Indiana up to program-best No. 2; S.C. still No. 1

Indiana moves up to No. 2 for the highest ranking in program history, a spot behind South Carolina, the unanimous No….


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South Carolina beat a top opponent to remain No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll released Monday and now has a showdown with another one looming this weekend.

The Gamecocks (23-0) topped then-No. 5 UConn 81-77 on Sunday to remain unbeaten and stay the unanimous choice atop the poll from the 28-member national media panel. After facing Auburn on Thursday, South Carolina will play No. 3 LSU on Sunday in a matchup of the last two unbeatens in Division I women’s college basketball.

Dawn Staley’s team has won 29 consecutive games and has been No. 1 in the poll for 33 consecutive weeks. That’s one week short of tying the Huskies for the third-longest streak atop the poll. Only UConn (51 weeks) and Louisiana Tech (36) have had longer runs at No. 1.

While South Carolina has had a stranglehold on No. 1 for more than a year, Indiana is making its first appearance ever at No. 2 after Stanford lost to Washington.

“I’m going to relish this for a minute, knowing where the program was to where it is,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said. “We’ve made a lot of history since we’ve been here in our nine seasons and it’s one of the more historical things we’ve been able to accomplish. Give our players credit, I don’t want to discount what a big achievement this is. We’re more than humbled to be No. 2.”

Indiana has won 10 straight since suffering its lone loss of the season to Michigan State. The Hoosiers have a tough stretch coming up, starting with a home game against No. 5 Iowa on Thursday. Indiana, which hadn’t been ranked higher than fourth before Monday, then plays No. 13 Ohio State and 12th-ranked Michigan.

“That’s why we take it one game at a time, but you understand the magnitude of what’s ahead of us. I tell the kids all the time we’re in control of our own destiny,” Moren said.

LSU remained at No. 3 after close wins over Tennessee, Georgia and Texas A&M. The Tigers have a week to prepare for the Gamecocks.

UConn moved up one spot to fourth after its close loss to the Gamecocks and Iowa was fifth.

The Cardinal fell to sixth with Utah, Maryland, Duke and Notre Dame rounding out the top 10. The Blue Devils beat the Irish on Sunday to take over sole possession of first in the ACC and vault up seven spots in the poll. It’s Duke’s best ranking since the team finished the 2017 season ranked ninth.

The NCAA will have its first reveal of the top 16 teams in the tournament to this point Thursday.

FALLING CYCLONES

It was a rough week for Iowa State, which lost to Kansas by one point and Baylor by six. The Cyclones fell nine spots in the poll from 12th to 21st.

RE-ENTRY

Colorado came back into the poll at No. 25 after beating Oregon and Oregon State over the weekend. The Buffaloes were ranked for four weeks before falling out last week. Middle Tennessee dropped out of the poll after losing both its games last week.

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