KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oklahoma City sits atop the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. After winning the seventh national championship in program history, the Stars accumulated all 10 first-place votes and 250 total points to earn their first No. 1 ranking of the 2013-14 season and 47th all-time.
Oklahoma City becomes the second team to claim the No. 1 position this season, unseating Vanguard (Calif.), which had topped the rankings for 12-straight polls. The Stars were ranked among the top 10 throughout the year, previously peaking at No. 2.
With its 80-76 national championship win over Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), Oklahoma City ties former member Southern Nazarene (Okla.) with an NAIA-best seven national championships and ends its season 27-4. The Stars were the regular-season champions in the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) and also collected a variety of postseason awards. Kayla Mackenzie was chosen as the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship Most Valuable Player and an All-America Honorable Mention; Yvonte Neal was named to the All-Tournament First Team and the All-America Second Team; and Autumn Lau was an All-America Honorable Mention. Latricia Trammell was selected as the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year.
National runner-up Freed-Hardeman compiled 242 total points en route to the No. 2 ranking. The runner-up finish is a program-best for the Lady Lions, who had finished third on four prior occasions (1999, 2008, 2011, 2013). The American Midwest Conference regular-season and tournament champion Lady Lions end their season 36-2. Prior to the national championship, Freed-Hardeman’s only loss came at the hands of Lyon (Ark.), 81-72, on Feb. 15 in conference play. Juniors Hayley Newby and Grace Alonso de Armino were the only non-seniors named to the All-America First Team. The tandem’s selection also made Freed-Hardeman one of two programs to have multiple players named to the All-America First Team. Both Newby and Alonso de Armino were also named to the All-Tournament First Team.
After losing in the second round of the national championship, 62-61, to John Brown (Ark.), Vanguard accumulated 229 points to earn the No. 3 ranking. The Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) regular-season champion Lions, along with Freed-Hardeman, are one of two teams to end their season with just two losses, with an overall record of 27-2. Vanguard, also along with Freed-Hardeman, was one of two teams to have multiple players named to the All-America First Team. Nicole Ballestero, who was also chosen as the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, and Taylor Belmont each received the national honor.
No. 4 Westminster (Utah) and No. 5 Campbellsville (Ky.)—national championship No. 1 seeds that fell in the quarterfinals—round out the top five with 221 and 219 points, respectively. Westminster won the Frontier Conference regular-season and tournament titles and ended its season 26-3. Campbellsville brought home the Mid-South Conference regular-season and tournament championships and finished with a record of 32-4.
National championship Cinderella No. 7 John Brown (Ark.) moved up a poll-high 12 spots after knocking off then-No. 1 ranked Vanguard (Calif.) en route to the school’s first-ever Fab Four appearance. This is the Golden Eagles highest ranking all-time. The trio of Hope International (Calif.), Lyon (Ark.) and Wayland Baptist (Texas) each fell six spots after national championship first round exits, landing at No. 22, No. 23 and No. 24, respectively.
No. 15 Loyola (La.) and No. 16 Bethel (Tenn.) were the newcomers to the Top 25. The Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) teams entered the national championship as No. 7 seeds before knocking off the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds from their respective quadrants en route to the quarterfinals. After a strong SSAC showing in the national championship, Martin Methodist (Tenn.) was the only non-national championship qualifier to receive votes in the postseason poll.
Cumberlands (Ky.) (No. 23) and Mobile (Ala.) (No. 24) fell out of the poll after losing in the first round of the national championship.
The GSAC and SAC lead all conferences with four programs ranked among the Top 25 in the postseason 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 47th all-time No. 1 ranking for Oklahoma City… The Stars are the second team to be ranked No. 1 in 2013-14 after Vanguard held the top spot for 12-straight polls to start the season…Former member Union (Tenn.) leads all schools in all-time No. 1 rankings with 53, while Oklahoma City (47), 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 178 polls… Vanguard has appeared in 145-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).
2013-14 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll (April 2)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013-14 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||5||Oklahoma City (10)||27-4||250|
|7||19||John Brown (Ark.)||28-8||200|
|8||9||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||27-5||189|
|12||7||The Master's (Calif.)||24-9||157|
|13||14||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||28-4||151|
|17||15||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||27-6||130|
|21||25||Shawnee State (Ohio)||20-13||87|
|22||16||Hope International (Calif.)||23-10||82|
|24||18||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||20-12||62|
Others Receiving Votes: Cumberlands (Ky.) 47; Mobile (Ala.) 46; Langston (Okla.) 36; Southern Poly (Ga.) 27; William Woods (Mo.) 16; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 9.