Blue Devils replace UConn atop poll

Updated: January 5, 2004, 5:19 PM ET
Associated Press

First came the stunning victory, now the reward: a No. 1 ranking for Duke in The Associated Press women's Top 25.

Duke ended Connecticut's season-long run atop the poll Monday, two days after beating UConn 68-67 on a 3-pointer at the buzzer to break the Huskies' 69-game home winning streak.

The Blue Devils (10-1) jumped from fourth to edge Big 12 powers Texas Tech (14-0) and Texas (12-1) in a close vote for No. 1.

"I was a little surprised, actually," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. "I just assumed Texas Tech would move up. We understand how fragile those rankings are. We were No. 2 at the beginning of the season and that lasted for a whole game.

"I think we'll be able to keep it in perspective."

Duke and No. 2 Texas Tech each received 20 of the 46 first-place votes from a national media panel, but the Blue Devils had a 13-point lead in total points, 1,104 to 1,091.

Texas, which beat Duke in the season opener, stayed at No. 3 with six first-place votes and 1,063 points.

Two-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut (9-1) dropped to fourth, ending a run of 15 consecutive polls at No. 1 dating to last season.

At the bottom of the poll, Miami gained its first national ranking in 11 years by tying another newcomer, Baylor, for 24th.

Vanderbilt and Utah dropped out of the Top 25. Vanderbilt was ranked for only one week; Utah had been ranked all season.

This was just the second time in the last three years that the No. 1 position in the women's poll changed hands.

Last season, Connecticut replaced Duke at No. 1 on Feb. 3 after beating the Blue Devils, who led the first 12 polls. Connecticut was No. 1 for the entire 2001-02 season.

The remaining teams in the top 10 were the same as last week with a slight shuffling in the order. No. 5 Tennessee and No. 6 Minnesota stayed put, while Stanford climbed two spots to seventh.

Louisiana Tech held at No. 8, and Penn State moved up one spot to ninth. Purdue fell three places to 10th after losing to Penn State.

No. 11 Kansas State and No. 12 Georgia held the same positions as last week. Then it was North Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech, followed by LSU, DePaul, TCU and Boston College.

Auburn, Ohio State, Michigan State, Baylor and Miami held the final five places.

Goestenkors said she had to get some things straight with her team after its 85-77 loss to Texas on Nov. 16. The Blue Devils committed 24 turnovers and missed 14 free throws in that game.

"There were so many things that were very correctable," Goestenkors said. "I told them I obviously needed to be harder on them and more demanding of them so they became a more disciplined team. I have been, and it's been good for us."

Miami (12-0) was the only unbeaten team not in the Top 25. The Hurricanes, unranked since March 1993, beat then-No. 24 Vanderbilt last week. Vanderbilt was ranked just one week.

Baylor (12-1) made the poll for the first time since finishing the 2001-02 season at No. 7. The Bears topped 100 points twice this season, they're averaging 84.6 and have outscored their opponents by 32 a game. Their only loss was 74-63 at Penn State.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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