Jan. 3, 2011
Coach Mulkey on No. 1 Ranking
For the first time in program history, Baylor's women's basketball team is ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll. Baylor, 13-1 on the season and ranked No. 2 every week since the beginning of the 2010-11season, moved to the top spot after then-top-ranked Connecticut lost Thursday at then-No. 9 Stanford, 71-59.
Connecticut, which dropped to No. 2, had been the top team for a record 51 straight weeks, beginning Feb. 18, 2008. Duke, Stanford and Tennessee round out the first five. The Cardinal moved up five places after routing then-No. 4 Xavier and beating UConn.
Baylor's lone loss was a one-point decision at UConn, 65-64, on Nov. 16. The Lady Bears have since reeled off 10 straight victories which includes wins over four ranked opponents - - No. 25 Michigan State (78-52), No. 16 Notre Dame (76-65), No. 6 Tennessee (65-54) and No. 23 Syracuse (77-43). Baylor has posted a +16.2 scoring margin versus its five ranked opponents this season.
"This top ranking brings positive recognition to our program, Baylor University and the Big 12 Conference. We welcome that, every coach in America would, but we keep it in perspective, we want to be ranked No. 1 at the end of the season," said head coach Kim Mulkey. "We are young, talented and confident but we hunger for a Big 12 championship and a national championship."
The Lady Bears are led by 6-8 sophomore post and National Player of the Year candidate Brittney Griner's 21.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.1 blocks per game. She is followed by National Freshman of the Year candidate Odyssey Sims' 12.4 points per contest. Baylor's starters, Griner, Sims, Melissa Jones, Kimetria Hayden and Brooklyn Pope, are shooting an impressive .518 (304-587) on the season.
Baylor brings a conference-best 10-game win streak into its Big 12 season opener as it hosts No. 17 Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 8, at 11 a.m., in a game that will be televised on Fox Sports Net.
The Lady Bears are Baylor's first team to achieve a No. 1 listing in an AP Poll. Men's basketball's highest ranking came on Dec. 6 and Dec. 13, 2010, when it checked in at No. 9 and football's highest ranking was No. 3 for two consecutive weeks during the 1953 season.
However, this isn't Baylor's first No. 1 ranking overall. Women's basketball was ranked No. 1 in the final USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll after winning the 2005 NCAA championship, men's and women's tennis have both been ranked No. 1 on numerous occasions by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) and the equestrian team was listed at No. 1 in the Women's Intercollegiate Equestrian National Coaches Poll on Feb. 24, 2009.
Baylor becomes the second Big 12 women's team to be ranked No. 1 in an AP Poll. Texas claimed the top spot for two straight weeks beginning with the Feb. 9, 2004, poll. In addition, Texas Tech was ranked No. 1 in the Jan. 6 and 13, 2004, USA Today/ESPN coaches polls, but was No. 2 in the AP Poll each week.
AP TOP 25
1 Baylor (23)