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Duke increases lead at No. 1; New Mexico enters poll

11/21/2005 - Duke Blue Devils

Two convincing victories made the Duke women an even stronger
choice at No. 1.

Duke increased its lead over Tennessee in The Associated Press
women's basketball poll Monday, and New Mexico appeared in the Top
25 for just the third time after handing Texas a rare loss at home.

New Mexico (3-1) moved in at No. 25. North Carolina State, which
had been 23rd, dropped out.

Duke opened the season with a 93-67 victory at Penn State, then
routed Old Dominion 93-56, also on the road. Coach Gail
Goestenkors' team shot a combined 55 against the two tradition-rich
teams and held them to 32.5 percent shooting.

The Blue Devils received 23 of 45 first-place votes from a
national media panel and had 1,101 points. Tennessee, which beat
Stetson 83-33 in its only game, had 18 first-place votes and 1,082
points.

In the preseason poll, Tennessee had a 23-17 edge in first place
votes and trailed Duke by only five points.

John Riehl of The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was among the
voters who changed and put Duke No. 1 this time instead of
Tennessee.

"I had them so close in my mind, but Duke beat Old Dominion by
37 and they beat Penn State by 26. Those two wins really jumped out
at me," Riehl said. "Seeing what they did in those two games
really caused me to take notice."

LSU (1-0) held at No. 3 and received three first-place votes and
Ohio State, which opened Monday night against Eastern Kentucky,
remained fourth. Baylor (3-0) climbed one spot to fifth and
received the remaining first-place vote.

Rutgers, which doesn't play until Friday, slipped one spot to
sixth and North Carolina was unchanged at seventh. No. 8
Connecticut and No. 9 Michigan State each moved up one place and
Maryland jumped four places to 10th, the Terrapins' first
appearance in the top 10 since the week of Feb. 9, 1993.

Connecticut is off to a good start in trying to bounce back from
what the Huskies considered a subpar 25-8 season. They won the
preseason WNIT for the third time, defeating No. 22 Oklahoma 82-62
in the championship game. UConn won its four games in the
tournament, all at home, by an average of 26 points.

Georgia dropped three places to 11th after a loss to Baylor and
a one-point win over Santa Clara. Minnesota was 12th and Notre Dame
13th, followed by Texas Tech, Stanford, Arizona State, DePaul,
Texas, Purdue and Vanderbilt.

Temple, Oklahoma, Utah, Southern California and New Mexico held
the final five places.

Arizona State's ranking at No. 16 was the highest for the Sun
Devils since they were 16th on Nov. 18, 1983. Their three victories
this season include a 69-60 win over Vanderbilt.

New Mexico's 76-68 victory at then-No. 12 Texas on Friday was
just the second loss for the Longhorns in their last 46 home games.
The Lobos' big win came only two days after they lost to Oklahoma
at home in the WNIT semifinals.

"I attribute that to our players' attitudes," New Mexico coach
Don Flanagan said. "Right after the Oklahoma game they felt that
they didn't play their best, so they came out on Thursday and had
an excellent practice and then followed that with a great game at
Texas."

New Mexico's only other appearance in the poll was last season,
when the Lobos were 25th the last week of December and 23rd the
first week of January. Then they lost at Minnesota by 40 and
dropped out.

A 54-52 loss at Saint Joseph's knocked North Carolina State out
of the Top 25.