By Nikki Sherrill, Athletic Communications and Media Intern
KANSAS CITY, MO. – After improving to 20-0 on the season, St. Francis (Ill.) remains atop the 2016-17 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced on Tuesday. This is the third-straight week St. Francis has claimed the No. 1 ranking, and only third time the Fighting Saints have earned the top spot. St. Francis received eight first-place votes to go with 279 total points to extend its reign. The fifth regular-season installment will be released on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Top 25 Highlights
• For the third-straight week, the No. 1 spot holds with St. Francis (Ill.) as it boasts an undefeated 20-0 record. As one of only two unblemished teams remaining (No. 7 Southeastern (Fla.) 18-0), the Fighting Saints earned eight first-place votes and 279 total points to continue its reign as the top team in NAIA Division II. In all but one contest this season, St. Francis has defeated its opponents by double digits. Its lone win under 10 points was a 63-56 victory over Cardinal Stritch (Wis.).
• Earning the remaining three first-place votes, the Bulldogs of Concordia (Neb.) sit right behind St. Francis for another week. The No. 2 Bulldogs hold a 20-1 overall record and earned 274 total points this edition. Concordia is coming off a 90-60 win over Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) foe Morningside (Iowa). Last season, the Bulldogs were knocked out of the championship in the first-round by Goshen (Ind.), 85-82. Concordia is looking to extend its streak of appearances at the national championship another year as it has qualified every season since 2008.
• One switch was the only adjustment the rest of the top five saw with Southern Oregon taking over the No. 3 spot from its previous ranking of No. 4, which now belongs to Saint Xavier (Ill.). Marian (Ind.) remains at No. 5 this installment.
• Seven programs earned higher rankings than they previously held this week, with No. 4 Southern Oregon, No. 7 Southeastern, No. 8 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), No. 13 IU Northwest (Ind.) and No. 23 Dickinson State (N.D.) each moving up one place. Friends (Kan.) found a small forward movement of two up to No. 14, and No. 16 Cardinal Stritch and No. 22 Northwestern (Iowa) made the largest improvements by three places.
• Only five programs fell back in their rankings, but still remain in the Top 25.
• The Golden Eagles of Reinhardt (Ga.) are the lone team to lose its ranking after suffering its third loss of the season to Point (Ga.), 67-60.
• Only one newcomer is welcomed to the poll this edition, as No. 25 Oregon Tech has made its way into the Top 25. The Owls are currently on a five-game winning-streak and sit with a 17-5 record.
• Overall, 10 of the 12 conferences are represented in this edition of the poll. The Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference and the GPAC lead the field with five teams each.
• Morningside has the most No. 1 rankings in NAIA history with 38, while No. 17 Indiana Wesleyan is second with 33.
• Morningside holds the active streak of being ranked in the Top 25 (160). Saint Xavier is second with 147-straight, including its time in Division I.
• College of the Ozarks (2007-08), Morningside (2008-09) and Saint Francis (Ind.) (1999-00) are the only teams to go the entire season ranked No. 1.
• The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions.
• The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 30 points for each first-place vote, 29 for second-place and so on through the list.
• The highest and lowest ranking for each team (a non-rating is considered a low ratings) is removed and the team’s ranking will be recalculated with an additional point added to each team for every ballot (including discounted ballots) that the teams appears on.
• Teams that receive only one point in the ballot are not considered “receiving votes”
• For the complete Top 25 calendar, click here.
2016-17 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Poll No. 4 (Jan. 24)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||Season Record||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||St. Francis (Ill.) (8)||20-0||279|
|2||2||Concordia (Neb.) (3)||20-1||274|
|4||3||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||19-2||251|
|8||9||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||19-2||226|
|10||10||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||18-4||200|
|13||14||IU Northwest (Ind.)||18-3||177|
|15||15||Purdue Northwest (Ind.)||16-6||148|
|16||19||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||17-4||144|
|23||24||Dickinson State (N.D.)||16-5||79|
|24||23||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||15-7||66|
Dropped from the rankings: Reinhardt (Ga.) (22)
Others receiving votes: Milligan (Tenn.) 59; Siena Heights (Mich.) 49; Reinhardt (Ga.) 44; Antelope Valley (Calif.) 12; Valley City State (N.D.) 10; Ottawa (Kan.) 8; Grace (Ind.) 4; Ohio Christian 3; Northwest Christian (Ore.) 3.
^Reflects ranking in 2016-17 Poll No. 3