In last year's national championship, the Tar Heels edged Maryland, 13-12, in triple overtime in the longest game in women's tournament history. It was the first national championships for North Carolina and the first loss of the season for the Terps.
Syracuse and Florida round out the top four. No. 3 Syracuse (2-0) is the only team in the top 20 to have played this season with wins at Jacksonville and Stetson. The Orange fell to Maryland in last year's national semifinal. The No. 4 Gators, who reached the final four in 2012, lost to Syracuse in the quarterfinals.
Loyola is ranked No. 10 and Navy, No. 12. The two will meet for the first time this season now that Loyola has left the Big East for the Patriot League, where the Midshipmen have won four straight conference titles.
Northwestern, which has been to the final four the last nine years with seven titles, was ranked No. 5. The Wildcats fell to North Carolina, 11-4, in last year's national semifinal, ending a string of three straight national championships.
The Brine Media Poll
1. North Carolina
7. Penn State
11. Notre Dame
14. Stony Brook
17. Boston College
Also receiving votes: Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth, Ohio State, Cornell
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