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Whitworth holds firm to No. 3 ranking

Whitworth remained ranked No. 3 in this week’s poll of NCAA Division III men’s college basketball teams.

Last week’s top-ranked team, Rochester, lost for the first time last week, opening the door for St. Thomas (20-1) to return to the top spot in the poll released Monday.

The only other unbeaten team in the poll, Worchester Polytechnic Institute (21-0), leapfrogged 20-1 Whitworth to take over the No. 2 spot while Rochester (19-1) fell to No. 4.

The Pirates play Whitman tonight in Walla Walla and would clinch the Northwest Conference title with a victory.

Players of the week

Gonzaga junior Haiden Palmer was named West Coast Conference women’s Player of the Week on Monday.

Palmer averaged 13 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 4.5 steals per game last week as the Zags improved to 8-1 in the WCC and maintained their one-game lead over BYU and Saint Mary’s.

This is Palmer’s second WCC honor of the year and the third of her career.

• Montana forward Katie Baker has collected another Big Sky Conference women’s basketball Player of the Week honor.

Baker, a senior from Lake City in Coeur d’Alene, averaged 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds to lead Montana to a pair of home wins over Portland State and Eastern Washington that put the Grizzlies atop the league standings with a 10-2 mark.

Baker shares the award with Sacramento State guard Fantasia Hilliard. The two also shared the award three weeks ago.

• Washington State’s Lia Galdeira picked up her third Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor.

Galdeira averaged 20.5 points and 7 steals for the Cougars, who beat Arizona State and Arizona during the weekend on the road. It was WSU’s first road sweep of the Arizona schools since 1994-95.