UConn is No. 1 still in The Associated Press’ women’s basketball poll and probably won’t be leaving that spot soon. The Huskies (9-0) received all 36 first-place votes from the national media panel on Monday. While they had a quiet week with just one game, the rest of the Top 25 had a busy schedule.
Here are five things to know about this week’s Top 25:
NEW BLOOD: No. 22 Syracuse and No. 25 Iowa entered the poll for the first time this season and will meet on Thursday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
"This is a very good team and it’s an important game for us," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "We’re hoping to have some great support because we’re going to really need it."
Both teams were ranked in March last season. The Orange are off to a great start at 8-0 after winning the Paradise Jam Reef Division title. They knocked off then-No. 12 Texas A&M. The Hawkeyes took the Cancun Challenge this past weekend beating USC, Boston College and UNC Wilmington.
FREE FALLING: It was a tough week for Texas A&M, North Carolina and Nebraska, with all three losing. The Aggies fell twice in Cancun while the Tar Heels also lost in Mexico. Nebraska was beaten at home by Washington State.
The Aggies fell 11 spots to No. 23; The Tar Heels dropped seven places to 18th and Cornhuskers went down to 15th from 10. Michigan State and DePaul dropped out of the poll.
PAC-12 DOMINANCE: It was a great week for the Pac-12. Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer earned her 900th career win with the sixth-ranked Cardinal’s victory over Florida Gulf Coast in Mexico on Wednesday. Arizona State knocked off then-No. 11 North Carolina in an overtime thriller and Washington State won at Nebraska -- it’s first victory in program history against a Top 10 team.
Throw in an undefeated Colorado, and the Pac-12 is on the move.
SCHEDULING QUIRKS: After playing eight games in the first 15 days of the season, UConn hit a break with just two games over a span of 17 days. The Huskies beat Ohio State by 21 points on Sunday and play UC Davis on Thursday before exams begin. UConn’s next game after that isn’t until a showdown at No. 2 Duke on Dec. 17.
Last week, the Huskies were down to seven scholarship players because of injuries to Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Morgan Tuck. With the school on break for the holiday, the male practice players weren’t around.
"Practice becomes less than productive at times," coach Geno Auriemma said. "There’s instances when you want a lot of games and not a lot of practice as much. We start school (Monday) and are back on our routine. There’s nothing you can do about it. The schedule is what it is and we go through it every year."
BUSY WEEK: After few ranked matchups in the first three weeks of the season, the upcoming week features intriguing games thanks in part to the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. North Carolina and Nebraska play along with Purdue and Duke. The best of the bunch could be No. 4 Notre Dame at No. 10 Penn State. Then there’s No. 9 Baylor facing No. 5 Kentucky on Friday.
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