NCAAW AP Top 25: Aari McDonald leads Arizona into rankings for first time in 15 years

Cassandra Negley
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Arizona guard Aari McDonald (2) calls out to her teammates against Texas on Sunday. (AP Photo/Stephen Spillman)

Arizona cracked the Associated Press women’s basketball Top 25 poll this week as expected following two weeks of strong play and a stellar performance by Aari McDonald. It’s the No. 24 Wildcats’ first ranking in 15 years.

The top 10 remains unchanged with wins all around this week, including by No. 1 Oregon in its first ranked matchup and first trip out of Eugene.

AP Top 25

  1. Oregon (4-0)

  2. Baylor (5-0)

  3. Stanford (5-0)

  4. UConn (5-0)

  5. South Carolina (6-0)

  6. Texas A&M (4-0)

  7. Oregon St. (5-0)

  8. Louisville (5-0)

  9. Maryland (5-1)

  10. Mississippi State (5-0)

  11. UCLA (4-0)

  12. Florida St. (5-0)

  13. N.C. State (5-0) (+1)

  14. Kentucky (5-0) (-1)

  15. Michigan State (5-0)

  16. DePaul (4-1) (+3)

  17. Indiana (4-0) (+1)

  18. Syracuse (3-1) (-1)

  19. Miami (4-1) (-3)

  20. Tennessee (5-0) (+3)

  21. South Florida (5-1) (+1)

  22. Gonzaga (3-1) (+1)

  23. West Virginia (4-0) (+2)

  24. Arizona (6-0) (NR)

  25. Arkansas (5-1) (-5)

DePaul, Cal shake up rankings

The Pac-12 is the best conference in women’s basketball right now. Cal pulled the upset of the weekend with an 84-80 victory over No. 20 Arkansas on Sunday. Jaelyn Brown, a 6-foot-1 senior, had career highs of 30 points and 12 rebounds. She shot 11 of 20 from the floor and made four of five 3-point attempts.

Arkansas outscored Cal in the first, third and fourth quarters. But Cal outscored the Razorbacks 27-14 in the second quarter, led by Brown’s 15 points, and that proved the difference. The loss dropped Arkansas five spots in the rankings.

Then Miami and DePaul proved they were indeed going in different directions when they met at the Maggie Dixon Classic on Saturday. DePaul won 89-83 and made 17 3-pointers to earn the victory. Chante Stonewall had 27 points and seven rebounds.

Miami won its classic opener on Friday night, but did so unconvincingly. The ‘Canes edged North Carolina AT&T 68-67 with the go-ahead 3 by Mykea Gray with 18 seconds left. They trailed by six with 1:25 to play.

The two schools swapped rankings, with DePaul now up to No. 16 and Miami falling to DePaul’s previous spot at No. 19.

And Notre Dame ended a two-game skid that saw them fall out of the AP poll. The Irish took out No. 21 Michigan 76-72, with 27 points from Destinee Walker. Michigan is no longer ranked.

A look at the weekend for the top 5

No. 1 Oregon played a ranked team for the first time this year, and the Ducks scored as many points in the third quarter (31) as they had in the entire first half to pull away from No. 17 Syracuse 81-64. Satou Sabally led the charge in her regular-season debut with 23 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. The Orange stayed competitive for awhile, holding the Ducks to 26.5 percent shooting from the floor.

No. 2 Baylor has been off since Thursday. The Bears are averaging 95.4 points per game, good for third-best in the nation, and allowing a second-best 38.2 points per game.

Lexie Hull had her third 20-plus point game and freshman Ashten Prechtel had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 3 Stanford past Buffalo. The Bulls pulled within six points late in the third quarter, but fell 88-69.

No. 4 UConn survived a test against Ohio State 73-62, with three starters playing all 40 minutes for the Huskies and neither team taking a double-digit lead through the first 36:47.

''I think the whole day offensively, it was really a slog,'' UConn coach Geno Auriemma said, via the Associated Press. ''I mean it was tough to get any kind of a flow, any kind of a rhythm. Christyn's [Williams] really good with the ball, she can go pretty much any place she wants, and same with Crystal [Dangerfield], so we went to them more because we just needed somebody to make plays.''

And No. 5 South Carolina (6-0) is continuing its impressive early season resume, this time with an 84-48 win over Clemson.

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