New York, NY – Baylor will start the new women's college basketball season the same way last season ended, as the No. 1 team in the country.
With Brittney Griner and the other four starters returning from a team that simply dominated throughout the 2011-12 season en route to a record of 40-0 and the school's second national championship, the Lady Bears received all 40 first-place votes from a nationwide media panel in balloting from the Associated Press.
Baylor went wire-to-wire atop the poll last year and joins Texas as the only Big 12 schools to start No. 1 in consecutive years. The Longhorns accomplished the feat in 1985 and '86.
Connecticut, beaten in the Final Four each of the last two years after winning consecutive titles in 2009 and '10, sits second in the poll and is followed by perennial powers Duke, Stanford and Maryland. Stanford lost to Baylor in the national semifinals last spring, and has reached the Final Four in each of the last five seasons.
Kentucky, Notre Dame, Penn State, Louisville and Georgia round out the top 10. Notre Dame has been beaten in the championship game each of the last two years.
The second 10 consists of Delaware, Oklahoma, California, St. John's, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Nebraska, Ohio State and Tennessee. Texas A&M won the title two years ago, while Tennessee will start life without Pat Summit.
In April, Summitt, the all-time wins leader in college basketball -- men's or women's -- with 1,098 victories, decided to call it a career nearly a year after being diagnosed with early-onset dementia.
Summitt guided the Lady Vols to a record of 27-9 last season, although more of the responsibilities were delegated to assistants. Her 38th and final campaign ended with a loss to Baylor in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Purdue, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Miami-Florida and DePaul are the last five teams ranked to start the year.