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Gonzaga, 12-1, climbs three spots to No. 17 in AP women’s poll

UPDATED: Mon., Dec. 31, 2018, 12:30 p.m.

Gonzaga guard Jessie Loera digs in on defense against Idaho guard Taylor Pierce, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs, 12-1, climbed to No. 17 in the latest AP rankings. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Jessie Loera digs in on defense against Idaho guard Taylor Pierce, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs, 12-1, climbed to No. 17 in the latest AP rankings. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
From staff and wire reports

The Gonzaga women climbed three spots to No. 17 in the latest AP rankings released on Monday.

The Zags (12-1), who also climbed from No. 21 to 18 in the USA Today rankings, play at Pepperdine at noon on Monday.

UConn, Notre Dame and Louisville remained the top three AP teams. With most teams taking a break for the holidays, there wasn’t much movement in the poll. The only change in the first 10 teams was Mississippi State and Baylor exchanging places at No. 7 and 8. Maryland and Oregon were fourth and fifth in the poll voted on by a 31-member national media panel.

Baylor has a huge chance to move up the poll this week when the Lady Bears host top-ranked UConn on Thursday night. The Huskies were off this past week and finish off a two-game trip to Texas with a game at Houston on Sunday. UConn hasn’t played at home since Dec. 8.

Notre Dame easily beat Lehigh on Sunday in its lone game this week. The victory earned Muffet McGraw her 900th’ career win.

There was movement in the second half of the poll with California dropping four spots to 18th after losing to Harvard. Arizona State fell five places to 22nd after falling to Pac-12 rival Arizona. DePaul also dropped down five spots after losing its Big East opener to Creighton.

Michigan State made the biggest leap, climbing up six spots to 15th after topping Iowa in a Big Ten game. It’s the Spartans best ranking since Nov. 17, 2014 when they were also 15th.

Iowa State was the lone team to enter the poll while Miami fell out after losing to Central Michigan.

Tops among mid-majors

Gonzaga, off to its best nonconference start in program history, has also emerged as the No. 1 team in ESPN’s ranking of women’s mid-major programs, ahead of Central Michigan and South Dakota.

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