"This means a lot for our team," DeMoss said. "We have been close, knocking on the door of the Top 25 poll several times this year. Our motto this year has been to earn respect. It's earned. It's never just given to you. It's just another way of validating the fact that we have made some progress at Kentucky. We still aren't where we want to be but we definitely aren't where we were."
UK (15-4, 4-2 SEC) has won six of its last seven games, including impressive wins over Ole Miss and top-ranked Tennessee last week. The Cats defeated the Lady Rebels, 81-75, in Oxford on Jan. 22, its first road win over Ole Miss since 2000. They used that momentum to upset then-No. 1 Tennessee (19-1, 5-1 SEC) just four days later, beating the Lady Vols, 66-63, in Rupp Arena. It was UK's first win over a top-ranked team in school history and the Wildcats' first win over Tennessee in 20 years. The Lady Vols slipped four spots to No. 5 in the poll.
This is the first time the Wildcats have been ranked in the AP poll since the 1992-93 season when UK appeared in the poll three weeks. UK was No. 24 on Jan. 12 before slipping to No. 25 for two weeks, Jan. 19 and Feb. 2, respectively. UK's current ranking is the highest for the Wildcats since receiving a No. 19 position on Feb. 10, 1985.
At 15-4, the Wildcats are off to their best start since the 1992-93 UK team also began at 15-4. UK's RPI is now the 15th-best in the country and the strength of schedule is 23rd according to CollegeRPI.com.
At 4-2 in the SEC, the Wildcats have no time to rest on their laurels as they meet 14th-ranked Georgia on Thursday in Athens, Ga. The Lady Bulldogs are 15-5 overall, 5-2 in SEC play. UK plays five of its next eight games on the road, including three of the next four.