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The 11 undefeated women’s college basketball teams, ranked

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They’ve made it this far without a loss, but which teams stand out above the rest?

Arizona Wildcats guard Aarion McDonald tries for a lay-up

We’re just now reaching the moment in the season where being undefeated actually means something. No matter the competition, nine or 10 wins in a row is just one of those milestones that starts to stick — especially for teams that haven’t experienced that kind of run before. Among the 11 DI women’s basketball teams that remain unbeaten, you’ll see a wide array of programs. Some are stalwarts (hello, UConn), but more are programs that aren’t supposed to be undefeated. And some teams that might have been expected to cruise through non-conference play, like Baylor and Oregon, have already been taken down.

Below is an entirely subjective ranking of these 11 undefeated programs with an attempt to account for strength of schedule and how much teams with easier matchups have been flexing on their opponents.

11. Texas Tech

The Red Raiders have a pretty soft non-conference schedule (they’re currently ranked No. 138 in RPI) and they’ve played fewer games so far than anyone else on this list. But they’ve been making the most of their easy start with solid wins — their average margin of victory has been over 27 points per game, according to Her Hoop Stats. The tough Big 12 Conference (the league is 68-20 so far this season) will be a real test for the team, particularly its powerhouse forward Brittany Brewer. Right now Brewer is averaging a double-double and leads the league in blocks with a truly remarkable 5.6 per game. In the backcourt, freshman Alexis Tucker is shooting 66 percent from the field (!) for an average of 16 points a game — as of last week, those numbers made her the most efficient scorer in the Big 12, and the top scoring freshman. She’s also averaging 10 rebounds a game.

10. Colorado

The Buffs haven’t been winning flashy, but they have been winning — getting Ws they’ll desperately need to have any chance of competing in the daunting Pac-12. Junior forward Mya Hollingshed, 6’4, has been controlling the boards, leading the team in scoring and also getting steals (two per game) while sophomore Emma Clarke has proven to be a deep threat, shooting 40 percent from behind the arc on an average of six attempts a game. Yes, they’ve got a steep climb ahead of them. But if Colorado can stay undefeated heading into conference play, there’s no telling how they might be able to force some upsets in the Pac-12 tournament — or even the big dance itself.

Loyola Chicago

The 9-0 Ramblers are at the top of the heap in the sneakily competitive Missouri Valley conference. Their first real test will come this Friday versus DePaul where the team will see whether their strong fundamentals — the Ramblers have the seventh-best assist/turnover ratio in the country and the second-highest defensive rebounding rate — are enough to contain DePaul’s lightning-quick transition game. Their box scores are enviably balanced, with forwards Abby O’Connor and Allison Day (she of the 59 percent field goal percentage) leading the charge.

8. Kansas

The Jayhawks have six players averaging double-digit points — plus, they all have cool nicknames.

The team has yet to assert themselves with a true statement win (though their recent victory over Florida comes close), but they’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so once Big 12 play starts — a game against a surging West Virginia team in early January will be a particularly important test of what they can do. Right now, their biggest strength is drawing fouls and getting to the line, though guards Brooklyn Mitchell and Aniya Thomas have made the Jayhawks’ offense among the most convincing in their conference.

7. UCLA

It’s pretty hard to ignore Michaela Onyenwere and Japreece Dean, two stellar players who thus far have led the Bruins to their undefeated start. Their play might help explain why the team is ranked No. 10 nationally, but this is still another one of those “too soon to tell” teams — one with the potential to upset the whole Pac-12 or fall completely flat. They still haven’t played many teams in their peer group and aren’t standing out in many stat categories — assist/turnover ratio aside, in which they rank fifth in the country. Dean and Onyenwere are lethal offensive threats, and Dean is dishing (6.4 times a game) to other weapons like freshman Charisma Osborne, who has started to get hot from deep, and junior Lauryn MIller, who’s shooting 59 percent from the field.

6. Arizona

The Wildcats are 10-0 for the first time in program history...and perhaps more impressively, they’re beating opponents by an average of over 30 points a game. The reigning WNIT champs, Arizona is dominating on the defensive end (Her Hoop Stats gives them the eighth-best defensive rating in the country), while staying efficient enough on offense to garner the league’s fifth-best field goal percentage — four of the starting five are shooting over 50 percent. Junior Aari McDonald is keeping up her breakneck pace, scoring almost 20 points a game; Cate Reese is forcing the issue in the paint to the tune of nine rebounds a game, while Helena Pueyo is shooting almost 50 percent from three. This team is dangerous — and even better, phenomenally fun to watch.

