Sun Devils women up to No. 17 in latest AP hoops poll
A blowout and a serious comeback helped the Arizona State women’s basketball team carry a five-game win streak into the last two weeks of the regular season and helped it jump two spots to No. 17 in the latest Associated Press women’s basketball poll.
The Sun Devils rallied from 20 points down to top Utah at home on Sunday after routing Colorado earlier in the weekend. Coupled with a slew of losses in the top 25, ASU moved up two spaces in the rankings to its highest mark in four weeks. The Sun Devils rose as high as No. 16 on Jan. 21 before a home loss to unranked UCLA nearly sent it out of the rankings entirely.
ASU has ripped off five straight wins since that set back and is fourth in the Pac-12 conference standings ahead of a brutal closing stretch to the regular season.
The Sun Devils head to the Bay Area this weekend with a game at California on Friday before closing the season against three programs ranked in the top 12 nationally this week. ASU plays at No. 7 Stanford on Sunday and hosts No. 12 Oregon State and No. 2 Oregon next weekend in the final games before the conference tournament.
The top four teams receive first-round byes in the conference tournament, played March 7-10 in Las Vegas. The Sun Devils have a 1/2-game lead on UCLA for the fourth seed in the conference standings and 2 1/2 games on Utah and Arizona. ASU could secure the bye with a sweep this weekend and two losses from the Bruins, who will match up with the Oregon schools.
The AP men’s poll didn’t see any new teams join the top 25, with the only significant movement coming at the top, where former No. 1 Tennessee fell to No. 5 after a loss to Kentucky last week. Kentucky rose one spot to No. 4 while Duke retook the top spot for the third time this season and the first time in five weeks.
The Pac-12 still doesn’t have a team represented in the rankings, the eighth-straight week outside of the poll. The last time a team from the conference was ranked was when Arizona State held the No. 17 spot on Dec. 24 following a win over then-No. 1 Kansas in Tempe. The Sun Devils lost their next two games at home to unranked Princeton and Utah and tumbled out of the poll.