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ACC replaces SEC as top conference in AP poll

Tennessee is still the top team, but the ACC has replaced the
SEC as the No. 1 league in The Associated Press women's basketball
poll.

The Atlantic Coast Conference gained a fifth team on Monday when
unbeaten Virginia Tech joined the poll at No. 25. Three of those
ACC teams -- No. 2 Duke, No. 5 North Carolina and No. 6 Maryland --
are in the top six.

ACC newcomer Boston College joined last week and is now 24th.

After having five ranked teams last week, the Southeastern
Conference lost one when Mississippi dropped out following a loss
at Louisiana Tech. The SEC's ranked teams are Tennessee, No. 3 LSU,
No. 17 Georgia and No. 21 Vanderbilt.

The Big East and Big Ten also have four teams in the Top 25.

"I think the ACC is an outstanding league this year," said
voter Tony Bleill of the News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. "The
recruiting classes they've had the last three years are starting to
show up on the floor."

Tennessee (10-0) received 34 of 46 first-place votes from a
national media panel and had 1,136 points to lead a top nine
unchanged after a week in which there were only 28 games involving
ranked teams.

Three games had ranked teams playing each other and only two
members of last week's Top 25 -- Mississippi and Stanford -- lost to
unranked opponents.

Tennessee hammered Princeton 107-39 in its only game, but the
Lady Vols lost a player from last season's highly regarded freshman
class. Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood, the starting point guard and No. 4
scorer, quit the team and left school.

Duke (9-0) remained a strong No. 2 with 10 first-place votes and
1,108 points -- 52 more than No. 3 LSU (8-0), which had the two
remaining first-place votes.

Duke had an easy week, routing Ball State 110-24 and Colorado
State 99-52. LSU beat Tulane 89-60 in its only game.

After Baylor at No. 4, it was North Carolina, Maryland, Ohio
State, Connecticut and Rutgers. Michigan State climbed one spot to
10th after a 20-point win over then-No. 16 Oklahoma.

No. 11 Arizona State, No. 12 Notre Dame and No. 13 DePaul also
moved up one place each. Stanford fell four spots to 14th after
splitting its first two Pac-10 games, winning at Washington State
and losing at Washington.

Minnesota went from 17th to 15th and was followed by New Mexico,
Georgia, Purdue, Texas and Oklahoma.

Vanderbilt, Temple, Utah, Boston College and Virginia Tech held
the final five places.

Oklahoma fell four places to 20th after the loss to Michigan
State, while Georgia dropped two spots to 17th after losing at
Temple in overtime. Temple climbed three places to 22nd and Purdue
moved from 21st to 18th after decisive victories over Centenary and
Mississippi State.

While Virginia Tech (10-0) has handled every challenge so far,
the Hokies did not have an eye-catching victory until beating Texas
Tech 69-62 in Mexico last week. And while Texas Tech has struggled
this season, the Lady Raiders remain a highly respected program and
were a perennial Top-25 team before falling out earlier this month.

"I like Tech quite a bit," said Bleill, who had the Hokies
13th on his ballot and voted Duke No. 1. "I've been a little
mystified why they haven't gotten more support in the poll.

"They have all their best players back from last year and they
were an NCAA Tournament team. I think clearly they are the sleeper
team in that league, even as tough as the ACC is."

Tech's last appearance in the poll had been a three-week run
last January.

The Hokies' fast start has helped ACC teams compile a 101-22
nonconference record. Every team in the league is at least three
games over .500 except Clemson (6-6).

Mississippi joined the poll last week at No. 24, its first
national ranking since 1996. A day later, though, the Lady Rebels
shot just 33 percent in an 84-71 loss at Louisiana Tech.

The schedule is much heavier this week and could produce some
significant changes in the next poll.

Tennessee has challenging road games against Temple and Notre
Dame, while LSU hosts Michigan State. Also, Ohio State plays at
Purdue, Stanford travels to Boston College, Texas goes to Rutgers
and New Mexico is a home against Oklahoma.