By Tracy Schultz
December 23, 2008

The learning process continues for a Tennessee team starting three freshmen. The Lady Vols passed a big test on Sunday, though. That 79-69 overtime win against Stanford moved Tennessee back up in this week's power rankings. They're closing in on the top five. Meanwhile, Stanford barely hangs on to the No. 10 spot.

NCAA Women's Hoops Power Rankings
1 Connecticut Huskies
Last Week: 1
It's no wonder the Huskies' offense is so balanced -- they are leading the nation with 23.4 assists a game. They have six players that average at least two.
Next three: 12/28 at South Carolina; 12/31 vs. Hartford; 01/02 vs. LSU
2 North Carolina Tar Heels
Last Week: 2
Sylvia Hatchell wasn't too pleased with her team's intensity -- or lack thereof -- in Sunday's 68-59 win against Illinois. Hard to maintain intensity when you're in a stretch that includes Coastal Carolina and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Look for more 50-point wins with Western Michigan and Austin Peay ahead.
Next three: 12/28 vs. Western Michigan; 12/30 vs. Austin Peay; 01/08 at Clemson
3 Texas A&M Aggies
Last Week: 3
Opponents aren't just turning the ball over. The Aggies are taking it. And they're among the best at doing so. Texas A&M is averaging 13.3 steals this season. And when you can't keep the ball, you can't score. TCU learned that on Sunday. The Horned Frogs had 23 turnovers and scored just 50, well below their average of 78.6.
Next three: 12/30 vs. New Mexico; 01/03 vs. George Washington; 01/05 at Florida
4 Texas Longhorns
Last Week: 5
There was no letdown for Texas, which followed its win against Tennessee with a second straight win over a ranked opponent. The Longhorns did a great job of getting to the line at Arizona State, which is nothing new for Texas, which has taken 80 more free throws than its opponents. Kathleen Nash made the most of her chances and became the third Texas player to be perfect at the stripe, going 12-for-12.
Next three: 12/28 vs. UTEP; 12/30 TBD; 01/03 vs. Lamar; 01/05 at Purdue
5 Oklahoma Sooners
Last Week: 6
Look for the Sooners, coming off a rout against 3-6 Tulsa to roll into Big 12 play on a high note. Oklahoma, which had three players with double-doubles in that win, will close out its non-conference schedule against St. Louis and North Carolina Central. The two have a combined record of 6-18.
Next three: 12/30 at St. Louis; 01/04 vs. North Carolina Central; 01/10 at Nebraska
6 Tennessee Volunteers
Last Week: 9
The Lady Vols were impressive in Sunday's 79-69 win against Stanford. They seem to have found a lineup that works. Freshman Glory Johnson is becoming a key part of it, after she scored in double digits in each of her first 10 games, passing even Tennessee great Candace Parker, who accomplished the feat in her first nine.
Next three: 12/30 at Gonzaga; 01/03 at Rutgers; 01/08 vs. Kentucky
7 Baylor Bears
Last Week: 7
Baylor Bears (11-1)
It's a shame that Baylor's game at California was postponed because of weather. It would have been nice to see where the Bears stand weeks after knocking off Stanford. Instead, they'll have to settle for an easy warm-up for the Big 12 slate.
Next three: 01/03 vs. Texas State; 01/10 at Colorado; 01/14 vs. Iowa State
8 Auburn Tigers
Last Week: 8
The Tigers gave Nell Fortner her 100th win in the college ranks against Coppin State on Sunday. They're sure to add more to her total, too. Duquesne and Stephen F. Austin shouldn't pose much of a challenge, especially for a team shooting nearly 50 percent from the field.
Next three: 12/29 vs. Duquesne; 12/30 Miami Christmas Tournament; 01/03 vs. SFA
9 Duke Blue Devils
Last Week: 11
After a win over Stanford and a tough road trip to Southern California, the Blue Devils have earned a break. They're getting eight days off. Of course, with Quinnipiac and Providence waiting, the schedule when they return will provide a bit of a break, too.
Next three: 12/28 vs. Quinnipiac; 12/31 at Providence; 01/05 vs. Temple
10 Stanford Cardinal
Last Week: 4
The road hasn't been kind for Stanford, which dropped two of its last three games. On the bright side, they could be considered "quality" losses since both were against top 20 teams. Stanford certainly isn't the first team to fall at Tennessee. Losing at Duke is no embarrassment either.
Next three: 12/28 vs. UC Davis; 01/02 at Arizona State; 01/04 at Arizona
11 Louisville Cardinals
Last Week: 11
Louisville never wants to see leading scorer Angel McCoughtry struggle. It's nice to know, though, they can win even when that happens. She scored a season-low 12 in a 67-56 win against Vermont on Sunday. She might not want to try that against Connecticut, though.
Next three: 12/28 vs. Morehead State; 12/29 vs. Central Michigan; 12/30 vs. New Hampshire
12 California Golden Bears
Last Week: 10
The weather has given the Golden Bears an extra week to get over their last game. Or, it's a few more days of stewing on the disappointment of watching a 26-point lead turn into an 86-75 loss to Oklahoma. Saint Mary's should be a good confidence builder before Pac-10 play starts.
Next three: 12/29 vs. Saint Mary's; 01/02 at Arizona; 01/04 at Arizona State
13 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Last Week: 13
The Scarlet Knights have won 19 straight at home. That streak will be challenged in the upcoming days when George Washington and Tennessee come to town. Last year's game at Tennessee came down to a clock malfunction that sent Nicky Anosike to the line for a pair of controversial free throws. Anosike, who went 0-for-7 from the field, sank both for a 59-58 Tennessee win.
Next three: 12/29 vs. George Washington; 01/03 vs. Tennessee; 01/06 at Syracuse
14 Maryland Terrapins
Last Week: 15
Demauria Liles, the junior college player of the year last season, seems to be growing more comfortable with her role in the lineup. Liles is averaging nearly 12 points, but has really played well in the last two games. She came close to a double-double with nine rebounds and a season-high 20 points in a big win at ODU.
Next three: 12/29 vs. UNC Asheville; 12/30 vs. Mississippi State/Marshall; 01/03 at Richmond
15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Last Week: 16
Coach Muffett McGraw added walk-on Alena Christiansen to the roster on Friday to help replace Brittany Mallory and Devereaux Peters, who are out for the season with knee injuries. One day later, Christiansen, and every other healthy player, was on the floor. She logged five minutes and scored one point in an 89-45 win against Loyola-Chicago.
Next three: 12/28 at Charlotte; 12/30 at Vanderbilt; 01/03 at Seton Hall
16 Ohio State Buckeyes
Last Week: NR
Ohio State's only two losses were to a pair of top 10 teams. In Sunday's Big Ten opener, the Buckeyes dominated a Michigan team that had already pulled off a pair of upsets over ranked opponents.
Next three: 12/31 at Northwestern; 01/04 vs. Michigan State; 01/08 at Wisconsin

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