UNC rises in Top 25 women’s poll, highest 4-week poll run in 13 years

By R.L. Bynum

North Carolina moved up one spot to No. 7 in the AP Top 25 women’s basketball poll after the Tar Heels’ impressive 99–67 home win Sunday over Wofford for the program’s highest four-week poll run in 13 years.

The Tar Heels (8–1) are No. 8 or better for four consecutive weeks for the first time since they did it in the first four polls of the 2009–10 season (No. 5 in the preseason poll and No. 4 in the following three polls.)

UNC has been in the top 10 for four consecutive weeks for the first time since a six-week streak in the 2014–15 season from Dec. 1 until Jan. 5 (ranked No. 6 three weeks, No. 9 two weeks and No. 8 on Jan. 5).

Carolina was No. 12 in the preseason poll and No. 13 in Week 1, then has been No. 8, No. 6, No. 8 and No. 7 in the last four weeks.

The Tar Heels also moved up to No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, which was a jump of two spots.

Ranking Carolina the highest in the AP poll at No. 5 are Jeff Linder of the Cedar Rapids Gazette and Lindsay Schnell of USA Today.

The only voters who didn’t have UNC in their top 10 are Alex Simon of the San Jose Mercury News and Jeremiah Holloway of The State in Columbia, S.C., a UNC graduate, who both voted the Tar Heels No. 11.

WUNC’s Mitchell Northam, the only North Carolina-based voter, has N.C. State No. 4, Virginia Tech No. 5, UNC No. 6, Notre Dame No. 8 and Virginia No. 23.

Five voters had UNC No. 6, nine had it No. 7, and five voted the Tar Heels No. 8.

Carolina was No. 6 before losing at Indiana (10–0), which is No. 4 for the second consecutive week.

It’s a testament to the Tar Heels’ offensive versatility that Kennedy Todd-Williams, Alyssa Ustby and Deja Kelly share the team scoring lead at 14.9 points per game, with Eva Hodgson scoring at a 12.9 clip.

Ustby, who has four double-doubles (6th in the ACC and 31st in the country) — including in the last two games — leads the team in rebounding at 8.9 per game (5th in the ACC) and is shooting 53.5% from the floor (third in the ACC).

Kelly is second in the ACC and fifth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.9) and Hodgson is third in the league and 16th in the country (2.9). UNC is second in the ACC and 18th in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.3.

Kelly is fifth in the ACC in assists per game (4.4) and Hodgson is 11th (3.9).

Hodgson leads the ACC and is 11th in the country in 3-point-shooting percentage at 52.2%. and Todd-Williams is making 45.5%, which is 45th in the country.

Destiny Adams is seventh in the ACC with 1.4 blocks per game while averaging only 18.7 minutes. UNC is third in the ACC and 19th in the country with 5.2 blocks per game.

Eight of Carolina’s next nine opponents are either ranked or receiving votes in the poll. The notable exception is South Carolina Upstate (1–6; 352 out of 361 in the NET ranking), which visits Carmichael Arena at 6 p.m. Friday (ESPN3).

Carolina and Virginia Tech, which moved up to No. 6, each moved up one spot after injury-plagued Connecticut beat Princeton 69–64 and lost 85–78 to Maryland, which moved up five spots to No. 15. The Huskies fell three spots to No. 9.

Notre Dame (8–1) — which beat Merrimack 108–44 — remained No. 5, with N.C. State (9–1) staying at No. 8 following wins over Georgia (65–54) and South Florida (65–57).

Michigan, which Carolina faces in Charlotte at the Jumpman Invitational on Dec. 20, fell from No. 14 to No. 19 after a 71–68 loss to Toledo.

AP Top 25

RankTeamChangePoll points
(first-place votes)
1South Carolina (9-0)700 (28)
2Stanford (10-1)672
3Ohio State (10-0)627
4Indiana (10-0)623
5Notre Dame (8-1)577
6Virginia Tech (10-0)+1549
7North Carolina (8-1)+1514
8N.C. State (9-1)505
9UConn (7-2)-3450
10UCLA (9-1)+3416
11LSU (9-0)391
12Iowa (8-3)+4369
13Utah (8-0)+2359
14Iowa State (7-2)-4329
15Maryland (9-3)+5310
16Oregon (7-1)+1264
16Creighton (8-1)+2264
18Baylor (7-2)+1186
19Michigan (9-1)-5181
20Arizona (7-1)-8177
21Arkansas (12-0)169
22Kansas (9-0)149
23Gonzaga (9-2)-1100
24Oklahoma (8-1)-172
25Villanova (9-2)56

Others receiving votes: St. John’s 19, Marquette 18, Louisville 14, Virginia 7, Texas 6, Duke 5, Kansas State 5, Rice 4, Florida State 3, Columbia 2, Missouri 2, DePaul 2, Nebraska 1, Middle Tennessee 1.

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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