UNLV coach Lindy La Rocque was 4 years old the last time the Lady Rebels were ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 women’s basketball poll.
Now the Las Vegas native has the team back in the Top 25 for the first time since 1994: UNLV entered the poll at No. 23 on Monday.
“Obviously it means a lot. When I took the job I had a vision of what this place could be and what it once was,” La Rocque said. “That’s what I remember and I’m trying to put the pieces together to make that come to fruition. This is one of the small milestones that gives you a little bit of joy and you know that you’re doing some things right.”
South Carolina earned the No. 1 ranking for the 34th consecutive week. That is tied for the third-longest run atop the poll with UConn. Only the Huskies (51 weeks) and Louisiana Tech (36) have had longer streaks at No. 1.
The Gamecocks (25-0), who were again a unanimous choice from the 28-member national media panel, routed then-No. 3 LSU on Sunday in a showdown of unbeaten teams. The Tigers fell to fifth.
Indiana, Stanford and Utah were behind South Carolina. It’s the best ranking in school history for the Utes, who moved up three places this week.
UConn dropped two spots to sixth after falling at Marquette, giving the Huskies their first losing streak in 30 years. Iowa fell two places to seventh after losing to Indiana.
Maryland, Duke and Notre Dame rounded out the top 10.
UNLV (24-2) has won 15 straight games, second to only South Carolina for the longest streak in the country. It is the team’s best start since the 1989-90 team went 28-3.
“It’s cool. If you look at our roster, the two best players are from Vegas,” said La Rocque, who played at Stanford. “There’s some good karma that we got working.”
USC joined the Lady Rebels in the Top 25, entering the poll at No. 25. It’s the first time since 2016 that the Trojans are ranked. They visit Stanford on Friday night.
South Florida and N.C. State fell out of the poll.
North Carolina State is not ranked for the first time since Feb. 5, 2018. The Wolfpack had been ranked for 96 consecutive weeks, which had been the fifth-longest active streak behind UConn, Maryland, South Carolina and Stanford.
Buoyed by star Maddy Siegrist, Villanova continues to climb up the AP Top 25. Siegrist scored a Big East-record 50 points in a win over Seton Hall on Saturday to become the conference’s all-time leading scorer. With 1,550 conference regular-season points, Siegrist surpassed former Boston College standout Sarah Behn’s (1989-93) 1,546 points. Siegrist has the Wildcats at No. 14, the school’s best ranking in 20 years.