Monday, January 6, 2014
Connecticut remained No. 1 in The Associated Press' women's basketball poll after cruising through its first American Athletic Conference road trip with two easy victories over Central Florida and Memphis.
While it's no surprise that the Huskies are still atop the poll, three teams joined the rankings for the first time in a while — N.C. State entered at No. 20, Indiana at 22 and San Diego at 24.
Here are five things to know about this week's poll:
WOLFPACK HOWLING: No.20 N.C. State hadn't been ranked since the end of the 2006-07 season under the leadership of Kay Yow. Now at 14-1, the school is off to its best start since the 1999-00 season. The Wolfpack have won eight straight games and beat LSU and Syracuse.
Coach Wes Moore's squad faces No. 13 North Carolina in its first game as a ranked team on Thursday.
"It's a great honor to be ranked in the Top 25," Moore said. "There are so many unbelievably talented teams in women's basketball right now. I'm proud of the way our student-athletes have bought in and how hard they have worked."
HOOSIER HYSTERIA: No. 22 Indiana had a longer drought out of the Top 25, making only its second appearance as a ranked team. The Hoosiers had a one-week stay in the poll in 1993, but haven't had much success until now. Curt Miller has turned the program around in two seasons. The Hoosiers (14-0) already have more victories than the previous two years.
"We're excited. Our mantra has been exceed expectations and while rankings aren't going to define us, it really is exciting for our program," Miller said. "Not an analyst that follows the Big Ten anywhere had us better than 12th out of 12."
Miller's team can enjoy the unblemished ranking a little bit longer because Monday night's game at Purdue was postponed due to inclement weather.
SUPER SAN DIEGO: Coach Cindy Fisher has the No. 24 Toreros ranked for the first time in school history. At 15-0, the team has already won more games this season compared to 23 other seasons when they never reached that mark. The Toreros play in one of the toughest conferences in the country with usual powers Gonzaga, Saint Mary's and BYU. All of them are looking up at San Diego in the standings.
Fisher was thrilled to help guide the team to its first Top 25 appearance.
"I'm so happy for this team, my staff. The hard work we preach and put it every day. To get them what they've been working hard for and have that feeling of accomplishment, we're really excited," Fisher said. "I got a few texts on the way down here. I'm sure there's some very excited young ladies lifting some weights right now."
SEC SHAKEUP: It was a rough week for the top teams of the SEC, with both Tennessee and Kentucky losing at home. The Lady Vols dropped a contest to LSU while the Wildcats were upset by Florida. Add Georgia starting off 0-2 in the conference for the first time since 1992-93, and the SEC is not what was expected so far. Kentucky plays a big game at South Carolina on Thursday. Coach Dawn Staley's Gamecocks are unbeaten in their first two conference games. The conference still has five ranked teams with No. 8 Tennessee, No. 9 Kentucky, No. 10 South Carolina, No. 12 LSU and No. 25 Georgia.
DOMINANT HUSKIES: UConn plays Houston and Temple this week in the new American Athletic Conference. The Huskies have won their 15 games by an average of 37 points, with no team coming with 15 points.
Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg