LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

New York — Muffet McGraw and Notre Dame start the new season where they left off – atop women’s college basketball.

The Irish were the unanimous No. 1 team in The Associated Press women’s basketball preseason poll that was released Wednesday.

The defending national champions received all 31 first-place votes from a national media panel. It’s only the second time that McGraw’s team has been the preseason No. 1 team. It also occurred in 2016. The Irish return four starters from last season’s team that battled through a bunch of ACL injuries before winning the school’s second national championship. McGraw was honored that the team was ranked first, but feels that there are a lot of good teams in college basketball this year.

“Parity is creeping in. I think there are a lot of good teams that are on the radar and some that are under it. It will be interesting to see,” she said. “People picked up some good freshmen.”

Central Michigan (24 points) and Michigan (nine) received votes, but are outside of the top 25.

UConn was second in the poll, ending a run of 34 consecutive weeks at No. 1. The Huskies have been in the top five every week since Jan. 29, 2007.

“We are No. 2 on reputation. I don’t know we’re No. 2 on merit, that’s for sure,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “We are like the Sophia Loren of basketball. We’ve looked looked good for a long time.”

Oregon followed the Huskies, earning the best ranking in program history. The Ducks have lofty expectations this year.

“Look at what we’ve done in a few short years, that doesn’t happen very often in a Power Five conference,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “It’s hard to make a move in these conferences with established powers. I’m proud of what we’ve done and hope to keep it going. I felt this was a sleeping giant here. Everything was in place for us to be considered among the best programs. That’s started to play itself out.”

Baylor and Louisville were fourth and fifth.

Mississippi State, Stanford, Oregon State, Maryland and South Carolina rounded out the top 10 teams. Eight is the best ranking in the preseason for Oregon State in the programs history.

AP women's Top 25

 

Record

Pts

Prv

1. Notre Dame (31)

35-3

775

5

2. UConn

36-1

728

1

3. Oregon

33-5

712

6

4. Baylor

33-2

679

2

5. Louisville

36-3

664

3

6. Mississippi State

37-2

563

4

7. Stanford

24-11

559

15

8. Oregon State

26-8

517

13

9. Maryland

26-8

500

16

10. South Carolina

29-7

479

7

11. Tennessee

25-8

448

12

11. Texas

28-7

448

8

13. Iowa

24-8

383

14. Georgia

26-7

374

18

15. DePaul

27-8

306

16. Missouri

24-8

294

17

17. N.C. State

26-9

288

21

18. Syracuse

22-9

238

19. Marquette

24-10

231

20. Texas A&M

26-10

149

14

21. Duke

24-9

131

20

22. South Florida

26-8

123

19

23. Arizona State

22-13

122

24. California

21-11

103

25. Miami (Fla.)

21-11

84

Others receiving votes: Minnesota 38, West Virginia 35, UCLA 29, Central Michigan 24, Nebraska 13, Florida St. 12, Michigan 9, Boise St. 4, Buffalo 3, Belmont 2, Virginia 2, Virginia Tech 2, Drake 1, Duquesne 1, Green Bay 1, TCU 1.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.