NEW YORK — Baylor coach Kim Mulkey knew her team was going to be pretty good this season. She just didn't know how good because the Lady Bears had too many unknowns.
They turned out to be the best team in the country before the NCAA Tournament, finishing as a unanimous No. 1 in the last Associated Press women's basketball poll of the season released Monday.
"I don't know that I had the expectations that we were going to finish No. 1, start No. 1," Mulkey said. "I had the expectation that we were one of about five or six teams that could win it all, and that could be ranked high. But I knew we would be a top team. "
The Lady Bears, who have been atop the rankings for eight weeks, received all 28 first-place votes from a national media panel Monday. It's the third time in school history that the team finished with the No. 1 ranking. Baylor was the top choice in 2012 and 2013 in the final poll.
"It doesn't bring me the satisfaction that a national championship would," Mulkey said of being No. 1. "What it does mean is that we're still relevant. We're still a talked-about team and on a national scale."
The Lady Bears have won 23 straight games — the longest winning streak in the country. They are expected to be a top seed in the NCAA Tournament when the field is announced Monday night.
UConn, Notre Dame, Mississippi State and Louisville follow Baylor.
There was no change in the top 11 teams in the poll with most of the teams finishing their conference tournaments last week. Stanford, Oregon, Iowa, Maryland and N.C. State round out the first 10 teams in the poll.
DePaul entered the Top 25 after beating Marquette to win the Big East championship. The Golden Eagles fell five places to 18. Drake fell out of the poll.
Here are some other tidbits from the AP Top 25 this week:
MATCHING ANDY: UConn coach Geno Auriemma earned his 522nd ranking with UConn moving him into a tie with former Georgia coach Andy Landers for third place on the all-time coaches ranking list. Both coaches did it at one school. Auriemma trails Tara VanDerveer (558) and Pat Summitt (618).
CONFERENCE SUPREMACY: Six ACC teams earned rankings in the final poll led by Notre Dame and Louisville. The Pac-12 was next with five teams in. The Southeastern Conference had four and the Big 12 had three. The Big East and Big Ten each had two teams ranked with the West Coast Conference, American and Conference USA each having one.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25