Employee and wire reports
The Arizona women’s basketball team remained ranked 19th in The Associated Press’s Top 25 poll released Monday.
The Wildcats (15-4, 5-3) played just one game last week, defeating rival Arizona State 80-67. The Sun Devils have yet to win a Pac-12 game this season.
It was a notable victory since it came in Tempe, where Arizona has only won twice since 2000.
The Wildcats return to the court for a home series against the Washington schools this weekend. UA meets UW at 7 p.m. Friday before hosting Washington State at noon on Sunday.
No Texas teams
For the first time in the 47-year history of the AP Women’s Basketball Poll, no Texas team is in the top 25.
The Texas Longhorns were eliminated from the poll Monday, ending an 835-week run that has included at least one Lone Star State team in the rankings. From Wayland Baptist, Stephen F. Austin and Baylor, who showed up in the first poll in 1976, to Texas’ No. 25 last week, there has always been at least one team from the state in the poll.
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“Texas is the oil state and certainly was rich in women’s basketball, too,” said Mel Greenberg, who started the poll with the Philadelphia Inquirer during the 1976-77 season. “When I started, the state had some of the best teams in Wayland and Stephen F. Austin. Then Jody (Conradt) in Texas and finally Kim (Mulkey) in Baylor continued the tradition.”
Middle Tennessee entered the rankings at number 23 for the first time in nine years. The Blue Raiders (16-2) have won 14 straight games, including a win over Louisville, which is the country’s fourth-longest winning streak behind the Blue Raiders’ last three unbeaten teams.
That group is led by No. 1 South Carolina (20-0), who have 26 straight wins since their run to the NCAA championship last season. The Gamecocks, again a unanimous choice by the 28-member national media panel, topped the poll for 31 straight weeks – the fourth-longest streak of all time. Only UConn (51 and 34 weeks) and Louisiana Tech (36) had longer runs at #1.
Ohio State (19-0) stayed No. 2 behind the Gamecocks going into a week that includes games against No. 11 Iowa and sixth-ranked Indiana.
Stanford traded places with LSU for No. 3 after beating then-No. 1. 8 Utah and No. 25 Colorado, who dropped a spot after losing. LSU (19-0) is fourth and UConn is fifth.
Notre Dame, UCLA, Utah followed the sixth-placed Hoosiers.
Purdue is back at No. 1 on the AP men’s basketball top 25. Alabama is right behind the Boilermakers.
Purdue returned to first place on Monday, moving up two places after Temple knocked off the No. 1 in Houston over the weekend. The Boilermakers received 39 first-place votes from a 62-strong media panel after a volatile week that saw only two teams retain the same spot as a week ago.
Alabama climbed two spots to No. 2 and received 23 first-place votes for its highest rank since reaching No. 1 in 2002-03. Houston, Tennessee and Kansas State round out the top 5.
Purdue (19-1, 8-1 Big Ten) had fallen to No. 3 after four weeks at No. 1 following a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 3, but has since won six straight seasons.
Alabama (17-2, 7-0 SEK) has made a steady climb since ranking 20th in the AP Top 25 last season and moved into the top 10 in early December. The Crimson Tide had lopsided victories over Missouri and Vanderbilt after Darius Miles was fired from the team as he was charged with murder in a fatal shooting near campus.
Alabama coach Nate Oats reached out to Ray Lewis before the Crimson Tide played Vanderbilt last week and shared a Bible verse suggested by the Hall of Fame linebacker. Alabama beat Vandy at 12 and rolled over Missouri at 21.
“I saw some guys collapse after the game,” Oats said. “I think they bottled some stuff. We have a job to do. We have to go to the game. We’ve come to the game and done the business, and then it’s almost like a huge relief. The game is over and we can breathe easy.”