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Thread: Duke starts season with first No. 1 ranking

  1. #1
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    Duke starts season with first No. 1 ranking
    By CHUCK SCHOFFNER
    AP Sports Writer
    November 4, 2002


    Duke is returning all five starters from a Final Four team. No wonder it's starting the season at No. 1.

    The Blue Devils were an overwhelming choice for the top spot in The Associated Press preseason women's basketball poll Monday, the team's first No. 1 ranking.

    Duke's women never had been higher than third.

    ``We see it as a great honor,'' coach Gail Goestenkors said. ``We understand it doesn't mean anything. It's the postseason ranking we're after. However, it shows how far our program has come and that it is well respected.''

    Duke received 38 of 44 first-place votes from a national media panel for a total of 1,093 points. Tennessee was second with 1,049 points, LSU third with 941, and defending national champion Connecticut fourth with 873.

    Tennessee, which has led the preseason poll a record 10 times, received four first-place votes. LSU and Connecticut each had one.

    At No. 3, LSU has its highest ranking since the Lady Tigers were second March 8, 1978. Fourth is the lowest for Connecticut since it was No. 4 in the final poll of the 1998-99 season.

    Connecticut lost four senior starters from a team that went 39-0 and gave the school its third NCAA title. The Huskies had been No. 1 in 19 straight polls and 49 of the last 56.

    Kansas State, which went 26-8 last season using freshmen and sophomores, was fifth, and Stanford was sixth. Texas Tech, Purdue, Georgia and Notre Dame completed the top 10.

    Texas was 11th, and Vanderbilt 12th, followed by North Carolina, Penn State, Minnesota, Louisiana Tech, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Colorado State and Boston College.

    George Washington, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Mississippi State and UC Santa Barbara held the final five spots.

    Alana Beard, a first-team All-American as a sophomore last season, heads the returnees at Duke, which went 31-4 and earned its second Final Four trip despite having just eight players.

    Seven of the eight return, and Goestenkors has added a touted recruiting class that includes high school All-Americans Brooke Smith, Mistie Bass and Lindsey Harding.

    Goestenkors says without hesitation the Blue Devils' goal is the one thing they haven't accomplished in her tenure -- winning the national championship.

    ``This team is very hungry to reach the very top,'' she said. ``It was great for our young team last year to reach the Final Four, to have that experience and to understand what it takes to get there. Now we want to take it that next step and finish it off.''

    Duke became the 11th school to lead the preseason poll, which started in 1976. Fourteen teams ranked No. 1 at the start of the season finished on top. Eleven preseason No. 1 teams went on to win the national championship.

    The Southeastern Conference, which had eight teams in the NCAA tournament last season, has a poll-high six. There are five teams from the Big 12, and three each from the Big Ten and Big East.

    No. 9 Georgia and No. 10 Notre Dame are the highest-ranked teams that were not in last season's final poll. Others in the Top 25 who didn't make the final poll in March are Arkansas, George Washington, Mississippi State and UC Santa Barbara.

    Old Dominion failed to make the preseason poll for the first time since 1995.

  2. #2
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    Preseason AP Poll

    1. Duke (38)
    2. Tennessee (4)
    3. LSU (1)
    4. Connecticut (1)
    5. Kansas State
    6. Stanford
    7. Texas Tech
    8. Purdue
    9. Georgia
    10. Notre Dame
    11. Texas
    12. Vanderbilt
    13. North Carolina
    14. Penn State
    15. Minnesota
    16. Louisiana Tech
    17. Arkansas
    18. Cincinnati
    19. Colorado State
    20. Boston College
    21. George Washington
    22. Oklahoma
    23. Iowa State
    24. Mississippi State
    25. UC Santa Barbara

    Others Receiving Votes: TCU 100, WASHINGTON 94, TULANE 88, VIRGINIA 81, OLD DOMINION 75, OREGON 67, BYU 46, COLORADO 46, NO CAROLINA ST 26, NEW MEXICO 26, SOUTH CAROLINA 21, OHIO ST 14, FLORIDA 12, PEPPERDINE 8, VILLANOVA 8, MICHIGAN ST 6, USC 6, HARVARD 5, HOUSTON 5, MICHIGAN 5, BALL ST 3, TEMPLE 3, DEPAUL 2, RUTGERS 2, PITTSBURGH 1, RICE 1, SIENA 1.

  3. #3
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    Duke lost one of their top players - Monique Currey to injury in their first exhibition game. She averaged 14 ppg a game as a freshman last year. Considered by most to be second only to Alana Beard on their team.

    They have plenty of new talent and still have Alana and Iciss (although, I have never been that impressed with her).

    Tenn. might just be #1 when they show up next month at that TAC.

  4. #4
    Champ dawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond reputedawg80 has a reputation beyond repute dawg80's Avatar
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    So, Duke will be coming to Bossier's CenturyTel Arena to play NSU. I know Duke was just looking for a showcase for the hometown girl, Beard, and that is why they agreed to play a patsy like NSU. They surely didn't want to have to focus on that game, it's to be strictly a fun trip and probably fulfills a recruiting promise to Beard. Much like Notre Dame playing Tulane in Shreveport for the sake of Mansfield's Orlando Wooldrige 20 years ago.

    But, still, when will Tech take advantage of the arena in BC?

  5. #5
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    The article in the Times said that Northwestern pursued Duke about playing the game.

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