Despite two losses last week, the Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team enters the week with an RPI of 14, according to RealTimeRPI.com.
Saint Mary’s is 12-3 overall with wins over Washington, Butler, Alabama, USC and Gonzaga. Gonzaga is ranked directly ahead of SMC in RPI at No. 13.
Even though the Gaels suffered the two losses in West Coast Conference play last week, the Gaels were able to maintain a high RPI. Both of those losses came on the road at undefeated San Diego (RPI 25) and BYU (RPI 67). What also helped, was a huge win by USC, defeating No. 12 Colorado. Colorado dropped to 11-2 overall, but is expected to be the top Pac-12 school behind Stanford and California. The Gaels won on the road at USC last month.
At No. 14, SMC’s RPI ranks just behind Cal (RPI No.12) and ahead of traditional women’s basketball national powers such as Syracuse (16), Kentucky (18), Vanderbilt (22) and Maryland (26).
Last year the Gaels spent much of the season ranked in the 30s in RPI. There are many things that go into determining RPI, but one of the key outcomes was Saint Mary’s defeating Chattanooga, while Chattanooga had an early win over nationally ranked Tennessee. While it was just one win for the Gaels, that win proved to be an RPI booster throughout the year.
Looking again at this year, the Gaels have several wins over teams from the likes of the Pac-12, Big East and SEC, which gives the opportunity for SMC’s opponents to help the Gaels move up in RPI, thus improving chances at a possible NCAA Tournament At-Large bid, if the Gaels were not able to win the WCC Tournament.