South Carolina Staley Contract Basketball

Dawn Staley’s South Carolina team is the preseason No. 1 in the AP Top 25. Gary McCullough/Associated Press

Dawn Staley and South Carolina are back in a familiar spot: No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 women’s basketball poll for the second consecutive season.

“With who we brought back and who added for this season, we knew we would start out among the hunted, and it’s something that our program is getting used to,” said Staley, who is going into her 14th season as South Carolina coach. “Watching practice every day, I can see that we have the pieces and the competitive fire to reach all of our goals. We have a few more weeks to put those pieces together into a cohesive, successful team that can live up to this preseason ranking.”

The Gamecocks received 14 of the 29 first-place votes from a national media panel in Tuesday’s poll. UConn was second, garnering 10 first-place ballots. It’s the 15th consecutive season that the Huskies were among the top five teams in the preseason. Defending national champion Stanford was third, getting the other five first-place votes. Maryland and North Carolina State rounded out the top five.

It’s been a busy few days for Staley. The school announced a new, seven-year contract that will pay her $2.9 million this season and grow to $3.5 million in the final season. She also believes the $22.4 million deal should make an impact on her sport and in the equality of what men and women’s coaches and athletes receive from their schools.

Indiana is No. 8, the school’s highest ranking ever in women’s basketball. There’s a lot of excitement around Bloomington, with all five starters – including Mackenzie Holmes of Gorham – returning from a team that went to the Elite Eight last year and had its sixth straight 20-win season.

• Fairfield Coach Joe Frager announced that he will retire after this season, his 24th in college basketball and 15th at Fairfield.

Frager, who also coached for nine years at Southern Connecticut, cited health reasons in announcing his retirement.

He enters the season with a career record of 429-267, including 240-184 at Fairfield. He was 189-83 at Southern Connecticut and was named the Division II national coach of the year in 2007.

FOOTBALL: Assistant coach Scott Cochran has returned to No. 1 Georgia’s staff in an off-field capacity after being away from the team for the first seven games for health reasons.

Coach Kirby Smart said Cochran will assist the special teams staff for the remainder of the season.

Georgia announced before the season that Cochran was “dealing with health issues and is taking time to prioritize his mental health and well-being.” Cochran, Alabama’s former strength and conditioning coach, was hired by Smart as special teams coordinator before the 2020 season.

Georgia (7-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) is off this week before playing Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 30.

• Maryland receiver Jeshaun Jones is expected to miss the rest of the season because of a leg injury, Coach Michael Locksley said.

It’s another blow to the Terrapins’ offense, which already lost receiver Dontay Demus to a season-ending injury. Locksley said Jones’ injury from an Oct. 9 loss to Ohio State will require surgery.

Locksley also said linebacker Durell Nchami had season-ending upper-body surgery.

WOMEN’S SOCCER

SOUTHERN MAINE 2, MAINE MARITIME 0: Goals from Ciera Berthiaume and Katie Lynch gave the Huskies (10-2-3) a win over the Mariners (7-6-0) in Gorham.

Lynch collected an assist on Berthiaume’s goal. Hunter Stonebraker had to make one save for the shutout.

MMA goalkeeper Bess MacArthur stopped eight shots.

MEN’S SOCCER

UMAINE-FARMINGTON 1, BATES 0: Yusuf Mohamed scored a first-half goal as the Beavers (9-2-1) beat the Bobcats (6-7) at Lewiston.

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