Dawn Staley and South Carolina picked up right where they left off: No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 women’s basketball poll.

The defending national champion Gamecocks were the unanimous choice of the 30-member national media panel in the preseason poll released Tuesday. It’s the third consecutive season South Carolina is the preseason favorite.

“This is where we wanted to be and envisioned for our program,” Staley said. “I got to give it to our players. We constantly get some of the best players in the country. They put us in this position as they work extremely hard. I don’t know if they come in and say i want to be the No. 1 team in the country, but they do say they want to be national champions. This is a step to being a national champion.”

Stanford, Texas, Iowa and Tennessee round out the top five teams in the preseason poll. It is Iowa’s best ranking since 1994 when the Hawkeyes were also fourth in midseason.

“It makes no difference in March what we’re ranked in October, but certainly I want my team to have confidence and be proud of what they’ve accomplished. Iowa is on the map,” Coach Lisa Bluder said. “We’ll celebrate it and then forgot about it.”

UConn is ranked No. 6, the first time since 2006 that they weren’t in the first five in the preseason poll. Louisville, Iowa State, Notre Dame and N.C. State finish off the top 10.


Indiana, with senior Mackenzie Holmes of Gorham, are ranked 11th. The Big Ten is tops in the nation with six ranked teams. Joining No. 4 Iowa and No. 11 Indiana are No. 14 Ohio State, No. 17 Maryland, No. 22 Nebraska and No. 25 Michigan.

South Carolina went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team last year and have been the top team for 20 straight weeks. Only UConn (four times) and Baylor (once) have had longer streaks at No. 1 since the 1994-95 season when the Top 25 became a writers’ poll.


BIG EAST: For the first time since joining the Big East in 2013, Creighton is the preseason choice to win the conference.

The ninth-ranked Bluejays received eight first-place votes from the league’s coaches Tuesday. Creighton returns three double-digit scorers from last season’s team that finished 23-12 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Xavier, which received two top votes, was picked second. The Musketeers went 23-13 last season and won the NIT championship. They welcomed back coach Sean Miller, who was in charge of the program from 2004-09.


Villanova, the defending conference tournament champion, was picked third – one point behind Xavier. It’s the first time since 2013-14 that the 16th-ranked Wildcats were not picked first or second.


MARYLAND: Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa aggravated a previous knee problem last weekend, and Coach Michael Locksley expressed relief that the injury wasn’t more serious.

Locksley said Tagovailoa would be a game time decision this Saturday against Northwestern after the standout quarterback was carted off during his team’s win at Indiana.

Tagovailoa, whose brother Tua has missed time in the NFL recently following a head injury, left Saturday’s game against the Hoosiers early in the fourth quarter. Locksley said he initially sprained an MCL in a loss at Michigan last month and then aggravated that against Indiana.

Tagovailoa had an MRI after the Michigan game and another one Sunday, and Locksley said the more recent one showed no further structural damage.


Tagovailoa was able to return for the next game after the injury at Michigan.


BOSTON UNIVERSITY 5, MAINE 2: Payton Anderson and Tess Csejka each scored a pair of goals as the Terriers (8-7) built a 4-0 lead and topped the 23rd-ranked Black Bears (11-4) in a nonconference game at Newton, Massachusetts.

Poppy Lambert and Chloe Walton had second-half goals for Maine, before Anderson completed her hat trick in the closing minutes.

BOWDOIN 8, COLBY 3: Jill Cloonan, Georgie Coetzer and Mackay Bommer each scored two goals as the Polar Bears (9-4, 4-4) beat the Mules (5-8, 1-8) at Brunswick.

Faith Jennings and Sophia Rosati also scored for Bowdoin.


Pernilla Shaw scored twice for Colby, and Casey Winslow added a goal.


SOUTHERN MAINE 7, MAINE MARITIME 0: Julia McKenna had three goals as the Huskies (14-1) set a school record of goals (51) in a season, easily downing the Mariners (6-7-1) at Gorham.

Catriona Gould had a pair of goals for Southern Maine, and Ciera Berthiaume and Katie Lynch added goals.

Bess MacArthur and Lorelei Mason split time for Maine Maritime, combining for 15 saves.

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