Irish still on top; UConn No. 2 in latest AP women’s hoops poll

Connecticut’s Crystal Dangerfield, left, and Baylor’s Kristy Wallace, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Connecticut’s Crystal Dangerfield, left, and Baylor’s Kristy Wallace, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s a few weeks before Notre Dame and UConn face each other and a lot could change before then. For now, the two perennial basketball powers sit atop The Associated Press women’s basketball poll.

Both teams received 16 first place votes from the 33-member national media panel Monday. The Irish remained the No. 1 team in the poll after knocking off then-No. 17 Washington to win the Preseason WNIT on Sunday. That victory came a few days after a slim four-point win over Green Bay.

UConn also was unbeaten on the week, topping Florida State in the Huskies opener before beating then-No. 2 Baylor last Thursday. UConn capped off its week with a victory at LSU on Sunday for the team’s 78th consecutive victory. The Huskies would still have to beat two other ranked teams — No. 18 DePaul and No. 14 Texas before facing the Irish in South Bend, Indiana on Dec. 7. Notre Dame has a bit of an easier schedule.

South Carolina garnered the other first place vote and is third in the Top 25. Louisville and Baylor are next in the poll. The Gamecocks and Cardinals square off Sunday in the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge. That’s not the only good game between top teams this week. Baylor, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 11 Syracuse and DePaul are all playing in the Gulf Coast Showcase over Thanksgiving.

“What makes this tournament a great tournament is the level of competition top to bottom,” said DePaul coach Doug Bruno, whose team opens up against Western Kentucky. “You got really strong teams that aren’t recognized, but are really good like George Washington and Florida Gulf Coast and Western Kentucky. Then you also got the elite nationally ranked teams Baylor, Ohio State and Syracuse.”

Maryland, Mississippi State, Ohio State, UCLA and Florida State round out the top 10 teams.

Michigan State and Gonzaga entered the Top 25 in the bottom two spots this week while Indiana and Missouri fell out. The Zags knocked off No. 11 Stanford on Friday night. They were one of five unranked teams to beat Top 25 opponents last week.

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Find the women’s basketball poll online at: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/ap-womens-basketball-poll-week-3