The No. 3 Women’s Basketball Team at USC Earned its Highest AP Top 25 Ranking in 38 Years

Riding a Pac-12 tournament title, Southern California achieved its highest ranking in 38 years.

The Trojans defeated Stanford to win the league tournament for the first time since 2014—their only previous appearance in the title game—and rose to No. 3 in The Associated Press Top 25 women’s basketball poll on Monday. Since the team’s third-place finish in the 1986 season’s final poll, this is USC’s highest ranking.

The AP national media panel’s 35 first-place votes went to South Carolina, which continued to be the clear favorite. After winning the SEC tournament semifinals thanks to a last-second 3-pointer by Kamilla Cardoso, the Gamecocks enter the NCAA tournament unbeaten for the second straight year. Then, in a game tainted by late ejections, the Gamecocks defeated LSU to win the championship.

After winning the Big Ten tournament and defeating Nebraska in overtime thanks to Caitlin Clark, Iowa surged back up to No. 2. For the Hawkeyes, it was their third consecutive conference tournament victory.

Texas was ranked fifth, and Stanford dropped two spots to fourth. LSU, UCLA, and Ohio State came after the Longhorns. ACC champion Notre Dame moved up five slots to ninth place, while UConn was ranked tenth.

With 26 straight wins, No. 25 Fairfield, which made its poll debut last week for the first time in school history, has the second-longest winning streak in the nation. As the eighth school in league history to accomplish so, the Stags finished with a 20-0 regular season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Wednesday is the Stags’ conference tournament quarterfinal match.

For the second consecutive week, Jackson State was ranked in the Top 25. With their victory over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday, the Tigers, who had won 18 straight games, concluded the SWAC regular season with an 18-0 record. On Wednesday, they take on Prairie View A&M to begin their league tournament.

Nebraska’s loss against Iowa, a team it defeated in the regular season, left it barely outside the Top 25. The Cornhuskers were last rated in 2022 and received no votes the week before. During the season, Nebraska garnered a few votes on a few occasions.

With three of the top six teams in the poll and six teams placed in the top 25 overall, the Pac-12 concluded its existence as a conference. Next, with five teams, is the ACC. The Big Ten has three, and the Big 12 has four. Both the Big East and the SEC have two. With one each, the West Coast and Mountain West join the MAAC.

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