As least as far as rankings go, South Carolina women’s basketball will begin the post-A’ja Wilson era with very little change, as the Gamecocks checked in at No. 10 in the Associated Press preseason poll released Wednesday.
In the final AP poll of the 2017-2018 season, Dawn Staley’s squad ranked seventh in the nation before advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. USC ended the season with a record of 29-7.
With the release of Wednesday’s poll, South Carolina has now spent 88 weeks in a row in the top 10, last ranking outside that group in 2014. The Gamecocks have also been ranked in 112 consecutive polls, one of the longest streaks in the country.
Defending national champion Notre Dame garnered all 31 first-place votes in the preseason rankings — South Carolina could potentially face the Irish if both teams reach the final of the Vancouver Showcase tournament the weekend after Thanksgiving.
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After ranking second in both the media and coaches SEC preseason polls, South Carolina was the second-highest ranked SEC squad in the AP poll, with conference favorite Mississippi State checking in at No. 6.
All told, the Gamecocks will face nine of the 25 ranked teams this season, including four others in the top 10.
AP WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON POLL
1. Notre Dame
6. Mississippi State
8. Oregon State
10. South Carolina
17. North Carolina State
20. Texas A&M
22. South Florida
23. Arizona State
25. Miami (Fla.)
*Italics indicate a team South Carolina is scheduled to play in the 2018-2019 season