When Aari McDonald and Adia Barnes met with the media Tuesday morning to talk about the big win at Texas and the multitude of awards coming in, Arizona’s exclusion from the AP Top 25 was a big topic of conversation. A few hours later, the Wildcats (4-0) finally broke through into a major poll for the first time in 15 years, showing up as the No. 24 team in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
McDonald put up a school-record 44 points in the Wildcats’ win over the Longhorns on Sunday afternoon as the team won 83-58 on the road. After beating a program that had been ranked in the AP poll for 77 straight weeks, honors rained down on both McDonald and the team: the espnW National Player of the Week, the NCAA National Team of the Week, and the Pac-12 Player of the Week.
Still, 13 of the 29 AP voters left Arizona entirely off their ballots and the team landed two spots outside the rankings that were released Monday.
Barnes expressed no concern about being left out by the AP voters, saying she enjoyed the climb and there’s nowhere to go but down if you get to the top. She added that her team knew they still had things to improve, anyway. That’s not to say that she wasn’t a little surprised.
“Did I think we were going to be ranked? I did think so,” Barnes said.
Her peers apparently agreed.
The Wildcats were last ranked in a major poll in December 2004.