By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Limited movement occurred throughout the tenth edition of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, as Saint Francis (Ind.) is the consensus No. 1 for the fifth-straight week, the national office announced Tuesday. The Cougars, who received all 14 first-place votes and 374 points, are making their ninth-straight appearance at No. 1 and 21st all-time – the second most since the 1999-2000 season.
The final regular-season NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Poll and the 32 national championship qualifiers will be released at 3 p.m. CST on Wednesday, March 5. The official championship bracket will be announced via a live selection show at 7 p.m. CST.
Saint Francis (30-0) closed the NAIA regular-season as NAIA Division II’s only remaining unbeaten team. The Cougars, who are the first team to reach the 30-win plateau, won their second-straight Crossroads League regular-season title with an 83-71 victory over Marian (Ind.) on Feb. 15. That win also guaranteed Saint Francis a spot in the 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship for the fourth time in the last five years. The Cougars open Crossroads League Tournament action Tuesday against Spring Arbor (Mich.).
Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) regular-season champions and automatic national championship qualifier, Davenport (Mich.) holds down the No. 2 ranking for the fifth-consecutive week with 362 points. The Panthers enter the WHAC Tournament riding a 23-game winning streak, including a 78-60 victory against No. 16 Siena Heights (Mich.) last Saturday in the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Game of the Week. Top-seeded Davenport hosts the No. 8 seed Madonna (Mich.) Thursday in WHAC Tournament quarterfinal action.
No. 3 Jamestown (N.D.), No. 4 Hastings (Neb.) and No. 5 Saint Xavier (Ill.) round out the top five for the second-straight week with 350, 331 and 327 points, respectively. The Jimmies are the No. 2 seed in the North Star Athletic Association Tournament after finishing the regular season tied with No. 11 Mayville State (N.D.). Jamestown opens postseason play on Sunday against Valley City State (N.D.).
With a loss in its regular-season finale to No. 9 Northwestern (Iowa), Hastings finished tied for the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) regular-season championship with No. 6 Morningside (Iowa), No. 7 Concordia (Neb.) and Northwestern. All four squads return to the hard court Wednesday in GPAC Tournament action.
Saint Xavier won the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) North Division crown with a 16-2 record in the league. The Cougars, who enter the week riding a five-game winning streak, return to action Wednesday when they host CCAC South Division No. 3 IU South Bend (Ind.) at 5:30 p.m.
Propelled by a four-game winning streak, Oregon Tech moved up a poll-high two positions to No. 21. Conversely, College of the Ozarks (Mo.) fell six spots to No. 25.
No. 23 Oklahoma Wesleyan is the edition’s lone newcomer. The Eagles, who were last ranked in the Preseason Poll, have won seven-straight, including wins against No. 12 College of Saint Mary (Neb.) and College of the Ozarks.
Eleven of 14 conferences and independents are represented this week, led by four teams from the GPAC.
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 ninth-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 Saint Francis with 21 and Morningside (Iowa) 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 (127), College of the Ozarks (120) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) (114) 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 tenth regular-season Top 25 poll.2013-14 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 - Poll 10 (Feb. 25)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Saint Francis (Ind.) (14)||30-0||374|
|5||5||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||26-4||327|
|11||12||Mayville State (N.D.)||22-3||245|
|12||11||College of Saint Mary (Neb.)||23-5||237|
|13||13||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||24-5||227|
|15||T15||Purdue Calumet (Ind.)||21-6||200|
|16||T15||Siena Heights (Mich.)||23-7||190|
|18||16||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||24-5||170|
|25||19||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||22-8||78|
Others Receiving Votes: Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 67; Point Park (Pa.) 42; Union (Ky.) 41; Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 39; IU Northwest (Ind.) 20; Roosevelt (Ill.) 16; Tabor (Kan.) 11; College of Idaho 7; Asbury (Ky.) 5; Midland (Neb.) 4.