Three teams ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press women's basketball poll -- No. 4 Indiana, No. 6 NC State and No. 7 Virginia Tech -- fell to unranked squads Thursday night, tied for the most losses by top-10 teams to unranked opponents in one day since at least 1999-2000, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
In East Lansing, Michigan State (9-5, 1-2 Big Ten) took down Indiana (12-1, 2-1) 83-78. NC State (11-2, 1-1 ACC) fell to Duke (12-1, 2-0) at home 72-58. Clemson (10-4, 1-1) shocked Virginia Tech (11-2, 1-2) in South Carolina 64-59 handing the Hokies their second loss in three games.
The string of upsets Thursday increased the number of losses by AP top-10 teams this season to 22, which is tied with 2014-15 for the most before January of any season since at least 1999-2000, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Seven of those losses have been to unranked teams, which is tied with 1999-2000 and 2004-05 for the most ever.
No. 5 Notre Dame (11-1, 2-0) also was nearly upset by Miami (7-6, 0-2) before pulling out a 66-63 victory in Coral Gables, Florida. No. 13 North Carolina (9-3, 0-1) also fell to an unranked squad in Florida State (13-2, 2-0) 78-71 in Chapel Hill, marking the Tar Heels' second consecutive loss.
Each of the top-10 teams to lose Thursday was missing a key starter due to injury: Indiana has been without Grace Berger (knee, out indefinitely) for more than a month, and NC State's Diamond Johnson (ankle) hasn't played since Dec. 11. Virginia Tech expects to be without Ashley Owusu (broken pinkie) until midway through its conference slate.
The Hoosiers were one of six unbeaten teams remaining in Division I women's basketball entering Thursday; the five left are No. 1 overall and defending national champion South Carolina, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 9 LSU, No. 11 Utah and No. 25 St. John's.
"We are disappointed," Indiana coach Teri Moren said after Thursday's loss, pointing to her team's 21 turnovers and defensive lapses against the Spartans. "Give our kids credit, they fought to the bitter end. I'm disappointed, but Michigan State deserved to win this game today."
Duke led for nearly 29 minutes against NC State, including the entire second half, before impressively withstanding a Wolfpack comeback attempt.
"We kept our composure when they went on runs," Duke coach Kara Lawson said. "We just stayed focused and locked in and didn't allow the emotions of the game to overtake our execution. That's big growth for us. We haven't been in a lot of close games yet this year, so you never really know how your team is going to react in close-game situation or really important possessions in the fourth quarter. So I'm pleased with how we executed there."
Of the three programs to secure huge upsets Thursday, Duke is the only one that received votes in the most recent AP poll; Clemson and Michigan State were not in Charlie Creme's latest Bracketology from Tuesday.
The Blue Devils' 12-1 start is their best since 2016-17, and the victory over the Wolfpack on the road marked arguably the best win of Lawson's career, as it was the highest-ranked opponent her squad has beaten since she took over in Durham in 2020.