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Arizona women’s basketball ranked highest since 1998 after sweeping UCLA, USC

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 02 Women’s USC at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After beating USC on Sunday, Adia Barnes said the Arizona Wildcats are in uncharted territory.

She is not exaggerating.

The Wildcats moved up four spots, from No. 16 to No. 12 in the latest AP poll after sweeping the Los Angeles schools for the first time in 15 years. It is Arizona’s highest ranking since the 1997-98 season.

Arizona has won five straight, and beat UCLA and USC by a combined 42 points.

“I think we are playing good basketball; I don’t think we’re playing our best,” Barnes said Sunday. “So it’s my job for us to improve in February and be really ready for the Pac-12 Tournament, just like last year.”

The Wildcats (18-3, 7-3) travel to the Pacific Northwest this week to face No. 3 Oregon and No. 9 Oregon State. Stanford (6), UCLA (10), and ASU (19) are also in the Top 25.

The Wildcats currently sit in fourth place in the Pac-12, a game behind the Bruins and two games behind Stanford and Oregon.

“We control our own destiny and [this] week, we have nothing to lose,” Barnes said. “I just told the players we go to Oregon, we’re not supposed to win at Oregon. If we got a sweep it’s incredible. We get a split, it’s incredible. If we don’t it’s not the end of the world. We’re still in a good situation.”

Arizona ranks 27th in RPI and 13th by the selection committee, putting them on track to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.