5. NC State

The story of NC State can be summed up in two words: Elissa Cunane. Ok, maybe you need a few more — but it’s true that the 6’5 sophomore seems to have a Megan Gustafson-esque ability to score in the paint and corral rebounds. She’s shooting 64 percent from the floor and averaging 11 rebounds a game, playing an enormous role in making the Wolfpack one of the best rebounding teams in the country (they have the seventh-best rebounding rate). Guards Kayla Jones and Kai Crutchfield are lighting up the backcourt, the latter’s five threes helping push the team to a win over highly touted Maryland. They’ve also beaten Texas this year and now have to wait for the start of ACC play to see how things shake out.

4. Florida State

With victories over Texas A&M and Michigan State, the Seminoles demand to be taken seriously. They’re the seventh-best offense in the country, according to Her Hoop Stats, fueled by their ability to create opportunities for second-chance points (overall, they have the 9th-highest rebounding rate). Redshirt senior Kiah Gillespie is averaging a double-double with veteran guard Nausia Wollfolk right behind her. They’re also in the jam-packed ACC where even being 10-0 doesn’t set you apart too much — imagine if both the Seminoles and the Wolfpack can keep up their respective winning streaks until they meet mid-January...

3. UConn

How do you solve a problem like UConn? Yes, the Huskies are undefeated — which is considerably less notable for them than it is for the other teams on this list. But they’re still working out what their team will look like this season: Meghan Walker has emerged as an incredibly dynamic scorer, averaging 22 (!) points a game, and Olivia Nelson-Ododa is absolutely suffocating opponents, averaging 4 blocks a game. But neither has ever been in a position to lead the vaunted program….heavy is the head that wears the crown, etc. Huskies fans are accustomed to blowout wins, and they haven’t really seen that yet this year (the team is ranked No. 22 in the league in margin of victory). But they’re still UConn and Geno is still Geno, and a lot of the questions will have clearer answers once they start meeting heavyweight opponents next year. It’s easy to imagine that they will drop in the rankings, though, given the relative weakness of their conference compared to their Pac-12 and ACC competition.

2. Stanford

The Cardinal have played one of the tougher schedules in the league, eking out wins over the now No. 17 Gonzaga and No. 15 Mississippi State and maintaining an average margin of victory of 24 points. One thing that really sets them apart is their depth: nine players are averaging over five points a game and most of the team is averaging less than 20 minutes on the floor. Sophomore Lexie Hull is currently the leading scorer with Kiana Williams and freshman phenom Haley Jones following close behind — but really, the team is spreading the ball around with enviable efficiency. Basically, everyone can do everything.

  1. Oregon State

If you talk to any Beavers fan, they’re ready to stop being the other Oregon — and thanks to stars Mikayla Pivec, Destiny Slocum and Aleah Goodman, that might be happening sooner than later. Pivec averages a double-double despite being 5’10, Slocum shoots over 50 percent and Goodman is shooting 47 percent from three. All three are averaging over five assists a game. There’s some good wins on their resume, but more than anything the Beavers have the firepower to keep this streak going — even into the Pac-12, where there are basically no games off. Upset in the Pac-12 tourney earlier this year, there’s no question that Oregon State believes its time is now.

Four games to watch

No. 20 Missouri State at No. 17 Gonzaga (Dec. 20, 9 p.m. ET, WCC Network)

Big mid-major energy.

No. 22 West Virginia at No. 19 Michigan State (Dec. 21, 1:30 p.m. ET, FloHoops)

West Virginia is looking for their second ranked win; the Spartans are trying to get back on track.

No. 10 UCLA at No. 12 Indiana (Dec. 22, 12 p.m. ET, BTN)

UCLA will face their first big test against a historically-great Indiana team — should be quite a game.

No. 8 Florida State at No. 24 Michigan (Dec. 22, 1:30 p.m. ET, ACCN)

FSU is pushing inch by inch towards the top 5 — here’s a huge chance for them to prove they deserve it.