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    Sunday, May 19, 2024

    South Carolina, Iowa, UConn top final AP Top 25 women's basketball poll

    UConn forward Aaliyah Edwards drives to the basket in front of Iowa forward Hannah Stuelke, rear, during the first half of a Final Four college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament, Friday, April 5, 2024, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

    South Carolina can add another first to its perfect season: The national champion Gamecocks finished atop the first Associated Press Top 25 women's basketball poll to be released after the NCAA Tournament.

    The Gamecocks, who won their second title in three years Sunday with an 87-75 victory over Iowa, received all 35 first-place votes from a national media panel Monday. South Carolina was No. 1 for every week this season except for the preseason poll, when the team was sixth, and at 38-0 became just the 10th team to finish a season undefeated.

    It is the first time in the 47-year history of the women's Top 25 that the AP has released its final poll after the NCAA Tournament. Until this year, the final poll had been released after Selection Sunday, on the eve of the tournament.

    Iowa was a unanimous choice at No. 2, the Hawkeyes' best finish since they were also second in the final poll of 1988. Final Four participants UConn and N.C. State were third and fourth, respectively. The Huskies have been in the top 10 in the final poll every year since 1994. They've been within the top six every season since 2007.

    North Carolina State went from unranked in the preseason to a high of three this year. The Huskies and Wolfpack made the biggest jumps in the final poll, each moving up seven places.

    USC was fifth, earning its first ranking in the final poll since 2014 and its highest slot at the end of the season since the Trojans were third in 1986.

    LSU, Texas and Oregon State — all reached the Elite Eight — and Stanford and UCLA rounded out the top 10.

    In and out

    Duke, West Virginia and Iowa State all made the Top 25 after strong showings in the NCAA tourney.

    The Blue Devils knocked off No. 2 seed Ohio State in the second round and almost beat UConn in the Sweet 16. The Mountaineers lost to Iowa in the second round, pushing Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes to the limit at home. The Cyclones were beaten in overtime by Stanford in the second round.

    UNLV, Fairfield and Louisville all fell out of the rankings after losses in the first round.

    Conference supremacy

    The Pac-12 in its final season in its current form sent seven teams to the tournament and five of them reached the Sweet 16. Six teams are in the season-ending Top 25, with 15th-ranked Colorado and 22nd-ranked Utah joining USC, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA.

    The Big 12 also had six teams in the rankings. The ACC was next with five teams while the Big Ten had three. The SEC and Big East each had two while the West Coast Conference had Gonzaga.

    North Carolina State guard Aziaha James (10) drives around South Carolina guard Tessa Johnson (5) during the second half of a Final Four college basketball game in the women's NCAA Tournament, Friday, April 5, 2024, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

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