This is it. The last Power 10 of the season. Conference tournaments begin next weekend, starting the march to the NCAA tournament.
With seeds at stake and momentum to be earned, the top teams in the country are going to face their first postseason action of 2020.
For some it will be a coronation, for others a challenge.
But it will most definitely not be boring. Not after this compelling season.
Here’s the NCAA women’s basketball Power 10 for the week ending March 1, 2020 (last week’s rankings in parentheses):
1) South Carolina (29-1) (1) An impressive win over Texas A&M at home on Sunday sends the Gamecocks into the SEC tournament as the No. 1 seed with a school-record 23-game win streak. They become the first team to post two 16-0 seasons in the SEC thanks to senior forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, who is starting to come on strong. She put up 18 points Thursday against Florida and 20 points against A&M on Sunday on Senior Day. South Carolina will be seeking its fifth SEC tournament title in the last seven seasons and will face the winner of Georgia and Alabama in the quarterfinals on Friday.
2) Oregon (28-2) (2) It was a statement week for the Oregon Ducks, who won decisively against Stanford at Maples Pavilion for the second-straight season. They finished off a third-straight Pac-12 regular-season title with wins over Washington and Washington State before honoring a graduating class that includes Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard, Minyon Moore and Satou Sabally. Next up: a No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas, where they will open Friday night against the winner of Utah and Washington.
SABRINA IONESCU TRACKER: Where we left off with Oregon’s triple-double record-breaker
3) Baylor (27-1) (3) The Bears clinched their 10th-consecutive Big 12 title with a decisive win over Kansas State on Saturday. Next up is a Thursday Senior Night game against Texas before closing out the regular-season at Iowa State on Sunday. Heading into the Texas game, Baylor seniors Lauren Cox and Juicy Landrum have a conference record of 69-1. The Bears have a 55-game home winning streak, the best current run in the nation and have won 57-straight Big 12 games. The Bears are holding their place in line for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Given how they have dominated the Big 12, it’s hard to see that changing.
4) Louisville (27-3) (4) The Cardinals collected their sixth-straight win heading into the ACC tournament with a win over Virginia Tech to close out their regular-season schedule. Kylee Shook notched her fourth-straight double-double and her fifth in the last six games. Louisville opens the ACC tournament Friday in the quarterfinals against the winner of Syracuse and Virginia. The Cardinals’ last loss was against Syracuse on Feb. 9.
5) Connecticut (25-3) (6) With a dominating win over Houston in which all five starters scored in double figures for the first time all season, the Huskies are getting ready to close out their time in the American Athletic Conference before moving back to the Big East next year. Next up is a home game against South Florida on Monday. UConn is 135-0 in AAC play and on Saturday, they secured their 27th-straight 25-win season.
6) Maryland (23-4) (7) The surging Terps pinned a 55-point loss on Minnesota for a 14th-straight win and they are lining themselves up with for a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament at this rate. Maryland clinched a tie for its fifth Big Ten title in the last six years and will have the top seed in the conference tournament next weekend. Maryland will open tournament play Friday and face the winner of Purdue and Michigan State.
7) UCLA (25-4) (9) A weekend home sweep of Colorado and Utah secures the Bruins a No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 tournament after winning the tie-breaker against Stanford. It is UCLA’s highest seed in the Pac-12 tournament since 2011. UCLA will head into the Pac-12 tournament with four wins in its last five games and will face the winner of a first-round matchup between USC and Colorado.
8) Stanford (25-4) (5) The Cardinal lost two of three games this week, including last Monday’s loss to Oregon and followed up an overtime loss at Arizona on Friday with a key win at Arizona State to close the Pac-12 schedule. Stanford faced four ranked teams down the stretch and went 2-2. The loss to the Wildcats pushed the Cardinal down to the No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 tournament. Stanford hasn’t finished outside of the top three in the Pac-12 since 1987. Freshman Fran Belibi had a breakout weekend for the Cardinal with a combined 28 points and 13 rebounds, which bodes well for Stanford’s depth in the post as tournament play begins.
HOW IT HAPPENED: No. 13 Arizona beats No. 4 Stanford in overtime
9) Northwestern (26-3) (NR) The Wildcats have found their way into the Power 10 on the final week thanks to nine-straight wins — including regular-season closing wins over Ohio State and Illinois, which earned them a share of the Big Ten title and a No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. The Wildcats open tournament play Friday and will play the winner of Nebraska and Michigan.
10) Gonzaga (28-2) (NR) The Zags are back in the Power 10 having already clinched the West Coast Conference regular-season title and tied the conference record for wins set in 2018. Gonzaga will head into its conference tournament with five-straight wins and a stellar defensive identity in which the Bulldogs have held opponents to 50 points or less 17 times. Gonzaga’s only loss this season was on Feb. 8 against St. Mary’s on the road.