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.
"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
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
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.