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Maryland is preseason women's No. 1

Defending national champion Maryland is ranked No. 1 in the preseason ESPN/USA Today women's college basketball poll, with fellow Final Four participants North Carolina, Duke and LSU all in the Top 10.

The poll, released Wednesday morning, has the Terps with 29 first place votes and 773 points overall and No. 2 North Carolina with 709 overall points and one first-place vote. Oklahoma, Stanford and Tennessee round out the top five.

Duke, which lost to Maryland in overtime in the title game, is No. 6, followed by Ohio State, Connecticut, Georgia and LSU.

Five teams that weren't ranked at the end of 2005-06 appear in the preseason Top 25, which is voted on by a board of 31 coaches. No. 14 Texas A&M is the highest-ranked of those teams, with No. 16 Kentucky close behind. A trio of Pac-10 schools unranked in the final 2006 poll -- Cal, USC and Washington --
make up the remainder.

Also making the top 20 were No. 11 Rutgers, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 13 Purdue, No. 15 Vanderbilt, No. 17 Michigan State, No. 18 Baylor, No. 19 DePaul and No. 20 New Mexico.

Rounding out spots 20-25 are Cal, USC, UCLA, Brigham Young and Washington.

While the Atlantic Coast Conference has three of the top six in the preseason poll, the Pac-10 and SEC start with the most ranked teams. The Pac-10 has six teams in the Top 25 while the SEC has five.