Three weeks, three No. 1s. Welcome to the topsy-turvy January in DII women’s basketball. Last week, Fort Hays State dethroned Drury — who was No. 1 for the previous three rankings — to take the No. 1 spot. The Tigers' stay was short lived: Undefeated Glenville State has claimed the top spot in the latest DII women’s basketball Power 10 rankings.
RANKINGS: Last week's Power 10
The Power 10 has a different look this week and you can thank the Missouri Southern women’s basketball team for its effort. The Lions had themselves quite the week, first upending the No. 1 Tigers and closing the week by knocking off last week’s No. 10 team, Nebraska-Kearney.
As a reminder, these are my rankings, and mine alone. The Power 10 rankings take the easy-to-see stats — like overall record and statistical rankings — and pairs it with a bit of the deeper metrics — such as strength of schedule, in-region record and RPI to name a few — that the selection committee uses come March. You can expect a new Power 10 every Wednesday until the DII women’s basketball tournament commences.
The DII women’s basketball Power 10
Note: all games through Jan. 25
No. 1 Glenville State | Previous: 2
The Pioneers are just one of two undefeated teams in DII women’s basketball and one of four across all DII college basketball. It has been no easy task to stay perfect in 2021-22. When said team leads DII women’s basketball (and are second overall in college basketball at any level) with 101.0 points per game and a DII-best turnover margin that is four points higher than the next closest team, it’s easy to see why the Pioneers are No. 1.
No. 2 Ashland | Previous: 3
The Eagles are winners of 12 in a row, and as mentioned last week, absolutely dominating their new conference — sitting at a perfect 10-0 in G-MAC play. Ashland has had to dodge scheduling and COVID issues and its “next person up” mentality has been remarkable. Erin Daniels had to make her first two starts of the season this past week and averaged 15 points per game, including a season-high 22. Hayley Smith contributed the most minutes per game of her season last week and turned in two strong performances with 15 and 11 points. We are seeing just how deep this team is.
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No. 3 Drury | Previous: 4
The Panthers rebounded from their stunning loss to Truman with a 26-point victory. Alana Findley is blossoming into a DII star with nightly averages of 15.1 points and 8.3 rebounds. She leads a roster that can put up points, but like Glenville State, controls the tempo with the Panthers’ style of aggressive play. The way Ashland, Drury and Grand Valley State are playing the Midwest Region tournament is going to be bonkers.
No. 4 North Georgia | Previous: 5
The Nighthawks continue their climb, continuing to edge out PBC-rival Lander thanks to the head-to-head victory on Jan. 8. North Georgia has won eight in a row and saw the return of Caroline Martin to the rotation after missing the previous two games. She dropped 21 points and eight rebounds in a 32-point victory.
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No. 5 Lubbock Christian | Previous: 8
The Chaps have been on a surprising rollercoaster ride in the Power 10 this season. They plummeted last week after falling to Texas A&M-Commerce, but rebounded with three straight wins, each one coming by at least 20 points. One year after going undefeated with the best scoring defense in DII, Lubbock Christian is strong again: Its 49.9 points per game allowed is third-best in DII.
No. 6 Fort Hays State | Previous: 1
Despite the loss to Missouri Southern, the Tigers are still a very strong team. They have the second-best scoring offense and scoring margin in the MIAA paired with a defense that allows just 60.6 points per game. Fort Hays State has an immediate chance to jump back up the rankings: The Tigers play Nebraska-Kearney this weekend looking to avenge one of their two losses this season.
No. 7 Lander | Previous: 7
Lander has been battling cancellations but did win its one game since the last Power 10. Even with DII women’s basketball’s fourth-leading scorer Zamiya Passmore on the shelf, this team has a bevy of scorers. In the Bearcats’ 81-74 win over Georgia Southwestern, six players scored in double figures. Makaila Cangé continues to be a special player with five double-doubles in her past six games.
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No. 8 Grand Valley State | Previous: 9
Perhaps it’s because, statistically speaking, the Lakers are the “third-best” team in their region, but it still doesn’t seem that they get the respect they deserve. The Midwest Region has had a representative in the national championship game in three of the past four seasons — it is no easy task to come out of there alive. This Lakers team has the best scoring defense in DII and one of the strongest performance indicators in any region.
No. 9 Western Washington| Previous: First five out
Finally. The Vikings had played just one game in 2022, which was a loss that dropped them from the Power 10 for the first time in two months. This past week, they won a pair of games, including a tremendous conference and in-region win against Alaska Anchorage. The Vikings are checking off the boxes the selection committee looks for with each win while pacing a deep GNAC atop the standings.
No. 10 Eckerd | Previous: First five out
The Tritons are arguably the top team not just in the Sunshine State Conference, but a deep South Region. Eckerd is 12-1 with DII’s second-best scoring defense and has signature victories over nationally ranked Bentley and Tampa. Eckerd has been waiting two years to defend its SSC tournament title, and it is looking like a real contender to do so.
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First five out (in alphabetical order):
- Azusa Pacific: The Cougars just keep winning, extending their streak to 10 straight since their Nov. 19 loss to Western Washington. The team is deep as well with six capable scorers putting up at least 9.1 points per game.
- Colorado School of Mines: This was a huge week in the RMAC for the Orediggers. First, they defeated nationally ranked Colorado Mesa and followed that up with a thrilling overtime victory over second-place Westminster to stay all alone atop the standings.
- Nebraska-Kearney: Yes, this team lost, but gets a chance to rebound against Fort Hays State this weekend. Even in defeats, the Lopers’ defense has been really tough.
- Union (TN): The Bulldogs are on an absolute tear, winners of 12 in a row. This past week they laid their claim to first place in the Gulf South Conference with huge wins over West Florida and second-place, nationally ranked Valdosta State.
- Wingate: Another group of Bulldogs, Wingate is now 16-1 on the season. They haven’t played the toughest schedule but have run the table since an opening night loss … by a mere four points. Wingate has a big season sweep over Carson-Newman as well.