga in the Bahamas. Marquette is also 5-0.

Coach of the Week: Teri Moren, Indiana Hoosiers

Part of getting off to a 5-0 start, including last Monday’s win over Tennessee, was the additional signings of Sarah Scalia and Sidney Parrish, as well as the quick impact of Israeli rookie Yarden Garson. Morin, who first took the Hoosiers to the Elite Eight in 2021 and then to the Sweet 16 last season, has added strong additional elements around veterans Mackenzie Holmes and Grace Berger as the Hoosiers look like serious contenders for the Big Ten title. .

Strength Rating

1. South Carolina Gamecox (4:0)
Previous rating:
This week: vs. Cal Poly (Tuesday), vs. The Hamptons (Sunday)

The Gamecocks’ depth was a strong point last season when they won the NCAA title, and it’s the same this year. Admittedly, South Carolina is still trying to shore up the point guard, but the Gamecox have just 11 assists to Stanford’s 22. 17 seconds left in regulation time, after which Boston made a tie shot with 2.1 seconds remaining. The away win over the #2 team shows just how good the Gamecocks are.

2. Stanford Cardinal (5-1)
Previous rating:
This week: vs. Florida Gulf Coast (Friday), vs. Grambling (Saturday), vs. Hawaii Rainbow Wahine (Sunday) (all games in Honolulu, Hawaii)

Watching a movie from the game in South Carolina will not be fun for the Cardinal, but it will be instructive. There were good things. The combination of Brink’s 6ft 4in interior protection and 6-5 year old Ashten Prechtel can be ferocious. On offense, Brink was 8 of 13 from the field and 7 of 8 from the foul line; she became one of the hardest players to defend in a college game. Freshman guard Lepolo is way ahead of the learning curve with just six college games under his belt. But the aforementioned drought and psychological errors at the end of overtime overshadowed what looked like an epic day for Stanford.

3. YuConn Huskies (3-0)
Previous rating:
This week: vs. Duke (Friday), vs. Iowa/Oregon State (Sunday) (all games in Portland, Oregon)

In wins over Texas and North Carolina State last week, the Huskies didn’t just get big points from Fudd. They also received 24 assists from Nicky Muehl and 30 points from Aubrey Griffin. This week, the Huskies are in Portland’s Phil Knight Legacy Tournament with a four-team favorite despite forward Dork Juhas pulling out with a broken thumb.

4. Iowa State Cyclones (4-0)
Previous rating:
This week: v. Michigan State (Thursday), v. North Carolina/Oregon (Sunday) (all games in Portland, Oregon)

Last week the Cyclones lost to Northern Iowa but won 88-85 before beating Columbia 99-76. Iowa State leads the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland as the top ranked team. The Cyclones will play Michigan State 6-0 on Thanksgiving, and coach Bill Fennelly is grateful to Ashley Joens for her return to super senior season. She leads the Cyclones with 25.5 points and 11.0 rebounds and has made 13 of her last 23 three-point attempts, including seven career-high Sundays.

5. Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0)
Previous rating:
This week: vs. Wright State (Wednesday), vs. North Alabama (Sunday)

The Buckeyes cruised over Ohio and McNeese last week. So far they have had four different scorers in four games. The Ohio State defense punished the enemies by averaging 33.5 passes per game. Defenseman Jaycee Sheldon has 27 steals, leading the Division One.

6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0)
Previous rating:
This week: vs. America (Thursday), vs. Arizona State (Friday or Saturday) (all games in the Bahamas)

The Fighting Irish rocked the Northwest last week (in a game that turned sharp when the standout Olivia Miles was kicked out with two technical fouls) and Ball State last week. Now Notre Dame is heading to the Goombay Splash event in the Bahamas. If Notre Dame beats a winless American, it will play Arizona State on Saturday. If the Irish lose the first match, they play on Friday. This means you can probably count on Saturday.

7. Indiana Hoosiers (5-0)
Previous rating:
This week: vs. Auburn (Friday), vs. Memphis (Saturday) (all games in Las Vegas)

The Hoosiers beat Tennessee, Bowling Green and Quinnipiac last week and are heading to the Las Vegas Invitational. Forward Mackenzie Holmes shoots 71.2% from the field, while defenseman Grace Berger shoots 51.9%. It’s still early, but Indiana is shooting at 89.2%.

8. North Carolina Tar Hills (4-0)
Previous rating:
This week: vs. Oregon State (Thursday), vs. Iowa State/Michigan State (Sunday) (all games in Portland, Oregon)

After defeating South Carolina State and James Madison last week, the Tar Heels will face their first real challenge this weekend at the Phil Knight Invitational. Red-shirt freshman Theonnie Key, sister of Tennessee’s Tamari Key, missed last season with a knee injury. Theonnie made her college debut with 13 points and seven rebounds against South Carolina State.

9. Louisville Cardinals (4-1)
Previous rating:
This week: v. South Dakota State (Monday; Bahamas) v. Longwood (Friday)

The Cardinals lost to Gonzaga 79–67 in overtime at Battle 4 Atlantis, with Louisville coach Jeff Walz calling his team’s lackluster defense a “recipe for disaster.” However, the Cardinals remained in the top ten thanks to their subsequent victory over Texas, and they will try to leave the Bahamas with a final victory on Monday.

10. Iowa Hawkeyes (4-1)
Previous rating:
This week: vs. Oregon State (Friday), vs. UConn/Duke (Sunday) (all games in Portland, OR)

The Hawkeyes freaked out when quarterback Caitlin Clark fell with a sprained ankle in an 84-83 loss at Kansas State on Thursday. But on Sunday, she returned to exact revenge on Belmont, who was looking to inflict a second embarrassing defeat on the Hawkeyes in a week. Clark staved it off with 33 points and five assists in a 73-62 win, and now Iowa is heading to the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

11. NC State Wolfpack (4-1)
Previous rating:
This week: vs. Vanderbilt (Thursday), vs. West Virginia (Friday) (all games in Mexico)

The Wolf Pack beat Charlotte last week but then lost 91–69 at UConn in their first true Test of the season. North Carolina trailed the Huskies 9-0 and never recovered from a disappointing day for the Wolf Pack defense. They regroup and head to the Cancun Challenge in Mexico.

12. LSU Tigers (5-0)
Previous rating:
This week: vs. George Mason (Thursday),…