Ohio State ended its 2016-17 women’s basketball season in disappointment with a 99-76 loss to Notre Dame in the Sweet 16. 

After returning most of their key players, the Buckeyes enter this season with a belief in their potential. It appears that’s also the case with many voters in the Associated Press poll.

Ohio State was ranked fifth in the AP preseason poll released Thursday morning, behind Connecticut, Texas, Baylor and defending national champion South Carolina. 

The Buckeyes finished last season ranked 11th. They were ranked as high as No. 2 on one ballot, as low as No. 13 on another. 

The 2016-17 Big Ten regular season co-champions defeated Ashland 110-80 in an exhibition Sunday and will face Urbana in another Sunday exhibition before officially starting the season Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. against No. 10 Stanford at St. John Arena. Two days later, the Buckeyes head to Nationwide Arena to face No. 9 Louisville in the Countdown to Columbus showcase. 

The Big Ten has three representatives in the top 25 poll: Ohio State, Maryland (No. 15) and Michigan (No. 24). Purdue and Indiana received votes. 

aerickson@dispatch.com

@AEricksonCD