5 Things to Know About Women’s Hoops Poll
Pacers, Warriors Look Good Early
UConn is No. 1 again in The Associated Press’ women’s basketball poll. The Huskies received 35 of the 36 first-place votes from the national media panel Monday.
Second-ranked Duke got the other one after an impressive 70-58 road victory over No. 10 California. The top eight teams stayed the same as the preseason poll.
Here are five things to know about this week’s Top 25:
■ CHALLENGING WEEK: Connecticut has a long week ahead after routing Hartford on Saturday in its opener. After hosting No. 3 Stanford on Monday night, the Huskies head on the road to face eighth-ranked Maryland on Friday and No. 13 Penn State on Sunday. UConn is 297-14 (.958) when it is ranked No. 1.
“You are going to have (these games) at the end of the season, in the NCAA tournament,” UConn sophomore sensation Breanna Stewart said. “But I think it’s great to have them at the beginning, just because it really tests you. It tests you to see how quickly you’ve learned already.
“I think that having it under your belt so early will make people comfortable, because they’ll be like, ‘Oh, we’ve already played someone like Stanford before, or Maryland or Penn State,’ so that when we have to play those big teams later on, it’s just another team.”
■ MOVING UP: Duke’s road win over a tough Cal team impressed voter Harold Gutmann enough to move the Blue Devils up to the top spot over Connecticut.
“For me, the preseason poll is an educated guess. I think on-court results should carry much more importance,” said Gutmann, who covers North Carolina for the Durham Herald-Sun. “Duke going on the road and beating a top-10 team by double digits (I had Cal at No. 4) is by far the most impressive win of the opening weekend. I think the Blue Devils deserve to be No. 1 until another team shows it is capable of a similar performance. Certainly the UConn-Stanford winner will have a strong case to be No. 1 next week.”
■ FREE FALLING: No. 23 Dayton was the only Top 25 team to lose to an unranked opponent when the Flyers fell 97-93 in overtime to Iowa on Sunday, dropping them nine spots in the poll.
Take away the Duke-California game, which was the lone matchup between ranked teams, and the Top 25 went 28-1 with an average margin of victory of nearly 29 points the opening weekend.
■ IMPRESSIVE OPENER: No. 15 Nebraska climbed up two spots after routing UCLA 77-49 in the Cornhuskers’ first game at their new arena. Nearly 10,000 people turned out.
“What a great way to start the season,” Nebraska coach Connie Yori said. “We had a great crowd and a great atmosphere and we played pretty well, too.”
■ GETTING STARTED: No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 17 Colorado and No. 19 Michigan State all had the weekend off. The Aggies and Spartans play Monday night, as Texas A&M hosts North Texas while Michigan State visits No. 6 Notre Dame. The Buffaloes have to wait until Tuesday to begin with a road game against Colorado State.