Gophers crack Top 25
NCAA Women's Basketball Top 25
Crystal J. Doucette
For the first time in 20 years, the University of Minnesota made it
to the Associated Press Top 25.
After suffering through an 8-20 record under former head coach Cheryl
Littlejohn last season, the Golden Gophers debuted at No. 23 with a 14-3
overall record and a 92-85 win over then-No. 5 Wisconsin on Sunday.
UM ended a 15-game winning streak for No. 9 Wisconsin (16-2 overall).
"Honestly, I never thought we'd be standing here 14-3 and upsetting
the No. 5 team in the country," head coach Brenda Oldfield said.
At 31, Oldfield is the youngest coach in the Big Ten Conference.
Unfortunately, UM could lose its women's basketball program if the NCAA
decides the program repeatedly violated NCAA rules while Littlejohn
was head coach. Littlejohn was fired in May 2001, and now coaches at
Chicago State. Littlejohn was reportedly paying a player.
The University of Minnesota was placed under probation on Oct. 24, 2000,
after former men's basketball head coach Clem Haskins and the UM
program was found guilty of academic fraud.
According to NCAA bylaws, if the NCAA Infractions Committee rules that
the violations were repeated after the probation, the NCAA could ban
UM women's basketball games for up to two years and eliminate scholarships
and recruiting activities during that time period.
Atop the heap, undefeated and with unanimous backing, Connecticut reigns
supreme in NCAA women's basketball after thumping 2001 NCAA
champion Notre Dame 80-53 on Sunday.
Senior Tamika Williams saw some welcome play on the court, despite circulatory
problems in her left arm which continue to prevent the post
player from practicing as much with her team. Even so, Williams played
through the pain and led the UConn defense with four steals and 11 total
rebounds. She was second on the Husky box score with 17 points.
Senior point guard Sue Bird drained 19 points with six assists and nine
rebounds to bring her team to a 21-0 record (7-0 Big East) and one step
closer to its quest for the 2002 NCAA title. Diana Taurasi only scored
four points on 20 percent shooting with six assists.
Notre Dame is not ranked and is 10-7 overall, 4-2 in Big East play.
Tennessee comes in No. 2 after defeating No. 8 South Carolina (80-61)
and Alabama, 82-57, bringing the Lady Vols' record to 16-1.
Rim-grabbing post Michelle Snow and the Lady Vols head to No. 22 Auburn
Stanford (18-1 overall) moved up one spot to No. 3 after soundly dropping
Washington State, 104-57, and defeating Washington, 75-67.
The Cardinals swapped spots with No. 4 Oklahoma after the Sooners lost
an 82-66 decision to No. 14 Iowa State, then pulled out an 89-69
victory over No. 13 Texas.
Duke (15-3) holds fifth place after defeating Virginia 86-69 on Sunday.
No. 6 Vanderbilt (18-3) defeated No. 17 Georgia 64-47 on Sunday. Both
games were nationally televised. South Carolina (17-2) moved up one
place to seventh with a 78-49 victory over Kentucky on Sunday.
No. 8 Louisiana Tech is 12-3 with a 68-45 win over Southern Methodist,
and No. 10 goes to the Purdue Boilermakers (14-3), who defeated
Indiana 61-53 on Thursday.
Conference USA teams receiving votes: Texas Christian (25), Tulane (18),
DePaul (4) and Cincinnati (2).