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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | February 8, 2021

DII Report: There's a new No. 1 in the DII women's basketball Power 10 rankings

2021 DII college baseball power rankings and season preview

Well, hello Rockhurst. The Hawks pulled off the largest upset in their DII program history, defeating No. 1 Drury. It ended a run of 42 consecutive victories for the Panthers and in doing so, knocked them from their perch of No. 1 in the DII women's basketball Power 10 rankings.

STUNNER: How Rockhurst took down No. 1 Drury

There were more upsets as well, both on the pitch in DII men's and women's soccer and on the hardwood. Several top-25 teams returned to action on the baseball diamond in dominating fashion. There's also a little football game known as the Super Bowl being played Sunday evening that will showcase seven former DII football players.

Buckle up, DII nation. It's time for your DII Report.

The latest DII women's basketball Power 10 rankings

It's been two weeks since the last Power 10 rankings. Quite a bit has changed.

Before we get to the rankings, how about a shoutout to Quincy and Illinois Springfield? The two teams battled through three overtimes and put up 100 free throws and hit 75 of them. Per Quincy beat writer Matt Schuckman, both are DII single-game records. That is a lot of free throws.

We have a new No. 1, albeit a program plenty familiar with the top spot in polls. With Valdosta State dropping one on Saturday to Montevallo, we also have some debuts from teams that are too impressive to continue to ignore. 

First, a quick reminder on how my rankings work. These are mine, and mine alone. I usually try to stick as closely to the same criteria that the selection committee uses come tournament time, but this is a much different season. In some instances, I just went with the team that's playing the best at the current moment. 

These teams are currently scheduled to play the minimum number of games required for eligibility in March's tournament. Any teams or conferences that are not playing this season are not included. 

1. Lubbock Christian — The Lady Chaps are now 9-0 behind the best scoring defense in DII women's hoops, allowing a mere 47.9 points per game. This offense is no slouch either, winning games by an average of nearly 28 points, which is also best in the Division. Allie Schulte leads the way, scoring 15.4 points per game on a sensational 68 percent shooting from the floor. 

2. Lander — Last time we discussed the Bearcats, they were coming off a statement victory over North Georgia. Lander has continued its winning ways, now a perfect 10-0 on the season. Zamiya Passmore is leading a quartet of Bearcats scoring in double figures as this team rips off 73.9 points per game.

3. Drury — Yes, the Panthers lost. Yes, Rockhurst was an unranked team. But come on, there's a reason Ashland's record is so impressive. Drury won 42 in a row, and this was just its second loss in three years. The other came in the national semifinals. Drury bounced back in the win column over Lindenwood and Paige Robinson scored 22 points, her seventh time scoring 20-plus in a game this season.

4. Charleston (WV) — The Golden Eagles entered the mix in our last rankings and they've improved to 9-0 since. They have a pair of 20-point scorers in Brooklyn Pannell and Erykah Russell, who also averages a double-double. This team can score, but defends well, winning its games by an average of nearly 20 points.

5. Hawaii Pacific — The Sharks now own the longest winning streak in DII women's basketball at 29 games. They simply haven't played enough meaningful basketball to be higher than No. 5 (now 4-0), returning to action for the first time in nearly a month on Saturday. Don't let the ranking fool you, this team is a powerhouse and a very real threat come tourney time.

6. Minnesota Duluth — The Bulldogs are off to a 7-0 start, and it's an impressive one at that. They've held opponents to fewer than 58 points per game while limiting teams to a 39 percent field goal percentage. Brooke Olson leads the way offensively with 19.2 points per game, but this is a balanced team with seven players contributing significant points each game. 

7. West Texas A&M — How about a congratulations for head coach Kristen Mattio? She picked up her 150th win this past weekend. Not bad for someone who has coached 180 games, don't you think? The Buffs followed it up with her 151st win and are now 12-1 on the season. Per usual, we continue to be amazed by Lexy Hightower who scores 18.2 per game while shooting 60.8 percent from the field and 53.7 from deep.

8. Arkansas Tech — We can't leave the Golden Suns out of the mix any longer. Now 7-0, this team scores serious points, putting up 86.4 per game. You don't know where it's going to come from either, with five players scoring more than 11 points per game. This team is very balanced on the boards and at the net. It will be fun to see how long they can remain perfect. 

9. Carson-Newman — The Eagles dropped a game since the last rankings, and thus slipped a few spots, but it doesn't lessen how good this team is. They score a strong 82.6 points per game, led by Braelyn Wykle and her scoring average of 23.4. Senior Addison Byrd has been impressive as well, contributing an even 12 points and seven boards per game. 

10. Texas A&M-Commerce  — The Lions moved to 10-1 this past weekend. Dyani Robinson scores 18.0 points per game to lead four Lions in double figures. This team is balanced, both in talent and a nice blend of experience in veteran seniors and young, athletic scorers. They seem to be getting better every week. 

