Following wins over four ranked teams in their past five games, the University of Florida is back in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2016. They entered the poll on Monday at No. 19.
𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐓𝐨𝐩 𝟐𝟓 👋For the first time since December 2016, the Gators are 𝙍𝘼𝙉𝙆𝙀𝘿, coming in at #19 in the @AP_Top25! 🐊#GoGators pic.twitter.com/4dUYLjEmQp— Gators Women’s Basketball (@GatorsWBK) February 7, 2022
𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐓𝐨𝐩 𝟐𝟓 👋For the first time since December 2016, the Gators are 𝙍𝘼𝙉𝙆𝙀𝘿, coming in at #19 in the @AP_Top25! 🐊#GoGators pic.twitter.com/4dUYLjEmQp
“Proud of our girls’ effort and buy-in,” Florida head coach Kelly Rae Finley said. “They are an extremely fun team to coach. I am very blessed as a coach to have a group of young women who want to learn.”
The ranking comes in Finley’s first year as head coach. She took over in September after former coach Cam Newbauer resigned and was later accused of creating an abusive environment.
While the team went 46-71 during Newbauer’s tenure, they are 17-6 this year. Last week, they knocked off then-No. 7 Tennessee and then-No. 14 Georgia. Against five straight SEC opponents, their only loss was to No. 1 South Carolina on Jan. 30.
“It’s crazy cool,” Finley said. “We have six games left together in the regular season and we hope to play in the postseason. You can’t get there if you don’t reflect and connect the dots every day.”
South Carolina remains the No. 1 team in the country and were a unanimous choice for the ranking this week. Stanford remained at No. 2 as Louisville jumped up one spot to third.
One week after receiving their highest ranking ever, Michigan has bested that with the No. 4 spot this week after taking down Indiana who fell to seventh. NC State fell to fifth.
“That’s pretty awesome,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “So excited for our players and our program, and the growth we’ve continued to have night in and night out has been incredible. Even when we’ve had bumps in the road with COVID protocols and injuries, the next person has been able to step up.”
UConn climbed to eighth following a dominant performance over Tennessee. The Lady Vols, meanwhile, fell six spots to No. 13.