Now that we have a date for the start of the college basketball season—it’s Nov. 25—ESPN revisited their women’s basketball way-too-early preseason rankings, and they moved the Arizona Wildcats down a spot from 7th to 8th. (N.C. State leapfrogged them.)
There is no explanation from the three folks who are responsible for compiling these rankings—Charlie Creme, Graham Hays and Mechelle Voepel—but Hays did have this to say about the Cats:
Arizona secured its place as a contender as soon as Aari McDonald (20.6 PPG) opted to return rather than enter the WNBA draft, and the Wildcats only strengthened their position over the spring and summer. Virginia Tech graduate transfer Trinity Baptiste, the reigning ACC Sixth Player of the Year, joins returnees Cate Reese (13.6 PPG) and Sam Thomas (9.5 PPG) to give the Wildcats one of the most experienced cores in a season of change in the Pac-12.
Arizona is the second-highest ranked team from the Pac-12, only behind Stanford, which checks in at No. 6.
UCLA (9), Oregon (10) and Oregon State (15) also cracked the Top 25.
Gonzaga (24) is there too. The Wildcats were originally scheduled to host the Bulldogs in December as part of the first game of a home-and-series, but it’s unclear if that matchup will still go on as planned due to the coronavirus crisis.
Arizona coach Adia Barnes said Friday that she is still interested in hosting the Zags, but it’s not really her call.
“I can’t even schedule non-conference yet because I don’t know if a mid-major school is going to have a capability of testing,” she said. “So there’s so much in the air.”