Three Pac-10 Women's Teams Ranked In AP Top-25 (11/6/01)

Nov 6, 2001

By CHUCK SCHOFFNER
AP Sports Writer

Connecticut, still brimming with talent even after losing three key players,was an overwhelming choice as the No. 1 team Tuesday in The Associated Presspreseason women's basketball poll.

It was nothing new for the Huskies. This will be the third straight seasonthat has started with Connecticut leading the poll and the fourth since 1995.

'I'm sure that our performance in the NCAA tournament had a lot to do withthis, but this is a different season and different circumstances,' UConn coachGeno Auriemma said.

'I don't think it's as clear cut going into the season as to who thefavorite should be this year. I'm sure there are plenty of other schools whofeel they deserve to be number one.'

Connecticut no longer has All-Americans Shea Ralph and Svetlana Abrosimova,and center Kelly Schumacher also is gone. But the Huskies learned to playwithout Ralph and Abrosimova after they were injured last season and UConnstill made it to the Final Four.

Point guard Sue Bird is back to run the offense and she'll have plenty ofoptions on the floor with Swin Cash, Tamika Williams, Asjha Jones and DianaTaurasi, who played fearlessly as a freshman last season.

'We've got as good a first five as anyone in the country,' Auriemma said.

Williams is not playing at the moment because of a condition that causespain and numbness in her left arm. It's not known when she'll return.

Connecticut received 31 of 45 first-place votes from a national media paneland had 1,102 points. Tennessee, which has been No. 1 in the preseason pollthree times, was second with five first-place votes and 1,032 points.

The Lady Vols' big three of Tamika Catchings, Semeka Randall and KristenClement have moved on, but coach Pat Summitt still has veterans Michelle Snow,Kara Lawson and Gwen Jackson and a freshman class headed by national player ofthe year Shyra Ely.

Three teams split the remaining first-place votes. No. 3 Vanderbilt receivedsix, No. 4 Oklahoma had two and No. 5 Duke got one. Vanderbilt finished ninepoints behind Tennessee.

Louisiana Tech was sixth, followed by Texas Tech, Iowa State, Stanford andNorth Carolina State. Stanford was the only team in the Top 10 that was not inthe final poll last season.

Purdue, the national runner-up last season, was voted into the No. 11 spot.Then it was Colorado, Florida, Baylor and defending NCAA champion Notre Dame,followed by Georgia, Michigan, Old Dominion, Washington and George Washington.

Penn State, Arizona State, Maryland, Colorado State and Utah held the finalfive spots.

The No. 15 ranking for Notre Dame was the second lowest in the preseasonpoll for the defending champion. Purdue started at No. 23 after winning the1999 title.

Notre Dame lost national player of the year Ruth Riley, plus starters NieleIvey and Kelley Siemon.

Other members of the Top 25 that did not appear in the final poll lastseason were Michigan, Old Dominion, Washington, George Washington, Maryland andColorado State.

Maryland made the poll for first time since Jan. 4, 1994. Colorado Statelast appeared in the 1998-99 season.

 The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' women's preseason college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 2000-01 records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last year's final ranking:

Record Pts Pv

1. Connecticut (31) 32-3 1,102 1

2. Tennessee (5) 31-3 1,032 3

3. Vanderbilt (6) 24-10 1,023 10

4. Oklahoma (2) 28-6 986 7

5. Duke (1) 30-4 931 5

6. Louisiana Tech 31-5 879 6

7. Texas Tech 25-7 866 13

8. Iowa St. 27-6 789 8

9. Stanford 19-11 706 -

10. N.C. State 22-11 655 19

11. Purdue 31-7 654 9

12. Colorado 22-9 540 20

13. Florida 24-6 518 14

14. Baylor 21-9 451 23

15. Notre Dame 34-2 420 2

16. Georgia 27-6 339 4

17. Michigan 19-12 334 -

18. Old Dominion 21-9 273 -

19. Washington 22-10 263 -

20. George Washington 22-10 197 -

21. Penn St. 19-10 177 21

22. Arizona St. 20-11 153 -

23. Maryland 17-12 137 -

24. Colorado St. 25-7 130 -

25. Utah 28-4 108 17

Others receiving votes: North Carolina 97, Texas 96, LSU 91, St. Mary's, Cal. 89, Rutgers 83, Wisconsin 80, Iowa 61, Clemson 49, Boston College 39, TCU 35, Louisville 32, Drake 30, Xavier 28, Southern Cal 23, Virginia 23, Virginia Tech 18, Oregon 14, UC Santa Barbara 14, Mississippi St. 13, Auburn 9, UNLV 9, Tulane 8, Ohio St. 6, Arizona 4, Indiana 3, Chattanooga 2, Toledo 2, Kent St. 1, Mississippi 1, SW Missouri St. 1, Siena 1.

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