Oct. 29, 2011
WACO, Texas -
Baylor, led by junior post Brittney Griner, is ranked at the top for the first time in the Associated Press' preseason women's basketball poll.
The Lady Bears started last year at No. 2 before moving up to No. 1 in early January for the first time in school history. Baylor spent seven weeks at the top spot and finished with a No. 3 ranking.
"This is great recognition for our program and Baylor University," coach Kim Mulkey said. "Regardless of where you're ranked at the beginning of the season it's a positive for your university. We'll embrace it but also keep in mind that it doesn't win basketball games."
The Lady Bears, who return four starters off last season's 34-2 team, received 33 of 40 first-place votes from a national media panel. Baylor became the first Big 12 school to be ranked No. 1 to start the season since Texas in 1985 and 1986.
Notre Dame received six first-place votes and was second, with Tennessee, Connecticut and Stanford rounding out the top five.
BU's non-conference slate is one of the nation's toughest. With games against Connecticut and Tennessee and a possible matchup in the Preseason WNIT with Notre Dame, the Lady Bears would be playing three top-four teams before Christmas.
"This is the toughest schedule we've had since I've been at Baylor." But, we've got a team that's capable of playing this type of schedule," Mulkey said.
The top 25 teams in the The Associated Press' 2011-12 preseason women's college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses:
1. Baylor (33)
2. Notre Dame (6)
6. Texas A&M (1)
12. Penn St.
14. Florida State
20. North Carolina
22. UCLA v
23. Southern Cal
25. St. John's
Others receiving votes: Ohio St. 118, Michigan St. 95, Gonzaga 57, Texas Tech 41, Green Bay 32, Iowa 20, California 19, Georgia Tech 17, Kansas St. 15, Iowa St. 12, Xavier 6, Dayton 4, Marist 4, Temple 4, Vanderbilt 4, Florida 2, Oral Roberts 2, Delaware 1, Marquette 1, Pittsburgh 1.