women basketball

Gonzaga beat Saint Mary's 78-77 in second overtime on March 11 to advance to the WCC Finals.

As if tonight’s Fan Fest wasn’t enough hype already, Gonzaga women’s basketball has been ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press’ first set of national rankings for the 2020-21 season. By accruing 137 points in this year’s poll, the No. 21 position is the highest that the Zags have ever held in the AP poll to open up a season.

This marks the second time that the Zags have been recognized among the 25 best teams in the nation heading into a season by AP, with the first instance being before the 2013-14 season where GU went on to hold a 29-5 record and won the WCC title. 

This year’s Bulldog squad returns a slew of promising talent from last year’s 28-3 team that achieved a program best No. 11 ranking in the AP poll at one point during the season and ended the stunted year at 13.

The 2020 roster is headlined by senior guard Jill Townsend, who has been listed to this season’s Ann Myers Drysdale shooting guard of the year watchlist after being named the WCC player of the year last season. Wirth and Truong twins returned, with Jenn Wirth coming off an All-WCC first team selection last year and Kayleigh Truong being selected to the WCC All-Freshman team.

The No. 21-ranked Bulldogs have also been voted by WCC head coaches as the favorites to win the conference title this season after falling short to Portland in the championship game last year. GU is the only WCC program to receive recognition in this season’s initial AP poll.

Outside of the 16 settled regular season conference games that span from late December until Feb. 27, the Zags have three nonconference games primed for their most likely not yet finalized season schedule. All are a part of the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and they’ll open up the season there on Nov. 28 against Oklahoma. 

On Nov. 29, GU will face off against the University of South Dakota that finished last year at No. 17 in the AP poll and received three votes in this season’s preseason rankings, not enough to award them a position among the top 25.

The Zags only have one game against a fellow preseason ranked opponent lined up so far, but it comes as a big one as they’ll take on No. 1 South Carolina to round out the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic on Nov. 30.

GU will look to fill the rest of its nonconference schedule as the circumstances of this season become more clear in the coming weeks.

Asher Ali is a sports editor. Follow him on Twitter: @asher_ali3.

Sports Editor

Major: Journalism / International Relations Because the ability to tell other people's stories within such a passionate community like GU's is an opportunity unlike any other.

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