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Gonzaga Women's Basketball

Gonzaga women debut at No. 23 in AP poll after Stanford win; Washington State back in at No. 21

Gonzaga forward Yvonne Ejim (15) fist bumps coach Lisa Fortier after a win against Wyoming at the McCarthey Athletic Center on Nov. 18.   (James Snook/For The Spokesman-Review)

Coming off its biggest win in school history, the Gonzaga women’s basketball team made its season debut in the Associated Press Top 25 on Monday.

A day after handling then-third -ranked Stanford 96-78, Gonzaga (8-2) is at No. 23. The Zags are No. 17 in the season’s first NET rankings.

“I think we should have been ranked before,” Zags coach Lisa Fortier said Sunday about whether she expected her team to be ranked Monday. “It doesn’t mean that much, but if (voters) are paying attention, if they really know the teams that they’re voting for, I don’t know how they would not vote for us.”

Last season, Gonzaga was voted in the Top 25 the week of Nov. 28 at No. 23, the beginning of 15 straight weeks in the poll.

The Zags rose as high as 15th before finishing at No. 16.

“The big thing for me going forward is if you can beat Stanford you can probably beat most anybody else,” Fortier said.

Stanford (8-1), which opened the season at No. 15 before shooting quickly up the rankings, slipped to ninth. South Carolina (7-0), which is first in NET rankings, remained No. 1 in the AP poll, followed by UCLA (7-0) and North Carolina State (9-0).

Fortier said the win against the Cardinal could be beneficial for seeding to the NCAA Tournament.

“Hopefully it plays heavily,” she said. “I know they’re weighing it on home and road … . They’re also weighing it on what the score looks like at the end of the day, and what the team was like when you played them. And that’s a really good team. It’s the final win that we need.”

Washington State (9-1) returned to the rankings at No. 21. WSU was No. 23 before falling out last week. The Cougars were also 21st in the NET.

Eastern Washington (6-2), which suffered an 82-80 loss to Gonzaga last week, was No. 57 in the NET.

Ejim named player of the week

Yvonne Ejim, who scored 27 points in GU’s victory over Stanford and 23 in the win over EWU on Wednesday, earned WCC player of the week honors for the second straight week.