Blinn College women’s basketball head coach Jeff Jenkins had a special message for his team during Monday’s practice.

“I told them we’re finally ranked,” he said. “I think they were glad they finally got in.”

The Buccaneers, who are 13-0 (2-0 in Region XIV) for the first time since the 2012-13 season, entered Monday’s NJCAA Division I top-25 poll at No. 22. Blinn received votes for the first time in the Dec. 6 poll, but Monday’s rankings mark the first time the team is in the top 25 since finishing the spring 2021 campaign ranked 23rd.

“I think they deserved to at least be 22nd,” Jenkins said of Monday’s reveal. “I think Region XIV is one of the better regions in the nation, and to be 13-0, I think they deserved to finally get in. We’ve played as tough a schedule as we could play.”

Jenkins said he takes weekly rankings more seriously now that the NJCAA utilizes at-large bids when constructing brackets for its national championship tournaments. 

“The higher your ranking is as the season moves along, the better your chances are of getting an at-large bid,” Jenkins explained, “so I think this group will stay focused. I don’t think they’re happy with the 22nd ranking. I think they want to try to move higher.”

Blinn’s season will resume with a non-conference road tilt at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 3, at McLennan Community College.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987. For more information, visit www.buccaneersports.com.