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Thoughts on the AP Poll: Duke women's basketball remains in top 20, falls to No. 16

<p>Duke women's basketball falls to No. 16 in the Week 12 AP Poll.</p>

Duke women's basketball falls to No. 16 in the Week 12 AP Poll.

After Duke split its week into a loss in Chapel Hill and a win against Syracuse at home, a new AP Poll dropped Monday afternoon. With the Blue Devils now at No. 16, the Blue Zone examines the new rankings:

Duke stumbles

This week was one of ups and downs for the Blue Devils. Duke lost a rivalry matchup late against now-No. 15 North Carolina, starting off slow and almost coming back against the Tar Heels. Ultimately, North Carolina's lead proved insurmountable, and Duke had its first ACC loss of the season. Against Syracuse, the start was again a little relaxed, but ultimately, despite the game going back and forth, the Blue Devils managed to pull out a win in the fourth quarter. The game in Chapel Hill was basically a coin toss between two ranked teams in a storied rivalry match. Duke probably would have liked to be a little more dominant against Syracuse, an ACC team that has been inconsistent this year. As a result, the Blue Devils slipped down a few spots to No. 16.

Tar Heels climbing

Any team that can essentially eliminate the offensive impact of a player like Celeste Taylor deserves a reward in the rankings, and that is exactly what North Carolina did this week. The Tar Heels limited the senior guard, who has been Duke’s top option for much of this year, to just two points Wednesday to solidify their spot in the rankings. The Tar Heels held on late against a very strong Duke team, scoring clutch baskets and locking down on defense when they had to. The Chapel Hill outfit also played a solid game against Georgia Tech this week, winning by a 13-point margin. Not only have the Tar Heels been trending upward, but they also had another very good week. They moved up to No. 15 on the list. 

Stanford recovers

After dropping from No. 2 to No. 4 last week, the Cardinal proved this week that they belong further up. Bouncing back from a tough loss to USC last week, Stanford beat and dominated then-No. 8 Utah by 12 points, then repeated its steps with a 13-point win against then-No. 24 Colorado. While the Cardinal was favored in both of its games, the fact that it won handily and without much hesitation reminded the AP Poll why they belong with the best of the best, and as a result, Stanford moved up to No. 3 on the rankings.

Complete rankings:

1. South Carolina

2. Ohio State

3. Stanford

4. LSU

5. UConn

6. Indiana

7. Notre Dame


9. Utah

10. Iowa

10. Maryland

12. Virginia Tech

13. Michigan

14. Oklahoma

15. North Carolina

16. Duke

17. Gonzaga

18. Iowa State

19. Arizona

20. N.C. State

21. Villanova

22. Illinois

23. Middle Tennessee

24. Florida State

25. Colorado


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