Stanford University’s women’s basketball team lost their No. 1 spot in the NCAA rankings after being defeated by the University of Mississippi’s women’s basketball team on Sunday. The game, which took place in San Antonio, Texas, was a nail-biter, with Ole Miss winning 64-58.
This loss ended Stanford’s 22-game winning streak and marked the first time in nearly two years that they were not at the top of the Associated Press rankings. They had been the top-ranked team since the start of the season and had held the position for 20 consecutive weeks.
Despite the loss, Stanford’s coach, Tara VanDerveer, praised her team’s effort, saying, “I’m proud of our team for how hard we played, and we’ll learn a lot from this game.”
Mississippi’s coach, Yolett McPhee-McCuin, expressed her excitement at the victory, stating, “I’m so proud of our team. We played tough and didn’t give up, and that’s why we won.”
The game was part of the Women’s NCAA Tournament, which is being held entirely in San Antonio this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament, which features 64 teams, began on March 21 and will conclude with the championship game on April 4.
The loss may have come as a surprise to some, as Stanford had been dominating this season, with an overall record of 25-3. They had beaten several top-ranked teams, including No. 2 Louisville, No. 3 North Carolina State, and No. 6 Arizona.
This defeat may open the door for other teams to move up in the rankings, such as South Carolina, which is currently ranked second. The University of Connecticut, which is traditionally a powerhouse in women’s basketball, is also a strong contender, currently ranked fourth.
Despite the setback, Stanford’s players and coaches are determined to bounce back and continue their strong season. “We’re not going to let this define us,” said Stanford guard Kiana Williams. “We’re going to come back and keep fighting.”
As for Mississippi, they will continue their run in the tournament, with their next game scheduled for March 24 against West Virginia. If they continue to play as they did against Stanford, they could be a dark horse to make a deep run in the tournament.