By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Stanford’s 17-year run in the Top 25 is over.
The Cardinal on Monday fell out of The Associated Press women’s basketball poll for the first time since the 2001 season, ending a streak of 312 consecutive ranked weeks.
The remarkable run started with the 2001-02 preseason poll and ended on Christmas. Stanford (6-6) lost at home last week to Western Illinois and Tennessee to fall to .500 on the season. Five of the Cardinal’s six losses this season have come to teams that were in the top 10 when they played.
“We can schedule it so that we are 12-0 or 10-2. But this team went to the Final Four last year, and that’s the level that we have to get to,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said after an 83-71 loss to No. 7 Tennessee on Dec. 22. “Tennessee wasn’t in the Final Four last year, Baylor wasn’t, Ohio State wasn’t, but those are the teams you have to play to get there. We need our tough schedule to pay off for us.
“But it only pays off if we build on it. Don’t get frustrated. Get mad and go to work. We are looking up at people right now. We need people to look up at where we need to be and embrace that challenge.”
Life doesn’t get easier for the Cardinal, who host No. 11 UCLA and Southern California this week to begin Pac-12 play.
Only UConn, which remained the unanimous No. 1 team as voted on by a 32-member national media panel, has a longer active streak in the poll. The Huskies have been ranked for 458 consecutive weeks. Stanford’s streak is tied for third longest in the history of the poll. Tennessee had the longest run at 565 weeks. Stanford’s mark ties it with Duke.
UConn was followed by Notre Dame, Louisville, South Carolina and Mississippi State. With a light schedule because of the holidays, the top 17 teams stayed the same.
Oklahoma State replaced the Cardinal in the poll, coming in at No. 24.
Other tidbits from the poll:
CONFERENCE ROLL CALL: The Southeastern Conference has five teams ranked, while the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and Big Ten each have four. The American Athletic Conference has two while the Big East and Horizon League have one team apiece. Conference play begins this week.
GOING STREAKING: With Stanford falling out of the poll, Baylor now owns the second-longest active run in the poll at 267 consecutive weeks. Notre Dame is third with 201, Maryland 142 and South Carolina 100.
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