The bracket is filled, and we are ready for the 2022 DII women’s basketball tournament to get started. Before the ball is tipped, let’s break down the 10 best teams heading into regional play.
Glenville State saw its undefeated run come to an end in the MEC championship game against Charleston (WV). Union (TN) hasn’t lost since last year. There has been quite the shakeup in the DII women’s basketball Power 10 rankings.
🔮 PREDICTIONS: The entire DII women's basketball bracket predicted from start to finish
The Power 10 rankings are mine, and mine alone. They are a compilation of overall record and statistical rankings as well as in-region RPI, performance indicator, strength of schedule and other tournament criteria. The next DII women’s basketball Power 10 rankings will be the final of 2022 at the conclusion of the tournament.
The DII women’s basketball Power 10 — all games through March 6
No. 1 Union (TN) | Previous: 6
It has been an incredible run for the Bulldogs. They opened the season with four ranked opponents in their first five games. After a Nov. 24 loss to Drury, Union sat at 3-2 and hasn’t lost since That includes an 18-0 romp through the Gulf South Conference to win both the regular season and tournament title. Jaelencia Williams is the star — averaging nearly a double-double per game — but this team is loaded with talent.
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No. 2 Glenville State | Previous: 1
The Pioneers ran their record to 29-0 before falling to Charleston (WV) in the MEC finals by a mere three points. This has been what we’ve seen in the past, this electric offense runs into a defense in March that holds them to a season-low in points. So, maybe Glenville State got that game out of the way and is ready to charge through the Atlantic and breakthrough to the DII Women’s Elite Eight. GSU finished up conference tourney play leading DII in scoring, scoring margin and turnover margin and is seven-deep in scoring threats.
No. 3 Grand Valley State | Previous: 4
Get ready. The next three teams are all in the same region. When teams are this comparable for the Power 10 rankings, you must look at the details. While Ashland won its conference, and the Lakers were stunned by Ferris State, the Lakers finished with the top RPI and PI in the Midwest Region. That allows the top defensive team in DII women’s basketball to sneak past its Midwest foes into the No. 3 spot.
No. 4 Ashland | Previous: 2
Ashland earned the No. 1 seed in the Midwest after it defeated a top-25 Walsh team to win its first G-MAC title in history (of course, this was its first year in the conference). It was really tight between the former GLIAC rivals, but if you think Ashland is any “worse” than GVSU because it is ranked lower, think again. The Eagles have tournament-tested, veteran leadership and are riding a six-game winning streak into the toughest region in the entire bracket.
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No. 5 Drury | Previous: 3
The Panthers had a four-loss season, which is a lot for some of these players. Paige Robinson, for example, had more losses this year than she experienced in her first three award-winning seasons — combined. But the Panthers fought through a rare, bumpy part of the schedule and look like a fine-tuned machine heading into the tournament, winning all four GLVC tournament games by at least 10 points for their sixth-straight conference title. Things look back on track at Drury.
No. 6 Fort hays State | Previous: 7
The Tigers put together back-to-back gritty wins against two teams (Nebraska-Kearney and Missouri Southern) that found their way to the NCAA tournament. FHSU prevailed and finished its run as co-MIAA regular season champs and tournament champs. That defense held UNK to just 46 points and Missouri Southern to 42. If this team — which has scorers aplenty — is defending this well, the Central Region has its hands full.
No. 7 North Georgia | Previous: 9
The Nighthawks are the No. 1 seed in a tricky Southeast Region. Julianne Sutton and Caroline Martin are both tournament experienced and extremely talented players that could lead the way. They did not get a favorable draw, having to face a Columbus State team for the third time since Feb. 19, but UNG has been victorious over the Cougars thus far. This team is very well balanced on both sides of the ball and should be a threat to advance to the quarterfinals.
No. 8 Barton | Previous: 8
There is just something about Bulldogs in 2022. Barton finished the season 28-1 and like Union, it is on an absolute tear, having not lost since 2021 and winners of 22 straight. Shanika Peterkin and Jami Tham are going to prove a difficult challenge for every team in the Southeast Region as the only duo in the tournament that are both averaging a double-double on the season. That presence in the paint is unmatched and could propel the Bulldogs to the DII Women’s Elite Eight.
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No. 9 Southwestern Oklahoma State | Previous: First five out
Yet another bunch of Bulldogs on a heater down the stretch. SWOSU last lost on Jan. 22 and is heading into the tournament with a full head of steam behind a 14-game winning streak. This team knows how to win in the tournament; they unfortunately saw their season end at the hands of Lubbock Christian the past two seasons (just like everyone else). This team has four players that can score in double figures and that doesn’t include Bethany Franks, who is averaging 9.0 points per game and is the veteran leader that knows how to win.
No. 10 Lander | Previous: First five out
I kind of threw the numbers out the window, because what the Bearcats have done is downright impressive. They lost one of the best players in all DII (Zamiya Passmore) on Jan. 15 and instead of buckling, they ran all the way to the No. 2 seed in one of the toughest regions in the bracket. Makaila Cangé has become a DII superstar along the way and despite losing a top-5 scorer in the division, Lander still led the PBC in scoring offense and scoring margin, beating opponents by just shy of 20 points per game.
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First five out (in alphabetical order):
- Cal State East Bay: The Pioneers are the top seed in a loaded West Region, and that says something. They finished 22-2 to capture their first CCAA title since 2017. This team has a very nice balance and has proven they can win.
- Central Washington: The No. 2 seed in the West has been remarkable this season. The Wildcats have played one of the toughest schedules in the entire division and had to beat Alaska Anchorage and Western Washington to win the GNAC. The Wildcats’ “Big Three” make them contenders in the West.
- Minnesota Duluth: Guess what: We have another group of Bulldogs on a winning streak. Minnesota Duluth enters the tournament winners of 16 straight. The Bulldogs have not lost since Jan. 2 to St. Cloud State, a loss they avenged in the NSIC championship game.
- Tampa: The Sunshine State Conference was a battle this year and the Spartans prevailed, defeating Florida Southern to win the tournament title. This team really tested itself early and if you want to know how good they are, the Spartans were the only other team to beat Union outside of Drury.
- West Texas A&M The Buffs played one of the toughest schedules in DII and came out of the South Central with the top RPI in the region. Some felt this may be a rebuilding year, but instead, West Texas A&M defeated Lubbock Christian and Texas A&M-Commerce to win the LSC tournament and lock up the No. 1 seed in a tough region.