By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the second-straight edition, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) owns the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Division I Women’s’ Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Lady Lions received nine first-place votes and 250 total points in the second regular-season edition.
Freed-Hardeman, which is ranked No. 1 for the ninth time since the 1999-2000 season, extended its current winning streak to 13 games and improved to 13-1 with a 68-63 victory against American Midwest Conference (AMC) foe Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) on Jan. 3. The Lady Lions are 29-1 all-time in AMC play since joining the league last season. Freed-Hardeman is led by forwards Hayley Newby and Grace Alonso de Armino – both of whom average double doubles (Newby – 20 points and 11.3 rebounds | Alonso de Armino – 14.9 points and 14.8 rebounds).
The Lady Lions return to the court Tuesday at Williams Baptist (Ark.).
No. 2 Oklahoma City accrued the final first-place vote and 242 points to hold its spot for a second-straight poll. The Stars (7-1) saw no ill effects from a 23-day layoff, downing NCAA Division II Lubbock Christian (Texas), 85-81, in their return to action on Jan. 1. Oklahoma City, which enters the week as the NAIA leader in field goal percentage (48.8 percent) and 3-point field goal percentage (41.8 percent), travels to Science & Arts (Okla.) Thursday.
Bouncing up two spots to No. 3 is Campbellsville (Ky.) with 234 points. The Tigers boast a Division I-best 16 wins on the year, including a run of six-straight. Campbellsville’s only setback came on Dec. 4 against Mid-South Conference rival and then-No. 19 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), 68-66.
Rounding out the top five are No. 4 Westminster (Utah) with 226 points and No. 5 Oklahoma Baptist with 211 points. The Griffins are 10-1 and have ranked among the top five for 16-consecutive polls dating back to last season. Oklahoma Baptist also owns a 10-1 record. The Bison crack the top five for the first time since Feb. 18, 2014.
Three ranked teams enter the week with unblemished records – No. 6 Wiley (Texas) (8-0), No. 7 Loyola (La.) (12-0) and No. 9 Langston (Okla.) (10-0). Loyola puts its record on the line Wednesday at Xavier (La.), while Wiley and Langston resume action Friday at Paul Quinn (Texas) and No. 19 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas), respectively.
No. 10 (tied) Concordia’s (Calif.) four-spot jump highlighted the positive movement in the poll. The Eagles have won five of their last six games with their only loss during the stretch coming to NCAA Division I UC Irvine on Jan. 4.
No. 10 (tied) Vanguard (Calif.) and No. 19 Our Lady of the Lake suffered the most significant fall among the poll, each sliding seven spots. The Lions drop was due in large part to back-to-back losses against then-unranked Carroll (Mont.) and Westminster in late December. Similarly, Our Lady of the Lake dropped a key game against No. 25 Georgetown (Ky.), 88-84, on Dec. 20.
Two newcomers joined the Top 25 this week – No. 23 Columbia (Mo.) and No. 24 Carroll (Mont.). Columbia was last ranked in the preseason poll, while the Saints are making their first appearance since Dec. 10, 2013.
The Mid-South Conference leads all leagues with five programs represented – Campbellsville, No. 13 Cumberland (Tenn.), No. 17 Shawnee State (Ohio), No. 22 Lindsey Wilson and Georgetown
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 I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.
The third regular-season edition of the Top 25 Poll will be announced on Jan. 13.
Notes (All information dates back to 1999-2000): Freed-Hardman (Tenn.) is making its ninth all-time appearance at No. 1 … This is the second-straight No. 1 ranking for the Lady Lions … Two teams have held the No. 1 ranking in the 2014-15 season: Freed-Hardeman and Oklahoma City … Former member Union (Tenn.) leads all schools in all-time No. 1 rankings with 53, while Oklahoma City (48), 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 181 polls … Vanguard has appeared in 148-straight … Thirty-eight different programs were ranked in 2013-14 … 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).2014-15 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 2 (Jan. 6)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014-15 Record||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) (9)||13-1||250|
|2||2||Oklahoma City (1)||7-1||242|
|12||13||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||14-2||157|
|14||15||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||10-4||132|
|T17||20||The Master’s (Calif.)||10-4||123|
|T17||18||Shawnee State (Ohio)||13-3||123|
|19||12||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||9-3||120|
|22||24||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||11-4||73|
Others receiving votes: Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) 52; Great Falls (Mont.) 40; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 21; Cumberlands (Ky.) 15; Philander Smith (Ark.) 14; Texas Wesleyan 8; Benedictine (Kan.) 7; William Woods (Mo.) 5; Pikeville (Ky.) 5; Biola (Calif.) 3; Xavier (La.) 3; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 3.