KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Vanguard (Calif.) sits atop the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll for the 11th-straight edition, the national office announced Tuesday. The Lions swept the first-place voting and accumulated 250 total points to earn their 39th all-time No. 1 ranking dating back to the 1999-2000 season.
Vanguard, which finished the regular-season 25-0 overall and 14-0 in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC), is the last remaining unbeaten in NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball. The Lions won the GSAC regular-season title, their first since 2010, and will begin their GSAC Tournament title defense on March 5 when they face off against Arizona Christian. Vanguard is 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 (1.87) and scoring margin (+28.08). Senior guard Taylor Belmont leads the nation in assists per game (8.56).
Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) received 242 total points to earn its ninth-straight No. 2 ranking. In their first year as members of the American Midwest Conference (AMC), the Lady Lions won the league’s regular-season title, largely due to a regular-season sweep of defending AMC champion Columbia (Mo.). The Lady Lions will begin AMC Tournament play on March 5 and will face the winner of Mid-Continent (Ky.) and Missouri Baptist (Mo.). With this week’s ranking, Freed-Hardeman has now been ranked among the top three nationally in 22 of the last 23 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 seventh-straight week. The Griffins claimed the Frontier Conference regular-season title by going a perfect 16-0 in the league and will face off against Montana Western in the Frontier Conference Tournament semifinals on March 8. Heading into the tournament, the Griffins, who lead the nation in total rebound defense (29.21) and 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 leads the nation in total assists (544), won the Mid-South Conference (MSC) regular-season title by going 16-2 in the league. The Tigers will take on Bluefield (Va.) in the MSC Tournament quarterfinals on March 7. Oklahoma City won the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) regular-season title by defeating No. 6 Oklahoma Baptist, 72-68, on March 1, in the final game of the regular season. The Stars will play the winner of Science & Arts (Okla.) and Southwestern Christian (Okla.) in the SAC Tournament quarterfinals on March 6.
No. 18 Wayland Baptist (Texas) moved up a poll-high four positions after finishing the regular season on a six-game winning streak. John Brown (Ark.) and Bethel (Tenn.) each fell four spots, landing at No. 20 and No. 23, respectively.
Shawnee State (Ohio) was the lone newcomer to the Top 25 after closing out the regular season with eight-straight wins. The Bears were last mentioned in the 2013-14 Preseason Poll, when they were ranked No. 11.
Mobile (Ala.) (No. 25) fell out of the poll after losing to then-No. 19 Bethel on March 1.
The GSAC, MSC and SAC lead all conferences with four programs ranked among the Top 25.
The final regular-season Top 25 Poll will be announced March 12.
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 39th all-time and 11th-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 (39) 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 176 polls… Vanguard has appeared in 143-straight… No. 9 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. 10 (March 4)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Vanguard (Calif.) (10)||25-0||250|
|7||7||The Master's (Calif.)||22-7||201|
|8||10||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||26-3||188|
|14||14||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||24-3||148|
|15||15||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||25-4||138|
|17||17||Hope International (Calif.)||20-9||112|
|T18||22||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||19-10||108|
|20||16||John Brown (Ark.)||23-6||95|
|25||RV||Shawnee State (Ohio)||18-11||47|
Others Receiving Votes: Loyola (La.) 45; Southern Poly (Ga.) 34; Langston (Okla.) 28; Mobile (Ala.) 23; Central Methodist (Mo.) 14; William Woods (Mo.) 14; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 9; Benedictine (Kan.) 7.