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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | February 2, 2022

Azusa Pacific enters the DII women's basketball Power 10 rankings as unbeaten Glenville State stays No. 1

Wayne Cavadi's top second-half storylines for DII women's basketball

The quiet before the storm. January ended smoothly for the bulk of the DII women’s basketball Power 10, with nearly every team winning at least one game. Glenville State, still undefeated, remains No. 1 with 18-1 Ashland not far behind. It was the first time in three weeks the No. 1 team held its spot.

But that was January.

LOOK BACK: Glenville State jumps to No. 1 in the Power 10

As February opens, it is important to note we are just a few games away from March when the conference and the NCAA DII tournaments begin. Every game from here on out matters and one loss can turn the Power 10 rankings on its head.

Remember, the DII women’s Power 10 rankings are mine, and mine alone. These rankings are a compilation of overall record and statistical rankings as well as some of the criteria the selection committee uses come tourney time. You can expect a new Power 10 on Wednesdays until the DII women’s basketball tournament commences.

The DII women’s basketball Power 10 — all games through Jan. 31

No. 1 Glenville State | Previous: 1

The Pioneers are one of four undefeated teams in all DII college basketball, so their 18-0 mark is very impressive. Re’Shawna Stone, Zakiyah Winfield, Taychaun Hubbard, Dazha Congleton, Mashayla Cecil, Vendela Danielsson and Abby Stoller are all capable scorers — that’s seven players scoring more than seven points a game. That’s why the Pioneers are scoring almost 100 points per game when the next closest team in DII women’s basketball is averaging 84.4.

ALL-STATS: Here is January's DII women's basketball starting five

No. 2 Ashland | Previous: 2

The Eagles have now won 15 in a row since the loss to Southern Indiana on Nov. 24. As it turns out, that Southern Indiana team is really good, which makes the loss a little easier to swallow. This is another deep Ashland team, with four players contributing double-digit points nightly, helping the Eagles stomp teams by 21.2 points per game. Feb. 17 is a big one — Ashland and Walsh go head-to-head in a huge G-MAC showdown.

No. 3 Drury | Previous: 3

The Panthers are doing what the Panthers do: win. Over the past five seasons, the Panthers have lost just three games in conference play, including going a perfect 12-0 in the last four GLVC tournaments. When the calendar flips to January, Drury is on a different level and after three more double-digit wins, it looks like the Panthers are on the attack again. Alana Findley’s breakout campaign continues, and she is settling in as one of the leaders for this Drury squad.

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No. 4 North Georgia | Previous: 4

Another pair of large wins this week has the Nighthawks winners of 10 in a row and sitting at 16-1 overall. There’s always a lot of talk about Julianne Sutton and Caroline Martin, but the entire starting five is a bunch of scorers. Abbie Franklin, Jamari McDavid and Josie Earnhardt contribute more than 30 points to the Nighthawks' 71.6 points scored per game as this rotation is deep and talented.

No. 5 Fort Hays State | Previous: 6

The Tigers sneak up a spot after a tremendous win against Nebraska-Kearney last week. The 13-point victory over the nationally ranked Lopers is huge for regional rankings, but also avenges one of their two losses on the season. Fort Hays State utterly dominated the second half in that one, outsourcing UNK 47-24 with a balanced scoring attack from every player who touched the floor. This team is dangerous and could be the top seed in the Central come March.

No. 6 Lander | Previous: 7

The Bearcats have been dodging postponements and cancellations, but still got a game in last week. That was a 14-point romp over Flagler to improve to 14-2 on the season. Makaila Cangé had a monster game, going for 23 points and 18 rebounds and continues to keep her name in the mix for player of the year. Feb. 12 is quickly approaching: The Bearcats look to avenge their loss to North Georgia on their home court in a game with tremendous Southeast Region implications.

No. 7 Grand Valley State | Previous: 8

It appears the rest of the world has finally woken up on the Lakers. While Grand Valley State has been inside the Power 10 for nearly the entire season, the Lakers finally entered the WBCA and D2SIDA top 10, making them a consensus top-10 team in the land. From the opening tip, this has been one of the best teams in DII women’s basketball and now winners of 12 in a row, there doesn’t appear to be much slowing them down. Sitting at 17-1, the Lakers defense is the best in DII, allowing a paltry 48.1 points per game.

TOURNEY FAQ: The essential guide to the DII women's basketball championship

No. 8 Azusa Pacific | Previous: First five out

Finally the Cougars break through. Azusa Pacific entered the season at No. 3 in the preseason Power 10. An early season loss to Western Washington plus a lower strength of schedule prevented the Cougars from climbing in the West and Power 10, but at 15-1, this team is ready to spring up the rankings. Azusa Pacific has won 12 in a row by pairing an explosive offense and suffocating defense and look like an unstoppable force right now. No. 8 may be too low.

No. 9 Eckerd | Previous: 10

The South Region is a tough one and the Tritons are the last remaining one-loss team. They had to sweat it out this week, with a one-point victory over Saint Leo and tight one against Nova Southeastern, but that shows that this team can still win games when that smothering defense (which allows just 52.3 points per game) is held in check. This team doesn’t score a lot and forces opponents to play at their tempo, but if they continue to score when it matters, Eckerd will be tough to beat.

No. 10 (tie) Western Washington and Texas A&M-Commerce | Previous: 9 and NR

The Vikings have not had a smooth 2022, playing only four games thus far. But Western Washington is 3-1 in those games and is still a very good basketball team. The West is wild per usual right now with the Vikings, Central Washington, Cal State East Bay and Azusa Pacific all looking like contenders for the DII Elite Eight.

After Lubbock Christian dropped its fourth game of the season, Texas A&M-Commerce is now the team to beat in the South Central. A 16-point win over a very good Texas A&M International team this past Saturday cemented that. Dyani Robinson and DesiRay Kernal continue to be a dynamic duo for the Lions.

2021 STORYLINES: 10 things you missed from the fall of 2021

First five out (in alphabetical order):

  • Cal State East Bay: The Pioneers are 15-1 and winners of 14 in a row while remaining perfect in the CCAA. Delia Moore, Madison Schiller and Mina Tameliau give the Pioneers a strong Big Three in their attack.
  • Colorado School of Mines: The Orediggers dropped a tough one to CSU Pueblo, but at 17-2 are still a team to be reckoned with in the RMAC. This team is winning by more than 20 points per game and have a potent and balanced scoring attack.
  • Lubbock Christian: In all the years of the Power 10 rankings, this is a first. The Chaps are on the outside looking in after picking up their fourth loss of the season. Don’t be fooled, this team is still a contender for the title.
  • Union (TN): Winners of 12 in a row, the Bulldogs are simply one of the strongest teams in DII. They tested themselves early in the season with five DII games in a row against ranked opponents and came out 3-2. This is a team that can hang with the top competition.
  • Wingate: These Bulldogs put the win in Wingate. Since their opening night four-point loss, the Bulldogs have won 18 in a row. Haleigh Brandon is one of the best rebounders in DII and leads the SAC with 13.3 per game.

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