Originally created 01/09/01

Women's Top 25

Connecticut was No. 1 in The Associated Press women's basketball poll for the 29th straight time Monday and Baylor joined at No. 23, its first national ranking since 1978.

Arizona made the poll for the first time this season, at No. 22. Xavier and Utah dropped out.

Connecticut led a top eight that was unchanged from last week. The rest of the Top 25 underwent a major revamping after nine ranked teams lost to unranked opponents.

UConn (11-0) was a unanimous choice for the 10th time in as many polls this season, receiving all 41 first-place votes from the national media panel. The Huskies were ranked No. 1 all last season, when they won the national championship.

Coach Geno Auriemma's team began the 2001 calendar year with a 107-45 rout of Georgetown, then won at No. 8 Louisiana Tech 71-55, Connecticut's third victory over a Top Ten team this season.

Tennessee (14-1) remained second and Notre Dame (14-0), which plays host to Connecticut next Monday, was third. The Irish were followed by Georgia, Duke, Purdue, Iowa State and Louisiana Tech.

The top eight teams combined for a 16-1 record in the past week, with Tennessee winning three times. The Lady Vols beat two ranked teams - Rutgers and Louisiana State.

LSU followed its loss to Tennessee with a victory over Mississippi State and moved up two spots to ninth. Florida climbed four places to 10th.

Texas Tech moved up two spots to 11th and Rutgers, which also lost to Notre Dame in a 0-2 week, fell from ninth to 12th. Then it was Penn State, Texas and Southwest Missouri State, followed by Clemson, Oklahoma, Vanderbilt, North Carolina State and Oregon.

The final five teams were Mississippi State, Arizona, Baylor, Stanford and Auburn.

Baylor (13-0) was last ranked the week of Jan. 25, 1978. The Lady Bears have undergone a dramatic turnaround under first-year coach Kim Mulkey, a former Louisiana Tech player and assistant, after finishing 7-20 last season.

They have received a big lift from junior-college transfer Sheila Lambert, who leads the Big 12 in scoring, and have won their games by an average of 16 points. Kansas is the only opponent that has come closer than 11 points to Baylor, which beat the Jayhawks 85-80 in Lawrence on Saturday.

Arizona (12-2) was ranked all last season and was 21st in the final poll. The Wildcats, who returned only one of their top five scorers, began Pac-10 play with road wins over California and Stanford. Their only losses this season were at Notre Dame and to Auburn in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Xavier (10-2), which had been ranked for seven weeks, dropped out after an 88-74 loss to George Washington. The Musketeers were 22nd last week.

Utah (12-2), which had been 25th, lost to Loyola Marymount and beat New Mexico. The Utes were ranked for three weeks.

Vanderbilt, which won three games during the past week, made the biggest jump in the poll, from 23rd to 18th. Auburn's fall from 20th to 25th was the biggest drop. The Tigers lost at South Carolina on Sunday, their third loss in four games.


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