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Arizona women’s basketball rises in ESPN’s preseason rankings

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 16 Women’s Washington State at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

They’re still calling it the “way too early Top 25,” but ESPN’s latest women’s college basketball rankings came out just a day before the AP plans to drop its preseason Top 25. As expected, the Arizona Wildcats were still in the Top 10 according to the Worldwide Leader.

The Wildcats debuted at No. 7 shortly after last season ended, then fell to No. 8 in ESPN’s second list. On Monday, they climbed back up to seventh in rankings put together by Mechelle Voepel, Graham Hays and Charlie Creme.

The Wildcats ended last season ranked No. 12 by the AP. The retention of Aari McDonald along with fellow starters Cate Reese and Sam Thomas means the Wildcats return three of their five regular starters.

The trio of Arizona’s top three scorers accounted for 61 percent of the team’s points last season. They also grabbed 47 percent of the team’s rebounds and were three of the top four rebounders on the team.

The Wildcats add transfers Shaina Pellington, Trinity Baptiste and Bendu Yeaney to an experienced squad. The incoming freshmen include Lauren Ware, the No. 26 recruit according to ESPN HoopGurlz.

They won’t be the only Pac-12 team expecting to see lofty rankings next to their names this season, either. ESPN’s Top 25 include Stanford (2), UCLA (9), Oregon (10) and Oregon State (16).

Arizona should be in the AP poll’s top 10 when that poll drops on Tuesday morning, as well.