2014-15 NAIA Division II Women?s Basketball Coaches? Top 25 Postseason Poll (March 25)
By Mike DeVader, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After Morningside (Iowa) claimed its fourth national championship in team history in thrilling fashion, 59-57, over fellow Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) rival Concordia (Neb.) on March 17, the Mustangs earned the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Postseason Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The unanimous top team earned all 13 first-place votes and 343 points en route to its 32nd top billing in program history.
Morningside has been the top-ranked squad for 12-consecutive weeks, dating back to the first poll of the year on Dec. 2, 2014.
The Mustangs (37-1) rebounded nicely after losing their school-record 39-game home court winning streak in the GPAC tournament championship to the Bulldogs, 80-72, on March 3. Little did either squad know that a fourth matchup was on the horizon – this time for the national crown.
With the national championship in the balance, Concordia had their chance to earn its first title, but a shot clock violation doomed the team’s chances of taking the lead. A hard drive to the lane by Morningside’s Lexi Ackerman drew a foul with two seconds left.
After a pair of made free throws – the first of which bounced multiple times on the rim – a last ditch effort by Bailey Morris went wide as the Mustangs celebrated yet another national championship.
Concordia (35-3) earned 332 points to cement itself into the No. 2 position after yet another epic battle with Morningside. All three of the Bulldogs’ losses came to the top-ranked school. Despite coming up just short of the national banner, Morris was named the NAIA National Player of the Year.
Davenport (Mich.) (32-1) (315 points) dropped one stop to No. 3 after losing its undefeated season to Briar Cliff (Iowa) in the second round of the championship. No. 4 Saint Xavier (Ill.) (31-4) (312 points) stood still and No. 5 Hastings (Neb.) (25-9) (291 points) moved up seven spots after a semifinal showing in the national championship.
Within the poll, No. 10 Briar Cliff made the largest leap of any school, jumping up nine slots after completing an all-GPAC national semifinal run before falling to Concordia, 72-62. No. 16 Tabor (Kan.) flew into the rating after upsetting second-seeded Marian (Ind.) and three seed Southern Oregon on its way to the quarterfinals – where the school’s run ended against Briar Cliff.
No. 21 Ashford (Iowa) joined Tabor as the other newcomer in the Postseason Top 25.
Twelve conferences/Association of Independent Institutions/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by four teams from the GPAC, and Crossroads League.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions. For the entire 2014-15 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
Notes: (All information dates back to the 1999 – 2000 season) A couple high-rising teams moved into the top 10 this week, as No. 5 Hastings (Neb.) and No. 7 (tie) Jamestown (N.D.) vaulted in the ratings after strong showings in the national championship… Two Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) members – No. 1 Morningside (Iowa) and No. 2 Concordia (Neb.) – have a stranglehold on the top two spots… The GPAC has three teams in the top five (Hastings (Neb.) is fifth), and four teams in the top 10 – No. 10 Briar Cliff… The Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference and Crossroads League both have two schools in the top nine… Preseason No. 1 Saint Francis (Ind.) held steady to No. 9 this week… Indiana Wesleyan has appeared at the top of the poll on 35 occasions, the most of any program, followed by Morningside with 32 and Saint Francis with 24… 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 (Iowa) in 2011 and 2012… Morningside (142), Saint Xavier (Ill.) (129) and Davenport (Mich.) (102) as being the only programs ranked in the Top 25 for over 100 consecutive weeks… Since 2007, the only national champions to hail from a conference other than the GPAC are Indiana Wesleyan (2007, 2013) and Saint Francis (2014).
2014-15 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Postseason Poll (March 25)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014-15 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Morningside (Iowa) (13)||37-1||343|
|4||4||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||31-4||312|
|6||5||Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||28-5||277|
|9||9||Saint Francis (Ind.)||25-10||268|
|10||19||Briar Cliff (Iowa)||26-10||237|
|11||13||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||24-9||221|
|17||14||College of Saint Mary (Neb.)||27-7||183|
|22||20||Siena Heights (Mich.)||26-7||113|
|23||22||St. Thomas (Fla.)||27-5||107|
|24||21||Robert Morris (Ill.)||21-8||91|
Others Receiving Votes: Southeastern (Fla.) 65; Purdue Calumet (Ind.) 55; Oregon Tech 34; Union (Ky.) 29; Valley City State (N.D.) 22; Clarke (Iowa) 13; Bryan (Tenn.) 10; Madonna (Mich.) 9.
^ 2014-15 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Final (March 4)