(Guru's note: In a post below this one is expanded coverage of the tourneys at St. Joseph's and Villanova as well as game coverage from the Inquirer print section elsewhere on Philly.com. The next sunrise will also bring the local women's team of the decade.)
By Mel Greenberg
With Monday's release of the current Associated Top 25 Women's Basketball Poll, balloting ended across 189 weeks of the decade about to become history. The period begins with the first poll of January 2000, the season Philadelphia played host to the NCAA Women's Final Four and ends just before the arrival of 2010.
When the decade began, Connecticut, which won the title at the Wachovia Center, was the dominate team and ten years later the Huskies are still the top dogs, though Tennessee and Duke are also far above the rest of the crowd when it comes to poll performance.
Though voting continues through a particular season as it does the current one in which Connecticut is close to setting the all-time record for No. 1 consecutive rankings, the finish is where the focus usually goes. And beyond polling, the title is determined on the court where the Huskies have won six NCAA titles and Tennessee has won eight.
But starting with looking at different aspects of the final polls and some overall totals, here are the many ways the Huskies, Vols and Blue Devils have performed.
Incidentally, Duke, currently No. 8, will be at Temple's McGonigle Hall Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. to meet the Owls.
First let's look at No. 1 rankings overall for the 189-week period.
Nine teams reached the top since 2000 but Connecticut seemingly never let go. The combination of Connecticut and Notre Dame also made the Big East the top performing conference of the decade.
Total No. 1s Jan. 2000-Dec. 2009
1. Connecticut - 96
2. Duke - 34
3. Tennessee - 24
4. LSU - 11
5. Maryland 10
6. North Carolina 5
6. Notre Dame 5
8. Stanford 2
8. Texas 2
Final Poll Total Appearances
Though many teams made it, the cut-off for this exercise is five, which means the value of half the decade, Although the piece of the current season begins a new chapter, the total is achieved off the final poll of the 2000 season.
Once again are heavyweight trio were the only ones to appear in all 10 finals, though Tennessee might have been history if the media voting continued after the Vols were dumped by Ball State in the first round of the NCAA.
Here's the list.
Top 10 Appearance Finishes
Louisiana Tech 5
Top 5 Appearance Finishes
Total Top Five Appearances In The Decade
(Here's the cut-and-paste from the poll index file)
Top 10 Appearances In The Decade
Back with more later this week