MU women finally find the Top 25

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Tigers are ranked for the first time since 1985.

Once a regular in the AP women's basketball poll, Missouri finally is back in -- after a 21-year wait.

The Tigers got themselves noticed by beating Baylor to end the nation's longest winning streak and joined the poll at No. 24 on Monday. Missouri (12-2) has matched its best start through 14 games and is 2-0 in conference play for the first time since the 1992-93 season.

"The key for us is not to get wrapped up in all this hoopla now," Missouri coach Cindy Stein said. "We have to stay focused. We haven't proven anything yet. As quickly as you got there, you could fall out."

Tennessee solidified its hold on No. 1 with an 89-80 victory over Connecticut in their annual regular-season tussle. The Lady Vols, whose 15-0 record is now the nation's longest winning streak, also beat Old Dominion and South Carolina and received 35 of 46 first-place votes.

Missouri, which received no votes last week, beat Baylor 64-61 on Wednesday to end a 30-game winning streak for the defending national champion. The Tigers followed up by defeating Kansas State 68-42 for their 11th straight win.

"That was a big emphasis," Stein said. "We wanted to prove that [beating Baylor] wasn't any kind of fluke. We wanted to make sure we dominated the Kansas State game."

Missouri was ranked 60 times in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Tigers' long absence from the poll began when they dropped out the week of Jan. 6, 1985.

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