By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Saint Francis (Ind.) closes the 2013-14 regular season with the No. 1 ranking in the final NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Cougars were the consensus pick for the sixth-straight week after receiving all 14 first-place votes and 374 total points. Overall, Saint Francis has topped the poll 10-straight times this year and 22 all-time – the second most since the 1999-2000 season.
The 32 national qualifiers for the 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by State Farm, will be released today at approximately 3 p.m. CST. The official championship bracket will be announced via a live video show at 7 p.m. CST. To view the announcement, click here.
Saint Francis, which is the only remaining unbeaten team in NAIA Division II women’s basketball at 33-0, earned an automatic berth to the national championship after winning the Crossroads League regular-season and tournament titles. The Cougars downed defending national champion and No. 10 Indiana Wesleyan in the conference tournament final, 75-63, on Monday.
Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) regular-season and tournament champion Davenport (Mich.) checks in at No. 2 for the sixth-consecutive week with 362 points. The Panthers enter the national championship riding a 26-game winning streak, including a thrilling 75-74 victory over No. 16 Siena Heights (Mich.) last night in the WHAC title game. Junior guard Kia Frazier won the game for Davenport with a layup with 14 seconds remaining.
Despite an 82-73 loss against No. 11 Mayville State (N.D.) in the inaugural North Star Athletic Association Tournament final, No. 3 Jamestown (N.D.) accrued 344 points to hold its position for the third-straight week. Prior to the loss, the Jimmies had won eight-straight.
Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) rivals No. 4 Northwestern (Iowa) and No. 5 Morningside (Iowa) round out the top five with 343 and 323 points, respectively. The Red Raiders, whose five-spot jump was the largest within the Top 25 this edition, claimed the GPAC tournament title Tuesday night with an 83-71 victory over Morningside. The two teams had split the previous regular season meetings with each team winning on its home floor.
No. 25 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) is the only newcomer this week. The Tigers knocked off Roosevelt (Ill.) and then-No. 5 Saint Xavier (Ill.) before falling to No. 15 Purdue Calumet (Ind.) in the championship of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. Despite the loss, Olivet Nazarene received the CCAC’s second automatic berth with the runner-up finish.
Previous No. 25 College of the Ozarks (Mo.) dropped from the Top 25 this week. This is the first time the Bobcats have gone unranked since Feb. 3, 2003 – a string of 120-straight polls.
Eleven of 14 conferences and independents are represented this week, led by four teams from the GPAC and the CCAC.
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 10th-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 22 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 (128) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) (115) are the only teams that have been ranked in the Top 25 for over 100 consecutive weeks … College of the Ozarks had previously been ranked in 120-straight editions, but fell out of the poll on March 5 … 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 11 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 final regular-season Top 25 poll.2013-14 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 – Final (March 5)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Saint Francis (Ind.) (14)||33-0||374|
|6||5||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||27-5||309|
|11||11||Mayville State (N.D.)||24-3||259|
|12||12||College of Saint Mary (Neb.)||26-5||246|
|13||13||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||26-5||221|
|15||15||Purdue Calumet (Ind.)||24-6||214|
|16||16||Siena Heights (Mich.)||25-8||190|
|20||18||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||24-6||137|
|25||RV||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||22-10||78|
Others Receiving Votes: College of the Ozarks (Mo.) 68; Union (Ky.) 64; Point Park (Pa.) 61; Tabor (Kan.) 42; Roosevelt (Ill.) 24; Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 12; Southern Oregon 11; Asbury (Ky.) 6; Mount Mercy (Iowa) 5; Bryan (Tenn.) 3; Ave Maria (Fla.) 3; Indiana Tech 3.