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NCAAW Week Preview: Fighting Irish Take Top-10 Showdown

St. John's Has First Poll Appearance Since 2015

It was not the best time to be a top team as 11 ranked teams lost in the last week of 2022 or on New Year’s Day.

Still, it was business as usual for South Carolina, Stanford, and Ohio State, who continue to hold down the top three spots in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Dara Mabrey #1 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish | Elsa/getty images/afp

There aren’t as many ranked matchups this week, although Baylor faces Oklahoma and Kansas, while Iowa and Michigan square off after both teams lost their most recent games.

Looking at the Las Vegas odds, South Carolina (+125) is favored in the odds to win the national title. Stanford is next at +300 followed by UConn at +650.

Let’s check the latest NCAAW picks, stats, injury reports, and NCAAW predictions. We’ve plenty of NCAAW expert picks for you to consider.

Also check on these WNCAAB betting lines.

Upsets on the Holiday Menu

Five ranked teams took a tumble on one of the last days of 2022.

No. 4 Indiana, No. 6 North Carolina State, and No. 7 Virginia Tech all lost to teams that were unranked at the time.

— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessWBB) January 1, 2023

Kamaria McDaniel, playing for her third team in as many seasons, had 24 points to lead four Michigan State players to score in double figures to overcome a 32-point effort from Mackenzie Holmes in an 83-78 win over visiting Indiana. Taiyier Parks matched her season high with 18 points as Michigan State topped Indiana 20-4 in bench points.

Celeste Taylor’s 23 points led Duke to a 72-58 road win over North Carolina State. It didn’t hurt that the Blue Devils were 9 of 14 from 3-point range in the win. Duke moved into the Top 25 as the Blue Devils are ranked 19th.

Amari Robinson had 16 points and five of Clemson’s 18 offensive rebounds in a 64-59 win over visiting Virginia Tech.

Freshman Ta’Niya Latson and sophomore Makalya Timpson combined for 41 points and 19 rebounds in Florida State’s 78-71 win over then-No. 13 North Carolina. In the only matchup of ranked teams, LSU rolled past Arkansas 69-45 as Angel Reese and Alexis Moore each had 19 points.

No Change At the Top

While there was a bit of a shakeup in the top 10 when the new Associated Press poll came out, the top three teams remained the same.

South Carolina once again received all 28 first-place votes and remained atop the poll followed by Stanford and Ohio State.

South Carolina could remain undefeated for a while since the next game against a ranked opponent is on Feb. 5 against UConn.

Stanford faced Arizona on Monday and that is one of four games in January against ranked teams.

The next three opponents for Ohio State have a combined record of 31-13, with two of them on the road. Ohio State ended 2022 with a nine-point win over nationally ranked Michigan despite shooting just 35 from the field and 22% on 3-pointers.

Reinforcements Coming for Huskies

UConn was able to withstand a challenge from visiting Marquette with just seven available players. There is a chance that leading scorer Azzi Fudd and fellow starter Aubrey Griffin could be back on the court when UConn hits the road to face Butler and Xavier this week.

Fudd missed the last six games due to a knee injury suffered in a loss at Notre Dame. She took part in warmups before the Marquette game but did not play in the game. Griffin tested positive for COVID-19 over the holidays.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma said he was optimistic that at least one of them could be back when the Huskies open play in 2023. Butler and Xavier are a combined 13-15 so those could be good matchups to get Fudd and Griffin back into the flow.

The injury news isn’t as promising for No. 12 UCLA as leading scorer Charisma Osborne was sidelined in a recent loss to Oregon State with a shoulder injury. It is uncertain when she will return to the court.

Discovery Time for Red Storm

It is about time to find out how good this St. John’s team is.

The Red Storm is 13-0 with eight of the wins by double figures. Two of the next three games are against Seton Hall and UConn.

St. John’s has not beaten UConn in head coach Joe Tartamella’s 13 seasons at the helm, going 0-8, and he has a 14-9 record against Seton Hall.

While St. John’s remained undefeated with a 68-48 win at Georgetown on Saturday, a couple of teams removed themselves from the list of winless teams.

Dayton picked up its first two wins of the season and the 71-66 victory over George Mason was its first against a Division I opponent.

St. Francis (Pa.) also found a way to secure that elusive first win of the 2022-23 season with a 46-36 win over Hartford in a matchup of winless teams. Aaliyah Moore led the Red Flash with 15 points.

Team of the Week

Duke Blue Devils

Head coach Kara Lawson has certainly used the transfer portal to the Blue Devils’ benefit.

None of the top five scorers began their careers at Duke. The newcomers have been able to get acquainted with their new teammates rather quickly. That was never more evident than in wins over North Carolina State and Louisville over the last week.

Duke has won eight straight games since falling to UConn in the Phil Knight Legacy event, with Celeste Taylor and Elizabeth Balogun the only two double-digit scorers for Duke.

Player of the Week

Kendall Bostic, Illinois

Illinois picked up one of its biggest wins in recent memory with a thrilling 90-86 victory against Iowa on Sunday.

Bostic made all seven of her first goal attempts as she finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocked shots in the victory.

Game of the Week

Baylor Bears vs Oklahoma Sooners

Tuesday, Jan. 3, 7 p.m. ET

Two of the three matchups involving ranked teams feature Baylor so let’s go with the first one.

The Bears and Sooners are a combined 21-4 and 2-0 in Big 12 play. Oklahoma is undefeated at home while Baylor will be playing its first true road game of the season.

In the era of the transfer portal, Oklahoma’s leading scorer Madi Williams is a bit of a throwback player as she is in her fifth season with the Sooners and remained in Norman even after the retirement of longtime head coach Sherri Coale. Williams has back-to-back 20-point games.

Baylor is led by junior guard Sarah Andrews, who is averaging 13.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists.

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