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Arizona women’s basketball rises to No. 6 in AP poll, their highest ranking ever

Mike Mattina/Arizona Athletics

After sweeping the LA schools, the Arizona women’s basketball team moved up to No. 6 in the latest AP poll, the highest ranking in program history.

Previously, the Wildcats (3-0) were ranked No. 7, which tied the highest ranking in school history set back in 1997-98. Arizona rose in the rankings because No. 4 Baylor lost to unranked Arkansas.

Stanford is now the No. 1 team in the country after South Carolina lost to NC State. Oregon moved up from No. 10 to No. 8, UCLA dropped from No. 9 to No. 11, and Oregon State rose from No. 17 to No. 15.

The Wildcats host ASU on Thursday. The Sun Devils split against the LA schools and received 12 votes in the AP poll, making them the No. 29 team in the country.

Arizona coach Adia Barnes said Sunday that moving up in the AP poll isn’t important.

“It’s not important now because it means nothing,” she said. “It doesn’t mean anything because we haven’t done anything yet. We didn’t go the tournament last year. People say, ‘Oh, you could have done this, you could have done that,’ but we didn’t. So it’s kind of irrelevant. I don’t think our players care about it.

“I think the other reason why I don’t feel it is because in a typical year, I really think we would average over 10,000 fans. I know we would have sold out against UCLA. We probably would have had 10,000 today. So I think in those situations that feels more like it because it feels really important, so I think all of that is just it’s a great honor, but we’re not there yet. We aren’t playing at that level right now.

“Do we have the ability? No doubt. Can we be a top-10 team? For sure, but we’re not playing like a top-10 team right now. I think we have the ability, I think we have the personnel. I think we have the tools to be there and we have the tools to win the championship, but we aren’t playing at the level to do that. And we don’t understand how important the starts are, how important it is to be consistent, how being smart and adjusting works because we haven’t won championships yet. Like when I’ve been on championship teams, you know what it takes to get there and sustain that. We’re learning what that looks like and it takes time.”

Arizona had to overcome double-digit deficits to narrowly beat UCLA and USC.

“Our offense is not flowing. Defensively, that was not Arizona defense,” Barnes said after the USC win. “We’re not disciplined right now so I talked to the team about, we have to be humble. We have to work on fundamentals. We have to work on basics like jumping in the air and making passes, that’s not what we do. And that’s stuff we work on every day so I just don’t know why it’s not translating the game. So what I’m gonna do is go back to drawing board, continue to have us work on it, and we will get better. But the positive thing for me as a coach is I’ve seen a drastic improvement. We played NAU, did not play well, played better against UCLA, but we’re probably putting together like 20 minutes of good basketball. And now we play the USC, we did get the sweep, which is huge for us, because they’re both really good teams, but we did it coming back ... So we’re like the comeback kids right now, but you can’t win games like that.”