KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Lions of Vanguard (Calif.) are the consensus No. 1, topping the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll for the ninth-straight edition, the national office announced Tuesday. The Lions swept the first-place voting and accumulated 250 total points to earn their 37th all-time No. 1 ranking dating back to the 1999-2000 season. The Lions were last a consensus No. 1 on Jan. 7, when they received all 10 first-place nods.
Vanguard is the last remaining unbeaten in NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball at 21-0, including a 10-0 record in the highly competitive Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). The Lions have three conference games left on their regular-season slate and need just one more victory to clinch the GSAC regular-season title, which would be their first since 2010. Vanguard’s first opportunity to clinch the conference will come Tuesday at Concordia (Calif.). Vanguard is also looking to become the first team to spend the entire season ranked No. 1 since former-member Union (Tenn.) in 2010-11. Currently, the Lions rank among the top 10 nationally in 11 statistical categories and lead the nation in scoring margin (+30.48) and assist to turnover ratio (1.82). Senior guard Taylor Belmont leads the nation in assists per game (8.24).
Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) had been the nation’s other undefeated team, going 24-0, before falling to Lyon (Ark.), 81-72, on Feb. 15. Despite the loss, the Lady Lions received 240 total points to earn their seventh-straight No. 2 ranking. Freed-Hardeman is now tied with Columbia (Mo.) atop the American Midwest Conference (AMC) at 16-1 and will visit the Cougars this Saturday in Columbia, Mo. In the teams’ last meeting, Freed-Hardeman defended its home floor, winning 95-68 on Jan. 18. With this week’s ranking, Freed-Hardeman has now been ranked among the top three nationally in 20 of the last 21 polls—the lone exception being the Preseason Poll on Oct. 29, 2013.
Westminster (Utah) accrued 236 points to hold the No. 3 position for the fifth-straight week. The Griffins are 20-2 on the season, including a perfect 14-0 mark in the Frontier Conference. Last week, Westminster recorded a 19-point victory over Great Falls (Mont.) and a 21-point win over Montana State-Northern to extend its winning streak to 13 games. Paced by NAIA individual leader Alli Winters (.567), the Griffins continue to lead the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (.417).
No. 4 Oklahoma Baptist and No. 5 Campbellsville (Ky.) round out the top five with 226 and 218 points, respectively. The Bison are 23-3 on the year and have suffered just one loss over their past 17 games. The Tigers had their 10-game winning streak snapped their last time out, falling 80-63 to Shawnee State (Ohio) on Feb. 15.
Central Methodist (Mo.), which returned to the poll last week, moved up a poll-high four positions to No. 20. Conversely, the Skylights of Montana State-Northern—losers of three-straight—fell three spots, landing at No. 22.
No. 21 Lyon, No. 24 Wayland Baptist (Texas) and No. 25 Mobile (Ala.) were the newcomers to the Top 25. Both Lyon and Wayland Baptist are riding signature wins over top five programs. Lyon handed No. 2 Freed-Hardeman its first loss of the season, on Feb. 15, and Wayland Baptist was the last team to beat No. 4 Oklahoma Baptist, on Feb. 8.
This is the first regular-season Top 25 ranking for Lyon, which was No. 24 in the preseason poll on Oct. 29, and is the first Top 25 nod for Wayland Baptist since Feb. 15, 2010. Mobile (Ala.) returns to the poll after a one-week hiatus.
Martin Methodist (Tenn.) (No. 22) and LSU Shreveport (La.) (No. 25) fell out of the poll. Martin Methodist had been ranked in five-straight polls, while LSU Shreveport had been mentioned in three-straight.
The GSAC—Vanguard, No. 7 The Master’s (Calif.), No. 9 Westmont (Calif.) and No. 14 Hope International (Calif.)—and the Sooner Athletic Conference—Oklahoma Baptist, No. 6 Oklahoma City, No. 16 John Brown (Ark.) and Wayland Baptist—lead all conferences with four programs among the Top 25.
The ninth 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 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
Notes: (All information dates back to 1999-2000) This is the 37th all-time and ninth-straight No. 1 ranking for Vanguard (Calif.)… Five teams were ranked No. 1 during the 2012-13 season: Westmont (Calif.), Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), Oklahoma City, Vanguard and former member Lubbock Christian (Texas)… Former member Union (Tenn.) leads all schools in all-time No. 1 rankings with 53, while Oklahoma City (46), Vanguard (37) and former member Southern Nazarene (Okla.) (15) are the only other programs with 10-or-more No. 1 rankings… Since the start of the 1999-2000 season, only Oklahoma City and Freed-Hardeman have been listed in all 174 polls… Vanguard has appeared in 141-straight… No. 8 Georgetown (Ky.) made its first appearance among the top five since Jan. 11, 2005 in the Preseason Poll…Thirty-five programs garnered Top 25 mention in 2012-13… Union and Vanguard are the only programs to have spent an entire season ranked No. 1 (Union: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11) (Vanguard: 2005-06, 2006-07).
2013-14 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 8 (Feb. 18)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Vanguard (Calif.) (10)||21-0||250|
|7||7||The Master's (Calif.)||19-6||196|
|11||9||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||20-3||169|
|14||15||Hope International (Calif.)||19-6||137|
|15||13||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||20-3||136|
|T16||16||John Brown (Ark.)||20-5||133|
|T16||16||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||24-3||133|
|20||24||Central Methodist (Mo.)||19-5||91|
|24||RV||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||15-10||63|
Others Receiving Votes: Coastal Georgia 42; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 28; Langston (Okla.) 19; Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 10; Loyola (La.) 6; Southern Poly (Ga.) 6; William Woods (Mo.) 5; LSU Shreveport (La.) 4; Benedictine (Kan.) 3.