South Carolina strengthens hold of top spot in women's hoops

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New York, NY ( - South Carolina kept its firm grip of the No. 1 ranking in women's basketball, remaining the top team in the Associated Press poll for an eighth straight week.

The Gamecocks beat Alabama and Kentucky last week to stay undefeated. South Carolina received 28 first-place votes, four more than last week, and a total of 868 points from a nationwide media panel.

Connecticut again garnered seven No. 1 votes and remained second, while Baylor moved up two spots to third after losses by both Texas and Notre Dame last week.

Louisville and Texas are tied for the fourth spot, followed by Tennessee, Notre Dame, Maryland, Oregon State and Kentucky. Texas fell one spot from third after its first loss, a 59-57 setback at Iowa State on Saturday, while Notre Dame dipped three spots from fourth following Thursday's 78-63 loss at Miami-Florida.

The second 10 consists of Texas A&M, North Carolina, Stanford, Arizona State, Mississippi State, Duke, Nebraska, Georgia, Princeton and Florida State. North Carolina tumbled four spots from eighth after a loss at Pittsburgh last week, while Duke slipped three places from 13th after falling at Florida State.

Oklahoma State, Iowa, Minnesota, Rutgers and Syracuse are the last five teams ranked this week.

Florida State rode the victory over Duke into this week's poll, replacing Western Kentucky. The Lady Hilltoppers were 25th last week and fell out of the rankings despite a pair of wins last week.