Big East, ACC teams crowd AP Top 25
Connecticut picked up right where it left off last season: unanimous No. 1 in the women's basketball poll.
The Huskies received all 40 first-place votes Friday from a national media panel. It's the seventh time in school history UConn has held the top preseason ranking by The Associated Press.
Connecticut was the unanimous choice atop the poll the final 15 weeks last season, winning its sixth national championship to cap a 39-0 run. Huskies coach Geno Auriemma returns four starters from that team, including player of the year Maya Moore.
"It's a great honor," Auriemma said of the No. 1 ranking. "They worked hard last season and we got a bunch returning who earned it."
UConn (39-0 last season) has been atop The Associated Press Top 25 poll for 25 straight weeks and was also No. 1 in the preseason in 1995, '99, 2000, '01, '03 and '08.
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The rest of the preseason top 5
2. Stanford (33-5)
3. Ohio State (29-6)
4. Notre Dame (22-9)
5. North Carolina (28-7)
Stanford was voted second and Ohio State third, with Notre Dame and North Carolina rounding out the first five. The Big East and ACC each has five teams in the Top 25.
Duke and Baylor start the next five, followed by Tennessee -- the only team with more No. 1 preseason rankings than UConn. It's the Lady Vols' lowest preseason mark since 1985, when they were voted ninth.
The Huskies topped the poll all last season, and have been there for 25 straight weeks. It's the fourth-longest stretch all-time, and UConn could break the record this season; Louisiana Tech was No. 1 for 36 straight weeks from 1980 to 1982.
Connecticut, which was also No. 1 in the preseason in 1995, '99, 2000, '01, '03 and '08, opens Nov. 14 against Northeastern. Since the 1989-90 season, the top team in the preseason has won the NCAA championship six times, including the Huskies last season.
"We tend to finish close to where we're picked," Auriemma said.
LSU is ninth, with Michigan State rounding out the top 10.
Xavier is No. 11 -- the Musketeers' highest ranking ever. Expectations are high, with Amber Harris back after sitting out last season with a knee injury.
"I'm happy people recognize our players and the work we put in," Xavier coach Kevin McGruff said. "I'm very optimistic this could be a special season."
Xavier is followed by Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia and Florida State, while Arizona State, DePaul, California, Georgia Tech and Kansas complete the first 20.
The Jayhawks, who return four starters from last season's 22-14 team, are ranked for the first time since Feb. 21, 2000. They lost in the WNIT finals in front of more than 16,000 fans after winning four of their final five league games.
"There's a nice buzz. It's a tribute to the kids we have returning in our program," Jayhawks coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "We've already tripled season-ticket sales from last year."
Georgia, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Middle Tennessee State and Rutgers finish off the Top 25.
Middle Tennessee State returns Alysha Clark, who led the nation in scoring last season, and is ranked in the preseason poll for the first time.
LSU is one of eight teams in the poll not ranked at the end of last season. The others are Michigan State, DePaul, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Georgia, Middle Tennessee State and Rutgers.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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