Duke stays No. 1, Ohio State jumps to third in women's basketball poll

Monday, January 17th 2005, 1:47 pm
By: News On 6

Duke remained No. 1 in The Associated Press women's basketball poll and Ohio State matched its highest ranking in school history with a jump to third.

No newcomers broke into the poll Monday, just the second time that has happened this season. Purdue and UCLA clung to their spots in the Top 25 after each lost twice during the past week.

Duke received 31 of 45 first-place votes from a national media panel and held the top spot for the second straight week with 1,104 points _ 14 more than No. 2 LSU.

The Blue Devils (16-1) have overcome the season-long suspension of point guard Lindsey Harding and the loss of guard Caitlin Howe with a knee problem to fashion the nation's longest winning streak at 14. Their only game last week was an impressive 87-65 victory at Virginia.

LSU, which was No. 1 for six weeks before Duke took over, inched closer to the top in replacing Baylor at No. 2 and received 13 first-place votes. It was the sixth time this season the No. 2 spot changed hands.

Ohio State (17-2) climbed from fifth to third after beating Rutgers 52-50 on Sunday and received the remaining first-place vote. The Buckeyes haven't been ranked this high since they were third in the final poll of the 1992-93 season, when Katie Smith led them to the national championship game.

Rutgers, which had defeated three Top 10 teams during an eight-day stretch in late December and early January, dropped from fourth to sixth.

Baylor fell to fourth after a triple overtime loss at Nebraska, while Stanford won twice to move up one place to fifth. The Cardinal's week included a 76-66 victory over No. 14 Boston College.

Tennessee moved up to seventh and was followed by Michigan State, North Carolina and Texas Tech, which jumped three spots to reach the Top 10 for the first time this season.

A 17-point loss at home to Connecticut dropped Notre Dame from seventh to 11th. The Irish rebounded to beat Purdue 86-69.

Minnesota was 12th and Connecticut, which seems to be righting itself after some early struggles, went from 16th to 13th. Then it was Boston College, Texas and Maryland, followed by Vanderbilt, DePaul, Iowa State and Kansas State.

Georgia, Iowa, Virginia Tech, Purdue and UCLA held the final five places.

Texas dropped three spots after losing to Texas Tech and beating Oklahoma State _ the third straight week the Longhorns have fallen in the poll.

Iowa State made the biggest jump, going from 24th to 19th after beating Kansas and Missouri. The Cyclones have won 11 straight, matching the nation's second-longest winning streak. Unranked Gonzaga also has won 11 in a row.

UCLA tumbled from 19th to 25th after losing to Arizona State and Arizona. Purdue lost to Minnesota before falling to Notre Dame _ the first time the Boilermakers have lost consecutive games since December 2001 _ and slipped four places to 24th.