LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Elissa Cunane scored 16 points in her first game in nearly a month because of COVID-19 protocols, and No. 4 North Carolina State beat the nation’s top-ranked team on its home floor for the second time this season, topping No. 1 Louisville 74-60 on Monday night.

Jakia Brown-Turner and Jada Boyd also scored 16 points apiece and Raina Perez added 15 for the Wolfpack (12-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who used a stifling defense to hand the Cardinals (16-1, 9-1) their first loss of the season. N.C. State beat then-No. 1 South Carolina 54-46 on Dec. 3.

Dana Evans scored 29 points for the Cardinals, but no other Louisville player scored in double figures.

Cunane, the All-American junior center, made 7 of 9 shots and grabbed six rebounds. She had missed the Wolfpack’s previous two games, including a loss to Virginia Tech on Thursday, after N.C. State returned from a three-week pause because of COVID-19.

AP POLL: Louisville kept winning – until Monday night – and remained atop The Associated Press women’s basketball poll. The Cardinals were the only unbeaten team left in the Top 25 after topping Miami and North Carolina this past week. They received 26 of the 30 first-place votes in the poll released Monday.

Louisville lost to No. 4 North Carolina State, 74-60, and that game will be reflected in next week’s poll. It was potentially going to be a 1 vs. 2 matchup until the Wolfpack lost in overtime to Virginia Tech last Thursday. It was N.C. State’s first loss of the season.

South Carolina jumped up two spots to No. 2 in the poll and received the other four first-place votes.

UConn lost for the first time this season, falling to then-No. 19 Arkansas last week, but remained third in the poll. Arkansas rose three spots to 16th. It is the first time the Razorbacks have knocked off two top five teams in the same season after beating then-No. 4 Baylor in December.

UCLA rounded out the top five. Stanford, Texas A&M, Baylor and Arizona followed the Bruins. Maryland fell three spots to 10th after losing to Ohio State. The Buckeyes moved up three places to 11th.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

AP POLL: Baylor has overshadowed nearly everything in the Big 12 this season as it tries to complete an undefeated season, but Oklahoma has been making a statement of its own.

With a win over then-No. 9 Alabama on Saturday, the Sooners became just the second team in 25 years to beat three straight top-10 opponents. Oklahoma also is the first team since 1974 to beat four top-10 teams in the same month. The Sooners’ run led to a big jump in this week’s Associated Press men’s basketball poll. Oklahoma moved up 15 spots to No. 9 in the Top 25 released Monday, its highest ranking since reaching No. 4 in 2017-18.

Gonzaga and Baylor remained atop the poll for the 11th straight week. The Zags (17-0, 8-0 West Coast) received 61 first-place votes from a media panel to hold at No. 1 after routing San Diego and Pepperdine last week. The Bears (16-0, 8-0 Big 12) received the other three first-place votes following wins over Kansas State and Auburn.

Villanova and Michigan remained at Nos. 3 and 4, with Houston rounding out the top five. The Cougars have their highest ranking since the Phi Slama Jama team reached No. 2 in 1983-84.

BOSTON COLLEGE will have only four scholarship players available for Tuesday night’s game against No. 20 Florida State.

Coach Jim Christian says he will fill out the rest of his bench with players from the scout team. Christian said the team was off for 11 days and he has only had two practices with the five walk-ons who will be on his bench against the Seminoles.

“COVID and COVID protocol hit us very, very hard,” he said Monday on an Atlantic Coast Conference call. “Our administration made the decision that the game needs to be played. They know how I feel about it, but once that decision is made, my job is to get guys ready to play.”

Boston College (3-10, 1-6 ACC) has not played since Jan. 16. Four games were postponed because of players testing positive or quarantining under the COVID-19 protocol.

Christian said other leagues wouldn’t proceed with the game unless there are enough scholarship players. The ACC allows the game to go ahead as long as there are healthy bodies. That means walk-on Andrew Kenny, who has scored five points in 11 minutes this season, will get his first start.

“You want to reward these kids for all their effort,” Christian said. “It’s a unique situation that we’ve just got to muddle through and do the best we can.”

TEXAS: Coach Shaka Smart said Monday he had “significant” symptoms while in extended isolation from his team and family after testing positive for COVID-19 as he and the No. 6 Longhorns prepare for a showdown with No. 2 Baylor.

“This was not a walk in the park for me, not saying it has been for anyone else,” Smart said ahead of Tuesday night’s matchup of the top two teams in the Big 12. “When you go through that kind of stuff, it certainly swirls some things around your mind.”

Smart returned to the team Sunday and will be on the bench against Baylor. He didn’t detail the extent of the symptoms he experienced, but appeared frustrated that Texas played last week’s home loss to No. 9 Oklahoma when the Longhorns were missing their head coach, two starters and a key reserve because of COVID-19 protocols.

Smart said his team had several positive tests a week earlier and noted other programs have shut down for several days for less. Smart said that just before he tested positive, he ran a workout with only two players.

“If you talk to the majority of our guys, they want to play, That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been moments where some of them, they’ve been like, ‘Wow, this is really really strange,’ and thinking through what should we be doing?” Smart said.

 


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