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Wayne Cavadi | | February 16, 2022

Barton enters the DII women's basketball Power 10 rankings as conference tournaments near

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

We are just one week away until conference tournaments commence. Every win matters, but more importantly, so does every loss. Since the last DII women’s basketball Power 10 rankings, teams that have been atop the rankings like North Georgia, Fort Hays State and Azusa Pacific have all suffered key losses.

Glenville State, on the other hand, has yet to lose. That leaves the Pioneers locked in at No. 1 for yet another week.

LOOK BACK: Here is how the previous Power 10 rankings looked

These DII women’s Power 10 rankings are mine, and mine alone. They are a compilation of overall record and statistical rankings as well as some of the criteria the selection committee uses come tourney time. The next Power 10 rankings will come Wednesday, March 9 before the NCAA DII tournament begins.

The DII women’s basketball Power 10 — all games through Feb. 15

No. 1 Glenville State | Previous: 1

The Pioneers are now 23-0 and are absolutely crushing opponents right now. They have surpassed the century mark both times in their past two games and lead DII women’s basketball with 99.7 points per game. This isn’t just an offensive powerhouse though. Don’t sleep on the defense which causes a DII-best 15.8 steals per game and fuels the offense. Glenville State is beating opponents by 36.9 points per game, nearly 15 points better than the next best team.

No. 2 Ashland | Previous: 2

The Eagles have won 19 in a row and sit at 22-1. This is another team utterly dominating the competition, winning by 21.5 points per game. This team is wonderfully balanced with four scorers dropping more than 12 points per game, and three of those players average more than five rebounds per game. The Eagles recently completed the season sweep of a very good Kentucky Wesleyan team and have Walsh on deck this week. A win against the Cavaliers would be huge and all but lock up the G-MAC in Ashland’s first season of competition.

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No. 3 Drury | Previous: 3

Drury had a rough month or so trying to establish its identity minus their star player Paige Robinson. Well, Robinson has returned … and with a vengeance. She scored 23 points in 21 minutes in her first game back, helping the Panthers take down nationally ranked Southern Indiana by 19 points. Then she scored 26 points in 20 minutes in a 56-point victory this past weekend. The problem for everyone else is that while Robinson recovered from injury, Alana Findley broke out as one of the best in the conference. Drury is loaded with weapons and looks like the team we knew it was in 2021.

No. 4 Grand Valley State | Previous: 7

The Lakers continue their climb to the top and if you notice, the Midwest Region has the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 teams in the Power 10. This is going to be one amazing regional tournament. The Lakers are still the top defense in DII women’s basketball, and at 47.3 points per game, they lead by more than two full points. They close the season with three pretty tough opponents, one of which is Saginaw Valley State — the Lakers’ lone loss of the season.

WATCH OUT: 5 under-the-radar teams that could do damage in March

No. 5 Texas A&M-Commerce | Previous: 10 (tied)

The Lions have won seven in a row and are starting to get some breathing room in the South Central region. The Feb. 22 matchup against Texas Woman’s could very well decide the Lone Star Conference and should be an interesting one. Currently, the Lions have the top scoring offense in the conference. Dyani Robinson, DesiRay Kernal and Chania Wright contribute 37.8 points per game, leading the charge.

No. 6 Union (TN) | Previous: First five out

The Bulldogs are on a tear, having won 16 in a row. The last loss was to Drury way back on Nov. 24 and they have picked up big wins against Lee, Valdosta State and West Florida along the way. Union is very balanced, paced by the top-scoring offense in the Gulf South as well as the third-best scoring defense. Jaelencia Williams has long been a name to watch, but with the way the Bulldogs are playing, she has become a player-of-the-year candidate.

HISTORY: The programs with the most titles

It should be noted: The next four teams, as well as the first five out were very tricky. Every one of these teams lost at least once since the previous Power 10 on Feb. 2, a few of which were to each other. It came down to very minute details that separated the remaining teams in the Power 10.

No. 7 Fort Hays State | Previous: 5

The Tigers dropped one to 5-19 Northeastern State since the last Power 10 but rebounded and defeated those same RiverHawks by 19. The Central Region is a cluster atop the rankings, but Fort Hays State has played well against the in-region competition. The Tigers have split with Nebraska-Kearney and have a big win against Missouri Western, but also have several tough games remaining. You have to like this team’s balance, especially with Katie Wagner leading the way.

No. 8 Barton | Previous: NR

Welcome to the Power 10, Bulldogs. At 22-1 it was hard to ignore what they have accomplished thus far, and in pretty much dominant fashion. Barton leads Conference Carolinas in scoring and is second in defense allowing just 54.4 points per game. The Bulldogs are winning games by more than 21 points a night and haven’t lost since Dec. 4. Shanika Peterkin and Jami Tham have been playing incredible basketball. Both are averaging more than 15 points and nine rebounds per game. Tham has been particularly hot of late: She’s scored at least 21 points in five of her last six games with five double-doubles over that span.

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No. 9 North Georgia | Previous: 4

This is a tough one. The Nighthawks dropped a game to Georgia Southwestern, which now leads the Peach Belt Conference, and followed with a stunning loss to Clayton State. How did they bounce back? They defeated PBC rival and top-10 Lander, completing the season sweep. Yes, the two losses hurt, but defeating Lander keeps them in the hunt for the PBC and are still likely the top team in the Southeast.

No. 10 Western Washington | Previous: 10 (tie)

The Vikings have had a rough 2022 portion of their schedule. But a two-point win over Central Washington — one of our under-the-radar teams for March — and a 21-point victory on Tuesday seems to have Western Washington back on track. This team is driven by the best scoring defense in the GNAC, and the Vikings will need it down the stretch. They have a huge game Saturday against Alaska Anchorage that has tremendous GNAC and West Region implications.

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

First five out (in alphabetical order):

Just to reiterate, this week was very close. Anyone of these teams could have been in the top 10, and when we say they just missed, it was by mere fractions. Each of these teams could be in the next Power 10 if they keep winning.

  • Azusa Pacific: The Cougars dropped their first PacWest game last week and it was to third-place Dominican (CA). This team is still in the driver’s seat and is vying for the top spot out West. Paige Uyehara has been terrific, scoring 13.4 points per game and leading the team in assists and steals.
  • Colorado School of Mines: The Orediggers are back on track after two losses in a three-game stretch. They have won four games in a row, all by many points. With one loss to CSU Pueblo, the Feb. 26 rematch in the regular-season finale could decide the RMAC. The Orediggers own the top scoring offense and defense in the conference, making them a very tough team to beat twice.
  • Eckerd: This could have easily been their SSC-counterpart Tampa, who defeated the Tritons last week. That is a season split, but at 16-2, Eckerd gets another week in the top 15 after bouncing back with two huge wins. Allowing just 52.7 points per game, Eckerd has one of the best defenses in DII and should help it go far.
  • Lander: The Bearcats are still a very good team, but two losses to North Georgia has them on the outside looking in for the first time in 2022. The loss of Zamiya Passmore has taken its toll in the second half, but there are still many weapons that will make the Peach Belt a fun battle. As always, if Lander gets in the NCAA tournament, it is a threat for the DII Elite Eight.
  • Southwestern Oklahoma State: The Bulldogs are rolling, now winners of seven in a row with all but one coming in dominating fashion. Makyra Tramble is a DII women’s basketball star, averaging 20.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while leading the team in steals and assists. I think Bethany Franks is the X-factor here: Not only is she very good, she’s the last remaining player from the 2019 championship game. That experience down the stretch with a younger team is invaluable.

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