NCAAW Top 25: UConn returns to No. 1 for 243rd time following Stanford's upset loss

Cassandra NegleyYahoo Sports Contributor
Olivia Nelson-Ododa and the UConn Huskies are starting the decade where they began: No. 1. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Olivia Nelson-Ododa and the UConn Huskies are starting the decade where they began: No. 1. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

There is another new No. 1 in women’s basketball this season. And it’s a familiar name.

The Connecticut Huskies are back in the top spot in the Associated Press poll, receiving 19 first-place votes after Stanford was upended by unranked Texas over the weekend. UConn is the first team outside of the Pac-12 to hold the spot this season.

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It’s the first time they’ve been No. 1 since Dec. 31, 2018 and the 243rd time overall, per the Associated Press. The last time the Huskies were not ranked was March 16, 1993 — four years before the senior class was born. Per Alexa Philippou of the Hartford Courant, they’ve been No. 1 at least one week in all except five seasons since 1994-95.

Oregon is second (five first-place votes), Oregon State (four first-place votes) moved into third, South Carolina (one first-place vote) is fourth and Stanford dropped down to fifth. The full top 25 is listed below.

UConn third team to hold No. 1

Oregon held the top spot from the preseason poll through week 4. Stanford moved into the top spot after Oregon and then No. 2 Baylor lost at the Paradise Jam over Thanksgiving weekend.

The Cardinal struggled with their shot against Texas and couldn’t contain sophomore Charli Collier, ultimately falling 69-64 on the road. Collier had 20 points and a career-high 19 rebounds. She made a putback and free throw to put Texas up, 61-60, with 3:09 to go and hit a shot in the lane for the three-point cushion at 2:28.

UConn had a bumpy start to the season, but has found its footing of late — and at the perfect time. The Huskies crushed Oklahoma, 97-53, in a Sunday showcase without head coach Geno Auriemma, who missed only the 10th game of his career after minor surgery.

“I think we played as close to a good 40 minutes as we had all year,'' associate coach Chris Dailey said, via the Associated Press.  

Daily also told the AP she’s not sure her team is the best team in the country yet, echoing Auriemma’s analysis last week that his team didn’t deserve No. 2. The Huskies started at No. 5 to start the season and made their biggest move to No. 2 after the Paradise Jam shook the rankings up.

Rest of the top-10 recap

In other top-10 action, UCLA got its first win over a ranked opponent with Pac-12 play beginning next week. The Bruins defeated Indiana in a 10-vs-12 match-up to stay undefeated at 11-0. UCLA stayed at No. 10 while Indiana dropped to No. 14.

Florida State handled Michigan behind Kiah Gillespie’s first career triple-double in her homecoming at the Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase in Uncasville, Connecticut. She had 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

''We set up this game for her to play near her home,'' Florida State coach Sue Semrau said of Gillespie, who grew up 45 minutes away from the Connecticut Sun arena, per the Associated Press. ''Pretty special way for her to celebrate her return.''

It was tough to move this week and the Seminoles stayed at No. 8. Michigan rose one spot.

South Dakota, another strong mid-major that earned its first ranking last week at No. 25, had a tough time against the powerhouse South Carolina Gamecocks. They dropped out, getting 38 votes compared to Minnesota’s 29 and No. 25 Texas’ 40.

Jostling in the lower 25

It was a weekend packed with top-ranked matchups, including those at the Florida Sunshine Classic. Syracuse, which has played a brutal schedule so far, got a win against ranked Michigan State and came back from a 20-point halftime deficit against ranked West Virginia, but ultimately lost by a bucket.

West Virginia, ranked 22nd and now No. 19, defeated Michigan State, ranked 19th, in the third game of the classic. Michigan State fell far out of the rankings.

Gonzaga, ranked No. 17, defeated then-No. 20 Missouri State, 64-52, with a 19-4 run in the third quarter to improve its stock heading into 2020. Gonzaga also remained at No. 17.

AP Top 25

Team | Record | Movement

  1. UConn (10-0) (+1)

  2. Oregon (10-1) (+1)

  3. Oregon State (11-0) (+1)

  4. South Carolina (12-1) (+1)

  5. Stanford (10-1) (-4)

  6. Baylor (9-1) (+1)

  7. Louisville (11-1) (+1)

  8. Florida State (12-0) (—)

  9. NC State (11-0) (—)

  10. UCLA (11-0) (—)

  11. Texas A&M (11-1) (—)

  12. Maryland (9-2) (+1)

  13. Kentucky (11-1) (+1)

  14. Indiana (10-2) (-2)

  15. Mississippi State (11-2) (—)

  16. DePaul (10-2) (—)

  17. Gonzaga (11-1) (—)

  18. Arizona (11-0) (—)

  19. West Virginia (9-1) (+3)

  20. Arkansas (11-1) (+1)

  21. Missouri State (9-2) (+1)

  22. Tennessee (9-2) (+1)

  23. Michigan (9-2) (+1)

  24. Miami (8-3) (NR)

  25. Texas (7-4) (NR)

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