WACO, Texas - Baylor's women's basketball team is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press Poll that was released today. It marks the Lady Bears' highest-ever preseason AP ranking, besting the No. 6 rating to begin the 2005-06 season. UConn retained its No. 1 ranking with Baylor, Stanford, Tennessee and Xavier rounding out the top five.
The Huskies, who have won a record 78 straight games, received 39 of the 40 first-place votes from a national media panel. It's the eighth time in school history UConn has held the top preseason ranking and 44th straight week that the school was No. 1. The streak dates to Feb. 18, 2008. Baylor received the other first-place vote, the Lady Bears will face Connecticut on Nov. 16 in Hartford, Conn.
UConn had been a unanimous choice in the poll for 35 straight weeks. It's the first time since the second week of 2009 that UConn wasn't the only pick at No. 1. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Paul Zeise voted Baylor to be No. 1.
Baylor, which lost to Connecticut in the national semifinals last season, matched its highest ranking ever. The Lady Bears were also ranked No. 2 on Jan. 10, 2005.
"I believe this is the highest preseason ranking our program has ever achieved. I know that our expectations for the season are high considering we have 11 returning off last season's Final Four team. It seems that nationally the voters have high expectations for us as well. It is an honor to be recognized in this fashion," said Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey.
Mulkey begins her 11th season, the Lady Bears return four starters, guards Kelli Griffin, Melissa Jones and Shanay Washington and Brittney Griner, an All-American, off last season's NCAA Championship Final Four team that finished the year with a 27-10 mark.
Baylor's 2010-11 schedule features eight teams that appear on the list below. The Lady Bears will play non-conference games against top-ranked and defending national champion Connecticut, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Tennessee and league games against Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M.
First-place votes in parentheses and total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote:
|AP TOP 25|
Others receiving votes: LSU 75, Georgia Tech 73, Dayton 67, Gonzaga 64, DePaul 49, California 44, North Carolina State 28, Bowling Green 22, Nebraska 19, Temple 15, Wisconsin-Green Bay 15, San Diego State 8, Wisconsin 8, USC 7, James Madison 5, Rutgers 4, Arkansas-Little Rock 3, Arizona State 2, Pittsburgh 2, Kansas 1, Miami (FL) 1, Penn State 1, Tulane 1.