KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For the second-straight week, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) holds a one-point advantage over Oklahoma City to receive the No. 1 ranking in the ninth regular season edition of the 2012-13 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Lady Lions received six first-place votes and 277 points, while Oklahoma City claimed five first-place votes and 276 points.
On March 6, the NAIA is providing a free graphical selection show to reveal the 32-team bracket for the 33rd annual NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship. The event is scheduled to begin at approximately 7 p.m. CST on www.NAIA.org.
Freed-Hardeman remains as the only one-loss team with a 26-1 record after posting victories over then-No. 17 Bethel (Tenn.) (67-50) and Mid-Continent (Ky.) (93-35). In addition to keeping pace with No. 12 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) for most wins this season, the Lady Lions' victory against Mid-Continent clinched their first TranSouth Athletic Conference regular-season title since 2006 - fourth in program history. Freed-Hardeman has one conference game remaining - Tuesday at Blue Mountain (Miss.) - before closing the regular season with a pair of non-conference tilts against Voorhees (S.C.) and Morris (S.C.) this weekend.
Similarly to Freed-Hardeman, No. 2 Oklahoma City claimed the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) regular season crown with a dominating 102-54 win over St. Gregory's (Okla.) at Abe Lemons Arena on Feb. 16. The Stars have won or shared 12 of the last 14 SAC regular season championships, including a current streak of four-straight. Oklahoma City boasts a 22-2 record with two games remaining, including a contest at No. 13 Rogers State (Okla.) Saturday.
Westminster (Utah), who had been stuck at No. 4 or No. 5 in every prior poll, climbs to No. 3 - its highest all-time ranking dating back to 1999-2000 - with 263 points. The Griffins quietly collected their fifth-consecutive Frontier Conference regular season title with a 70-53 win over Montana State-Northern on Feb. 16. Westminster enters the week riding a 16-game winning streak, which is second only to Oklahoma City's 21-gamer. The Griffins' last loss came on Dec. 8 at then-No. 3 Vanguard (Calif.), 73-51.
Climbing two spots to No. 4 is Westmont (Calif.) with 252 points. The Warriors have won 14-straight, including 12-consecutive Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) contests en route to a 22-3 overall record (12-0 GSAC). Westmont can claim the outright regular-season title with a victory at Concordia (Calif.) on Tuesday.
Lubbock Christian (Texas) rounds out the top five with 246 points. The Lady Chaparrals went 1-1 last week and are 3-2 over their last five contests. Lubbock Christian is tied for second in the SAC standings with Rogers State at 11-3. The two teams split the regular-season series with each team claiming victory on its home floor.
No. 17 Lyon's (Ark.) three-spot improvement highlighted the poll this week. The Scots have won nine in-a-row, including victories against then-No. 23 William Woods (Mo.) and No. 15 Columbia (Mo.). Lyon and Columbia enter the final week of the regular season tied atop the American Midwest Conference standings with 15-1 records.
Bethel (Tenn.), who slid six positions from No. 17 to No. 23, posted the largest fall this week after dropping three-straight, including two against unranked opponents.
No. 25 LSU Shreveport (La.) returns to the poll for the first time since Jan. 8. The Pilots replace previous No. 25 Carroll (Mont.).
Ten of the 11 Division I women's basketball conferences and unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by four squads from the Mid-South Conference: No. 6 Cumberland (Tenn.), No. 14 Shawnee State (Ohio), No. 16 Campbellsville (Ky.) and No. 18 Georgetown (Ky.).
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and unaffiliated group. The 10th regular-season Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll will be announced on Feb. 26. For the complete ratings calendar, click here.
For more information on NAIA Division I Women's Basketball, click here.
Notes: (all information dates back to 1999-2000) Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) receives its fifth all-time No. 1 ranking ... Four teams have been ranked No. 1 this season: Freed-Hardeman, Oklahoma City, Vanguard (Calif.) and Lubbock Christian (Texas) ... Former NAIA member Union (Tenn.) leads all schools with 53 top billings, while Oklahoma City (46), Vanguard (Calif.) (28) and former NAIA member Southern Nazarene (Okla.) (15) are the only programs with 10-plus No. 1 rankings ... Since the start of the 1999-2000 season, only Oklahoma City and Freed-Hardeman have been listed in all 162 polls ... No. 7 Vanguard (Calif.) has appeared in 129-straight ... Freed-Hardeman, Lubbock Christian, No. 3 Westminster (Utah), Vanguard and No. 7 Lee (Tenn.) have been ranked in the top 10 in all 10 polls this season ... No. 25 LSU Shreveport (La.) returns to the poll for the first time since Jan. 8 ... The Unaffiliated Group containing the Association of Independent Institutions and the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference is the only conference/group to not have a team ranked at any time this season ... Thirty-five programs have garnered Top 25 mention this season ... Union and Vanguard are the only programs to have spent an entire season ranked No. 1 (Union: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11) (Vanguard: 2005-06, 2006-07).2012-13 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll - No. 9 (Feb. 19)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012-13 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) (6)||26-1||277|
|2||2||Oklahoma City (5)||22-2||276|
|5||3||Lubbock Christian (Texas)||24-3||246|
|9||9||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||25-2||210|
|11||11||The Master’s (Calif.)||23-4||187|
|13||12||Rogers State (Okla.)||21-7||173|
|14||14||Shawnee State (Ohio)||20-7||165|
|21||22||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||26-2||103|
|22||23||William Woods (Mo.)||22-4||82|
|24||24||Southern Poly (Ga.)||22-3||72|
|25||RV||LSU Shreveport (La.)||20-4||54|
Others receiving votes: Carroll (Mont.) 49; St. Catharine (Ky.) 48; Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) 47; Baker (Kan.) 28; Cumberlands (Ky.) 14; Central Methodist (Mo.) 6; Talladega (Ala.) 5; Coastal Georgia 5; San Diego Christian (Calif.) 3.