NEW YORK — The UConn Huskies are still the team to beat, remaining No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll.
The Huskies (3-0) routed then-No. 20 California and No. 15 Maryland this week. UConn once again received all 32 votes from the national media panel on Monday. They topped the Terrapins without junior preseason All-American Katie Lou Samuelson who will be sidelined with a sprained left foot for a few weeks. UConn is headed out west to face No. 5 UCLA on Tuesday before playing Michigan State and Nevada.
Texas, South Carolina and Louisville are 2-3-4 in the poll. Jeff Walz has the Cardinals at 5-0 after winning the preseason WNIT with victories over No. 24 Michigan in the semifinals and No. 10 Oregon in the championship game.
“We approached each game with the right mindset and stayed together through adversity,” Walz said. “We did a great job being both mentally and physically prepared for such a 10-day stretch. We know we have a long way to go and lots to improve on, but I’m really proud of this team.”
Notre Dame and Mississippi State follow the Cardinals with Baylor, Ohio State and Oregon rounding out the first 10 teams. The Lady Bears lost at UCLA on Saturday and fell five spots in the poll. Baylor was missing coach Kim Mulkey, who stayed in Texas to be with her daughter Makenzie Fuller, who lost her unborn baby girl. Fuller is a former Lady Bears player in her third season on her mother’s staff.
Arizona State moved into the poll at No. 24 while Oklahoma fell out. The Sun Devils head to Cancun, Mexico, where they will play Mississippi State as part of a round robin tournament.
Here are a few other tidbits from this week’s poll.
TOURNEY TIME: With the Thanksgiving holiday this week there is a feast of top teams that could face off in Florida, Las Vegas and Mexico. The Gulf Showcase in Florida will host South Carolina, No. 17 South Florida and Notre Dame. The Play4Kay Showcase in Las Vegas will feature Ohio State and No. 14 Stanford.
UCLA and Texas will also be in Las Vegas at the South Point tournament, but are in different brackets. Joining Mississippi State and Arizona State in Cancun is Tennessee, but the Lady Vols are in a different bracket.
HE SAID IT: “I think there’s a lot of teams out there that are relatively equal to each other,” Villanova coach Harry Perretta said after his squad knocked off then-No. 11 Duke. “You got UConn and then a couple of others, it starts narrowing. We proved we can beat a top 20 team today.”