Florida enters AP women’s hoops poll; South Carolina No. 1

Feb 6, 2022, 8:04 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2022, 10:07 am

Florida head coach Kelly Rae Finley smiles before an NCAA college basketball game against South Car...

Florida head coach Kelly Rae Finley smiles before an NCAA college basketball game against South Carolina, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

(AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

              South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston, center, laughs with Destiny Littleton, left, Victaria Saxton, second from left, Zia Cooke, second from right, and Destanni Henderson, right, during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Alabama on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 83-51. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
              Florida head coach Kelly Rae Finley smiles before an NCAA college basketball game against South Carolina, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Florida coach Kelly Rae Finley has the Gators playing their best basketball in years, with wins over four ranked teams in their past five games.

Buoyed by that success, the Gators jumped into The Associated Press women’s basketball poll at No. 19 on Monday, the team’s first ranking since 2016.

“Proud of our girls’ effort and buy-in,” Finley said. “They are an extremely fun team to coach. I am very blessed as a coach to have a group of young women who want to learn.”

Florida knocked off then-No. 7 Tennessee and 14th-ranked Georgia last week. Those wins closed out a stretch of five straight games against ranked Southeastern Conference foes. The Gators’ only loss in that span was to No. 1 South Carolina on Jan. 30.

The Gamecocks remained the top team in the poll this week and were a unanimous choice from the 30-member national media panel. South Carolina was followed by Stanford, Louisville, Michigan and North Carolina State.

Florida (17-6) has beaten five ranked opponents for the first time since the 2005-06 season. The Gators beat Kentucky and LSU to begin their tough five-game stretch and topped then-No. 25 Texas A&M earlier this season.

“It’s crazy cool,” Finley said. “We have six games left together in the regular season and we hope to play in the postseason. You can’t get there if you don’t reflect and connect the dots every day.”

The Gators were ranked for the first five weeks of the 2016-17 season before falling out on Dec. 12.

Florida wasn’t the only team that had a great week. Michigan topped then-No. 5 Indiana and 21st-ranked Iowa to move into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten. The Wolverines’ No. 4 ranking is their best ever.

“That’s pretty awesome,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “So excited for our players and our program, and the growth we’ve continued to have night in and night out has been incredible. Even when we’ve had bumps in the road with COVID protocols and injuries, the next person has been able to step up.”

Arizona was No. 6 in the poll, followed by Indiana, UConn, Iowa State and Baylor.

Kansas State fell out of the rankings.

Here’s some other news from this week’s poll:


It was a rough week for Tennessee, which dropped six spots to No. 13 after losing to Florida and UConn. The Lady Vols have lost three of four games since Keyen Green was lost for the season with a knee injury in a win over Georgia.

“We have just not recovered from that yet. I think right now the team is still searching, and we’re not getting her back, so we have to be able to step up and be mature,” Harper said after Sunday’s loss at UConn. “We’ve got to be able to find confidence in what we’re doing. That right now is the biggest drop-off for us in the last two weeks. We were playing with great confidence, great belief, great energy and great focus, and now we’re not.”


Iowa’s sensational sophomore Caitlin Clark did everything she could to help the Hawkeyes win this week, but the team dropped two of its three games and fell four spots to No. 25. After scoring 43 points in a loss to Ohio State, Clark had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a win over Wisconsin. She capped off the week with a career-best 46 points in Sunday’s loss at Michigan. Clark scored 33 of those points in the second half, including 25 in the fourth quarter when she hit a few 3-pointers from well beyond the arc.


No. 1 South Carolina at No. 17 Georgia, Sunday. The Gamecocks play their final SEC road game against a ranked team.


More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

3 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

3 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

3 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

3 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

3 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

3 months ago

Florida enters AP women’s hoops poll; South Carolina No. 1