Buoyed by a win over one of their biggest rivals, the Gonzaga women moved up two spots, to 17th, in this week’s Associated Press poll.
The ranking is GU’s highest of the season in the AP poll, which was released Monday.
Gonzaga overcame a late BYU rally last week at the Kennel, beating the Cougars 63-56 to improve to 16-2 overall and 11-0 in the West Coast Conference.
Gonzaga took advantage of losses by a pair of teams from the Southeastern Conference.
Kentucky, ranked 15th last week, fell to 20th after losing to unranked Mississippi.
Arkansas lost by only two points to No. 7 Texas A&M, but the defeat was the Razorbacks’ seventh of the season and dropped them to 4-6 in the conference.
The Zags are also on the rise in the NCAA’s NET rankings. Updated daily, they are a major tool in determining selection and seeding for next month’s NCAA Tournament in San Antonio.
Ranked 20th a week ago, GU was 18th in Monday’s NET rankings.
Gonzaga also has moved up four spots, to 16th, during the last week in the Rating Percentage Index.
The Zags probably will need help to move much higher, as their current strength of schedule ranks only 95th in Division I.
On Thursday, GU hosts San Francisco (239th in RPI); on Saturday, it’s Santa Clara (229th). The rematch with BYU (53rd) is scheduled for Feb. 18 in Provo, Utah.
The Zags also rank in the top 25 nationally in several important statistical categories: 6th in rebounding margin (plus-13.4); 14th in field goal percentage (47.4%); and 24th in points allowed (56.2).
Also on Monday, senior forward Jill Townsend was named as one of 30 candidates for the 2020-21 Senior CLASS Award.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Townsend, the reigning WCC Player of the Year, currently leads the Zags in scoring at 13.5 points per contest, shooting 48.4% from the floor.
The Okanogan, Wash., native is working toward a bachelor’s degree in biology, and she has spent nearly 60 hours assisting the Spokane community.
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