LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The University of Louisville women's basketball team climbed one spot to No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Monday afternoon.
Jeff Walz's Cardinals, who had a 19-point victory at Florida State last week and a blowout win over Pittsburgh on Sunday, will face No. 2 Connecticut on Thursday night in an ESPN-televised game at the KFC Yum! Center. Both teams received two first-place votes in the current poll.
The Cards were ranked as high as No. 2 before losing to top-ranked Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish, who lost to unranked North Carolina on Sunday, fell to No. 5.
Walz said his team is looking forward to Thursday's game, and that it could be a big win in terms of NCAA Tournament seedings, but that he won't over-emphasize its importance.
"It's a big game, of course," Walz said. "But it isn't going to affect our conference race. It would be a great win if we're able to win. It's a team we're 0-62 against since I've been here. . . . When you play UConn, you've got to be able to score, because they score so well. If you go on a 3-4 minute drought, it's over. . . . We have to value the basketball."
Elsewhere in the poll, Kentucky fell eight spots, from No. 15 to No. 23, and Kim Mulkey and Baylor returned to No. 1 for the first time nearly six years.
The Lady Bears (17-1) ascended to the top spot after then-No. 1 Notre Dame lost to unranked North Carolina on Sunday. Baylor, which received 24 of 28 first-place votes from a national media panel, last was No. 1 in the final poll of the 2012-13 season. The team was the top choice among voters for the final 11 weeks of that season.
"Anything that's considered positive for our program and Baylor, we welcome. But really, what does it mean? It doesn't mean anything. It doesn't win a championship for you. It just puts a bigger target on your back," Mulkey said after the Lady Bears beat Oklahoma on Sunday. "It's not the first time we've been ranked No. 1 ... I don't think it will change anything about the kids in the locker room. I don't think it will change anything about our practices. Our focus, right now, is Oklahoma State, and then our big focus is winning another Big 12 championship."
The Fighting Irish fell to fifth, with UConn, Louisville and Oregon following Baylor.
Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Stanford, Oregon State and Marquette rounded out the top 10. The Wolfpack are the only undefeated team left in Division I basketball.
BYU entered the poll at No. 25 while Missouri fell out. It's the Cougars first ranking since Feb. 13, 2012. Along with Utah, BYU gives the state of Utah two ranked teams for the first time since 2006, when both were in the AP Top 25.
N.C. State (20-0) is the lone remaining unbeaten team in the women's game. The Wolfpack visit Wake Forest and host North Carolina this week. If thy still haven't lost at that point, the schedule gets a bit tougher, with consecutive road games at No. 24 Florida State and No. 18 Syracuse before hosting Notre Dame.
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