The 2022-23 season will be more about the strength of the UConn women’s basketball team than their weaknesses. UConn compiled an impressive early-season record despite another series of injuries. The torn ACL will leave Paige Bueckers on the sidelines and in regular clothes for the entire campaign.
The Huskies are positioned third in the current Associated Press Top 25 national poll, which was issued on Monday. They trail behind first-ranked South Carolina and 2nd-ranked Stanford. The final two teams to complete the top five list are Ohio State and Iowa State, followed by Indiana, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Iowa, and Louisville.
UConn advanced to 3-0 after defeating Texas (then position 3, now position 19) last Monday and NC State (then position 10, now position 13) last Sunday. Azzi Fudd averages 30 points per game and has emerged as an early candidate for national player of the year. The top of the national landscape has already been irrevocably altered. Six of the preseason top ten teams have already suffered a loss.
On Sunday, South Carolina faced up against No. 2 Stanford and came out on top. Despite this, several ranked teams have fallen to unranked teams, demonstrating the sport’s increasing parity.
The Texas Longhorns, Tennessee, and Louisville Cardinals are one of the teams ranked third, fifth, and seventh in the women’s preseason poll. They now have nine losses, five of which were to unranked opponents. Texas Longhorns and Tennessee were eliminated from Charlie Creme’s Bracketology this week. However, they are most likely to earn their way back.
Thanks to their relatively easy schedules, there is still time for all three clubs to make up lost ground. However, the losses have sparked significant preseason talk. The 3-0 Huskies, ranked sixth in the preseason poll, are coming off a victory against preseason top-10 teams Texas and NC State.
Texas has suffered three consecutive defeats against UConn, Marquette, and Louisville. Louisville’s lone loss is to Gonzaga. Tennessee, who began the season ranked fifth, has fallen to the twenty-third spot with defeats to Ohio State, Indiana, and UCLA.
The ninth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes, who fell last week to then-unranked Kansas State, are also competing in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament. They face the Oregon State Beavers on ESPNU on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Thursday marks the beginning of the Phil Knight Invitational. The number 8 North Carolina Tar Heels play the number 18 Oregon Ducks at 5 p.m. ET on ESPNU, while the number 5 Iowa State Cyclones play the Michigan State Spartans at 7:30 p.m. These four teams are all unbeaten.