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Sports >  NCAA

Gonzaga women rise to 18th despite loss to No. 1 South Carolina

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 30, 2020

Gonzaga's Cierra Walker looks to drive past South Carolina's Aliyah Boston (4)  during the Women’s Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Sunday.  (Courtesy of Dave Eggen/Inertia)
Gonzaga's Cierra Walker looks to drive past South Carolina's Aliyah Boston (4)  during the Women’s Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Sunday. (Courtesy of Dave Eggen/Inertia)

For the second season in a row, the Gonzaga women just moved up the Associated Press poll after a defeat.

In their opening game of the season Sunday, the Zags lost to top-ranked South Carolina 79-72 in the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Apparently, that was enough to move the Zags to 18th in the first regular-season poll of the year. GU was 21st in the preseason poll released Nov. 10.

Sunday’s game was even closer than that, as GU led with 4 minutes to play. However, the Gamecocks rallied to improve to 3-0 and remain atop the rankings.

The game – and the subsequent poll rankings – felt a lot like last year’s trip to No. 3 Stanford. Heavy underdogs, the unranked Bulldogs took Stanford to overtime before falling 76-70.

The next morning, the Zags received a No. 23 ranking from the AP. They stayed there the rest of the year, finishing 13th after going 28-3 and winning the West Coast Conference regular-season title.

Gonzaga received 193 total votes in Monday’s poll, up from 137 in the preseason poll. The Zags sit behind No. 17 Oregon State and ahead of No. 19 Ohio State.

As in the preseason poll, South Carolina got 29 of 30 first-place votes and Stanford the other.

Gonzaga, which beat Stanford in Spokane in 2018, was scheduled to host the Cardinal this year but the game was canceled by COVID-19 concerns.

The Cardinal remained second overall in Monday’s poll, followed by Connecticut, Baylor and Louisville.

The rest of the top 10 includes Mississippi State, Arizona, North Carolina State, UCLA and Oregon.

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