UNC women jump to highest AP rank in nearly eight years

By R.L. Bynum

With two impressive victories and six teams ahead of North Carolina in last week’s AP Top 25 women’s poll losing, the Tar Heels earned their highest rank in nearly eight years.

UNC (4–0) jumped five spots to No. 8 in the latest poll, the highest ranking since it was No. 8 on Jan. 5, 2015. The Tar Heels routed South Carolina State 93–25 and earned a tough 76–65 road victory over James Madison.

It’s the first time since Jan. 3, 2011, that Carolina’s men’s and women’s teams have both been ranked in the top 10, with the men still No. 1. The Tar Heels men were No. 9 and the women were No. 8 in that 2011 poll. The combined ranking of nine this week is the best since the teams had a combined ranking of 10 on Nov. 16, 2010, when the women were No. 4 and the men were No. 6.

The next-highest combined ranking for any other school in this week’s polls is Indiana at 17, with the men No. 11 and the women No. 6. Both UNC teams play at Indiana in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, with the men’s game on Nov. 30 and the women’s game on Dec. 1.

Only 11 schools are ranked in both polls, and UNC is the only one with both in the Top 10. No other ACC school is ranked in both polls.

Schools ranked in both AP Top 25 polls

UNC men 1 and women 8 — 9
Indiana 11 and 6 — 17
Texas 4 and 19 — 23
UConn 20 and 3 — 23
Creighton 10 and 16 — 26
Baylor 7 and 21 — 28
Arizona 14 and 15 — 29
Iowa 25 and 9 —34
Maryland 23 and 14 — 37
UCLA 19 and 20 — 39
Tennessee 22 and 23 — 45

The Tar Heels moved up only three slots in the USA Today Coaches Poll to No. 10.

Carolina’s women head to Portland this week to face No. 18 Oregon (3–0), which moved up three spots, at 5 p.m. Thursday (ESPNU) and either No. 5 Iowa State (4–0), which moved up two spots, or Michigan State (6–0) on Sunday (ESPN2).

South Carolina (4–0) held the No. 1 spot after winning an epic 76–71 overtime game at Stanford (5–1), which stayed at No. 2.

Texas (1–3) plummeted from No. 3 to No. 19 after losing all three games last week, 83–76 to Connecticut, 68–61 to Marquette and 71–63 to Louisville.

Iowa fell from No. 4 to No. 9 after losing 84–83 to Kansas.

UConn (3–0) jumped from No. 5 to No. 3 after that win over Texas and rolling to a 91–69 victory over N.C. State. The Wolfpack (4–1), which also beat Charlotte 96–48, fell from No. 10 to No. 13.

Louisville (4–1) had its win over Texas but fell from No. 6 to No. 10 after losing 79–67 in overtime to still-unranked Gonzaga.

Other ACC teams in the poll are Notre Dame (4–0), which moved up two spots to No. 7, and Virginia Tech (3–0), which moved up three spots to No. 11.

Tennessee fell from No. 11 to No. 23 after losing 79–67 to Indiana and 80–62 to UCLA.

Indiana moved up six spots to No. 6 after that win over the Lady Vols and wins over Bowling Green and Quinnipiac.

Four voters ranked the Tar Heels the highest at No. 6: Mitchell Northam of WUNC (the only North Carolina-based voter), broadcaster and former N.C. State player Deb Antonelli, Alex Simon of the San Jose Mercury News and Stefan Krajisnik of the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.

Ranking UNC the lowest at No. 13 were Kelly Gramlich of ACC Network, Lindsay Schnell of USA Today and Mike Carmin of the Journal & Courier in Lafayette, Ind. Gramlich was the first AP voter to rank the Tar Heels last season.

Two voters have UNC No. 7, two have them No. 8, five have them No. 9 and five have them No. 10.

