By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the fifth-straight edition, Saint Francis (Ind.) receives the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Cougars were the unanimous selection in the sixth regular-season edition, garnering all 14 first-place votes and 374 total points. Saint Francis has made 17 all-time appearances at No. 1 dating back to the 1999-2000 season, which ranks third all-time during that span.
Saint Francis (22-0) is the lone remaining unbeaten team in NAIA Division II women’s basketball, following an 85-77 victory against Huntington (Ind.) and a 102-66 win at Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) last week. The Cougars pace the NAIA in field goal percentage, shooting 50.0 percent (702-of-1,405) on the year, while also ranking among the top 10 nationally in scoring offense (3rd; 1,945), scoring offense per game (4th; 88.4) and scoring margin (9th; 18.9). The Cougars face arguably their toughest test of the year when they travel to No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday.
Davenport (Mich.) and Northwestern (Iowa) are tied at No. 2 with 356 points each. The Panthers have won 15-straight en route to a 20-1 record and a three-game lead in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference standings with eight games remaining. This past week, Davenport avenged its only loss of the season, knocking off then-No. 25 Cornerstone (Mich.), 83-57, on Jan. 25. Of the Panthers remaining eight games, only one comes against a team currently ranked in the Coaches’ Poll – No. 19 Siena Heights (Mich.) on Feb. 22.
Northwestern, which has been the No. 2 team in five out of the last six polls, suffered its first loss of the season last Wednesday (Jan. 22) against No. 10 Morningside (Iowa), 90-79. Despite the loss, the Red Raiders remain as one of the NAIA’s most prolific offenses, ranking among the top five in the NAIA in scoring offense per game (2nd; 92.2), total rebound margin (2nd; 11.4), field goal percentage (3rd; 47.4 percent), 3-point field goal percentage (4th; 36.6 percent) and scoring margin (4th; 24.0).
Moving up one spot to No. 4 this week is Indiana Wesleyan with 328 points. The Wildcats have won 10-straight en route to a 19-3 record. Indiana Wesleyan rests one game behind Saint Francis in the Crossroads League standings with a chance to pull even on Saturday.
No. 5 Jamestown (N.D.) rounds out the top five with 326 points. The Jimmies, who fell two spots this week, had a 15-game winning streak snapped last week in an 83-75 loss against then-No. 16 Mayville State (N.D.). Jamestown returns to the court on Wednesday against Valley City State (N.D.).
No. 13 Mayville State, propelled by its previously mentioned victory at Jamestown, jumped a poll-high three positions. The Comets are 16-2, including a 2-0 record in the North Star Athletic Association, which tops the league. Mayville State is led by center Marcisa McMillan, who averages 18.9 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.
No. 24 Huntington (Ind.) and No. 25 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) are this week’s newcomers. Huntington returns to the poll after a two-week hiatus, while Dakota Wesleyan was last ranked during the 2012-13 season.
Roosevelt (Ill.) (No. 22) and Aquinas (Mich.) (No. 24) fell from the poll.
The Great Plains Athletic Conference leads all conferences with five teams represented in the Top 25 – Northwestern, No. 7 Hastings (Neb.), No. 9 Concordia (Neb.), Morningside and Dakota Wesleyan.
The seventh regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced Feb. 4.
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) Saint Francis (Ind.) tops the poll for the fifth-straight time this season … Three teams have ranked No. 1 in the Coaches’ Poll this season: Saint Francis, Northwestern (Iowa) and Indiana Wesleyan … On Jan. 14, Saint Francis and Northwestern became the first teams to share the No. 1 ranking since Jan. 30, 2012 when Davenport (Mich.) and Indiana Wesleyan both claimed the top spot … Indiana Wesleyan has appeared at the top of the poll on 35 occasions, the most of any program, followed by Morningside (Iowa) with 20 and Saint Francis with 17 … 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 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 in 2011 and 2012 … Morningside (123), College of the Ozarks (116) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) (110) 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 Great Plains Athletic Conference is Indiana Wesleyan (2007, 2013) … The Crossroads League has boasted two top-five teams in each of this season’s seven polls … Concordia (Neb.), Davenport, Indiana Wesleyan, Jamestown (N.D.), Northwestern and Saint Francis have been ranked among the top 10 in every poll this year … Thirty-nine teams have been ranked in 2013-14 … Eleven of the 14 conferences and independents are represented in the sixth regular-season Top 25 poll.2013-14 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 - Poll 6 (Jan. 28)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Saint Francis (Ind.) (14)||22-0||374|
|6||6||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||20-1||324|
|8||7||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||19-3||294|
|12||12||College of Saint Mary (Neb.)||15-4||245|
|13||16||Mayville State (N.D.)||16-2||226|
|15||13||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||16-5||210|
|17||17||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||16-5||181|
|18||20||Purdue Calumet (Ind.)||15-5||151|
|19||18||Siena Heights (Mich.)||16-6||145|
|25||RV||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||15-6||76|
Others Receiving Votes: Point Park (Pa.) 74; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 69; Union (Ky.) 53; Roosevelt (Ill.) 43; Aquinas (Mich.) 35; Mount Mercy (Iowa) 26; College of Idaho 6; Tabor (Kan.) 5; Bryan (Tenn.) 4; IU Northwest (Ind.) 4.