UConn stays No. 1 in AP women's hoops poll; Cal in at No. 21
Lindsay Gottlieb wanted to challenge her young talented California early, so she took a trip across country to face Louisville.
The Golden Bears came away with two wins and a Top 25 ranking in the process.
Cal entered The Associated Press women's basketball poll at No. 21 on Monday after beating then-No. 8 Louisville 75-71. The Cardinals fell eight spots to 16th.
''This group is really fun to coach since they are so young,'' Gottlieb said. ''We had to earn this one since we weren't ranked in the preseason. The polls will be a good lesson for them on how to handle our business. This group has something to prove.''
Gottlieb's team opened up the season with a victory over Austin Peay before upsetting the Cardinals.
''One of my best moves was scheduling the Austin Peay game to get some of our jitters out,'' she said. ''Taking a young team into a tournament like atmosphere, I was really pleased how our players reacted to that environment.''
The top of the poll remained the same with UConn still No. 1. The Huskies open their season Monday night when they visit No. 7 Ohio State. The Buckeyes lost to No. 2 South Carolina on Friday and dropped one spot in the Top 25. Ohio State is believed to be the first program to begin the season playing the top two teams in the country. North Carolina State was the last team to play the top two teams in the poll during the season, losing to both Duke and North Carolina in January 2007 according to STATS.
Notre Dame, Tennessee and Baylor followed the Gamecocks to round out the first five.
Here are some other tidbits from the poll:
NO LONGER UNANIMOUS
UConn did lose one of its first place ballots with the Gamecocks garnering the other top vote.
''Everyone knows UConn is still going to be the team to beat. But the Huskies haven't played a game yet, and South Carolina beating an Ohio State team that's good enough to be a Final Four contender is impressive enough to warrant a No. 1 vote, at least for now,'' said Seth Soffian, who writes for The News-Press.
ALMOST DID IT
UNLV almost pulled off the rare feat of playing the top two teams in the poll to start the season. The Lady Rebels beat No. 3 Immaculata and top-ranked Delta State to begin the 1976-77 season - the first year of the poll. Wayland Baptist was No. 2 to start that year.
FALLING TAR HEELS
North Carolina dropped out of the Top 25 after losing its first two games by a combined three points. It's the first time in the history of the program that the Tar Heels have lost the first two games of the season.
COMING UP ORANGE
Syracuse earned its best preseason ranking ever when the Orange were 23rd in the preseason poll. They opened the season with a three-point win at Rhode Island and fell two spots to No. 25 on Monday. Syracuse earned its first-ever preseason ranking last year when the team was No. 24 in the first poll.
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This story has been corrected to reflect the proper poll order of Notre Dame and Tennessee at Nos. 3 and 4.