Dawn Staley hasn’t been shy about expressing her wish to be No. 1 and knows that the chance to be there will come at the end of the season.
Although she’ll certainly accept it now.
The Associated Press ranked South Carolina as the country’s top team on Monday, following a week where previous No. 1 Connecticut lost and the team that beat the Huskies, Stanford, lost to Texas. The Gamecocks posted 50 point-plus drubbings on Clemson and San Diego State last week and with the rest of the poll’s shakeups, moved into the No. 1 spot for the first time in their history.
USC received 21 votes for the top spot while Notre Dame received 12 and moved from third to second. UConn fell to third and received one first-place vote while sixth-ranked Texas received the other first-place vote.
The Gamecocks also stretched history by being ranked in the AP Top 10 for a school-record 14th straight week, and Staley notched another significant milestone. She joined Baylor’s Kim Mulkey as the only woman to play for and coach a No. 1 team.
“I feel really good about what our team has been able to accomplish. This is not a goal that we had set, but it is a part of our journey,” Staley said in a statement.
The Gamecocks are headed to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam, where they will play Wisconsin on Thursday and East Carolina or No. 22 Syracuse on Friday. USC was at customs at the airport when the news hit.
“Basketball has been extremely good to me. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. I try to repay my debt to basketball, but it keeps giving more in big ways," Staley said. "I want to be amongst the ones that have won a national championship somewhere in their career."
AP Top 25
|1. South Carolina (21)||3-0||852||2|
|2. Notre Dame (12)||4-0||838||3|
|3. UConn (1)||2-1||768||1|
|6. Texas (1)||3-0||713||10|
|7. Texas A&M||4-0||687||5|
|11. North Carolina||4-0||531||11|
|16. Michigan State||2-1||342||15|
|19. Oregon State||3-0||250||20|
|20. Oklahoma State||3-1||162||21|
|22. West Virginia||3-0||105||17|
|25. Mississippi State||4-0||77||—|
Gonzaga 54, Oklahoma 24, NC State 15, Vanderbilt 15, Minnesota 14, James Madison 12, Purdue 10, Florida State 9, Arizona State 8, Arkansas 8, St. John's 6, UCLA 4, Western Kentucky 4, Green Bay 3, Iowa State 1, South Florida 1, UALR 1, Washington State 1