Baylor Lady Bears Top AP Women’s Poll
WACO (AP) – UConn’s run at No. 1 is over.
The Huskies’ NCAA-record 90-game winning streak ended Thursday night with a loss to Stanford. Their nearly three-year hold on the top ranking ended Monday when they were overtaken by Baylor and dropped to No. 2 in The Associated Press poll. Connecticut had been the top team for a record 51 straight weeks, beginning Feb. 18, 2008.
Baylor, which lost 65-64 at Connecticut in mid-November, is No. 1 for the first time. Star Brittney Griner and the Lady Bears, who received 23 first place votes, next play on Saturday when they host No. 17 Iowa State in their Big 12 opener.
“It’s great, positive recognition for our program and Baylor University,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “We welcome it as every coach in America does, but we’ll keep it in perspective. At this point in the season what does it really mean.”
The Lady Bears are only the second Big 12 team to ascend to No. 1, joining Texas. The Longhorns have done it numerous times, including for two weeks in the middle of February 2004.
“It’s just going to be business as usual for us,” Mulkey said. “It won’t matter to this class as they’ve never won a Big 12 championship or national championship. No. 1, No. 5 or not ranked at all, they’re confident in what they want to do.”
UConn, which had been a unanimous No. 1 for all but one of the last 40 weeks, was second, receiving 14 first place ballots. The Huskies host Villanova on Wednesday.
Duke, Stanford and Tennessee round out the first five. The Cardinal moved up five places after routing then-No. 4 Xavier and beating UConn.
The Blue Devils will play No. 10 Kentucky on Tuesday. Duke is one of four unbeaten teams left along with No. 6 West Virginia, eighth-ranked North Carolina and unranked Florida Gulf Coast.
Texas A&M was seventh and Xavier was ninth. The Musketeers dropped five spots after getting blown out at Stanford.
Michigan State was 11th followed by UCLA, Notre Dame, Maryland, and Georgetown.
DePaul moved up five places to 16th despite not playing this week. The Blue Demons’ game against NJIT had been postponed because of the major snow storm that hit the East Coast. DePaul hosts Providence before visiting No. 18 St. John’s on Saturday. Oklahoma fell four spots to 19th after losing at TCU on Sunday.
Ohio State and Iowa had the biggest drop in the poll, each falling seven spots. The Buckeyes lost to Duquesne and Michigan while the Hawkeyes were beaten by Penn State and the Wolverines.
Texas, Syracuse, Florida State and Arkansas rounded out the poll as no team dropped out of the Top 25 this week.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)