S. Carolina No. 1 in AP Women's Preseason Poll

S. Carolina No. 1 in AP Women’s Preseason Poll

Dawn Staley and South Carolina picked up where they left off: No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 women’s basketball poll.

Defending national champion Gamecocks was the unanimous choice of the 30-member national media panel in the pre-season poll released on Tuesday. This is the third consecutive season that South Carolina has been the preseason favorite.

“That’s where we wanted to be and envision our program,” Staley said. “I have to give it to our players. We constantly get some of the best players in the country. They put us in this position because they work extremely hard. I don’t know if they come and say I want to be the team. 1 in the country, but they say they want to be national champions. It’s a step towards the title of national champion.

Stanford, Texas, Iowa and Tennessee round out the top five teams in the preseason poll. It’s Iowa’s highest ranking since 1994, when the Hawkeyes were also fourth midway through the season.

“It makes no difference in March from our standings in October, but I definitely want my team to have confidence and be proud of what they’ve accomplished. Iowa is on the map,” coach Lisa Bluder said. . “We will celebrate it and then forget it.”

South Carolina became the No. 1 team last season and has been the top team for 20 straight weeks. Only UConn (four times) and Baylor (once) have had longer streaks at No. 1 since the 1994-95 season, when the Top 25 became a writers’ poll.

The Huskies are ranked No. 6, the first time since 2006 that they weren’t in the top five in the preseason poll. Louisville, Iowa State, Notre Dame and NC State finish in the top 10.

HOLD THAT TIGER

Princeton has its first preseason ranking, ranking 24th.

The Tigers were seeded for the final two weeks of last season and fired four starters from the team that pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the NCAA tournament, upsetting Kentucky in the first round before falling to Indiana. one point in the next game.

“It’s great for our program and for the Ivy League and respecting what we’ve done in the past,” coach Carla Berube said. “I think it’s great for our team and for us to live up to the standards we’ve set for ourselves, we have ambitious goals. Being ranked in pre-season means a lot, but there’s a lot of work to be done. “

Berube has increased the Tigers’ schedule to challenge them with games at Texas and UConn, his alma mater.

“We learned that if you have a tough non-conference schedule, it can prepare you for the Ivy League and beyond,” she said.

CORNHUSKER TRACK

There are high expectations in the state of Nebraska. No. 21 Creighton has its first preseason ranking while No. 22 Nebraska was its first ranking since 2015. It’s the first time in poll history that both teams have been ranked in the same week.

“It’s good to have Creighton and Nebraska in the Top 25. It’s good for the state,” Creighton coach Jim Flanery said.

The Bluejays are coming off a great season as they advanced to the first Elite Eight in school history by knocking out No. 2 seed Iowa at home in the second round and Iowa State in the regional semi-finals. Expectations are high this year.

“It tells our players that they’ve put the program in a better position than ever before,” Flanery said. “It’s good for them. I think they deserve it. They’ve worked to get us to this point. I don’t think it changes their approach.”

TIPS

No. 13 Virginia Tech has its highest ranking since the last poll in 1999, when the school was also 13th. … South Dakota State No. 23 is ranked in the preseason for the first time in school history.

EVE OF THE CONFERENCE

The Big Ten leads the nation with six ranked teams. Joining Iowa’s No. 4 are Indiana’s No. 11, Ohio State’s No. 14, Maryland’s No. 17, Nebraska’s No. 22 and No. 25 from Michigan.

The ACC has five teams in the poll, including three in the top 10. Joining Louisville, Notre Dame and NC State are 12th North Carolina and 13th Virginia Tech.

The Big 12 has four ranked programs, led by No. 3 Texas and No. 8 Iowa State. No. 15 Oklahoma and No. 18 Baylor are also ranked.

The SEC and the Pac-12 each have three teams in the poll. No. 16 LSU joins top-ranked South Carolina and No. 5 Tennessee for the SEC. No. 19 Arizona and No. 20 Oregon join No. 2 Stanford for the Pac-12.

No. 21 Creighton and UConn represent the Big East while No. 24 Princeton is the only Ivy League school and No. 23 South Dakota State the only Summit League team in the standings.

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