NEW YORK — Muffet McGraw and Notre Dame are back where they started the season: at No. 1.
The Fighting Irish returned to the top spot in in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll Monday, barely edging second-ranked Louisville, after former No. 1 UConn lost to then-No. 8 Baylor last week. The new Nos. 1-2 meet this week in South Bend, Indiana.
“It’s a big game on Thursday we need to be ready for,” McGraw said after Sunday’s win over Georgia Tech.
Notre Dame received 12 first place votes from a 30-member national media panel Monday. Louisville was second, garnering 10 first-place ballots. The Cardinals are just seven points behind the Irish in the poll.
UConn, which on Thursday saw its 126-game regular-season winning streak snapped, fell to third in the poll and Baylor moved up four spots to fourth. The Huskies received three first-place votes and the Lady Bears had five. It’s the first time since the 2014-15 season that four different teams received first-place votes in the same week.
Oregon, Stanford, Mississippi State, N.C. State, Maryland and Oregon State round out the top 10 teams in the poll. The Terrapins dropped five spots after suffering their first loss of the season, falling to Rutgers.
Spot Shooting!! 🐢🏀🏀🏀 https://t.co/YzHC3CydLE— Maryland Women’s Basketball (@umdwbb) January 7, 2019
Here are some other tidbits from the poll:
HOOSIER HYSTERIA: Indiana entered the poll at No. 25. It’s only the fifth week that the Hoosiers have been ranked in school history. Indiana first made the poll in 1993 for a week. The Hoosiers then had to wait 21 years before getting ranked again, reappearing in the Top 25 in 2014. The team had a two-week stint in 2016 before Monday. Indiana (14-1) beat then-No. 15 Michigan State 68-64 on Sunday. The Hoosiers visit Ohio State and Wisconsin this week.
RISING DOGS: Gonzaga moved up three spots to 14th, the best ranking in school history. The Zags are 15-1, with the loss coming against Notre Dame in the Vancouver Showcase. Gonzaga has a win over No. 6 Stanford on its resume and is off to the best start in school history.
CLOSE BALLOTS: The last time four teams all received first-place votes was in the 2014-15 season, when South Carolina, Notre Dame, UConn and Texas all were getting picked. UConn was the top team before losing to Stanford that season. That was the Huskies’ last regular-season loss before falling to Baylor. South Carolina held the No. 1 spot that season until losing to the Huskies in February.