By Nikki Sherrill, Athletic Communications and Media Intern
KANSAS CITY, MO. – Once again bringing forward the best record in the nation at 24-0, St. Francis (Ill.) maintains its hold as the No. 1 team in the 2016-17 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced on Tuesday. Now in their fourth-straight edition as the top program, the Fighting Saints earned eight first-place votes and 309 total points to remain on top. The final regular-season installment will be released on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Top 25 Highlights
• Garnering eight first-place votes and 309 total points, the Fighting Saints of St. Francis (Ill.) are the No. 1 team in Division II for the fourth-straight edition. Boasting a 24-0 record, St. Francis locked down the top spot again as one of only two undefeated programs remaining. With this season being one of St. Francis’ best as a program, the Fighting Saints earned their first No. 1 ranking on Dec. 13 and have held onto it ever since.
• The Fighting Saints continue to run the tables in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) as they are 17-0. Their only close conference game came against Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) when they took the meeting 63-56. St. Francis will be away from home as it embarks on a three-game road trip this week.
• Earning the remaining four first-place votes in this installment, the Bulldogs of Concordia (Neb.) come in at No. 2 for a fourth-straight edition. With 305 total points, Concordia remains at the heels of St. Francis. Clocking in at 24-1, Concordia has been on a 24-game win-streak after dropping its opening contest to defending national champion Marian (Ind.). At 15-0 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC), the Bulldogs are looking to take the regular season championship for the fourth time and first since 2014.
• The rest of the top five saw only one adjustment, as Southern Oregon fell to No. 5, while Marian and Saint Xavier (Ill.) both slid one spot forward to No. 3 and No. 4. The only new member to the top 10 is No. 8 Morningside (Iowa), which jumped three places ahead of its previous ranking. This is the third time the Mustangs have been in the top 10 this season after starting at No. 4.
• Two newcomers find themselves in the ratings this edition, as No. 23 Reinhardt (Ga.) and No. 25 Siena Heights (Mich.) both make an appearance. This is Reinhardt’s second-time in the ratings this season as it held a No. 22 spot Jan. 10, while Siena Heights is in the poll for the first-time since the 2014-15 season when it ended at No. 22.
• Just as many programs fell out of the Top 25 this installment with Northwestern (Iowa) and Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) now receiving votes. Northwestern made its first appearance this season back on Jan. 10, while Olivet Nazarene is out of the polls for the first time since preseason of the 2015-16 season.
• No. 8 Morningside and No. 22 Oregon Tech made a poll-best three-spot move forward from their previous ratings. As far as backwards movement, No. 24 Indiana Wesleyan slipped seven places back but remained in the poll.
• Overall, 11 of the conferences are represented in the poll. The GPAC and CCAC lead the way with four each, including two in the top three for the CCAC.
• Morningside has the most No. 1 rankings in NAIA history with 38, while No. 24 Indiana Wesleyan is second with 33.
• Morningside holds the active streak of being ranked in the Top 25 (161). Saint Xavier is second with 148-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)||24-0||309|
|2||2||Concordia (Neb.) (4)||24-1||305|
|3||4||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||23-2||287|
|9||10||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||21-4||234|
|12||8||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||21-4||199|
|13||13||IU Northwest (Ind.)||21-4||190|
|15||15||Purdue Northwest (Ind.)||20-6||176|
|16||16||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||21-4||161|
|21||23||Dickinson State (N.D.)||20-5||107|
|25||NR||Siena Heights (Mich.)||19-7||63|
Dropped from the rankings: Northwestern (Iowa) (22); Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 24
Others receiving votes: Northwestern (Iowa) 52; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 50; Milligan (Tenn.) 44; Antelope Valley (Calif.) 41; Valley City State (N.D.) 23; Point (Ga.) 5; IU Kokomo (Ind.) 4; Northwest Christian (Ore.) 3; Ottawa (Kan.) 3
^Reflects ranking in 2016-17 Poll No. 4