Tracy Schultz
Wednesday December 17th, 2008

The Big 12 is a big part of the power rankings. Texas and Oklahoma moved up a spot after wins over Tennessee and California, respectively. They're not alone in the top 10. Big 12 teams make up half of the top eight.

NCAA Women's Hoops Power Rankings
1North Carolina Tar Heels
Last Week: 1
Once on top, the Huskies are tough to knock off the mountain. Connecticut has lost just 11 of 211 games as the AP's No. 1 team. With Maya Moore and Tina Charles putting up nearly 40 points and more than 17 rebounds a game, it's going to be hard to change that winning trend.
Next three: 12/18 vs. Washington; 12/19 vs. Northern Colorado; 12/21 vs. Florida State
2North Carolina Tar Heels
Last Week: 2
Rashanda McCants was the Tar Heels' preseason Player of the Year candidate. They may have another contender. Jessica Breland has moved to the top of UNC stat sheet, leading the team with 14.9 points and 7.2 rebounds a game. Breland isn't just performing against the weaker teams on the schedule. She averaged 20 points and six rebounds against their three ranked opponents.
Next three: 12/20 vs. Illinois; 12/28 vs. Western Michigan; 12/30 vs. Austin Peay
3Texas A&M Aggies
Last Week: 3
There's no question the Aggies are on a roll. They've allowed just one team to score 60 points this season. They're about to face a balanced TCU squad that averages 78.6 and has already knocked off a pair of No. 3 teams.
Next three: 12/21 vs. TCU; 12/30 vs. New Mexico; 1/3 vs. George Washington
4Stanford Cardinal
Last Week: 4
A 100-62 win over Fresno State on Saturday enabled the Cardinal to clear the bench. Those starters will need the rest. Stanford faces a three-game road stretch that includes Duke and Tennessee. The Cardinal's last road trip against a ranked team ended in a 81-65 loss at Baylor.
Next three: 12/16 at Duke; 12/19 at South Carolina; 12/21 at Tennessee
5Texas Longhorns
Last Week: 6
What more do you need to prove you're for real than a win over defending champion Tennessee? The Longhorns pulled off the 73-59 victory on Sunday with a balanced offense that saw four players score in double figures from the perimeter and the paint and an aggressive defense that forced 18 steals.
Next three: 12/18 vs. Arizona State; 12/28 vs. UTEP; 12/30 TBD
6Oklahoma Sooners
Last Week: 7
The Sooners pulled off their biggest comeback ever on Saturday, turning a 26-point halftime deficit into a 86-75 win at California. It marked OU's first win against a ranked team this season. Sure, coach Sherri Coale had to be concerned with another slow start. You have to impressed, though, with the final results. These Sooners might struggle, but they're not going to quit.
Next three: 12/21 vs. Tulsa; 12/30 at St. Louis; 1/4 vs. North Carolina Central
7Baylor Bears
Last Week: 8
Baylor has done what it was supposed to -- beat a few weak teams on its home floor. Danielle Wilson has been key to the Bears' three-game winning streak, averaging 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds. One more home game, and the Bears head out west where they'll face stiffer competition, which should get them ready for that rugged Big 12 schedule.
Next three: 12/16 vs. Texas-Pan American; 12/20 at Oregon; 12/22 at California
8Auburn Tigers
Last Week: 9
Auburn is in the middle of a 12-day layoff. The way this season's going for them, the Tigers probably wish they could have kept on playing. The offense has been rolling along, averaging 84.2 points, fifth best in the nation. The defense is holding teams to 60 points a game.
Next three: 12/19 at George Washington; 12/21 at Coppin State; 12/29 vs. Duquesne
9Tennessee Volunteers
Last Week: 5
Pat Summitt is going to have a lot of coaching to do this season. The Lady Vols are starting three freshmen and two sophomores. That inexperience led to poor decisions and many mistakes at Texas. Regardless of youth, though, Summitt always challenges her team with a tough schedule. The Lady Vols will grow leaps and bounds before all is said and done.
Next three: 12/18 at Old Dominion; 12/21 vs. Stanford; 12/30 at Gonzaga
10Louisville Cardinals
Last Week: 11
The Cardinals' offense continues to run through Angel McCoughtry, who ranks among the nation's top 10 scorers with 22.9 points a game. She's also up there on the defensive end with 4.6 steals an outing.
Next three: 12/21 vs. Vermont; 12/28 vs. Morehead State; 12/29 vs. Central Michigan
11Duke Blue Devils
Last Week: 12
Junior Keturah Jackson has filled in admirably at point guard, where the Blue Devils are without Jasmine Thomas and backup Chelsea Hopkins. After turning the ball over five times against Western Kentucky, Jackson had just three against Iowa and Michigan.
Next three: 12/16 vs. Stanford; 12/19 at USC; 12/20 vs. Siena
12California Golden Bears
Last Week: 10
Things were looking golden for California last month after a big win over Rutgers. Losses to TCU and Oklahoma have tarnished that shine a bit. They'll have a week off to recover, but having lost two of their last three, they've got to be concerned. Ashley Walker has been a bright spot with a combined 57 points and 20 rebounds in the losing efforts.
Next three: 12/22 vs. Baylor; 12/29 vs. Saint Mary's; 1/2 at Arizona
13Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Last Week: 13
Sharp-shooter Epiphanny Prince is carrying much of the load, leading the Scarlet Knights in scoring in all but two games this season. She's averaged 19 points through their four-game winning streak. She's also making her way to the line. Prince is 27-for-31 at the stripe during that stretch.
Next three: 12/19 vs. Lafayette; 12/29 vs. George Washington; 1/3 vs. Tennessee
14Pittsburgh Panthers
Last Week: 15
Picked as one of the darkhorse teams in the Big East, teams are having a hard time scoring against the Panthers. They're also tough on defense, allowing just 50.9 points a game. Pittsburgh is the only team to hold Maryland under 60.
Next three: 12/16 vs. Wagner; 12/19 at Florida A&M; 12/21 at Florida
15Maryland Terrapins
Last Week: 16
Maryland rebounded from its loss to Pittsburgh by taking out its frustrations on Loyola in an 83-52 win last week. Still, turnovers have to be a concern for the Terrapins. They've had 44 in the last two games.
Next three: 12/21 at Old Dominion; 12/29 vs. UNC Asheville; 12/30 vs. Mississippi State/Marshall
16Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Last Week: 15
The Irish were dealt another blow last week when Brittany Mallory hurt her knee in a loss to Michigan. Mallory, who averaged 8.1 points in 22 minutes a game, is the second Notre Dame player to suffered a torn ACL this season. Devereaux Peters injured her left knee last month.
Next three: 12/20 vs. Loyola-Chicago; 12/28 at Charlotte; 12/30 at Vanderbilt

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.