By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Defending national champion Indiana Wesleyan again sits atop the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll in the first regular-season edition, the national office announced Tuesday. The Wildcats received 12 first-place votes and 373 total points to earn their tenth No. 1 ranking over the past 11 polls.
The Wildcats won an NAIA-best 35 games, finishing 35-3 in 2012-13. This year, Indiana Wesleyan is 8-0, having outscored its opponents by an average of 25 points per game. The Wildcats are led by a trio of scorers averaging over 10 points per game: Taylor Goshert (10.38), Katrina Blackmon (10.13) and Emma Stahl (10.00). The trio is looking to replace the scoring of 2013 State Farm-NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship MVP and First Team All-America forward Paige Smith (16.34).
Saint Francis (Ind.) jumps to No. 2 in the poll with 356 points. The Cougars, who are one of three teams to have accumulated 10 wins on the young season, rank among the national leaders in field goal percentage (3rd, .494), total steals (3rd, 131) and total scoring offense (4th, 908 points). Four players are averaging more than 10 points per game for the Cougars, including Skylarr Shurn who ranks 15th nationally in points per game (20.2).
Northwestern (Iowa) accrued two first-place votes and 356 points to tie Saint Francis for the No. 2 position. The Raiders are also 10-0 on the season and have outscored their opponents by 28.7 points per game. Northwestern possesses arguably the best offense in the nation, ranking first in total scoring offense (964 points) and total assists (200).
No. 4 Davenport (Mich.) and No. 5 Roosevelt (Ill.) round out the top five with 331 and 330 points, respectively. The Panthers are 8-1 on the year, their lone loss coming against Cornerstone (Mich.), 83-76, on Nov. 20. The Lakers are 9-1 on the year, having lost to No. 2 Saint Francis (Ind.), 104-103, on Nov. 17.
There were seven newcomers to the first regular-season Top 25: No. 10 Midland (Neb.), No. 16 Oregon Tech, No. 17 Northwestern Ohio, No. 19 Southern Oregon, No. 21 Union (Ky.), No. 22 Hastings (Neb.) and No. 24 Point Park (Pa.).
Eastern Oregon, Siena Heights (Mich.), Grand View (Iowa), Milligan (Tenn.), Oklahoma Wesleyan, College of Idaho and Grace (Ind.) fell out of the poll.
The Great Plain Athletic Conference (GPAC) leads all conferences, independents and unaffiliated groupings with six teams among the Top 25. Northwestern, No. 7 Concordia (Neb.), No. 10 Midland (Neb.), No. 12 Morningside (Iowa), No. 15 Briar Cliff (Iowa) and No. 22 Hastings (Neb.).
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groupings. For the entire 2013-14 Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
Notes: (All information dates back to the 1999 – 2000 season) Indiana Wesleyan has appeared at the top of the poll on 35 occasions, the most of any program, followed by Morningside (Iowa) with 20… Fourteen different teams have earned the No. 1 ranking all-time… Three schools have spent an entire season ranked No. 1: Morningside in 2008-09, College of the Ozarks (Mo.) in 2007-08 and Saint Francis (Ind.) in 1999-2000… In the last 13 years, six teams that were ranked No. 1 in the preseason have gone on to win the national championship, with the last being Northwestern (Iowa) in 2011 and 2012… Morningside (118), College of the Ozarks (111) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) (105) are the only teams who have been ranked in the Top 25 for over 100 consecutive weeks… Since 2007, the only national champion to hail from a conference other than the GPAC is Indiana Wesleyan (2007, 2013).
2013 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 - Poll 1 (Dec. 3)
|RANK||LAST TIME^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Indiana Wesleyan (12)||8-0||373|
|T2||4||Saint Francis (Ind.)||10-0||356|
|T2||7||Northwestern (Iowa) (2)||10-0||356|
|8||15||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||6-1||285|
|9||10||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||7-3||277|
|13||9||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||6-3||222|
|14||23||College of Saint Mary (Neb.)||6-2||210|
|15||12||Briar Cliff (Iowa)||7-2||209|
|18||21||Purdue Calumet (Ind.)||6-2||150|
|20||25||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||6-2||131|
|24||RV||Point Park (Pa.)||8-0||85|
|25||22||Mayville State (N.D.)||5-2||83|
Others Receiving Votes: Aquinas (Mich.) 79; Eastern Oregon 63; Friends (Kan.) 63; Siena Heights (Mich.) 51; Mount Mercy (Iowa) 44; Huntington (Ind.) 37; Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 24; Indiana South Bend 18; Bryan (Tenn.) 11; Grand View (Iowa) 6; Dordt (Iowa) 3; Milligan (Tenn.) 3.
^ 2013 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (Oct. 29)