Lady Bears climb to No. 1 ranking

Baylor senior guard Chloe Jackson glides in for the layup against Southern on Nov. 15 at the Ferrell Center. The Lady Bears moved up to No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since March 18, 2013. Baylor is 17-1 on the season and 7-0 in Big 12 Conference play. Jason Pedreros | Multimedia Journalist

By Ben Everett | Sports Editor

The Associated Press Top 25 named Baylor women’s basketball the No. 1 team in the country in a poll released Monday.

This is the 40th week in which the Lady Bears have been ranked No. 1 and the first time since March 18, 2013.

On Sunday, Baylor picked up a 74-53 win over Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., while then-No. 1 Notre Dame fell 78-73 to North Carolina, propelling the Lady Bears to the No. 1 spot.

Baylor received 695 total points in this week’s poll, 25 more than No. 2 UConn. The Lady Bears garnered 24 of 28 first-place votes while the Huskies and Louisville each received two.

Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said that while the ranking brings media attention to the program, it won’t mean anything if the Lady Bears don’t continue to win.

“Anything that’s considered positive for our program and Baylor, we welcome,” Mulkey said. “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. 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 our big focus is winning another Big 12 championship.”

Baylor is 17-1 on the season with the lone loss coming on the road to No. 8 Stanford on Dec. 15. The Lady Bears are 7-0 in Big 12 Conference play, with an average margin of victory of 21.4 points.

On Jan. 3, Baylor defeated then-No. 1 UConn 68-57 at the Ferrell Center to snap the Huskies’ 126 game regular season winning streak.

In addition to the upset of UConn, the Lady Bears have defeated ranked teams such as Arizona State, South Carolina and Iowa State, amassing a 4-1 record against teams in the AP Top 25.

Baylor has been ranked in the AP Top 25 for 291 consecutive weeks, second only to UConn. Additionally, the Lady Bears have been in the Top 10 of the poll for 84 straight weeks, good for third best in the country.

Baylor looks to extend its win streak to 10 when it faces Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Stillwater, Okla.