NEW YORK (AP) — Kim Mulkey and Baylor returned to No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll on Monday for the first time nearly six years.
The Lady Bears (17-1) ascended to the top spot after then-No. 1 Notre Dame lost to unranked North Carolina on Sunday. Baylor, which received 24 of 28 first-place votes from a national media panel, last was No. 1 in the final poll of the 2012-13 season. The team was the top choice among voters for the final 11 weeks of that season.
“Anything that’s considered positive for our program and Baylor, we welcome. But really, what does it mean? It doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t win a championship for you. It just puts a bigger target on your back,” Mulkey said after the Lady Bears beat Oklahoma on Sunday. “It’s not the first time we’ve been ranked No. 1 … I don’t think it will change anything about the kids in the locker room. I don’t think it will change anything about our practices. Our focus, right now, is Oklahoma State, and then our big focus is winning another Big 12 championship.”
The Fighting Irish fell to fifth, with UConn, Louisville and Oregon following Baylor.
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Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Stanford, Oregon State and Marquette rounded out the top 10. The Wolfpack are the only undefeated team left in Division I basketball.
BYU entered the poll at No. 25 while Missouri fell out. It’s the Cougars first ranking since Feb. 13, 2012. Along with Utah, BYU gives the state of Utah two ranked teams for the first time since 2006, when both were in the AP Top 25.
RISING UTES: One week after entering the poll, Utah moved up to No. 14 after beating then-No. 6 Stanford on Sunday. It’s the school’s best ranking since the Utes were 12th on March 10, 2008. The team’s best ranking ever was 11th in 1998.
LAST OF THE UNBEATENS: N.C. State (20-0) visits Wake Forest and host North Carolina this week. If the Wolfpack still haven’t lost at that point, the schedule gets a bit tougher, with consecutive road games at No. 24 Florida State and No. 18 Syracuse before hosting Notre Dame.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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