Welcome back to the first DII women’s basketball Power 10 rankings of the regular season. Much has changed since the initial preseason rankings as every team in that top 5 has suffered at least one loss. That includes surprising early season losses by Drury and Lubbock Christian, as well as three losses by preseason No. 5 Central Missouri.
RANKINGS: Look back at the preseason Power 10
Now to be fair, the Jennies tested themselves early with a brutal out-of-conference schedule that had four top-25 matchups in their first six games. Don’t be fooled by Central Missouri leaving these rankings — expect it to be storming back before season’s end.
These rankings were particularly hard, one of the hardest I’ve ever had to compile. The top 20 or 30 teams are really playing incredible basketball right now, so it came down to the minutiae. Please remember: These are my rankings, and mine alone. I pair insight from coaches, SIDs and insiders with what the selection committee tends to look at come tournament time — strength of schedule, win-loss percentage and stats of that nature — to come up with a fair — albeit not perfect — version of the top 10. We will stagger them for now, but you can expect the new Power 10 every Wednesday beginning in January.
The DII women’s basketball Power 10 — all games through Dec. 5, 2021
No. 1 Fort Hays State | Previous: 7
For the first No. 1 of the regular season, I’m going with an undefeated team. Especially when you consider the Tigers most recent win was against a very good Emporia State team. Katie Wagner, Whitney Randall, Lauren West and Olivia Hollenbeck make shutting down this offense very tough, each one scoring more than 11.4 points per game. Jaden Hobbs, who missed a few weeks, was back for the Emporia State victory and chipped in 10 points in her return. This team is deep and dangerous.
No. 2 (tie) Drury | Previous: 2
Yes, the Panthers fell in a stunner to Kentucky Wesleyan. So what? The Panthers also already have four victories over top-25 opponents and sit at 10-1. While this team is deep with multi-talented players, Paige Robinson is off to another player-of-the-year start, leading the GLVC in scoring and steals while pacing the Panthers in assists and defensive rebounds.
No. 2 (tie) Lubbock Christian | Previous: 1
The Chaps, like Drury, dropped one unexpectedly to CSU Pueblo, but already have wins against nationally ranked Tampa, Daemen and Lander. The last two came at home, extending their winning streak at the Rip Griffin Center to 93 games. Allie Schulte is already in midseason form, leading the team in scoring, assists and steals while placing second with 4.2 rebounds per game.
2021 RECAP: Lubbock Christian repeats as national champions
No. 4 Lander | Previous: 4
The Bearcats have one loss to their name, and it came in the waning minutes against Lubbock Christian. If you’re wondering why they are ranked ahead of their undefeated PBC counterparts (more on North Georgia in a minute) it is because they’ve played a tougher schedule. It also has to do with Makaila Cangé and Zamiya Passmore being arguably the best 1-2 punch in DII women’s basketball. Cangé is averaging a double-double, while Passmore is putting up more than 20 points per game.
No. 5 Alaska Anchorage | Previous: 5
The Seawolves are doing Seawolves things once again. They are off to a 6-0 start and blowing opponents out of the water, winning games by 21.5 points per night. This team brings a lot of energy because it is 10 deep with players contributing more than 13.8 minutes per night. Tennae Voliva is playing some of her best basketball, leading the team in rebounding, steals and blocks while chipping in 9.8 points per game.
No. 6 Western Washington | Previous: NR
Go ahead and yell all you want — this Vikings' team is good. Not only are they winning ballgames and sit at a perfect 7-0, but they’ve also done so against the 59th toughest schedule in DII, better than almost all the teams in these Power 10 rankings. Their last loss was in the GNAC 2020 championship to Alaska Anchorage after sweeping through last year’s abbreviated slate. Western Washington is beating the opposition by nearly 20 points a night thanks to a defense allowing just 52.9 points per game.
No. 7 North Georgia | Previous: 9
Per usual, the Nighthawks have an abundance of scorers, led by two of the best in the land in Julianne Sutton and Caroline Martin. You’ll be hard pressed to find a player more consistent than Sutton. North Georgia has won 87% of its games since Sutton has stepped on the court and she’s never shot less than 54% from the field, now in her fifth year of play. She is an all-around weapon and as long as she is in Dahlonega, she — and the Nighthawks — are a threat.
No. 8 Texas A&M-Commerce | Previous: First out
Dyani Robinson and DesiRay Kernal are legit stars, averaging a combined 27.1 points and 13.0 rebounds per game. This team, as always, is built on balance both offensively and defensively, and thus far it has shown, blowing out its opponents by an average of 21 points per game. The Lions haven’t even hit the Lone Star portion of its schedule yet, so there is a lot to be seen, but history has shown this squad can compete.
No. 9 Glenville State | Previous: NR
Top scoring offense in DII women’s basketball. Check. Highest scoring margin in DII women’s basketball. Check. The DII leader in turnover margin. Check. All this against one of the toughest schedules on our list. This is just the monster that head coach Kim Stephens has created as year in and year out it is one of the most potent offenses in the land. There are currently six players averaging 9.4 or more points per game, so Stephens has another deep roster on her hands.
HISTORY: The programs with the most titles
No. 10 Ashland| Previous: 8
This final spot could have gone to any of the five teams below (more on the “first five out’ in a minute). Ashland gets the nod because its Big Three is very talented and experienced… and so far, has been playing as such. Annie Roshak, Hallie Heidemann and Karlee Pireu are scoring 45.1 of the Eagles’ 73.1 points per game while contributing 16.9 combined rebounds per game. Ashland is off to a 2-0 start in its new conference and I’m excited to see how it fares against new competition.
First five out (in alphabetical order):
- Azusa Pacific: The Cougars have one loss to top-10 Western Washington, but you have to like the experience on this team. Let’s watch how they handle PacWest play.
- Grand Valley State: The Lakers have played the 17th-toughest schedule while posting the second-best scoring defense in DII women’s basketball. When I say this team just missed the top 10, it was by a fraction of a hair's hair.
- Indiana (Pa): The Crimson Hawks are a very good team and are certainly top-10 worthy. A perfect start in PSAC play and winning games by more than 21 points per game helps.
- Lee: The Flames are 8-1 and the lone loss came to nationally ranked Union (TN). Let’s see how they handle the rest of a pretty tough Gulf South slate.
- Tampa: Normally this time of year is reserved for the Spartans’ women’s volleyball team, but these hoopsters have our attention. They shrugged off two early season losses (one of which was to Lubbock Christian) by winning eight in a row, including a 10-point victory over Union.