By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – National champion Saint Francis (Ind.) was the consensus No. 1 in the 2013-14 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Cougars received all 13 first-place votes and 343 total points en route to their 11th-straight top billing of the season and 23rd all-time since 1999-2000.
Saint Francis (38-0) is the first team to go unbeaten in its banner year since Morningside (Iowa) accomplished the feat in 2009. The Cougars rolled through the first four rounds of the 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by State Farm, before downing College of the Ozarks (Mo.), 75-68, in the title game. Senior guard Skylarr Shurn was named the championship’s Most Valuable Player after averaging 20.8 points per game at the event, including a 30-point performance against the Bobcats. She was also named the NAIA Player of the Year.
Davenport (Mich.) claims the No. 2 spot for the seventh-straight week with 332 points. The Panthers reached the Fab Four for the second-consecutive season before falling to College of the Ozarks, 75-72. The Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) regular-season and tournament champions ended the year with a 34-2 record.
Moving up one spot to No. 3 is Northwestern (Iowa) with 319 points. The Red Raiders, who survived a first round scare against Tabor (Kan.), advanced to the quarterfinals of this year’s championship to end the season with a 29-5 record.
No. 4 Morningside (Iowa) and No. 5 Jamestown (N.D.) round out the top five with 304 points and 296 points, respectively. The Mustangs, who jumped one spot in this edition, ended the year with a 29-7 record and reached the quarterfinals of the national championship, while Jamestown was 27-4 and fell in the second round. The Jimmies previously were ranked No. 3 for three-straight weeks.
Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) highlighted the positive movement within the poll, jumping 12 places from No. 20 to No. 8. The Wolves, who spent seven-straight editions earlier this year ranked among the top 10, reached the Fab Four for the first time in program history. Cardinal Stritch’s Cinderella run ended in a hard-fought 68-64 loss to Saint Francis.
No. 13 College of the Ozarks is the only newcomer this week. The Bobcats, who had their string of 120-straight rankings snapped in the final regular season edition, reached the banner game for the fifth time in program history and first under the direction of head coach Becky Vest.
Oklahoma Wesleyan, which was previously ranked No. 22, was the only team to drop from the poll.
Eleven of 14 conferences and independents are represented this week, led by four teams from the Great Plains Athletic Conference and the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
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 11th-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 23 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 (129) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) (116) 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 champions to hail from a conference other than the Great Plains Athletic Conference are Indiana Wesleyan (2007, 2013) and Saint Francis (2014) … The Crossroads League has boasted two top-five teams in seven of this season’s 12 polls … 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’ Postseason Top 25 (March 26)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Saint Francis (Ind.) (13)||38-0||343|
|8||20||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||27-7||261|
|10||11||Mayville State (N.D.)||25-4||238|
|11||12||College of Saint Mary (Neb.)||27-6||228|
|12||15||Purdue Calumet (Ind.)||25-7||215|
|T13||RV||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||27-10||209|
|15||16||Siena Heights (Mich.)||26-9||187|
|16||6||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||27-6||185|
|19||13||St. Ambrose (Iowa)||26-6||140|
|20||25||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||23-11||129|
Others Receiving Votes: Tabor (Kan.) 64; Union (Ky.) 61; Oklahoma Wesleyan 60; Roosevelt (Ill.) 31; Southern Oregon 14; Ave Maria (Fla.) 13; Mount Mercy (Iowa) 5.