By: Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the second-consecutive edition, Saint Francis (Ind.) tops the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Cougars received eight first-place votes and 339 total points to earn their 14th all-time No. 1 ranking, which moves them into third place on the all-time No. 1 rankings list, dating back to 1999-2000.
Saint Francis (Ind.), who has won 24 of its last 25 games dating back to last season, is tied for the NAIA lead with 16 wins this season, including an 85-76 victory against then-No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan on Dec. 7. The Cougars boast an NAIA-leading .511 field goal percentage and also rank among the top 10 in scoring offense per game (90.3), total scoring offense (1,445), total steals (189) and scoring margin (19.9).
Checking in at No. 2 for the second-straight week is Northwestern (Iowa) with five first-place votes and 336 points. The Red Raiders are 15-0 on the season and have outscored their opponents by an average of 26.7 points per game, which ranks second in the NAIA. Northwestern returns to action Wednesday against Great Plains Athletic Conference rival Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.).
With 313 points each, Jamestown (N.D.) and Davenport (Mich.) rest in a tie at No. 3. The Jimmies (15-1) and the Panthers (14-1) are both one-loss clubs that have been ranked among the top 10 in every poll this season. Jamestown’s lone defeat came against No. 2 Northwestern, 96-86, on Nov. 1, while Davenport’s only loss came at the hands of unranked Cornerstone (Mich.), 83-76, on Nov. 20.
No. 5 Indiana Wesleyan rounds out the top five with 299 points. Since losing three-straight, including two to ranked teams, the Wildcats have won four in-a-row, including a 71-33 win against Marian (Ind.) in its last time out on Jan. 4.
Within the poll, No. 13 Eastern Oregon made the largest jump, moving up 11 spots, while No. 20 Oregon Tech dropped six places.
No. 22 Huntington (Ind.), No. 24 Siena Heights (Mich.) and No. 25 Friends (Kan.) were the newcomers to this week’s Top 25. All three programs were last ranked at some point during the 2012-13 season.
Midland (Neb.), Bryan (Tenn.) and Southern Oregon fell out of the Top 25.
The Great Plain Athletic Conference (GPAC) leads all conferences and independents with five teams among the Top 25 – Northwestern, No. 7 Concordia (Neb.), No. 9 Morningside (Iowa), No. 10 Hastings (Neb.) and No. 23 Briar Cliff (Iowa).
The fourth regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced Jan. 14.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. For the entire 2013-14 Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
Notes: (All information dates back to the 1999 – 2000 season) No. 1 Saint Francis (Ind.) is the second team to top the Coaches’ Poll during the 2013-14 season, after Indiana Wesleyan held the No. 1 position in two polls… 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 (120), College of the Ozarks (113) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) (107) are the only teams that 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)… The Crossroads League has boasted two top-five teams in each of this season’s four polls… Eleven of the 14 conferences and independents are represented in the third regular-season Top 25 poll.2013 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 - Poll 3 (Jan. 7)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Saint Francis (Ind.) (8)||16-0||339|
|2||2||Northwestern (Iowa) (5)||15-0||336|
|6||6||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||14-1||293|
|8||8||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||13-3||268|
|12||12||College of Saint Mary (Neb.)||9-4||206|
|16||15||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||10-4||181|
|18||21||Point Park (Pa.)||14-0||152|
|19||20||Mayville State (N.D.)||11-2||148|
|21||23||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||10-5||128|
|23||19||Briar Cliff (Iowa)||10-7||92|
|24||NR||Siena Heights (Mich.)||11-5||85|
Others Receiving Votes: Union (Ky.) 73; Purdue Calumet (Ind.) 64; Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 30; Mount Mercy (Iowa) 25; Bryan (Tenn.) 17; IU Northwest 11; Indiana Tech 11; College of Idaho 10; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 10; Cornerstone (Mich.) 5.