Since this past Thursday, women’s college basketball’s first-, second- and third-ranked teams all lost. No. 1 Connecticut fell to Baylor at home, while No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Oregon State both fell to unranked Arizona State.
No. 4 South Carolina (16-1, 4-0 SEC) kept winning, and winning big.
For it, the Gamecocks are now ranked the AP’s No. 1 team in the country.
“Our ‘Woman Up’ theme this season is about approaching each practice and game with a focused, disciplined and trusting mindset,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said in a release. “Our players have embraced this process, and their commitment to hard work has earned them the No. 1 ranking in the country.”
The Gamecocks’ last appearance in the No. 1 position on the AP Poll was on Feb. 9, 2015. The team spent 12 weeks in that position during the 2014-15 season. The poll concludes before the NCAA Tournament, and heading into their championship run in 2017, the Gamecocks were ranked No. 3.
This season, the Gamecocks have more wins over RPI top-50 teams than any other team in the country and their five wins over nationally ranked teams top any other team in the country. South Carolina's ranked wins include victories over then-No. 4 Maryland, then-No. 2 Baylor and then-No. 13 Kentucky with is lone loss come to then-No. 17 Indiana on a neutral court.
The Gamecocks are the fourth 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.