KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the second-straight week, the Lions of Vanguard (Calif.) are the consensus No. 1, topping the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll for the 10th-straight edition, the national office announced Tuesday. The Lions swept the first-place voting and accumulated 250 total points to earn their 38th all-time No. 1 ranking dating back to the 1999-2000 season.
Vanguard, which is 12-0 in the highly competitive Golden State Athletic Conference, is the last remaining unbeaten in NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball at 23-0. The Lions have already clinched the GSAC regular-season title, their first since 2010, and have just one game remaining on their regular-season slate—a March 1 tilt with San Diego Christian (Calif.) (11-14, 2-10 GSAC). 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 assist to turnover ratio (1.80). Senior guard Taylor Belmont leads the nation in assists per game (8.39).
A little more than a week removed from its lone loss on the season, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) received 242 total points to earn its eighth-straight No. 2 ranking. The Lady Lions control their own destiny in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) after completing the season sweep of Columbia (Mo.) with an 84-82 victory in the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Game of the Week. Freed-Hardeman hosts Williams Baptist (Ark.) on Feb. 27 and William Woods (Mo.) on March 1 in its remaining regular-season contests. With this week’s ranking, Freed-Hardeman has now been ranked among the top three nationally in 21 of the last 22 polls—the lone exception being the Preseason Poll on Oct. 29, 2013.
Westminster (Utah) accrued 234 points to hold the No. 3 position for the sixth-straight week. The Griffins claimed the Frontier Conference regular-season title by going a perfect 16-0 in the league. Westminster wrapped up its regular-season on Feb. 22 with a 21-point victory over Montana Tech. Heading into the Frontier Conference Tournament, the Griffins, who lead the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (.407) are riding a 15-game winning streak. Junior guard Alli Winters is the NAIA’s individual leader in 3-point field goal percentage (.542).
No. 4 Campbellsville (Ky.) and No. 5 Oklahoma City round out the top five with 226 and 218 points, respectively. Campbellsville, which is 25-3 on the year with two games remaining, currently sits atop the Mid-South Conference. Oklahoma City, whose rematch with No. 6 Oklahoma Baptist on March 1 will decide the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) regular-season title, is 19-3 on the season. Oklahoma Baptist defended its home floor in the first meeting of the in-state SAC rivals, winning 85-79.
Montana State-Northern, which rebounded with two wins this week after three-straight losses, moved up a poll-high two positions to No. 22. Conversely, Hope International (Calif.)—losers of three-straight—fell three spots, landing at No. 17.
There were no newcomers to the Top 25 for the second time this season, having previously occurred on Feb. 4.
Central Methodist (Mo.) (No. 20) fell out of the poll after suffering three-straight losses to Evangel (Mo.), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) and Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.).
The GSAC—Vanguard, No. 7 The Master’s (Calif.), No. 11 Westmont (Calif.) and Hope International—and the Sooner Athletic Conference—Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Baptist, No. 16 John Brown (Ark.) and No. 22 Wayland Baptist (Texas)—lead all conferences with four programs among the Top 25.
The 10th regular-season Top 25 Poll will be announced March 4.
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 38th all-time and 10th-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 (38) 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 175 polls… Vanguard has appeared in 142-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. 9 (Feb. 25)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Vanguard (Calif.) (10)||23-0||250|
|7||7||The Master's (Calif.)||21-6||202|
|10||11||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||23-3||177|
|14||15||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||21-3||148|
|15||T16||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||25-4||133|
|16||T16||John Brown (Ark.)||21-6||126|
|17||14||Hope International (Calif.)||19-8||116|
|22||24||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||17-10||81|
Others Receiving Votes: Central Methodist (Mo.) 37; Loyola 9La.) 29; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 28; Langston (Okla.) 20; Shawnee State (Ohio) 19; William Woods (Mo.) 13; Benedictine (Kan.) 6; Southern Poly (Ga.) 5.