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Kansas wins AP Women’s Top 25 poll; Gamecocks still #1

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Kansas passed the Associated Press women’s basketball poll for the first time in nearly 10 years after a huge victory while South Carolina remained the unanimous No. 1 team.

The No. 22-ranked Jayhawks beat No. 12-ranked Arizona by 27 points on the road to entering the AP’s Top 25 released on Monday.

The top five teams remained the same with the Gamecocks followed by Stanford, Ohio State, Indiana and Notre Dame in voting by a 28-member national media panel.

Virginia Tech finished sixth and will host the Fighting Irish on Sunday. The other ACC schools in North Carolina and NC State finished seventh and eighth.

UConn, which is plagued by injuries, fell three places to ninth after losing to Maryland on Sunday. The Terrapins moved up five spots to rank 15th. UCLA moved up three spots to rank 10th.

Kansas, which is 9-0 for the fourth time in school history, was last in the poll Jan. 14, 2013, when the Jayhawks were 23rd. They’ve been on the rise the past two years, finishing 21-10 last season for the program’s first 20-win campaign since 2012-13. Kansas lost to Stanford in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.

“We have 11 comebacks and four starters from last year’s team, so there were high expectations this year,” Kansas coach Brandon Schneider said. “We learned a lot in the NCAA Tournament. We just tried to improve our non-conference schedule. I feel like we’re a group that’s pretty committed defensively right now. Still a ton of upside improvement on the attacking side.”

Schneider said he will discuss the rankings with his team. The Jayhawks host Tulsa on Friday.

“More in terms of outward signs of complacency, and we’re still in the unconference,” Schneider said. “We need to feel good in terms of validating the program. I think we talked about being an upside program and the trajectory of our program is going in the right direction.”

UTES UP

Utah moved up to 13th, the school’s highest ranking since the Utes were 12th in 2008. Utah’s highest ranking is 11th in 1998. The team opens Pac-12 play Wednesday against the Colorado.

TIPS :

Arizona fell to 20th after losing to Kansas. … Michigan fell five places to 19th after losing to Toledo. … Iowa State, which fell four spots to 14th after falling to rival Iowa, will face No. 25 Villanova on Sunday in the Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase game. …Columbia received votes in the AP poll for the first time in school history. The Lions have victories over Miami, UMass and Stony Brook, all of which appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season.

IMPORTANT STEP

Maryland coach Brenda Frese had a memorable week, earning her 600th win in a blowout win over Purdue on Thursday. His team then beat UConn for the first time on Sunday, also giving the coach his first win against the perennial powerhouse. Frese coached at Ball State and Minnesota before taking over at Maryland in 2002. She is 601-173 in her career.

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