It’s unsurprising given their start to the 2019-20 season, but jarring nonetheless: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are not ranked in the Associated Press women’s basketball Top 25 for the first time in 12 years.
It breaks a streak of 234 weeks in the AP poll, per Doug Feinberg of the AP, dating back to the end of the 2006-07 season. It’s the third-longest active streak behind UConn (492) and Baylor (302) and comes after the Irish lost back-to-back games against Tennessee and Michigan State, which moved up one spot in this week’s rankings.
The home games were the first time since 2008 they’d lost back-to-back ones in South Bend. It was the team’s fourth and fifth loss in 116 games; the other three were all UConn. The Irish have a hard rebuilding year after all five starters and more than 10,000 points were taken in the WNBA draft. One of the few remaining players, Abby Prohaska, is out indefinitely due to blood clots.
Maryland is third on the active list at 177 consecutive weeks, but took another drop this week following a near collapse against James Madison. The Terps rallied from 19 down to win. South Carolina is fourth at 131 weeks and Mississippi State is fifth at 97.
The Lady Vols, which hold the all-time record at 565 weeks, are back in the top 25 with that convincing win over Notre Dame, even though they officially announced before the game their starting guard Zaay Green is out indefinitely with an ACL injury. Rennia Davis was unstoppable, dropping 33 points on the Irish, and the post played at-will. Tennessee is ranked No. 23 under first-year coach Kellie Harper.
Gonzaga and West Virginia are also making their first appearance in the rankings this season, while Arizona State and Texas, which had been ranked for a seventh-best 77 consecutive weeks, dropped out.
Gonzaga took No. 3 Stanford to overtime Sunday night and lost, 76-70, but moved to No. 23 for the effort. West Virginia (3-0) slides in at No. 25.
Oregon kept its top ranking with 27 of 29 votes. Remaining in the top four No. 2 Baylor, No. 3 Stanford and No. 4 UConn. South Carolina moved up for a second consecutive week to No. 5, switching places with No. 6 Texas A&M. The Aggies had a close call against Rice, 62-61, on Sunday while South Carolina blew out Appalachian State.
South Carolina (+1)
Texas A&M (-1)
Michigan State (+1)
Miami (Fl) (+1)
South Florida (+3)
T-23 Tennessee (NR)
West Virginia (NR)
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