By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the fourth-straight week, Saint Francis (Ind.) is the consensus No. 1 in the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. Overall, the Cougars, who received all 14 first-place votes and 374 points in the ninth regular-season edition, are making their eighth-consecutive appearance at No. 1 and 20th all-time, which is tied for the second-most with Morningside (Iowa), dating back to the 1999-2000 season.
Saint Francis (28-0), which is the only remaining unbeaten team in NAIA Division II women’s basketball, won its second-straight Crossroads League regular-season title with an 83-71 victory over Marian (Ind.) last Saturday (Feb. 15). The victory also guaranteed the Cougars a spot in the 32-team NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship for the fourth time in the last five years. Saint Francis has two contests remaining on its regular-season schedule – No. 20 Huntington (Ind.) on Wednesday and Goshen (Ind.) on Saturday – before opening the Crossroads League Tournament on Feb. 25.
Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) regular-season champion Davenport (Mich.) holds down the No. 2 ranking for the fourth-straight week with 362 points. The Panthers rolled over WHAC rival Concordia (Mich.), 82-57, on Feb. 12 to win the league’s regular-season crown and earn a 10th-straight trip to the national championship. Davenport enters the week riding a 21-game winning streak en route to a 26-1 overall record. The Panthers return to the hardwood Wednesday against Michigan-Dearborn.
Jamestown (N.D.) accrued 348 points to jump from No. 4 to No. 3 this week. The Jimmies are 23-2 on the season, including a 5-1 mark in the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA). Last week, Jamestown claimed a 37-point victory over Presentation (S.D.) to extend its winning streak to five games. The Jimmies, who rest 0.5-game behind conference leader No. 12 Mayville State (N.D.) (6-1 NSAA), have two games remaining on their regular-season schedule.
Similarly to Jamestown, No. 4 Hastings (Neb.) (339 points) and No. 5 Saint Xavier (Ill.) (322 points) each jumped one spot this week to round out the top five. Hastings has won 18 of its last 19 games, including five victories against ranked opponents. However, the Broncos (24-3, 15-3 GPAC) trail Great Plains Athletic Conference leader No. 6 Concordia (Neb.) by 0.5-game in the league title race with games against Midland (Neb.) Wednesday and No. 9 Northwestern (Iowa) Saturday to close out the regular season. The Cougars are 24-4 on the year and 14-2 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC). Saint Xavier has won 19 of its last 20 games with its only loss during the stretch coming against No. 15 Purdue Calumet (Ind.) on Feb. 5.
Purdue Calumet made the largest improvement within the poll this week with a three-spot jump. The Peregrines reached the 20-win plateau for the third-straight season with a 67-65 victory over St. Francis (Ill.) last Saturday. Purdue Calumet is 20-6 overall and leads the South Division of the CCAC with a 14-2 mark in conference play.
Northwestern and No. 17 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) fell a poll-high six spots each. The Red Raiders, whose No. 9 ranking is the lowest of the season, have lost two-straight, marking the first time they have dropped back-to-back games since the 2011-12 season. Cardinal Stritch has lost four of its last six contests, including three losses against unranked teams.
No new teams joined the Top 25 this edition.
Eleven of 14 conferences and independents are represented this week, led by four teams from the GPAC and the CCAC.
The 10th regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced Feb. 25.
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 eighth-straight time this season … Three teams have been 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 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 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 (126), College of the Ozarks (119) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) (113) 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 seven of this season’s 10 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 ninth regular-season Top 25 poll.2013-14 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 - Poll 9 (Feb. 18)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Saint Francis (Ind.) (14)||28-0||374|
|5||6||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||24-4||322|
|11||12||College of Saint Mary (Neb.)||21-4||259|
|12||14||Mayville State (N.D.)||21-3||238|
|13||15||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||22-5||212|
|T15||16||Siena Heights (Mich.)||22-6||199|
|T15||18||Purdue Calumet (Ind.)||20-6||199|
|17||11||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||22-5||176|
|19||17||College of the Ozarks||21-7||161|
|24||25||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||19-8||75|
Others Receiving Votes: Roosevelt (Ill.) 64; Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 38; Union (Ky.) 37; Point Park (Pa.) 36; Tabor (Kan.) 17; Aquinas (Mich.) 12; College of Idaho 11; St. Thomas (Fla.) 10; IU Northwest (Ind.) 10; Oklahoma Wesleyan 6; Asbury (Ky.) 5; Midland (Neb.) 5.