Another week, another mixed message on what the rest of the country thinks of Gonzaga women’s basketball and the company it keeps.
Coming off wins last week over San Francisco and Santa Clara, the Zags moved up one spot, to 16th, in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Monday.
The Zags moved up at the expense of Tennessee, which dropped five spots, to 21st, after losing twice last week.
However, GU fell one position, to 20th, in the NCAA’s NET rankings, and down to a No. 6 seed in this week’s edition of the bracket posted by Charlie Crème of ESPN.
Crème has GU facing Stephen F. Austin – the latter playing in nearby San Antonio in the first round, with a potential second-round matchup against 3-seed UCLA.
However, College Sports Madness has GU as a No. 4 seed, facing Bucknell.
GU gets its highest ranking, 12th, in this week’s Rating Percentage Index; however, that metric has been supplanted by the NET rankings in gauging teams for NCAA Tournament seeding.
A closer look at Monday’s RPI shows why. Bucknell is unranked in human polls, yet tops the RPI chart, presumably because at 8-0, they are the only unbeaten team in Division 1.
Closer to home Santa Clara rose 27 points in RPI and USF went up 34 by losing to Gonzaga last weekend (though both teams won at Portland during the same road trip).
With exactly four weeks left until Selection Monday on March 15, the Zags should earn anywhere from a 3 to a 7 seed, depending on the rest of the regular season.
Winners of 17 straight games, GU is 18-2 overall and 13-0 in the West Coast Conference going into Thursday’s game at second-place BYU and a Saturday contest at San Diego.
The Zags end the regular season with home games against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount; there’s also a chance they can make up a home game with San Diego that was postponed last month because of COVID-19.
Also on the schedule is the WCC Tournament, March 4-9 in Las Vegas.
GU continues to rank high nationally in several key statistical areas: fifth in rebounding margin at plus 13.9; 13th in shooting at 47.4% and 11th in assists per game at 17.7.
The Zags are among the most balanced teams in the nation, with six players averaging at least 7 points a game, but no one more than Jill Townsend’s 13.6 ppg.
GU senior forward Jenn Wirth was named this week’s WCC Player of the Week after averaging 13 points and 9 rebounds to lead the Zags to wins over USF and Santa Clara.
The honor is the second of the season for Wirth, who also won on Jan. 11
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