Illinois women end 23-year drought in AP Top 25, LSU on the rise

After getting off to one of the best starts in school history, Illinois passed the Associated Press Women’s Basketball Top 25 poll on Monday for the first time in 23 years.

The Illini (14-3) are ranked 24th in their first Top 25 appearance since Nov. 27, 2000. It was a remarkable turnaround under first-year coach Shauna Green. The team was 7-20 last season and just 1-13 in the Big Ten. Illinois hasn’t had a winning season since 2012-13.

“It means a lot. I understand how far we’ve come in a very short time,” said Green, who came to Illinois after a successful run as a coach at Dayton. alive the last time we were ranked I was a sophomore in college.

South Carolina remained the No. 1 team, garnering all 28 votes from a national media panel. The Gamecocks have been No. 1 for 29 consecutive weeks. They were trailed in the poll by Stanford and Ohio State, which rallied to beat Illinois on Sunday.

UConn moved up one spot to fourth. The Huskies had their game against DePaul postponed on Sunday when they had only six scholarship players available due to injuries.

LSU moved up two spots to fifth. It’s the first time the Tigers have gone this high since Dec. 14, 2009, when they were also fifth. LSU (16-0) is off to the best start in school history, beating the mark held by the 2002-03 team that won its first 15 games.

South Carolina, Ohio State and LSU are the only remaining undefeated teams in the nation. The Gamecocks and Tigers will meet on February 12 in South Carolina.

Indiana, Notre Dame, UCLA, Maryland and Utah round out the top 10. The Utes lost their season opener, falling to Colorado last Friday.

The Illini, who haven’t played in the NCAA Tournament since 2003, snapped a 14-game losing streak last week against Northwestern. This gave Illinois 14 wins in its first 16 games, which was the best start in school history. His losses came in Indiana, Ohio State and Delaware.

“If you told me this summer that we would be 17 at Ohio State and we had a chance to win, I would say you are crazy,” Green said. “The perspective changes very quickly. (Being ranked) is something we should be happy about, be proud of, it should motivate us even more.

Villanova also re-entered the poll this week ranking 25th. The Wildcats had a five-week run in the poll earlier this season.

St. John’s and Creighton were eliminated from the ballot.


Baylor moved to 3-0 in the Big 12 after knocking out then-No. 17 Oklahoma and No. 21 Kansas last week. Caitlin Bickle was a big reason why, posting double-doubles in both games. The Bears moved up five places to 18th in the poll this week.


AP Women’s College Basketball: and and

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