Division II women's basketball powerhouses Ashland and Drury are both a perfect 27-0 on the season after two wins each last week and remain atop the DII women's basketball Power 10 heading into the final week of the season.
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
We'll also check in on those regional rankings predictions. The past three weeks, I've been projecting the No. 1 seed in each region, and with the first release out, we'll take a look at how I did and the toughest competition for each No. 1 in each region.
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. 24
(Note: All records and stats through games played Sunday, Feb. 23)
No. 1 Drury | 27-0 | Previous: 1
The Panthers began their week beating the No. 10 team in the Midwest Region by 23 points before dropping 112 points on Quincy to end the week. Hailey Diestelkamp has recorded four straight double-doubles and may be playing her best basketball of the season. That alone is enough reason to fear this team.
This week: Feb. 27 vs. William Jewell; Feb. 29 vs. Rockhurst
No. 2 Ashland | 27-0 | Previous: 2
This Ashland team hasn't played a close game since its nine-point victory against Grand Valley State on Jan. 9. The Eagles are rolling and taking no prisoners with the best scoring margin in DII women's basketball of 28.8 points per game (naturally, Drury is decimal points behind). It's mind boggling that this team is No. 2 in anything which makes this Midwest Region outstanding entertainment.
This week: Feb. 27 at Wayne State (MI)
RED-HOT TEAMS: 14 teams you do not want to play down the stretch
No. 3 Grand Valley State | 24-2 | Previous: 6
The Lakers climb three spots this week and that officially makes the top 3 teams in DII women's basketball all in the same region (don't worry, there's more coming). The Lakers jump a few one-loss teams, but both of their losses have come to Ashland, so let's not rule them out as true contenders here. Plus, that defense is holding teams to 49.6 points per game and has held Ashland to its two lowest scoring outputs all year.
This week: Feb. 27 vs. Davenport
No. 4 Hawaii Pacific | 25-1 | Previous: 5
The Sharks move up one, their winning streak now at 21 games. The PacWest has been a breeze for them thus far and like the teams above them, have not played many close games. This is a deep team with five players scoring in double figures per game. The West Region is wide open after HPU right now so it will be interesting to see if anyone can slow the Sharks down in March.
This week: Feb. 25 at Chaminade; Feb. 29 vs. Hawaii Hilo
UNDEFEATED TRACKER: Follow the remaining undefeated teams
No. 5 Lubbock Christian | 23-3 | Previous: 7
The Lady Chaps continue their climb back to the top, now winners of seven in a row. I know this may come with some debate, especially since now one-loss Texas A&M-Commerce beat them, but Lubbock Christian has played the tenth toughest schedule in DII and has 23 wins. The defense is clicking as well allowing 65 points... this past week.
This week: Feb. 27 at UT-Permian Basin; Feb. 29 at Western New Mexico
DII BASKETBALL SHOWCASE: The complete schedule and how to watch
No. 6 Lee | 24-2 | Previous: 4
The Flames took a step back this week, losing big to a very tough Union team. That said, the two have now split the season series and Lee is still 24-2 against the 24th toughest schedule in DII women's basketball. I expect the Flames to bounce back in what should be a pretty good Gulf South Conference tournament next week.
This week: Feb. 27 at Shorter; Feb. 29 at UAH
No. 7 Texas A&M-Commerce | 25-1 | Previous: 3
The Lions finally lost, and it was to a very good West Texas A&M team. It has simply been a remarkable season for the program historically speaking. Now, the Lions do stumble a bit because they have played the weakest schedule among the Power 10 and closed out their undefeated run with a loss at home. That said, this is still a scary team and the Lone Star Conference is loaded with talent, so it will be interesting to see how the Lions respond after their first loss of the season.
This week: Feb. 27 at Oklahoma Christian; Feb. 29 at Arkansas-Fort Smith
No. 8 Adelphi | 25-2 | Previous: 8
The Panthers may be the most impressive team on this list. Adelphi was a 15-win team last season and this year, the Panthers have played one bad week of basketball that wasn't even all that bad. They have reeled off 25 wins against a top 20 strength of schedule as well. All five starters score at least 10 points per game so they have some weapons to watch, but it will be interesting to see how they handle the spotlight come March.
This week: Feb. 25 vs. Southern Connecticut State
TOURNAMENT PREP: How the DII women's basketball championship works
No. 9 (tied) Indiana (Pa) | 22-2 | Previous: 10 (tied)
This week: Feb. 26 at Clarion; Feb. 29 Pitt-Johnstown
Alaska Anchorage | 25-2 | Previous: 10 (tied)
This week: Feb. 27 at Western Oregon; Feb. 29 at Concordia (OR)
These two remain tied because I see so many similarities between the two. Both are two-loss teams, but neither has played a particularly tough schedule this season. Both are the clear cut team to beat in both of their conferences, with Alaska Anchorage claiming its sixth-straight GNAC championship on Saturday. Still, these are two tournament-tested teams doing what they do best at the right time of year. There is no question they are top-10 worthy.
No. 10 ???
Technically speaking, there is no No. 10 team this week because of that pesky ninth-place tie. There are three teams deserving of the No. 10 spot should there have been one. Walsh extended its winning streak to 18 this week and grabbed the No. 4 seed in that tough Midwest Region. Central Missouri continues its romp through the MIAA and improved to 22-4 against the 12th-toughest schedule. Minnesota Duluth has also played the 12th-toughest schedule and its time to put them on notice. The Bulldogs have won nine in a row and look tough at the right time.
DII women's basketball regional rankings: Who's No. 1?
The first regional rankings were released. Let's take a peek at how I did, and who to watch in the coming weeks.
- Atlantic: Indiana (Pa). I got this one correct. I really like Glenville State's offense, but Virginia Union is always a tough one in this region.
- Central: Central Missouri. I went Minnesota Duluth, explaining how close it was between the Bulldogs and the Jennies. Right now, Central Missouri has the No. 1 but the two are the teams to beat.
- East: Adelphi. Another one I got right, Adelphi continues to impress in a turn-around season. I'm going with a complete sleeper here and watch out for Saint Anselm, as I think this region is wide open.
- Midwest: Drury. Five top-25 teams make up the top five seeds in this region. I explained last week why Drury deserved the No. 1 over Ashland, but the Panthers have to keep tabs on everyone in the region.
- South Central: Texas A&M-Commerce. Wasn't hard to get an undefeated team correct. But with that loss last week, don't be surprised to see Lubbock Christian surpass them.
- South: Lee. I got this right, but after a Thursday loss to Union, it could change. Obviously, with the two teams split on the season, we know who the contenders are, but keep an eye on Tampa.
- Southeast: Lander. Lander and North Georgia were so close, and I went with the Nighthawks. This region could flip-flop over the next two weeks between the two, but Belmont Abbey has been on fire all season long.
- West: Hawaii Pacific. Got this right as well. Now, the West is deep and way down there in the No. 6 seed is an Azusa Pacific team that returns pretty much everyone from a deep NCAA DII tournament run. I think the Cougars are the team HPU needs to worry about most.