NEW YORK (AP) — UConn is back in a familiar spot — No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll.
The Huskies moved up to the top position in the poll Monday after previous No. 1 Stanford lost at Texas on Sunday. UConn has spent more time at No. 1 than any other team in the history of the sport. This is the 243rd week has held the top ranking.
UConn received 19 first-place votes from the national media panel. Oregon was second with Oregon State, South Carolina and Stanford rounding out the first five teams. The Ducks drew five first-place votes, Oregon State four and South Carolina one.
The Huskies (10-0) are coming off a rout of Oklahoma and don’t play again until Jan. 2. Even with the huge win, UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey, filling in while Hall of Famer Geno Auriemma recuperates from surgery last week to relieve symptoms of diverticulitis, said she wasn’t sure the Huskies were the best team in the nation..
“I don’t know that we’re the No. 1 team in the country,” Dailey said. “I haven’t seen enough of a lot of people. But I’ve known our team when we have been No. 1. This team isn’t there yet. We’re not really worried about No. 1 now. What we want to do is give ourselves the best chance to be in position in March.”
This might be the most unlikely of UConn teams to reach No. 1 this soon. The Huskies graduated stars Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson. The team isn’t very deep, playing six or seven players every game. Yet it seems they keep getting better.
“I think we played as close to a good 40 minutes as we had all year,” Dailey said. “Today there was no lull, that was a big step for this team.”
While UConn hasn’t played many ranked teams yet, the Huskies have a challenging month after the New Year. They will face No. 6 Baylor, No. 2 Oregon, No. 22 Tennessee and South Carolina.
Miami and Texas re-entered the Top 25 at 24 and 25 as South Dakota and Michigan State fell out. The Longhorns became just the seventh unranked team to knock off the No. 1 team in the country.
Oregon State has its highest ranking ever at No. 3, and at 11-0 is off to the best start in school history.