The Texas Longhorns remain No. 1 in the Heartland College Sports Big 12 women’s basketball power rankings for Jan. 3. Our Power Rankings will appear every Tuesday.
1. TEXAS (10-1, 1-0 in Big 12; Last Week: 1)
Texas was short-handed due to COVID, but not short-handed enough to lose on the road at Oklahoma State. Texas held OSU to 30 percent shooting and received quality play from its backcourt. The Longhorns are still hopeful they can get freshman forward Aaliyah Moore back at some point.
2. IOWA STATE (12-1, 1-0; Last Week: 2)
Iowa State hosted a seriously short-handed West Virginia but took care of business and claimed the win. Every team is going to play against short-handed teams in this conference this season. The ones that rise to the top are the ones that take advantage of that, as the Cyclones did on Sunday.
3. KANSAS STATE (11-2, 1-0; Last Week: 4)
The Wildcats drew a short-handed Baylor team and did what Iowa State did — took advantage. Ayoka Lee had a HUGE second half and K-State beat Baylor for the first time since 2004. These Wildcats are more than just Lee, though. The supporting cast will keep them in contention in every game this season.
4. OKLAHOMA (11-1, 1-0) (Last Week: 5)
I think Oklahoma deserves to be ranked nationally, and they’ve been just outside the Top 25 the past two polls. The Sooners won their Big 12 opener over Texas Tech, but they had to score 97 points to do it. I’m not sure if that says more about the Sooners or more about the Lady Raiders. With Ana Llanusa out for the season, Taylor Vann has scored 40 points in her last two games.
5. BAYLOR (9-3, 0-1; Last Week: 3)
The Bears had just seven scholarship players when it faced Kansas State on Sunday. NaLyssa Smith looked, for the first time this season, human. But that’s unlikely to continue. What Baylor truly needs is more consistent outside shooting. Some of it was unavailable due to COVID protocols.
6. WEST VIRGINIA (7-4, 0-1; Last Week: 6)
We’re going to hold West Virginia steady for a week for a couple of reasons. First, Kansas didn’t play due to COVID protocols, so there was no reason to move the Jayhawks up or down. Second, the Mountaineers were missing 26 points and 20 rebounds as four players were out for various reasons. Iowa State took full advantage of that. Let’s see where the Mountaineers are this time next week.
7. KANSAS (9-1; Last Week: 7)
Kansas is on a prolonged COVID pause. The Jayhawks have had to postpone their first two Big 12 games. Kansas may finally play on Jan. 8 when it hosts Oklahoma.
8. TEXAS TECH (7-5, 0-1; Last Week: 8)
No question Texas Tech can score, and it’s more than just Vivian Gray. Taylah Thomas (25 points) led the Lady Raiders in scoring against Oklahoma. The question now is whether the Lady Raiders can slow teams down. When you score 91 points in a game, as Tech did against Oklahoma, you expect to win, right?
9. OKLAHOMA STATE (5-5, 0-1; Last Week: 9)
The Cowgirls missed a chance to upend a short-handed Texas team. Lauren Fields is a great player. I’m just not sure where the help is coming from as Big 12 play gets into full gear.
10. TCU (4-5; Last Week: 10)
TCU finally got out of its own COVID protocols to have its Big 12 opener with Kansas postponed. TCU played its first game since Dec. 12 on Sunday but lost by 26 points to SMU. The Horned Frogs finally get Big 12 play underway on Wednesday at Baylor.