The race for the top spot in DII women's basketball is like splitting hairs. Both Drury and Ashland improved to 25-0 this past week and are the clear top two teams in our latest Power 10.
In case you are new to the DII women's basketball Power 10, here's what you need to know. These are my rankings, and mine alone. I used some of the same criteria the selection committee uses come NCAA DII tournament time: toughest schedules, wins against ranked opponents and average margin of victory, just to name a few.
ALL-STATS STARTING FIVE: Take a look at this lineup of box-score stuffers
Before we get to the Power 10 let's remember: This is my final look at how those first regional rankings may unfold this Wednesday, Feb. 19. I'll take a guess each week at who the top seed could be in each of those regions. So, how did we get to these rankings?
Be sure to check back every Monday through the end of the season to see how the Power 10 unfolds.
DII women's basketball Power 10: Feb. 17
(Note: All records and stats through games played Sunday, Feb. 16.)
No. 1 Drury | 25-0 | Previous: 1
This week: Feb. 20 vs. Truman State; Feb. 22 at Quincy
No. 2 Ashland | 25-0 | Previous: 2
This week: Feb. 20 at Saginaw Valley State; Feb. 22 at Northwood
Here are your No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in DII women's basketball and you'll need the world's most powerful microscope to separate the two. Both teams are perfect on the season. The two teams have played three common opponents and dismantled all three evenly. Both are handling the toughest region in DII women's basketball with little trouble, posting the second-best (Ashland at 90.6 points per game) and third-best (Drury at 88.4 points per game) scoring offenses leading to the top two scoring margins in DII women's basketball with Ashland winning by an average of 29.2 points and Drury right behind at 27.5.
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So it comes down to strength of schedule. Drury is 25-0 against a schedule with a combined .585 winning percentage, the eighth-toughest in DII. Ashland has done so against a schedule that has gone .557, 37th-best in the division. I told you this was close, and right now, that's all that separates the two: 0.028 opponent's winning percentage points.
No. 3 Texas A&M-Commerce | 24-0 | Previous: 3
You thought my job got easier after deciphering the Drury and Ashland debate, but lo and behold the undefeated Lions are right behind. Texas A&M-Commerce has handled everything thrown its way, holding opponents to 55.3 points per game in a season of historic proportions in Commerce. If the Lions handle nationally-ranked West Texas A&M this week, the margin between them and the top two gets even tighter.
This week: Feb. 20 vs. Eastern New Mexico; Feb. 22 vs. West Texas A&M
UNDEFEATED TRACKER: Follow the remaining undefeated teams
No. 4 Lee | 24-1 | Previous: 4
And here are the Flames, 24-1 and winners of 13 straight games. Compared to the top 3, this is more of a no-frills team which could be to their advantage and help them fly under the radar. The Flames score just 74.4 points per game, but win by an average of 20.3 per night thanks to one of the best defenses in DII women's basketball. You won't see many stat leaders because the offense runs efficiently through many hands with Abby Bertram continuing to lead the way.
This week: Feb. 20 at Union
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No. 5 Hawaii Pacific | 23-1 | Previous: 6
The Sharks jump Grand Valley State this week because they survived a very impressive road trip and put their stamp on the West Region. Hawaii Pacific had a three-game week, playing the three teams right behind it in the standings and won all three by double-digit points. The Sharks have won 19 in a row and should keep rolling into the PacWest tournament in a couple of weeks.
This week: Feb. 17 at Point Loma; Feb. 22 at Hawaii Hilo
No. 6 Grand Valley State | 23-2 | Previous: 5
Reminder: Despite the Lakers two losses coming at the hands of Ashland this season, they have held the Eagles to their lowest two scoring outputs of the season. This defense is legit and one of the best in the land. Cassidy Boensch continues to lead a well-rounded offense, making the Midwest Region one to watch in March.
This week: Feb. 20 at Northern Michigan; Feb. 22 at Michigan Tech
No. 7 Lubbock Christian | 21-3 | Previous: 8
The defending champs climb another spot this week after their short hiatus from the Power 10. Lubbock Christian has struggled against the nationally ranked teams in the stacked Lone Star Conference, so it will be looking to build a lot of momentum heading into the LSC tournament. It should be able to do just that over the next two weeks.
This week: Feb. 20 vs. Texas A&M International; Feb. 22 vs. Texas A&M-Kingsville
TOURNAMENT PREP: How the DII women's basketball championship works
No. 8 Adelphi | 23-2 | Previous: 9
The Panthers have now reeled off seven straight since their lone bad week of the season. Those two losses however came at the hands of Stonehill and Saint Anselm, two of the toughest teams in the Northeast-10. Adelphi has the top scoring offense in the NE10 and will be looking to lock up the No. 1 seed in the East Region which is very important with the abundance of quality teams in the region.
This week: Feb. Feb. 19 vs. Pace; Feb. 22 at New Haven
No. 9 Walsh | 22-2 | Previous: 10
The Cavaliers just keep winning, their streak now at 17 straight games. There is a lot to like about this offense, especially Quinoche Carter and Mayci Sales who put in 36.0 of Walsh's 87.0 points per game. This offense will likely have to contend with Drury, Ashland, and Grand Valley State's tough defenses in a few weeks, so the Cavaliers definitely want to keep the momentum rolling.
This week: Feb. 17 at Malone
No. 10 (tied) Indiana (Pa) | 22-2 | Previous: 5
This week: Feb. 19 vs. Edinboro; Feb. 22 at Seton Hill
Alaska Anchorage | 25-2 | Previous: NR
This week: Feb. 20 vs. Simon Fraser; Feb. 22 vs. Western Washington
We have a tie in the final spot and although IUP has the slightly better strength of schedule, both teams are more than deserving of the Power 10. The Crimson Hawks lost for the first time since Nov. 15 to PSAC rival California (Pa), but still have a firm hold on the West Division. The Seawolves are on a roll, winners of their last seven in a row. Both teams head to their respective conference tournaments as the early favorites.
DII women's basketball regional rankings: Who's No. 1?
If the regional rankings were released today, here's who I think would be the No. 1 team in each of the eight regions.
- Atlantic: Indiana (Pa). That loss tightens things up a bit, but IUP seems to still be in charge.
- Central: Minnesota Duluth. This is super tight. The Bulldogs are red hot, winners of seven straight against the fourth-toughest schedule. Central Missouri is right there, playing the fifth-toughest schedule, while Sioux Falls has been a consistent force all year.
- East: Adelphi. Another tight region, but the Panthers check all the boxes.
- Midwest: Drury. The explanation is above, but we know how ridiculously close this is.
- South Central: Texas A&M-Commerce. Again, there are tough teams here, but only one remains perfect in February.
- South: Lee. The Flames are cruising and it's their region to lose.
- Southeast: North Georgia. Anderson (SC) suffered a loss this week and the Nighthawks ended Lander's 15-game winning streak. Those are the Big Three here and that win gives North Georgia the nod in my book.
- West: Hawaii Pacific. As I mentioned, that road streak impressed me and should give the Sharks what they need to hold off Alaska Anchorage and a few others in the West.