In one of the most unconventional seasons ever, UConn finished in a familiar place — at No. 1 in The Associated Press women's college basketball poll.
It's the 16th time that the Huskies have completed the regular season as the top team in the poll. They received 23 first-place votes on Monday from a national media panel of 30 voters.
UConn paused activities early on in the season due to COVID-19 issues and didn't play its first game until Dec. 12. The team ran through the Big East's regular season and conference tournament finishing at 24-1 and is in line for a No. 1 seed in the women's NCAA Tournament when the field is announced Monday night.
The Huskies were No. 1 for the final five weeks of the season.
While UConn's main goal is to win a 12th national championship, coach Geno Auriemma didn't want to downplay the poll accomplishment, especially with such a young squad led by sensational freshman Paige Bueckers.
“If the season ends and you say 'We're No. 1 in the country,' it should mean something, it means you had a great year," Auriemma said. "To me, any time you lose sight of all that, you’re diminishing your accomplishments a little bit. It can’t just be Final Four or nothing.”
There were five different teams ranked No. 1 this season — the second most in the poll's history. Stanford, which spent six weeks atop the Top 25, finished at No. 2; the Cardinal received five first-place votes.
North Carolina State was No. 3, matching its best final ranking, achieved by the 1978 squad. The Wolfpack received the other two first-place votes. Texas A&M and Baylor rounded out the top five teams.