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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | October 21, 2022

Grand Valley State tops preseason DII women's basketball Power 10 rankings

Glenville State wins DII Women's Basketball Championship

The 2021-22 DII women’s basketball season ended with a little bit of history. Glenville State brought the title home for the first time in program history and to West Virginia for the first time in DII history.

Kim Stephens has put together a lot of fun high-scoring offenses with the Pioneers over her tenure, but perhaps no team was decimated more by graduation and transfers than last year’s team. With a rebuild on the horizon, for the first time in the young history of the DII women’s basketball Power 10 rankings, the defending national champions won’t begin the new year on top.

Who will? Let’s find out.

DII WOMEN'S HOOPS CENTRAL: News, stats, history and scores

2022-23 DII women’s basketball preseason Power 10 rankings

No. 1 Grand Valley State: The Lakers were national semifinalists last season and return just about everyone. That includes their top four scorers and potential GLIAC player of the year Emily Spitzley. This defense is always stingy and with all this experience coming back wanting to avenge that semifinals loss, this could be the most dangerous team in the land.

No. 2 Western Washington: The national runner-up returns a ton of experience, including NCAA West Regional MVP Brooke Walling and GNAC defensive player of the year Avery Dykstra. What could make the Vikings even more formidable in 2022-23 is the addition of Lone Star Conference defensive player of the year Stephanie Peterson. This team was deep and arguably got deeper.

No. 3 Ashland: The Eagles lose a bit of that veteran leadership but return plenty. Annie Roshak is a player of the year contender and while there are seven returners on this seemingly always tough squad, it’s the addition of three transfers that may make Ashland tough to beat. Maddie Maloney, who transfers in from Saginaw Valley State, is an early frontrunner for G-MAC newcomer of the year.

No. 4 North Georgia: DII women’s basketball power rankings would be incomplete without the Nighthawks, wouldn’t they? North Georgia made a run to the national semifinals last year, and while not everyone is back, Caroline Martin, Josie Earnhardt, and newcomer Niyah Lutz (who averaged 8.7 points and 5.7 rebounds at DI Wofford) are as formidable a Big Three as you’ll find in the Southeast. The Nighthawks are geared up for yet another deep run.

No. 5 Union (TN): Union has really become synonymous with success and DII women’s basketball — a perennial favorite in the Gulf South Conference. This year is no different, with 11 returners led by Shanique Lucas, who averaged 11.8 points per game last year. Transfers Lauren West and Ally Winnen give this team depth and DII experience. It should be another 25-win season in Tennessee.

No. 6 Drury: The Panthers may have lost Paige Robinson, one of the best players in DII women’s basketball, but as always, this team is deep with talent. Alana Findley, Kaylee DaMitz and Terrion Moore can all score and Findley was one of the best overall players in the conference last year. Freshman Reese Schaaf is certainly one to watch, but I’m interested to see the impact transfer Caitlynn Daniels — a member of the Conference USA All-Freshman team, makes as she could be an X-factor in this team’s success.

No. 7 West Texas A&M: The Buffs went through some changes last year, and by tourney time, they were clicking, taking down South Central heavyweight Lubbock Christian to get to the DII women's Elite Eight. Four of the top five scorers are back, as are three transfers to fill the post, so there will be interesting depth on this team. 

No. 8 Lubbock Christian: The Lady Chaps did not make it to the Elite Eight last season, so you can be sure that is fresh on the minds of the nine returners. Winners of three of the last six national championships, this program could lose every player and still be a contender. Now while the big scorers from last year are gone, experienced veterans like Maci Maddox and Grace Foster are back to lead a group of freshman that are expected to make an instant impact.

No. 9 Missouri Southern: The MIAA is going to be an awesome battle between the Lions and Fort Hays State, but I’m giving the Lions the early season edge. This team went from a 9-win team in 2021 to a 24-win tournament team in 2022 and return the five top scorers that got them there. Lacy Stokes is a player of the year candidate before the ball is even tipped… as a sophomore.

No. 10 (tie) Glenville State, Fort Hays State: Like I said, for Glenville State there are zero returning players, a tough Charleston (WV) team in the same conference, but here’s the bottom line: Stephens has steadily built a program that wins ball games and scores a ton of points. She deserves the benefit of the doubt that somehow, some way, the new-look defending champs will find a way to compete right off the bat. This may be too low, but Fort Hays State did lose three big seniors. Still, Katie Wagner and Olivia Hollenbeck are two all-conference returners that should have FHSU right in the MIAA hunt. 

First five out (in alphabetical order)

  • Azusa Pacific: The Cougars are a perennial threat for the West Region. With three all-conference players returning, nothing changes in 2022-23.
  • Cal State San Marcos: It was Cal State East Bay that earned the No. 1 seed in the West Region last year, but the Cougars have more returners back in 2022-23, including Jordan Vasquez who is an early CCAA player of the year candidate. 
  • Colorado School of Mines: Three of the top five scorers are back as well as two players that played in every game as key role players in the RMAC championship run. Throw in a pair of DI transfers and this team looks like it will keep rolling. 
  • Lander: There’s a new coaching regime and a lot of new faces, but Zamiya Passmore is one of the best in DII when healthy. She could be the veteran presence this team needs to stay competitive.
  • Missouri Western: You may have noticed the MIAA is stacked this year. Missouri Western returns four of the top six scorers from its Elite Eight run and four starters and could very well be top 10 by Week 1. 

Also considered: Barry, Bentley, Cal State East Bay, Charleston (WV), Eckerd, Minnesota Duluth, Southwestern Oklahoma State, St. Cloud State, Tampa, Valdosta State, Walsh

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