AP Top 25

RankTeamChangePoll points
(1st-place votes)
1South Carolina (4-0)725 (29)
2Stanford (5-1)687
3UConn (3-0)+2676
4Ohio State (4-0)+4589
5Iowa State (4-0)+2586
6Indiana (5-0)+6549
7Notre Dame (4-0)+2545
8North Carolina (4-0)5473
9Iowa (4-1)-5465
10Louisville (4-1)-4461
11Virginia Tech (3-0)+3403
12LSU (5-0)+3393
13N.C. State (4-1)-3377
14Maryland (4-1)+5319
15Arizona (4-0)+3307
16Creighton (4-0)+4306
17Utah (4-0)+8212
18Oregon (3-0)+3208
19Texas (1-3)-16189
20UCLA (5-0)185
21Baylor (3-1)-4182
22Michigan (4-0)+1116
23Tennessee (2-3)-1296
23Villanova (4-0)+196
25Kansas State (5-0)71

Others receiving votes: Oklahoma 69, Marquette 65, Gonzaga 33, Kansas 11, Drake 8, South Florida 5, Duke 5, Ole Miss 4, South Dakota State 4, Princeton 3, Nebraska 1, Georgia 1. Point values in parentheses indicate the number of first-place votes.

UNC statistics

(current ranking)
9WednesdayW, 91–59Jackson StateHome1–0
12SaturdayW, 75–48TCUHome2–0
16WednesdayW, 93–25South Carolina StateHome3–0
20SundayW, 76–65James MadisonHarrisonburg, Va.4–0
Phil Knight Invitational
24ThursdayW, 85–79OregonPortland5–0
27SundayW, 73–64No. 17 Iowa State Portland6–0
DecemberACC/Big Ten Challenge
1ThursdayL, 87–63No. 2 IndianaBloomington, Ind.6–1
7WednesdayW, 64–42UNCWHome7–1
11SundayW, 99–67WoffordHome8–1
16FridayW, 89–47USC UpstateHome9–1
Jumpman Invitational
20TuesdayL, 76–68No. 18 MichiganCharlotte9–2
ACC season begins
29ThursdayL, 78–71Florida StateHome9–3, 0–1 ACC
1SundayL, 68–65No. 4
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va.9–4, 0–2 ACC
5ThursdayL, 62–58MiamiCoral Gables, Fla.9–5, 0–3 ACC
8SundayW, 60–50No. 10
Notre Dame
1–3 ACC
12ThursdayW, 70–59VirginiaCharlottesville, Va.11–5,
2–3 ACC
15SundayW, 56–47N.C. StateHome12–5,
3–3 ACC
19ThursdayW, 61–56No. 13 DukeHome13–5,
4–3 ACC
22SundayW, 70–57Georgia TechHome14–5,
5–3 ACC
26ThursdayW, 72–57PittsburghPittsburgh15–5,
6–3 ACC
29SundayW, 69–58ClemsonClemson16–5,
7–3 ACC
2ThursdayW, 73–62VirginiaHome17–5,
8–3 ACC
5SundayL, 62–55LouisvilleLouisville17–6,
8–4 ACC
9ThursdayL, 75–67SyracuseSyracuse17–7,
8–5 ACC
12SundayW, 73–55Boston CollegeHome18–7,
9–5 ACC
16ThursdayL, 77–66, OTN.C. StateRaleigh18–8,
9–6 ACC
19SundayW, 71–58Wake ForestHome19–8,
10–6 ACC
23ThursdayL, 61–59No. 4
Virginia Tech
10–7 ACC
26SundayW, 45–41No. 13 DukeDurham20–9,
10–8 ACC
MarchACC Tournament
2ThursdayW, 68–58Clemson Greensboro21–9
3FridayL, 44–40No. 13 Duke Greensboro21–10
NCAA tournament
18SaturdayW, 61–59 St. John’sColumbus, Ohio22–10
20MondayL, 71–69No. 12 Ohio State Columbus, Ohio22–11

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications


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