By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the first time this season, the top five teams in the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll remain unchanged, the national office announced Tuesday. Saint Francis (Ind.) boasts the No. 1 ranking for the seventh-straight time this season, as the Cougars were the unanimous selection in the eighth regular-season edition with 13 first-place votes and 343 total points. The No. 1 ranking is the 19th all-time for the Cougars dating back to the 1999-2000 season, which ranks third all-time during that span.
Saint Francis is NAIA Division II’s only remaining unbeaten team with a 26-0 record, including a pair of victories against Bethel (Ind.) (76-44) and Grace (Ind.) (66-63) last week. The Cougars continue to lead the NAIA in field goal percentage (48.6 percent), while ranking among the top 10 nationally in total scoring offense (2,228), scoring offense per game (85.7), free throw percentage (74.5 percent) and scoring margin (18.4). Guard Skylarr Shurn is the team’s active leading scorer, averaging 19.7 points per game. With five games remaining on its regular-season schedule, Saint Francis enters the week with a three-game lead in the Crossroads League standings.
No. 2 Davenport (Mich.) holds its position for the third-straight week with 332 points. The Panthers extended their winning stream to 19 games with dominating victories over Michigan-Dearborn (90-52) on Feb. 5 and Aquinas (Mich.) (81-55) on Feb. 8. Davenport, which has claimed least a share of its eighth-straight Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference regular-season title due to a four-game advantage in the conference standings with four games to play, returns to the court Wednesday at Concordia (Mich.).
Northwestern (Iowa) accrued 318 points en route to the No. 3 position. The Red Raiders went 2-0 last week to improve to 22-2 on the year and 14-2 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). Northwestern, which has four games left to play in its regular-season, holds a 0.5-game lead over GPAC second-place and No. 7 Concordia (Neb.). The Red Raiders and Bulldogs are scheduled to square off Saturday in Seward, Neb.
Rounding out the top five for the second-straight week are No. 4 Jamestown (N.D.) with 313 points and No. 5 Hastings (Neb.) with 297 points. The Jimmies (22-2) pulled even with No. 14 Mayville State (N.D.) in the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) standings after knocking off the Comets, 78-70, last Saturday in the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Game of the Week. Both teams are 4-1 in the NSAA.
Hastings (22-3), which was the only top-five team to lose last week, trails Northwestern by one game in the GPAC standings with a 13-3 record. Prior to losing to Doane (Neb.), 65-62, on Feb. 5, the Broncos had won 15-straight.
No. 16 Siena Heights (Mich.) and No. 21 Huntington (Ind.) highlighted the movement within the poll, jumping three places each. Conversely, No. 10 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 11 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) and No. 20 Eastern Oregon dropped a poll-high three spots.
No. 25 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) is this week’s newcomer. The Tigers, who are 18-8 on the year and have been receiving votes in six-straight polls, are making their first appearance in the Top 25 since Feb. 27, 2013.
The GPAC and the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference lead all conferences with four teams each.
The ninth regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced Feb. 18.
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 seventh-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 19 … 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 (125), College of the Ozarks (118) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) (112) 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 … Forty teams have been ranked in 2013-14 … Eleven of the 14 conferences and independents are represented in the seventh regular-season Top 25 poll.2013-14 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 - Poll 8 (Feb. 11)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Saint Francis (Ind.) (13)||26-0||343|
|6||6||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||22-4||280|
|11||8||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||21-4||232|
|12||12||College of Saint Mary (Neb.)||18-4||223|
|14||13||Mayville State (N.D.)||19-3||198|
|15||16||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||20-5||183|
|16||19||Siena Heights (Mich.)||20-6||170|
|17||15||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||19-6||162|
|18||18||Purdue Calumet (Ind.)||18-6||144|
|25||RV||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||18-8||61|
Others Receiving Votes: Point Park (Pa.) 54; Mount Mercy (Iowa) 50; Roosevelt (Ill.) 32; Union (Ky.) 31; Tabor (Kan.) 21; IU Northwest (Ind.) 7; College of Idaho 7; Midland (Neb.) 6; St. Thomas (Fla.) 6; Indiana Tech 4; Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 4; Southern Oregon 4.