Tennessee Moves Up To No. 2

Monday, February 19th 2007, 11:15 am
By: News On 6

No. 1 Duke has some new company at the top of the AP women's basketball poll.

Tennessee moved into the No. 2 spot to replace North Carolina, which was upset by North Carolina State last week. The Tar Heels, who had been second all season, slipped to fourth, while Connecticut climbed two spots to third.

Ohio State dropped from fourth to fifth after a home loss to Michigan State on Sunday ended its 17-game winning streak. In the only other change among the top 10, No. 8 Stanford traded places with No. 9 George Washington.

Wisconsin-Green Bay was the lone newcomer, returning at No. 24 after a one-week absence. California dropped out.

Duke (28-0) led the poll for the sixth consecutive week and was a unanimous pick for the second straight week, receiving all 50 first-place votes from a national media panel.

The Blue Devils beat Boston College and No. 6 Maryland _ their second victory of the season over the defending national champs _ to remain the nation's only unbeaten team and clinch the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship.

Duke has one more challenging game to finish the regular season, at home Sunday against North Carolina. The Blue Devils beat the Tar Heels 64-53 in Chapel Hill on Feb. 8.

Tennessee (24-2) took a seven-game winning streak into Monday night's visit to No. 7 LSU. The Lady Vols' losses were to North Carolina and Duke.

Connecticut (24-2) has won 10 straight since a Jan. 15 loss at North Carolina and has clinched at least a tie for the Big East regular-season championship. Once a constant contender for No. 1, the Huskies' No. 3 ranking is their highest since they were third the week of March 8, 2004.

North Carolina (26-2) started the week with a victory at Florida State, then lost to North Carolina State 72-65 in the first game on the newly dedicated ``Kay Yow Court'' in Reynolds Coliseum, named in honor of the Wolfpack's Hall of Fame coach.

The Tar Heels bounced back to rout Miami 93-70 on Sunday. They play at Wake Forest on Thursday before heading up the road to meet Duke.

Ohio State (24-2) routed Wisconsin before falling to Michigan State, its first loss in 31 games against Big Ten opponents.

Maryland remained sixth and LSU held at No. 7. Stanford, George Washington and Arizona State completed the top 10.

No. 11 Georgia and No. 12 Vanderbilt stayed the same, while the next three teams all moved up one spot _ Oklahoma, Baylor and Purdue. Texas A&M, upset at Iowa State last week, slipped three places to 16th and was followed by Middle Tennessee, Bowling Green, Marquette and Michigan State.

Rutgers, James Madison, Louisville, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Nebraska held the final five places.

Wisconsin-Green Bay had been ranked for two weeks, then dropped out a week ago even though it didn't lose. The Phoenix (21-3) have won 18 in a row.

California (20-7), which had been 22nd, split on a road trip, losing to Oregon 62-42 and beating Oregon State 67-61 in two overtimes. The Bears had been ranked all season, climbing as high as 15th in mid-December.

Michigan State made the biggest jump in the poll, climbing from 24th to 20th. Nebraska had the biggest drop, falling six places to 25th after losing to a pair of unranked opponents, Texas Tech and Missouri.

After the trip to LSU, Tennessee has another big game Sunday at home against Vanderbilt. LSU plays at Vanderbilt on Thursday. Also on Sunday, George Washington hosts Temple in a game that will decide the Atlantic 10 championship. Both are 12-0 in the league.