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Wayne Cavadi | | December 20, 2018

7 surprising programs never to win a DII women's basketball title

Central Missouri upsets Ashland, 66-52

There have been 21 DII women's basketball national champions crowned in the 37 years of its illustrious history. Surprisingly, quite a few teams that have racked up some of the most wins and all-time greatest winning percentages in the division over that same span aren't part of the championship club.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most successful programs in DII women’s basketball that are only missing a national championship on their otherwise outstanding resumés.

MORE: Programs with the most DII titles | Complete history

Alaska Anchorage

The Seawolves have plenty of history on their side, but their recent run is one of the best in the land. Alaska Anchorage has made the tournament 11 times in the past 12 seasons, and they weren't simply quick appearances. They've been to the field of 16 multiple times, amongst the final four teams standing three times, and were the national runner-up in 2016 over that run. The Seawolves haven't won less than 27 games since 2013-14, and now off to another hot start in 2018, expect to see them in March once again.


No team has a better winning percentage than the Panthers in DII women’s basketball history sitting at 454-108 for a .808 winning percentage entering the 2018-19 season. Drury has been a real powerhouse of late as well, piling up a .875 over the past five years, which is second-best over that span. The Panthers have a total of nine appearances in the final 16 and three Elite Eights, but just one national semifinal and finals appearance, which they lost to California (Pa.) in 2004. 


There are very few teams that have put up better records than the Saints in the past five seasons. Their 141 wins are fourth-best and a .876 winning percentage is second to none, losing just 20 games over the same span. Limestone made consecutive trips to the Elite Eight in 2014 and 2015 but has stumbled in the first round the past three seasons. The run has been impressive, making the absence of a championship the only thing not making it elite. 

MORE: The remaining 2018-19 undefeated DII women's basketball teams

Northern State

The Wolves have been consistent over their 41 years as a DII institution. Northern State is in the top ten all-time in winning percentage and has posted a 123-35 record over the past five seasons, that .778 winning percentage 14th-best in the division. The Wolves haven’t had a losing season since 2009,  and are currently on a run of five-straight seasons with 23 or more wins. 

West Texas A&M 

It seems like the Lady Buffs are always right there knocking on the door. West Texas A&M has the fifth-best winning percentage of all time, entering 2018-19 with a .788 winning percentage. The Lady Buffs have been even better the past five seasons, sixth-overall with a 145-25 record. With seven Elite Eight appearances on their resume to go along with 14 Lone Star Conference tournament titles. West Texas A&M certainly has that postseason moxie. Somehow, the Lady Buffs have only reached the championship game twice, most recently becoming Bentley’s final victim in its undefeated 2014 season. 

Western Washington

The Vikings have had a pretty strong run since joining the DII circuit. Western Washington joined DII for the 1998-99 season and made the tournament that very first year. One season later, the Vikings found themselves in the national semifinals. Western Washington has made 16 tournaments in its 20 full seasons in DII and its .720 winning percentage is top 10 all-time.


The Bulldogs have become a fixture in March, making the tournament 12 times since 2001. That includes the last five in a row and seven of the last eight, missing out in 2012-13 with the rare losing season. Wingate has 119 wins over the past five seasons and its .713 all-time winning percentage is 11th-best in history. If those tournament appearances keep piling up as they have in the 2000s, it seems inevitable that Wingate gets to that elusive title game. 

** All records from the official 2018 NCAA DII women’s basketball record book

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