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UConn, Tennessee 1-2 in AP Poll

Updated:
Connecticut and Tennessee are accustomed to where they sit in The Associated Press women's basketball poll.

Duke, on the other hand, is breaking new ground.

Connecticut and Tennessee remained 1-2 Monday in the voting by a national media panel, with UConn again a unanimous choice for the top spot after its season-opening rout of then-No. 3 Georgia.

Duke is the new No. 3 team, the highest ranking for the Blue Devils (2-0). Their best previously had been fourth in the 1998-99 preseason poll. They started this season ranked fifth.

With a talented recruiting class joining veterans Georgia Schweitzer, Rochelle Parent and Missy West, Duke opened the season with victories over UCLA and No. 9 LSU.

Freshman Alana Beard made an impressive debut with 35 points in the two games.

Even more impressive was Connecticut's 99-70 rout of Georgia in the Tip-Off Classic. The defending national champions looked to be in midseason form while overwhelming a veteran Georgia team with their depth and talent.

UConn held Georgia to 31 percent shooting.

``Our defense really sets the tone for us,'' Connecticut's Shea Ralph said. ``We really work in synch and we work really, really hard on our defense in practice.

``We know that if we are going to have any success in our fast break or our offense, what we need to do is get the ball and get running. The best way to do that is play tough defense.''

Connecticut received all 41 first-places and had 1,025 points in leading the poll for the 21st straight time. Tennessee, which does not play until Saturday, had 982 points and Duke 900.

Only nine teams in the Top 25 played during the opening weekend of the season, so there were few changes in the poll.

Purdue (2-0) remained fourth and Georgia dropped to fifth. They were followed by Notre Dame, Rutgers, Louisiana Tech, LSU and Iowa State.

LSU (1-1) slipped two spots and Louisiana Tech moved up one after winning its first two games in the preseason NIT. Notre Dame, Rutgers and Iowa State did not play.

Penn State went from 13th to 11th after a 27-point victory over Old Dominion in the opening game of the Tip-Off Classic. Then it was Stanford, Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas Tech, followed by Wisconsin, Mississippi State, Old Dominion, North Carolina State and Vanderbilt.

Old Dominion fell six places to 18th and lost star center Lucienne Berthieu for the season with a torn knee ligament.

Virginia climbed two places after two victories in the NIT.

Southwest Missouri State, North Carolina, Auburn, Oregon and Illinois held the final five spots.

Illinois, which has yet to play, is the only team that was not in the preseason Top 25. The Illini slipped in ahead of UC Santa Barbara, which also has not played yet.

Illinois was ranked most of last season and was as high as 10th. The Illini fell out the week of Feb. 7 and did not return.



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