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Doug Feinberg | The Associated Press | February 11, 2019

Women's basketball rankings: South Dakota cracks the new top 25 for the first time in program history

South Dakota Athletics South Dakota in in the women's basketball top 25 for the first time.

NEW YORK (AP) — South Dakota has been on the rise since moving up to Division I in 2008.

Now the Coyotes can add an appearance in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll to their achievements.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL RANKINGS: AP | USA TODAY | RPI 

Riding a nine-game winning streak, coach Dawn Plitzuweit’s team entered the AP Top 25 at No. 25 on Monday for the first time in school history.

“Certainly it’s an exciting day for our team and program, our fans and our university,” Plitzuweit said. “It speaks volumes to the hard work our young ladies have done to get to this point. It’s certainly not the end goal of our program.”

The Coyotes (22-3), who are off to their best start as a DI school, have five consecutive 20-win seasons. The team is 74-19 in Plitzuweit’s three years at the school. She took over a team that won the WNIT title in 2016.

“When you receive a ranking like this it speaks volumes to the young ladies and coaches that have been there before and what they did to build the program," she said.

NAISMITH WATCH: 30 named to midseason team

The Coyotes’ first game as a ranked team will be on Saturday at Western Illinois. The team was off practice Monday.

“Today we can celebrate it without focusing on being on the court then get back to work,” Plitzuweit said. “This group is really hungry and on a mission right now to be the best they can be.”

South Dakota already has a win this season over Iowa State and Missouri when the Tigers were ranked.

Here are some other tidbits from the AP Top 25 this week:

FALLING IRISH: Notre Dame fell out of the first five for the first time in 31 weeks. The Irish were last out of the top group on Nov. 20, 2017, when they were also sixth.

RISING TO THE SUMMIT: South Dakota became the third Summit League team ever to be ranked, joining rival South Dakota State and Oral Roberts. South Dakota State had an 11-week run from the middle of the 2008-09 season to the final poll that year. Oral Roberts was in for one week in 1983 before the school joined the Summit.

TOP 25 SHOWDOWNS: UConn will host South Carolina on Monday night in the final non-conference tuneup for both teams. Oregon State will play at Oregon on Friday night in a huge Pac-12 clash.

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