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UCLA Women Rewarded for Surge

March 03, 1998|Associated Press

UCLA's women broke into The Associated Press poll at No. 23, the result of a surge that has carried the Bruins (18-7) to nine victories in their last 10 games. It's their first national ranking since early in the 1993-94 season.

"I didn't think that day would come," Coach Kathy Olivier said. "We've been hot, but I didn't think anybody cared."

With one poll left, Tennessee remained a unanimous No. 1. But there was a change at No. 2, where Old Dominion moved ahead of Connecticut, which has struggled without injured star Nykesha Sales.

UCLA is thriving now that guard Erica Gomez, coming back from torn knee ligament injury, is finally playing with the Bruin sophomores, ranked among the nation's best recruits two years ago.

With a 96-72 victory over then-No. 23 Washington on Sunday, UCLA improved to 13-3 in the Pac-10--the Bruins' most victories in conference.

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Bob Knight said that he has no reason to think he will be suspended by the Big Ten for his scathing comments on officiating last week.

The Indiana coach received three technical fouls and was ejected from a game against Illinois last week. Later, he called the officiating of referee Ted Valentine, the "greatest travesty" he has ever seen as a college basketball coach.

"I haven't had any contact with anybody [at the Big Ten]," Knight said during a teleconference.

"But it's impossible for me to believe that in view of all that took place in that situation and what has been done or has not been done either way with other ejections of coaches this year, that there is any conceivable reason for me to think that I would not be coaching."

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said it might take up to three days, which would coincide with the start of the conference tournament in Chicago, to decide whether to take action against Knight.

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Duke's dramatic 77-75 victory over North Carolina kept the Blue Devils No. 1 in the AP men's poll with 48 first-place votes and 1,724 points as Mississippi broke into the Top Ten for the first time in history. Arizona held second with 20 No. 1 votes and 1,684 points. Kansas switched places with North Carolina, moving into third with the other two first-place votes and 1,580 points, 17 more than the Tar Heels (27-3). . . . Twenty-five were arrested and nine injured when students and fans celebrating Duke's victory over North Carolina set furniture on fire and doused benches with gasoline in the area of campus known as "Krzyzewskiville," school officials said in Durham, N.C.

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