Curry guides Texas Tech into women's Top 25

Updated: November 28, 2006, 2:41 PM ET news services

The top eight teams remained the same in the latest ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, but three new teams -- highlighted by Kristy Curry's Texas Tech squad -- entered the rankings this week.

Poll Positions
The top five teams in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll:
For the complete ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, click here.

Maryland remained No. 1, followed by North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Duke, Ohio State, Connecticut and Georgia.

Maryland improved to 7-0 with one-sided victories over Gardner-Webb and Mississippi. It's the best start for the Terrapins since they were 9-0 in the 1991-92 season.

Defending national champion Maryland received 29 of 31 first-place votes to lead the poll for the fourth straight week. With 771 points, the Terrapins held a 42-point lead over No. 2 North Carolina. The Tar Heels received one first-place vote, while No. 4 Tennessee received the other first-place vote.

North Carolina (6-0) won the Rainbow Wahine Classic with three victories in as many days in Honolulu. The Tar Heels' 94-69 victory over Arkansas in the finals was their closest game of the season.

Oklahoma (4-0) beat UCLA 77-68 in its only game last week.

Purdue rose one spot to ninth, while Texas A&M rounded out the top 10, advancing from 13th.

A 64-60 loss to Baylor dropped LSU from ninth to 11th. The Lady Tigers responded to that loss with decisive victories over Tulsa and Eastern Washington.

Texas Tech (No. 23), Bowling Green (24th) and Texas (25th) entered the poll, replacing UCLA, Boston College and Kentucky.

Curry has Texas Tech back in its accustomed role as a Top 25 team, just six games into her first season with the Lady Raiders.

Tech lured Curry from Purdue after Marsha Sharp resigned following 24 seasons that included the 1993 national championship, putting the new coach in the position of succeeding an icon.

Curry inherited three starters from a team that struggled to a 15-14 record last season and missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 17 years.

Those three -- Alesha Robertson, Erin Myrick and Brooke Baughman -- are the team's top scorers. Curry is also getting productive minutes from freshman Jordan Murphree, and senior Chesley Dabbs is back after missing all last season with a torn ACL.

Tech has combined its offensive balance with solid defense. No one has scored more than 63 points on the Lady Raiders, whose only loss was to Hawaii, 57-54, in the first round of the Rainbow Wahine Classic.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.