For the first time in the 47-year history of The Associated Press women’s basketball poll no team from Texas is in the Top 25.
The Texas Longhorns fell out of Monday’s poll, ending a 835-week run that had at least one team from the Lone Star state in the rankings. From Wayland Baptist, Stephen F. Austin and Baylor appearing in the first poll in 1976 to Texas’ No. 25 ranking last week, there has always been at least one team from the state in the poll until now.
“Texas is the oil state and also has certainly been rich in women’s basketball as well,” said Mel Greenberg, who started the poll in the 1976-77 season while with the Philadelphia Inquirer. “When I started, the state had some of the best teams with Wayland and Stephen F. Austin. Then Jody (Conradt) at Texas and eventually Kim (Mulkey) at Baylor continued the tradition.”
Middle Tennessee entered the rankings for the first time in nine years at No. 23. The Blue Raiders (16-2) have won 14 consecutive games, including a victory over Louisville, which is the fourth-longest winning streak in the country behind the last three unbeaten teams.
That group is topped by No. 1 South Carolina (20-0), which has 26 consecutive victories dating to its run to the NCAA championship last season. The Gamecocks, who were again a unanimous choice from the 28-member national media panel, have been ranked atop the poll for 31 consecutive weeks — the fourth-longest streak ever. Only UConn (51 and 34 weeks) and Louisiana Tech (36) have had longer runs at No. 1.
Ohio State (19-0) remained No. 2 behind the Gamecocks going into a week that includes games against No. 11 Iowa and sixth-ranked Indiana.
Stanford flipped places with LSU for No. 3 after beating then- No. 8 Utah and No. 25 Colorado, which dropped a spot after the loss. LSU (19-0) is fourth and UConn fifth.
Notre Dame, UCLA, Utah followed the sixth-ranked Hoosiers. Maryland and Iowa were tied for 10th.
The Blue Raiders are making their first appearance in the AP Top 25 since the final rankings in 2014 when coach Rick Insell’s team was 22nd.
“We’ve got a special group,” Insell said. “This year, we were able to beat (Louisville) which was a big win that showed we had a pretty good basketball team.”
Insell credits his team’s run to the WNIT semifinals last year for being a springboard to this season’s success.
“It’s big to be able to take your team in there,” he said. “I’m fortunate I had a young team, give them that type of competition. You’ll have good crowds and it’s an atmosphere you can build on. That’s what we’ve done with that. That’s why we’re at where we are.”
Florida State entered the poll at No. 24, its first ranking since 2021. Oregon fell out.
Women’s AP top 25 as of Jan. 23:
1. South Carolina
2. Ohio State
7. Notre Dame
12. Virginia Tech
15. North Carolina
18. Iowa State
20. NC State
23. Middle Tennessee
24. Florida State
Others receiving votes: Tennessee 47, Texas 35, South Florida 31, USC 22, Oregon 10, Arkansas 2, UNLV 1, Alabama 1.