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Gonzaga WBB Jumps Up to #16 in Recent AP Poll

moving on up on the East side of Washington

With the 10th AP Poll of this season being published today, the Women jump up two spots to #16 after their dominant win in Portland along with Utah’s loss to Arizona, which dropped four spots to #19, and Notre Dame’s loss to UNC, which dropped them two spots to #18.

The highest ranking the Women have ever achieved in the AP Poll came in February 2020 when the Zags climbed to #11 twice that month and finished the season ranked #13. Unfortunately, we never got to see how that team would perform in the NCAA Tournament because a virus strain named after the great Italian band famous for this song showed itself to the world and changed our world forever.

Do you think it’s possible for this team to eclipse the previous highest ranking and make their first ever splash into the Top 10?

I’m torn on this question for several reasons:

First, it’s hard to break into the Top 10 when you didn’t start the year inside the Top 25. That’s not to say it’s impossible given that NC State started the year unranked (received 34 votes) before climbing to #3 in last week’s poll after wins against #2 UConn, #3 Colorado, and #17 FSU then losing to #13 Virginia Tech last week which dropped them to #6. While the Women have their signature win against then #3 Stanford, they play on the West Coast and frankly don’t have those big wins like NC State. Sure, they’ve beaten good teams so far (in fact their SOS ranks more than 4 points higher than any team in Gonzaga’s history), but they’ve only taken down one ranked team while losing to two others. If Gonzaga beat WSU, who were #24 at the time, or Louisville, who is currently #15, I’d feel much more confident about a Top 10 entrance, but alas.

Second, I think the WCC has some good teams in Portland, Santa Clara (who’s actually listed as one of the next four out in the recent ESPN bracketology), and Pacific, but after them, the numbers paint a drastic drop-off thereafter, which means fewer opportunities for high quality wins. This isn’t a new problem to any of us that follow the Men’s team, but one that bears repeating.

Third, I think a Top 10 breakthrough will require an undefeated season moving forward. Personally, I think this team has the talent and mojo to make it happen, but asking the team to win fifteen, potentially seventeen, games in a row to achieve what is essentially just a number may not be reasonable. Personally, I’d rather see them win their conference championship, maintain a high NET Ranking (currently 18th), and enter the Big Dance with a higher seed (highest ever was 5th) then break beyond the Sweet 16 for the first time. I’m not saying taking a regular season L helps something like that, but I want this team to succeed on the biggest stage possible, not just some ranking system with clearly obvious flaws.