Reigning champions Angel Reese, Kim Mulkey and LSU top the preseason AP Top 25 poll, while UConn jumped to second.
The Huskies hopped national runner-up Iowa, so the top three teams feature the three of the top players in the nation in Reese, Caitlin Clark and Paige Bueckers. The No. 2 ranking also signals a return to prominence for UConn, which crashed out in the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament last season.
UCLA and Tennessee both made the biggest jumps from last season’s final poll, with the Lady Vols up 13 spots to No. 11. The Bruins, meanwhile, hopped 10 spots to No. 4.
Utah, South Carolina, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Indiana and Notre Dame round out the top 10.
The Tigers never before have entered the season with the No. 1 spot in the preseason poll. They received 35 of 36 total votes, with UConn receiving the other top vote. UConn has been ranked for 565 consecutive weeks, tying Tennessee’s record.
LSU has been ranked second before, in 1977, and were third in 2004 and 2005. The defending champions return Reese and Flau’jae Johnson, and they added Hailey Van Lith and Aneesah Morrow in the offseason to head coach Mulkey’s stacked roster.
“We appreciate the recognition of being the No. 1 ranked team going into the season and it is something we will embrace,” Mulkey told the Associated Press. “A ranking doesn’t win championships, but it brings great awareness to our program and our school. We want to be ranked No. 1 at the end of the season.”
Stanford is at No. 15, the lowest mark for the Cardinal since 2015. Meanwhile, Ole Miss is ranked in the preseason poll for the first time since 1995, while Illinois is ranked for the first time since 1999.