By DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer
UConn extends its reign at No. 1 in The Associated Press’ women’s basketball poll. The Huskies (10-0) received all 36 first-place votes from the national media panel Monday. They had a quiet week with just one game– a 60-point rout of UC Davis. With most teams on an exam break, there wasn’t too much change in the Top 25.
Here are five things to know about this week’s Top 25:
CY-HAWK SHOWDOWN: It may not get the same attention nationally that Louisville-Kentucky received, but Iowa and Iowa State play Thursday in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.
“We’ll have three days to prepare for Iowa State,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “That’s a little bit longer than we usually get to prepare for opponents. I don’t have to worry at all about getting our team up to play. I just have to say Iowa State, they’ll show up.”
The 21st-ranked Hawkeyes moved up four spots in the poll this week after a win over Syracuse and a 48-point rout of Idaho State that saw Iowa hit a school-record 17 3-pointers.
“They work hard at it and it’s one of those contagious things, too,” Bluder said. “Once they start flying in, it’s easy for it to seem like the basket is getting bigger and bigger.”
Iowa State is unbeaten, although somewhat unchallenged, as the Hawkeyes are the first ranked opponent this season for Bill Fennelly’s team.
The Hawkeyes lead the series 22-20 but have lost 11 of the past 17 meetings since the series became a yearly contest in 1996.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: There was an instant classic down in Texas this past Friday when Kentucky outlasted Baylor in four overtimes 133-130. It was the highest scoring Division I women’s game ever. A couple missed free throws and a rimmed out 3-pointer at the buzzer prevented this from becoming only the second five-OT game in women’s basketball history.
“Hopefully people see that we have a high level of skill and a high level of athleticism,” Wildcats coach Matthew Mitchell said. “If you weren’t coaching in it, and watching it, it was a real entertaining game.”
It was the second straight big win for the fifth-ranked Wildcats, who also beat intrastate rival Louisville five days earlier.
Next up is a trip to Chicago to face DePaul on Thursday.
RISING GAMECOCKS: Dawn Staley and her South Carolina Gamecocks are still unbeaten. For the second straight season the Gamecocks are 9-0, and the team moved into 10th in the poll Monday, its highest ranking since 2002. South Carolina’s best ranking ever was No. 2 in 1982. With the team in exams, the Gamecocks don’t play again until Dec. 18 against North Carolina in the Carolina Classic.
It’s not the first time that Staley has led a team up the polls, as she helped guide Temple to 15th in 2005. The Hall of Famer also led Virginia to a No. 1 ranking as a player in the early 1990s.
STAYING PUT: The top nine teams in the poll stayed the same with Duke, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Kentucky, Stanford, Louisville, Maryland and Baylor following the Huskies. The nine teams went a combined 12-1 with the lone loss coming in that Texas thriller. Not only did the top nine remain the same as the previous week, no team fell out of the Top 25. Oklahoma and Syracuse made the biggest drops, going down three places each.
EXAMS: It’s a slow period for games with most teams entering an exam break. There is only one Top 25 game being played each night on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Things slowly start to pick up with four games Thursday and a handful this weekend.
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