First five out (in order): Southwestern Oklahoma State, Fort Hays State, Grand Valley State, North Georgia, Valdosta State

The next 10 (in alphabetical order): Cedarville, Central Missouri, Colorado School of Mines, Daemen, Gannon, Glenville State, Michigan Tech, Nebraska-Kearney, Tusculum, Western Colorado

Welcome to Upset City: The untold story of the DII men's basketball season

It hasn't been very fun to be a top-25 team in 2021. Every night is a challenge, and this week, as we have seen the past several, saw more upsets in the NABC top 25. 

  • Glenville State entered this week's poll at No. 24 a perfect 5-0. The Pioneers lost their very first game as a ranked team in '21 to West Liberty. Now, the Hilltoppers reached as high as No. 2 in the Power 10 and were on an uncharacteristic three-game losing streak. So, this isn't a monumental upset, though West Liberty put the peddle to the metal in the 117-85 win. 
  • No. 21 Fairmont State lost to a very good, but unranked, Charleston (WV) team, 85-70. The Golden Eagles improved to 7-2 with consecutive victories over top-25 opponents after defeating West Liberty last week.
  • Shorter took down No. 18 Lee, 78-71 on Friday. Ricky Knight, Jr. (23 points) and Ja'Cori Wilson (20 points) led the way. Lee bounced back quickly, beating Shorter 65-52 on Saturday. 
  • No. 12 Hillsdale avenged its lone loss of the season by defeating No. 6 Findlay, 82-71, on Saturday. Both meetings between these two were top-25 showdowns, with the first ending in a Tommy Schmock half-court buzzer-beater for Findlay. All five Chargers' starters scored in double-figures, led by Patrick Cartier. Cartier has been on absolute fire, scoring 130 points in his last five games. 

Texas A&M-Kingsville continues to impress as well. The Javelinas improved to 12-1 with a victory over No. 25 St. Edwards on Thursday, and completed the sweep in a thrilling 83-82 on Saturday. The Javelinas have a balanced attack and are a team to beat right now. 

And can we give a warm welcome to St. Thomas Aquinas basketball? The Spartans finally returned to the hardwood this past week and jumped out to a 2-0 start while scoring 211 points. Though an extremely small sample size, five players are averaging double-digits in points, while 10 are scoring at least six per game. 

Angelo State, Texas-Tyler meet in DII baseball top 15 opening series

The Rams, who came in at No. 2 in the NCAA.com preseason top 25, opened the season against Texas-Tyler this past weekend. They put on a show opening night, downing the No. 15 Patriots 10-1. Trent Green was every bit the ace we expected, going 6.2 innings, striking out 12 and allowing one run, while player of the year candidate Josh Elvir launched his first of many home runs. Saturday saw the Patriots even the series with a Riley Lambert walk-off single in the ninth to cap a 2-1 thriller. The two play the rubber match on Sunday. 

RANKINGS SZN: The NCAA.com preseason top 25

There were other top-25 teams back in their first action since last March this past week. Oklahoma Baptist was one of our sleepers for 2021 and West Texas A&M, ranked No. 13 in our preseason rankings, took care of the Bison, winning three of four games in the weekend series. Zach Dixon and Carter Brown combined for a shutout on opening night. No. 14 North Georgia came out of its opening weekend 2-1, but man did the Nighthawks come to play, scoring 14, 13 and 14 runs, respectively. Steven Bower opened the season with a complete game, 14-0 shutout, while Parker Morrison closed the weekend with a complete game, 14-0 shutout, striking out 17.

Lander takes down South Carolina in men's college soccer

The women's basketball team can't have all they fun. Lander's men's soccer team took to an exhibition over DI South Carolina and took down their Conference USA foe, 1-0. Junior Jacob Withers played the first half in goal, defending four shots, while freshman Simon Reithmeir came on to preserve the shutout over the final 45 minutes. Sophomore Max McNulty, who had an impressive eight-goal freshman campaign a year ago, scored the lone goal of the match. The Bearcats hope to be back in action Monday against Francis Marion. 

Texas-Tyler's women's team followed suit over the weekend. The Patriots defeated Stephen F. Austin 1-0 in its first victory over a Division I team in program history. Kiersten Ehler scored what held on for the game-winner in the 63rd minute of play. Camri Cecil made eight saves in preserving the clean sheet. 

DII football alum in Super Bowl

Seven DII football players are left in the 2020 NFL season. Here's a quick look at who is suiting up in Super Bowl LV. 

👀 RECORD-SETTER: 11 records Matt LaFleur set on the DII football field

(Note: Active rosters only per NFL.com on Saturday, Feb. 6)

TEAM PLAYER SCHOOL
Kansas City Chiefs Tyreek Hill West Alabama
  Nick Keizer Grand Valley State
  Mike Pennel CSU Pueblo
  Tershawn Wharton Missouri S&T
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tanner Hudson Southern Arkansas
  Ryan Jensen CSU Pueblo
  Zach Triner Assumption

 

Editor's note: Lander wasn't the only soccer team to take down a DI foe. Thanks to the fans who let us know about Lee defeating Lipscomb, 2-1, on freshman Kiersten Havens' game-winning goal in the 82nd minute. You can read the game recap on Lee's website here.

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