KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Vanguard (Calif.) closes the 2013-14 regular season the way it started, atop the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Lions received 9-of-10 first-place votes and accumulated 250 total points to earn their 40th all-time No. 1 ranking, dating back to the 1999-2000 season. Vanguard has topped the poll 12-straight times this season, beginning with the Preseason Coaches’ Top 25 Poll on Oct. 29, 2013.
The 32 qualifiers for the 2014 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship will be released today at approximately 3 p.m. CST. The official national championship bracket will be announced via a live video show at 7 p.m. CST. To view the show, click here.
Vanguard is one of two one-loss teams heading into the national championship. The Lions suffered their first loss of the season to then-No. 17 Hope International (Calif.), 80-76, in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Tournament semifinals on March 7. The GSAC regular-season champions, who have defeated their opponents by an NAIA-best average of 27.67 points per game this season, are looking to become the first team to spend the entire season ranked No. 1 since former-member Union (Tenn.) in 2010-11.
The other one-loss team, American Midwest Conference (AMC) regular-season and tournament champion Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), earns its 10th-straight No. 2 ranking with one first-place vote and 242 total points. In their first year as members of the AMC, the Lady Lions went 3-0 against arguably their fiercest competitor in the conference, No. 10 Columbia (Mo.). Freed-Hardeman swept the regular-season series and also defeated then-No. 11 Columbia, 80-71, in the AMC Tournament championship Monday. With this week’s ranking, Freed-Hardeman has now been ranked among the top three nationally in 23 of the last 24 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 eighth-straight week. The Frontier Conference regular-season and tournament champion Griffins have not lost since Dec. 28, 2013 —a streak of 17-straight victories. The team leads the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (.400) and junior guard Alli Winters is the NAIA’s individual leader (.528).
No. 4 Campbellsville (Ky.) and No. 5 Oklahoma City round out the top five for the third-straight week with 226 and 218 points, respectively. Mid-South Conference (MSC) regular-season champion Campbellsville also claimed the league’s tournament title with a win over then-No. 9 Georgetown (Ky.), 75-68, Sunday. Oklahoma City, which qualified for the national championship as the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) regular-season champion, fell to then-No. 20 John Brown (Ark.), 66-62, in the SAC Tournament semifinals on March 7.
No. 20 Xavier (La.) moved up a poll-high four positions, while Talladega (Ala.) fell a poll-high six spots, landing at No. 22. The shifts come after then-No. 24 Xavier (La.) upset then-No. 16 Talladega (Ala.) in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament championship, 66-59, on March 9.
No. 24 Mobile (Ala.) was the lone newcomer to the Top 25, after clinching an automatic berth to the national championship by winning the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Tournament.
Bethel (Tenn.) (No. 23) fell out of the poll after losing in the SSAC Tournament quarterfinals to unranked Coastal Georgia, 74-73, on March 6.
The GSAC, MSC and SAC lead all conferences with four programs ranked among the Top 25 in the final regular-season poll.
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 40th all-time and 12th-straight No. 1 ranking for Vanguard (Calif.)… Five teams were ranked No. 1 last season: Westmont (Calif.), Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), Oklahoma City, Vanguard and former member Lubbock Christian (Texas)… Vanguard has held the No. 1 position throughout the 2013-14 season… Former member Union (Tenn.) leads all schools in all-time No. 1 rankings with 53, while Oklahoma City (46), Vanguard (40) 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 177 polls… Vanguard has appeared in 144-straight… 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)… Heading into the national championship, Vanguard is looking to complete the seventh season-sweep of the No. 1 ranking.
2013-14 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Final (March 12)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Vanguard (Calif.) (9)||26-1||250|
|2||2||Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) (1)||32-1||242|
|7||7||The Master's (Calif.)||24-7||202|
|9||8||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||26-4||184|
|14||14||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||26-3||152|
|15||15||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||26-4||137|
|16||17||Hope International (Calif.)||22-9||135|
|18||T18||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||20-11||112|
|19||20||John Brown (Ark.)||25-7||101|
|25||25||Shawnee State (Ohio)||19-12||56|
Others Receiving Votes: Bethel (Tenn.) 51; Langston (Okla.) 45; Loyola (La.) 31; Southern Poly (Ga.) 21; William Woods (Mo.) 13; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 9; Central Methodist (Mo.) 5.