Katie Meier and her Miami Hurricanes had a tiring start to their season with 10 games in 23 days. Now after finishing that difficult stretch without a loss, the Hurricanes entered the Top 25 at No. 23 on Monday.
''I literally was like this is crazy,'' Meier said of her team's busy schedule. ''I've never been through anything like that. We gave them a couple days to recover and study for exams and now are back in our routine.''
Miami's first test as a ranked team will come against No. 4 Baylor on Saturday in the Florida Sunshine Classic.
''I think it will be a big deal (that we're ranked), Meier said. ''We just did it on merit without having to be a ranked team. We had to prove ourselves a lot more. I think the bigger deal honestly is this test this weekend. We're really looking forward to it.''
Miami (10-0) is off to its best start in 12 years. The school is two wins short of tying the 2003-04 team for best start in school history. Victories over Baylor and Indiana this weekend would match it.
''I'm excited, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain,'' Meier said. ''Big time, all of our bad habits need to be exposed.''
While Miami entered the poll for the first time since 2013, the top of The Associated Press women's basketball poll remained the same. UConn still is the unanimous choice as No. 1. The Huskies beat Colgate and Florida State by an average of 34 points. The Huskies are off for the week for exams. UConn was followed by South Carolina, Notre Dame, Baylor and Texas.
Maryland slipped to sixth after being tied with Texas at No. 5 last week. Oregon State, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Ohio State round out the first 10.
St. John's also is ranked for the first time this season, coming in at No. 25 while Syracuse and Iowa fell out of the poll.
''What it means to me is that we have a group that has really come together,'' Red Storm coach Joe Tartamella said. ''We have some veterans and younger players that have come together. To be there this early is obviously great for us as a program, something you want to be able to achieve. It shows that the country has noticed us and given us respect to be part of the Top 25. We don't take that lightly as we continue to try and get better every day.''
The Red Storm (8-1) have won eight straight games since a season-opening loss at No. 19 UCLA.
Other tidbits from the poll this week:
CHANGING OF THE GUARD: For the second straight week, Duke (13th), Tennessee (14th) and Stanford (15th) were outside the top 10. Last week marked the first time since the final poll of the 1985-86 season that none of those three women's basketball powers were among the first 10 teams in the poll. That year Tennessee was ranked 15th in the last Top 25. The next season the Lady Vols started at No. 3 to begin the streak.
RESTORING ORDER: A week after losing to six unranked opponents, the poll had a stellar week against unranked teams, going 22-1. Iowa suffered the lone defeat, losing to rival Iowa State 69-66.
BREAK TIME: It was a pretty light schedule this past week and will be one this week as well, as most teams are in exams.
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