UNC moves up in Top 25 women’s poll, on best poll run in 14 seasons

By R.L. Bynum

North Carolina returned to the No. 6 spot it held three weeks earlier in the AP Top 25 women’s basketball poll and is on the highest five-week poll run in 14 seasons.

The Tar Heels (9–1), after three decisive non-conference home wins, are ranked No. 8 or higher for the fifth consecutive week for the first time since the program’s remarkable late 2000s run.

Over five seasons, UNC was No. 8 or better for 73 consecutive weeks, from Feb. 7, 2005, until Jan. 19, 2009. During that stretch, Carolina was No. 1 for five weeks in 2006 (Jan. 30, Feb. 6 and Feb. 27–March 13) and never was ranked lower than No. 4 in the 2006–07 season.

Carolina won four consecutive ACC titles (2005–08) and went to two consecutive Final Fours (2006 and 2007) during that run.

The Tar Heels fell from No. 6 after suffering their only loss to now No. 4 Indiana 87–63 on Dec. 1. That defeat only dropped UNC to No. 8, and it moved up to No. 7 last week before advancing another spot this week.

UNC benefitted after No. 5 Notre Dame (9–1) won Sunday at Virginia Tech (10–1) 63–52 to drop the Hokies from No. 6 to No. 8.

Voting Carolina the highest at No. 4 is Mitchell Northam of WUNC, the only North Carolina-based voter. Jeff Linder of the Cedar Rapids Gazette and Lindsay Schnell of USA Today voted the Tar Heels No. 5, the same spot both voted for them last week when that represented the highest ballot spot for UNC.

Jeff Linder of the Cedar Rapids Gazette voted UNC No. 11 and is the only voter who doesn’t have the Tar Heels in the top 10.

Ten voters have the Tar Heels No. 6, four have them No. 7, four have them No. 8 and six have them No. 9.

Next for the Tar Heels is No. 19 Michigan (10–1) at 7 p.m. Tuesday (ESPN2) in Charlotte at the Jumpman Invitational. In their only game last week, the Wolverines, whose rank didn’t change, beat Appalachian State 77–49.

Two teams that the Tar Heels beat to win the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland are still highly ranked but didn’t have their ranks change: No. 14 Iowa State (8–2), which lost to the Heels 73–64, and No. 16 Oregon (9–1), which UNC defeated 85–79.

N.C. State (11–1) moved up from No. 8 to No. 7 after home wins over Davidson (81–47) and Clemson (77–59).

Carolina point guard Deja Kelly is seventh in the country and second in the ACC in assists-to-turnover ratio at 3.1 and is eighth in the ACC in scoring (15.4 points per game) \. Guard Eva Hodgson is 14th in the country and second in the ACC in 3-point shooting percentage at 51.09%.

Alyssa Ustby (top photo) is fourth in the ACC in rebounding (9.1 per game), and ninth in scoring (14.3 points per game).

Carolina is third in the ACC in scoring average (80.8 points per game; 19th in the country) and opponent scoring average (58.3, 38th) and second in scoring margin (22.5, 18th). UNC is second in the league in opponent field goal percentage (35.6%).

The Tar Heels lead the ACC in rebounding margin (9.7, 29th in the country) and turnover margin (+5.7). UNC is second in the league in rebounding (43.8 per game; 28th in the country), offensive rebounding (14.8, 34th), defensive rebounding (29.0, 41st) and rebounding margin (9.7, 29th). They are third in the ACC in steals per game (9.28).

AP Top 25

RankTeamChangePoll points (1st-place votes_
1South Carolina (11-0)700 (28)
2Stanford (11-1)672
3Ohio State (11-0)627
4Indiana (11-0)619
5Notre Dame (9-1)594
6North Carolina (9-1)+1529
7North Carolina State (11-1)+1514
8Virginia Tech (10-1)-2481
9UConn (8-2)470
10LSU (11-0)+1422
11UCLA (11-1)-1420
12Utah (10-0)+1372
13Iowa (9-3)-1370
14Iowa State (8-2)341
15Maryland (9-3)296
16Oregon (9-1)280
17Arkansas (13-0)+4256
18Arizona (9-1)+2217
19Michigan (10-1)210
20Kansas (10-0)+2187
21Creighton (8-2)-5133
22Gonzaga (10-2)+1114
23Oklahoma (9-1)+186
24Baylor (8-3)-667
25St. John’s (11-0)27

Others receiving votes:bMarquette 24, Virginia 21, Louisville 20, Villanova 11, Texas 5, Rice 4, Duke 3, Kansas State 3, Columbia 3, Nebraska 2.

Same non-league foes

Michigan will be the fifth non-conference school to face Carolina’s women’s and men’s basketball teams this season. The Tar Heels have swept two, split one and been swept by one. They both faced JMU on Nov. 20. Michigan will be the fourth school to meet both teams in the same city on successive days, although they played Iowa State in different Portland arenas.

OpponentWomen’s gamesMen’s games
UNCWW 64–42 Dec. 7 (H)W 69–56 on Nov. 7 (H)
James MadisonW 76–65 on Nov. 20 (R)W 80–64 on Nov. 20 (H)
Iowa StateW 73–64 on Nov. 24 (P)L 70–65 on Nov. 25 (P)
IndianaL 87–63 on Dec. 1 (R)L 77–65 on Nov. 30 (R)
MichiganTuesday (C)Wednesday (C)
H — home game; R — road game; P — at Phil Knight Invitational in Portland; C — at Jumpman Invitational in Charlotte

(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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