UNC falls, Pack out of Top 25 women’s poll ahead of Thursday game; McPherson rookie of week

By R.L. Bynum

North Carolina and N.C. State both fell in the latest AP Top 25 women’s poll after losses last week ahead of Thursday’s big clash in Raleigh.

The short-handed Tar Heels (18–7, 9–5 ACC), who rebounded from a 75–67 Thursday loss at Syracuse to roll past Boston College 73–55 at home Sunday, slipped five spots to No. 19. The Wolfpack (17–8, 7–7) lost 71–59 Sunday at Virginia, its third defeat in the last five meetings, to fall out of the poll after being ranked No. 22 a week ago.

After averaging 14.5 points in UNC’s two games last week, redshirt freshman Kayla McPherson is the ACC rookie of the week. Sunday against BC in her first career start, she scored 22 points and four 3-pointers with six rebounds and three assists. Her honor comes two weeks after teammate Paulina Paris earned the award.

It’s the first time N.C. State, which garnered the 27th-most poll points, has been unranked since Jan. 29, 2018. Carolina is ranked the lowest since being voted No. 22 on Jan. 9.

Carolina and Florida State (20–7, 9–5) had the biggest drops in the poll at five spots. The Seminoles lost road games to Miami (86–82) and Virginia Tech (84–70) and dropped to No. 23. The latter was the fourth consecutive win for the Hokies (20–4, 10–4), who stayed at No. 11.

UNC is No. 23 in the NET rankings and No. 19 in the Massey Ratings.

Carolina just hopes its injury list is reduced for the 8 p.m. Thursday game at Reynolds Coliseum (ACC Network.)

Fifth-year guard Eva Hodgson (upper-body injury) isn’t expected back in the lineup until March, but the Tar Heels hope that junior wing Alyssa Ustby (lower-body injury), who has missed the last three games, and junior center Anya Poole (shoulder) will be back.

Poole missed the win over Boston College, reducing Coach Courtney Banghart’s roster to eight players with redshirt senior reserve guard Ariel Young still out with a knee injury.


Juniors Kennedy Todd-Williams and Deja Kelly have been big leaders for the team in the last two games as the Tar Heels have been dealing with the short roster and new lineup combinations.

“They love hoops,” Banghart said. “They just show me not to worry. They’ll play with whoever’s in. They’ll help whoever is in. They can’t practice because they are playing so many minutes, and the young guys need practice, but they’re in and out with injuries. We’re figuring it out as we go.”

League-leading Duke (22–3, 12–2) held at No. 9 after beating Boston College 68–27 and Miami 50–40. Notre Dame (20–4, 11–3) stayed at No. 10 after home wins over Pittsburgh (69–63) and Syracuse (73–64).

The three voters who ranked Carolina the highest all live in the Carolinas: Mitchell Northam of WUNC, the only North Carolina-based voter, had the Tar Heels No. 11 while ACC Network’s Kelly Gramlich and television commentator Debbie Antonelli — South Carolina residents — each had them No. 15.

Voting UNC the lowest at No. 25 was Jeff Linder of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, who dropped the Heels 11 spots from where he voted them the previous week.

Other voters had UNC No. 16 (four voters), No. 17 (4), No. 18 (4), No. 19 (3), No. 20 (4), No. 21 (3), No. 22 (1) and No. 24 (1).

AP Top 25

RankTeamChangePoll points
1South Carolina (25–0)700 (28
first-place votes)
2Indiana (23–1)670
3Stanford (24–3)+3627
4Utah (22–2)+3574
5LSU (23–1)-2562
6UConn (22–4)-2561
7Iowa (20–5)-2552
8Maryland (21–5)513
9Duke (22–3)478
10Notre Dame (20–4)447
11Virginia Tech (20–4)427
12Michigan (20–5)386
13Ohio State (21–4)354
14Villanova (22-4)+1313
15Oklahoma (20–4)+1288
16UCLA (20–6)+2256
17Texas (20–6)+3243
18Arizona (19–6)-1215
19North Carolina (18–7)-5212
20Gonzaga (23–3)+3187
21Colorado (20–5)+4175
22Iowa State (15–7)-158
23UNLV (24–2)52
24Florida State (20–7)-551
25USC (19–6)31

Others receiving votes: Illinois 30, N.C. State 30, Middle Tennessee 23, South Florida 19, Oklahoma State 17, Creighton 17, Louisville 11, Rhode Island 6, Florida Gulf Coast 6, Marquette 5, Cleveland State 2, South Dakota State 1, Tennessee 1.

ACC standings

No. 10 Notre Dame15–324–4
No. 11 Duke14–424–5
No. 9 Virginia Tech14–424–4
No. 23 Florida State12–623–8
No. 22 North Carolina11–720–9
N.C. State9–919–10
Boston College5–1315–16
Wake Forest5–1314–15
Georgia Tech4–1413–16

Thursday’s results
No. 9 Virginia Tech 61, No. 22 North Carolina 59
No. 10 Notre Dame 76, Georgia Tech 53
No. 23 Florida State 61, Wake Forest 60
Syracuse 85, Pittsburgh 55
Louisville 71, Miami 50
Clemson 79, Virginia 69
No. 11 Duke 77, N.C. State 62
Sunday’s results
No. 22 North Carolina 45, No. 11 Duke 41
No. 10 Notre Dame 68, Louisville, noon, ESPN3
Miami 84, Virginia 75
Boston College 73, Wake Forest 63
Clemson 74, No. 23 Florida State 61
N.C. State 68, Pittsburgh at 63
No. 9 Virginia Tech 65, Georgia Tech 52
End of regular season

(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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