Connecticut is back at No. 1.
UConn received 37 of the 40 first-places votes Monday in the women’s college basketball poll by The Associated Press. Second-ranked Stanford got the other three.
The Huskies spent a record 51 straight weeks at No. 1 before their loss to the Cardinal on Dec. 30 dropped them down a spot. Ever since falling to second in the poll on Jan. 3, UConn had been moving closer to Baylor before the Lady Bears lost to Texas Tech on Saturday.
When Baylor’s defeat was announced to the UConn crowd with about 4 minutes left in Saturday’s win over Notre Dame, the news received the loudest ovation of the day. That reaction surprised coach Geno Auriemma, who downplayed the achievement. UConn has spent a record 152 weeks atop the poll over his coaching career, so what was one more.
“We can wake up on Monday and say, ‘We’re No. 1?’ What, that makes us different all of a sudden?” Auriemma said after the 78-57 win over the Irish. “When I heard everybody yelling, and I didn’t understand what it is. We’re No. 1. We’ve always been No. 1.”
The Huskies host Seton Hall on Tuesday before visiting No. 18 Georgetown on Saturday with a chance to clinch the Big East top seed in the conference tournament.
Baylor fell to third with Tennessee and Texas A&M rounding out the first five.
Xavier remained sixth and has a showdown with Temple on Sunday with the Atlantic-10 championship on the line. DePaul moved up three spots to seventh for its best ranking. The Blue Demons have won 12 of their last 13 games — the lone loss at Connecticut earlier this month.
Notre Dame, Duke and Michigan State finish off the first 10.
Georgia vaulted back into the poll at No. 22 after a rout of then-No. 19 Kentucky. The stay might not last long as Georgia was routed 77-44 by the Lady Vols on Monday night.