January 25, 2016

Washington coach Mike Neighbors has the Huskies back in the Top 25 for the first time in nearly 13 years.

They entered The Associated Press women's basketball poll on Monday at No. 25, buoyed by a four-game winning streak. It's the first appearance for the school in the poll since March 3, 2003.

''Ten years ago I could beat them on breaking news,'' Washington coach Mike Neighbors said of sharing the news. ''They will probably know before I tell them. We'll talk about it, keep it in perspective, do something fun with it. We're off today but we'll have a group text message or something like that.''

Washington has been on quite a run lately, knocking off UCLA and USC last weekend - the first sweep of ranked teams since 2001. Led by the nation's top scorer Kelsey Plum, the Huskies are one victory short of matching last season's squad that won 16 of its first 20 games.

To achieve that mark, Washington will have to figure out a way to beat No. 16 Stanford on Friday night. The Huskies haven't won there since 1999, one of only four victories ever on the road against the Cardinal for the school.

''They're coming off a loss and I'm sure they'll have 100 percent focus,'' said Neighbors, who has been the head coach for three years at Washington. ''Stanford's used to playing ranked teams, it won't add anything to them that we are ranked.''

After Friday's game, the Huskies will face California on Sunday. They've only swept that road trip once and that came back in 1987.

UConn remained No. 1 after two more wins by an average of 54 points. The Huskies are followed by South Carolina, Notre Dame, Baylor and Maryland. Texas, Ohio State and Arizona State stayed in their positions as the top eight teams in the poll remained unchanged.

With Washington entering the poll, the Pac-12 conference has five teams ranked again. Arizona State leads the way at No. 8. The Sun Devils, who are unbeaten in conference play this season, are followed by No. 9 Oregon State, No. 15 UCLA and No. 16 Stanford.

USC spent one week in the Top 25 meaning half the league has been ranked this season.

Other tidbits from the poll:

STILL RANKED: There was some fear that Tennessee could see its streak of 561 straight weeks in the poll end after a loss to Notre Dame last Monday. The Lady Vols rebounded with a victory over Vanderbilt to remain among the Top 25 at No. 19. Tennessee has a tough week in front of them with games at No. 12 Kentucky and No. 13 Mississippi State.

SECOND CHANCE: Ohio State gets a shot to avenge its only loss in the Big Ten so far when it hosts Northwestern on Thursday. The Wildcats beat the Buckeyes 86-82 on Jan. 15.

GOOD BYE GATORS: Florida dropped out of the poll this week after falling to then-No. 23 Missouri. The Gators could quickly get back into the Top 25 with their next four games coming against Arkansas, Kentucky, Texas A&M and South Carolina.

---

Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg.

You May Like