Colorado State Rams earn first ranking since 2002

Colorado State coach Ryun Williams was glad to be part of history.

On the same day that Tennessee's 31-year run in The Associated Press women's basketball poll ended, the Rams made the Top 25 for the first time since 2002.

''Tennessee, UConn, Notre Dame, those teams are elite. The consistency of excellence is remarkable,'' Williams said. ''I know what it's taken for us to get a vote. Thirty-one straight years, that's outstanding. That's excellence.''

The Rams' 21-game win streak is the second-longest in the country. The school-record streak started after the team's lone loss of the season at Penn.

''We know that we are going to continue to get every opponent's best effort - maybe even more so now,'' Williams said.

Colorado State got some words of encouragement early in the season from former Rams great Becky Hammon. The assistant coach for the NBA's San Antonio Spurs spoke at the school in September and told the team the reason it was good was ''they all put extra time in. They wore out the gym, wore out the basketballs.''

''She's the golden child of Colorado State basketball. Her message was really good to our team,'' Williams said.

Colorado State (24-1) will play its first game as a ranked team on Wednesday at New Mexico.

''It's really a fun time for Colorado State,'' Williams said. ''The kids have done a great job of building this program and they take pride in competing. It's nice to get recognition.''

Williams was happy when the team talked about getting ranked in practice on Monday that the players had the same focus as they've had all season.

Colorado State wasn't the only team that entered the Top 25 on Monday. Missouri also got back into the poll as Florida also fell out.

''Make sure that they know that Missouri was the one who replaced them,'' Williams said laughing.

The Lady Vols' streak of 565 consecutive weeks in the poll was the longest ever. UConn now is the active leader with 428 consecutive weeks. The Huskies would need nearly seven more years in the Top 25 to equal Tennessee's mark.

Tennessee (16-11) had been teetering on the edge the past few weeks and finally dropped out after losing two of its three games last week.

During that 31-year run the Lady Vols were ranked No. 1 103 times. They were in the first five 407 weeks and top 10 506 times. Since the poll began in 1976, Tennessee had only missed a total of 15 weeks before Monday. The Lady Vols were not in the first poll, and then missed four weeks in 1981-82. They also had a 10-week gap in 1984-85.

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Full poll: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/Womens-Top-25-2016-16

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