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MWC has 3 teams in women’s top 25

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Following a month's absence, the University of Utah has returned to the Associated Press' Top 25 women's basketball rankings, on the heels of back-to-back victories over ranked Mountain West Conference peers BYU and New Mexico the past two weeks.

The Utes (17-5, 8-3 MWC) checked in at No. 25 in this week's poll, having dropped out of the rankings in early January after consecutive losses to New Mexico and BYU. But Utah won eight of nine since that two-loss skid, including last week's 70-52 rout at BYU and Saturday's 78-43 shellacking of San Diego State.

No. 19 BYU (20-2, 11-1) fell a spot from last week's No. 18 ranking, with the Cougars rebounding from their midweek home loss to Utah with a 55-51 victory Saturday at UNLV.

New Mexico, (18-6, 8-3) which had reached No. 16 before back-to-back losses at BYU and at Utah dropped the Lobos four spots in the poll, remained steady with its No. 20 ranking on the heels of easy triumphs over Colorado State and TCU.

BYU remains atop the Mountain West standings, enjoying a two-game leader over both Utah and New Mexico. The Cougars are off until Saturday's home game against Wyoming, while Utah travels to Colorado for a pair of games this week — Wednesday at Colorado State and Saturday at Air Force. New Mexico visits Wyoming on Wednesday and then has a bye Saturday.

The three teams are all but done pairing off for the regular season. Utah concluded its regular-season series with BYU and New Mexico by splitting with each. The only remaining match-up between the three Mountain West leaders is the March 4 regular-season finale of BYU-New Mexico in Albuquerque.

E-mail: taylor@desnews.com