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    Sunday, March 03, 2024

    UConn falls to worst ranking in 30 years in women's AP Top 25; South Carolina, UCLA stay atop poll

    UConn head coach Geno Auriemma walks the sideline before halftime during an NCAA college basketball game against Texas, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Austin, Texas. (Aaron E. Martinez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

    UConn dropped to 17th in The Associated Press Top 25 women's basketball poll Monday, its worst ranking in 30 years.

    The last time the Huskies were ranked this low was the second poll of the 1993-94 season when they were 18th. The drop also ended a 357-week stretch of being ranked in the top 15, which was the second longest in the history of the poll that dates to 1977 (Tennessee, 428 consecutive appearances).

    While Geno Auriemma's team has struggled so far this season because of injuries,

    South Carolina remained the unanimous No. 1 choice in voting by 35 members of a national media panel. The Gamecocks swept a pair of games over North Carolina and Duke last week. UCLA, N.C. State, Iowa and Texas rounded out the first five in the poll. The Longhorns jumped up five spots in the poll after beating then-No. 11 UConn.

    The one plus for the Huskies, who last weren't in the top 15 on Jan. 10, 2005, is that their three losses have come to UCLA, North Carolina State and Texas — all now in the top five.

    USC, LSU and Colorado followed the Longhorns in the poll. The Tigers saw the return of All-America forward Angel Reese in a win over Virginia Tech in the ACC/SEC Challenge. Reese had missed four games for LSU.

    Stanford fell from third to ninth after losing at Gonzaga on Sunday. Tennessee lost to Ohio State and UConn lost on the same day — the first time that the traditional powers Stanford, Tennessee and UConn all lost on the same day since Dec. 29, 2004. The Cardinal now own the longest active streak in the top 15 according to the website "Across the Timeline" with 102 straight weeks.

    Baylor moved up to No. 10.

    In and out

    The victory over Stanford propelled Gonzaga into the poll at No. 23. Washington State and Creighton also re-entered the Top 25 this week at Nos. 21 and 22, respectively.

    The Lady Vols fell out after a rough week that saw them also lose to then-No. 18 Notre Dame. Ole Miss, Princeton and Mississippi State also fell out of the Top 25.

    The Rebels lost at Southern Mississippi on Saturday. The Lady Eagles at 7-0 are off to their best start in 20 years and earned their first win over a ranked team since the 1999-00 season. They earned two votes in the poll this week.

    Rising Lions

    Penn State earned its first ranking since 2014, coming into the poll at No. 25. The Nittany Lions are 7-1 with the lone loss a one-point defeat to USC over Thanksgiving weekend. It's the first time the team has won seven of its first eight games since the 2003-04 season.

    Star power

    There is a tripleheader in Connecticut on Sunday with South Carolina, UCLA, Utah, Florida State, UConn and North Carolina all playing at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The Gamecocks face Utah; UCLA plays Florida State; and UConn takes on North Carolina.

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