Baylor tops the AP Poll for the first time in program history
After Thursday nightâ€™s game against Texas-Pan American, Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey talked about what would happen if Stanford beat Connecticut that night â€“ Baylor would most likely take the number one spot in the Associated Press poll.
â€œThat has never happened,â€ she said during the post-game press conference. She also talked about the potential for Baylor to win the conference championship.
â€œThis team has the chance to do what no other team here has done, win a Big 12 championship.â€
The poll came out Monday afternoon and indeed the Lady Bears dethroned Connecticut. Baylor (13-1) has been ranked No. 2 every week since the beginning of the 2010-11 season. Connecticut lost Thursday to No. 9 Stanford, 71-59.
“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 Mulkey.â€ We are young, talented and confident but we hunger for a Big 12 championship and a national championship.”
The UConn Huskies had the number one spot for 51 consecutive weeks. The remaining three in the top five of the poll: Duke, Stanford and Tennessee. Stanford moved up five places.
Previously, Baylor was ranked No. 1 in the final USAâ€ˆToday/ESPN Coaches’ Poll after winning the 2005 NCAA championship.
Conference play on the horizon
As the new year begins, Baylor is set to begin conference play.
â€œWe are able to gauge how talented we are and how good we are and how good we have got to be to win a championship,â€ said Mulkey on Thursday night. â€œWe have played the teams across the country, the Connecticuts, the Tennessees, the Michigan States, the Notre Dames who are getting the attention as well. We now have played those teams and we know that we can play with those guys now. Now we have got to flush that. We have got to go to the second-most important part of our season and that is conference.â€
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. CT, in a game that will be televised on Fox Sports Net.
AP TOP 25
1.Â Baylor (23)
2. Connecticut (14)
3. Duke (1)
4. Stanford (2)
6. West Virginia
7. Texas A&M
8. North Carolina
11. Michigan St.
13. Notre Dame
17. Iowa St.
18. St. John’s
20. Ohio St.
24. Florida St.