They’re baaack: Connecticut won 44 of the 45 votes in the AP preseason women’s basketball poll, placing them firmly atop a pretty familiar list. Of course, these aren’t the Huskies of the Taurasi Era. This is a team that has spent years rebuilding, a team that was just thankful to make it to the Final Four last year. And Geno Auriemma knows it.
“For this team to have a preseason No. 1 ranking is special,” he said. “They have battled through a lot. Finally making the Final Four last year and now earning this ranking means something to them.”
UConn’s arch rival (even though they don’t play each other anymore), Tennessee, is lucky to be sitting at number seven. They graduated all five starters last year, and the rumors from inside Knoxville are that Pat Summitt is changing her starting lineup every day.
When asked about the AP poll, Summitt said, “I really haven’t thought much about where we were going to be ranked. We have bigger fish to fry here.”
Here’s the rest of the preseason poll:
6) North Carolina
11) Texas A&M
14) Oklahoma St.
16) Notre Dame
17) Arizona St.
18) Ohio St.
21) Florida St.
25) Old Dominion
There aren’t any big surprises, no mid-majors breaking in the preseason votes. It is a little weird to see Auburn representing the SEC instead of Georgia, though. Exhibition games start this weekend, and by next weekend, it is fully on.
Pick this year’s Final Four now, and let today be the day you point back to in March when you gloat to all your friends. Your answer will be in the comments forever. I’m going with UConn, Tennessee, Rutgers and Stanford. Yeah, that’s right: I said Tennessee. You can take the girl out of Knoxville, but you can’t take the Knoxville out of the girl.