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Arizona women’s basketball ranked 18th in AP Poll entering Pac-12 play

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The women are ranked higher than the men for the first time

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 21 Women’s UC Santa Barbara at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The wins keep piling up but the number next to their name remains the same.

The Arizona women’s basketball team is ranked 18th in the AP Poll for the third straight week. The Wildcats overcame a slow start to beat UC Santa Barbara on Saturday to complete their non-conference season with a perfect 11-0 record, continuing the best start in the school history.

Arizona has won 17 games in a row dating back to last season, the longest active streak in the nation.

Analytics site Her Hoop Stats also ranks the Wildcats as the No. 18 team in the country. Arizona has the No. 26 offensive rating and No. 2 defensive rating in the country. Known for their disruptive press defense, the Wildcats have the third-best steal rate in the country.

Their 11 wins have come by an average margin of 30.3 points.

If there is a reason they aren’t ranked higher, it’s their strength of schedule. Arizona has only played one major-conference team, though that resulted in an extremely impressive 83-58 road win over the then-No. 24 Texas Longhorns. That same Texas team just knocked off No. 1 Stanford on Sunday and re-entered the Top 25.

Arizona opens Pac-12 play Sunday at Arizona State (12 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Network). The Sun Devils received votes in the latest AP poll.

Four other Pac-12 teams—Oregon (2), Oregon State (3), Stanford (5), and UCLA (10)—are ranked. The Wildcats will play three of them in the next three weeks.

After traveling to Tempe, Arizona will head to Los Angeles to face USC and UCLA before returning to McKale Center for a homestand vs. the Oregon schools.

Monday marks the first time the Arizona women’s team has ever been ranked higher than the men’s squad. The Arizona men dropped from 16th to 24th after losing to St. John’s on Saturday.

Prior to this season, the women’s team had not been ranked since the 2004-05 campaign.