South Carolina, Connecticut hold serve, maintain top two spots in AP poll
South Carolina and Connecticut seem on a collision course for a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown Feb. 9.
The top two teams in The Associated Press women's poll kept alive the chance of 54th matchup featuring No. 1 vs. No. 2 by winning their games this past week. The Gamecocks survived their first real test in the Southeastern Conference, beating No. 10 Kentucky 68-60 at home Sunday in front of 17,156 fans.
UConn had a bit of an easier time beating SMU 83-28. The Huskies led 74-9, holding the Mustangs without a point for nearly the first 12:30 of the second half.
The Gamecocks travel to Missouri and Florida this week while UConn hosts Temple and South Florida.
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Baylor, Louisville and Texas followed the Huskies, with the Cardinals and Longhorns tied for fourth. Tennessee, Notre Dame, Maryland, Oregon State and Kentucky rounded out the top 10.
The Beavers have their highest ranking ever at No. 9.
One road loss to Miami cost Notre Dame its 28-week streak in the top five. The Fighting Irish had been ranked among the first five teams for every week since Nov. 11, 2013. That was the second-longest active streak behind UConn, which has been among the top five every week since Jan. 29, 2007 -- a span of 152 consecutive weeks.
The Irish still have been in the top 10 for every week since Jan. 7, 2011. That's 78 consecutive weeks. UConn's been in the first 10 for 184 weeks dating back to March 14, 2005.
Princeton keeps moving up the rankings, climbing to No. 19 this week. The undefeated Tigers beat Hampton by 12 and rival Penn by 29. Princeton now is on exam break until Jan. 30.
South Carolina and Princeton are the lone remaining unbeatens in women's basketball. On the other end of the spectrum, UC Santa Barbara and Illinois State are the two winless programs.
Western Kentucky fell out of the Top 25 a week after joining. It wasn't the Lady Toppers' fault as they won both their games handily. It isn't the first time this season that a team promptly dropped out of the rankings without losing. Gonzaga fell out the week after it entered the poll despite winning its two games that week. It's a rare feat, as this is only the fifth time it's happened since 2000, according to STATS.
Two teams with ACC title aspirations square off with Notre Dame visiting North Carolina on Thursday. Both teams are coming off disappointing defeats this past week. The Irish lost at Miami while the Tar Heels fell at Pittsburgh. Thursday night will also showcase the two newest members of the Big Ten with Maryland visiting Rutgers. While it isn't in the Top 25, DePaul has a busy week to determine its standing in the Big East with a road trip to face St. John's (N.Y.) on Friday and Seton Hall on Sunday.