Women’s Basketball: Northwestern finally enters AP Poll at No. 22

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Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Lindsey Pulliam races up the floor.

Ella Brockway, Sports Editor

The wait is over.

Northwestern woke up to good news Monday morning: After spending the entire season thus far on the outside — and in the past few weeks specifically, only receiving votes despite holding one of the Big Ten’s best records — the Wildcats were finally ranked in the AP Top 25.

NU (16-2, 6-1 Big Ten) received the No. 22 spot in this week’s AP Poll. It is the first time the Cats have been ranked in an AP Poll since Jan. 4, 2016, and their first appearance in any national ranking since Jan. 18, 2016, when they were ranked No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

This is the third season in which the Cats have been ranked in the AP Top 25 during coach Joe McKeown’s 12-season tenure in Evanston. NU was ranked for four weeks during the 2014-15 season, which ended in a trip to the first round of the NCAA Tournament. During the 2015-16 campaign, the Cats spent nine weeks in the Top 25, reaching as high as No. 12.

NU’s all-time best AP Poll ranking came on Dec. 10, 1990, when the Cats were named the No. 6 team in the country. NU won its first and only Big Ten title that season.

The Cats are one of three Big Ten teams in the Top 25. Indiana — who the Cats beat in overtime on Thursday — dropped two spots to No. 17, while Iowa — who demolished NU on Jan. 5 — moved up three spots to No. 19.

NU won’t face either of those teams again this regular season, but it will play No. 20 Maryland on the road on Jan. 26, a rematch of the Cats’ big upset win over the then-No. 12 Terrapins in December.

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Twitter: @ellabrockway

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