Stanford ends regular season No. 1 for first time

Updated: March 14, 2005, 3:14 PM ET
Associated Press

At least one group still thinks Stanford should be No. 1.

Stanford stayed atop the final Associated Press women's basketball poll Monday, the first time the Cardinal have finished the season at No. 1.

The final ranking might ease the disappointment of Sunday, when Stanford was made a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It's the first time the No. 1-ranked team hasn't been a top seed in the tournament since 1984, when it happened to Texas.

Stanford received 29 of 45 first-place votes from a national media panel and had 1,091 points -- 18 more than No. 2 LSU.

Four teams split the remaining first-place votes. LSU received 11, No. 3 Tennessee had one, and fourth-ranked North Carolina and No. 5 Baylor each got two.

LSU, Tennessee, North Carolina and No. 6 Michigan State are the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State is the lowest ranked No. 1 seed since Texas Tech was sixth in the final poll of the 1997-98 season.

There was only minor shuffling within the poll because just 15 of the Top 25 teams played during the last week and no newcomers joined.

Duke dropped from fifth to seventh after losing to North Carolina in the finals of the ACC tournament. Ohio State remained eighth, Rutgers held at No. 9 and Connecticut climbed three places to 10th after beating Rutgers to win the Big East tournament.

Connecticut's jump, the biggest in the poll, enabled the Huskies to salvage a Top 10 finish for the 12th straight year. UConn, a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, has won the last three national championships and four of the last five.

Notre Dame fell one spot to 11th and Minnesota was 12th. Then it was Texas, Texas Tech, Temple and Kansas State, followed by DePaul, Vanderbilt, Iowa State and Georgia.

North Carolina State, Penn State, TCU, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Boston College held the final five places.

TCU moved up two spots after winning the Conference USA tournament. The biggest drop in the poll was two places -- by Duke, Texas and Boston College. Texas lost to Kansas State in the Big 12 semifinals. Boston College was idle last week after losing to Villanova in the Big East quarterfinals.

The Big 12 led all conferences with five teams in the final Top 25 -- Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Iowa State. The Southeastern Conference, Big East and Big Ten each had four teams. The ACC, which put seven teams in the NCAA Tournament, had only three in the final rankings -- North Carolina, Duke and North Carolina State.

While there was considerable movement within the Top 25 during the season, 17 teams appeared in every poll, including everyone in the Top 10. Also in the poll all season were Texas, Minnesota, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Georgia and Boston College.

In all, 40 teams were ranked during the season, two more than last season.

Michigan State made the biggest gain from start to finish, opening the season at No. 15 and winding up at No. 6. Texas and Georgia had the sharpest drops over the season. Texas went from second in the preseason poll to 13th on Monday. Georgia started at No. 5 and ended up at No. 20.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press