Lady Vols ranked 20th in first AP basketball poll of the year

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- The preseason women’s basketball poll was released Saturday by The Associated Press, and Tennessee will begin the 2012-13 campaign ranked 20th.

The Lady Vols, who lost all five starters from last season’s 27-9, Elite Eight squad, began the 2011-12 season ranked No. 3 and finished at No. 9 in the AP poll.

After 27 years as an assistant at UT, Holly Warlick has assumed the head coaching role held by Pat Summitt for 38 seasons. The NCAA’s all-time leader in basketball coaching victories, Summitt transitioned to head coach emeritus in the offseason after announcing last August she had been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.

Top returners for Tennessee include preseason All-SEC Second Team selection Meighan Simmons (11.1 ppg. a year ago), a junior guard, and sophomore point guard Ariel Massengale, who recorded a UT rookie record of 162 assists last season and led the SEC with a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

The Lady Vols host exhibition games with Carson-Newman, at 7 p.m. on Nov. 1, and Coker, at 2 p.m. on Nov. 4, before opening the season on the road at Chattanooga at 7 p.m. on Nov. 9.

AP Top 25
1 Baylor (40)
2 Connecticut
3 Duke
4 Stanford
5 Maryland
6 Kentucky
7 Notre Dame
8 Penn State
9 Louisville
10 Georgia
11 Delaware
12 Oklahoma
13 California
14 St. John's
15 Texas A&M
16 Vanderbilt
17 West Virginia
18 Nebraska
19 Ohio State
20 Tennessee
21 Purdue
22 Georgia Tech
23 Oklahoma State
24 Miami (FL)
25 DePaul

Others receiving votes: Kansas 90, Middle Tennessee 70, Green Bay 57, Texas 52, Iowa State 51, San Diego State 48, Rutgers 41, Georgetown 24, LSU 14, UCLA 14, Virginia 12, Florida State 12, North Carolina 12, Michigan 9, Iowa 6, Princeton 4, UTEP 3, South Carolina 2, Michigan State 2, Fresno State 2, Creighton 1, USC 1

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