Irish smiling: Notre Dame No. 1 in preseason AP women's poll

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw talks to her players in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. Notre Dame defeated Florida State 73-66. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
AP

Muffet McGraw and Notre Dame are ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press women's basketball poll for the first time in 15 years.

The Irish garnered 14 first place votes on Tuesday from a 33-member national media panel to earn the top ranking in the preseason poll. Notre Dame last held the No. 1 ranking on March 5, 2001. McGraw returns most of the core back from a team that went 33-2 last season.

Baylor was a close second, four points behind the Irish. The Lady Bears had 12 first place votes.

UConn, which has won 75 consecutive games and four straight national championships, was third. South Carolina and Louisville round out the top five teams.

National runner-up Syracuse was 14th while Final Four participants Washington and Oregon State were 17th and 25th.

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