The DII women's basketball season is quickly creeping up on the first regional rankings of the season. That means there is a little less than a month to improve those tournament resumes, which makes it all the more impressive that Ashland is still undefeated, the last remaining perfect team in the division.
LOOK BACK: Check out the previous Power 10 rankings
That puts the Eagles in firm control of the No. 1 spot. Now, those first regional rankings will be in alphabetical order, so we won't know who the top team is just yet. What you will find out shortly is three Power 10 teams are in the same region.
If there were a No. 1 seed in each region for next Wednesday's regional rankings, I think it would break down as follows.
- Easy picks: Glenville State (Atlantic), Ashland (Midwest), Tampa (South), Western Washington (West).
- Tough picks:
- East: Jefferson. Assumption has a similar record and is nationally ranked (which has no bearing AT ALL in regional rankings). However, Southern New Hampshire beat the Greyhounds and has played a tougher schedule. Jefferson seems to be taking care of business, and although a slightly lower strength of schedule (SOS) than SNHU, I think the Rams get No. 1 for now.
- Central: Minnesota Duluth. This is going to the most minute detail. Central Missouri, Nebraska-Kearney, and the Bulldogs have played a SOS all in the top 60, with the Bulldogs in the top 10. The Lopers lost to Central Missouri (and have a rematch this week) making it even more confusing, so I think that eliminates both from No. 1 until we get more clarity.
- South Central: Texas Woman's. Remember, the bracket is built on metrics and basically attempts to build a bracket on a mathematical equation. The Power 10 is more of a look at the hottest teams right now. Texas Woman's is exactly that, but based on metrics, the Pioneers and Colorado School of Mines are pretty close. Since the Orediggers dominate in SOS, I think it is the Pioneers but wouldn't be surprised if the Orediggers hosted.
- Southeast: Catawba. A recent skid by Georgia Southwestern and uncharacteristic 15-6 record from North Georgia opened things up at the top. The Indians, Wingate and Lenoir-Rhyne have a nice little battle going in the SAC Piedmont Division, and Catawba swept Wingate and split with Lenoir-Rhyne, giving it the edge... for now.
Now, on to the rankings.
The fifth DII women’s Power 10 rankings of the regular season (Note: All games through Feb. 6)
No. 1 Ashland | Previous: 1: As I said, the Eagles are now 23-0 and the only undefeated team in the division. They continue to be one of the more balanced teams in the division, with a top-five scoring offense and a defense that allows a mere 58.4 points per game. The top four scorers aren't just averaging double digits in points per game, they are doing by shooting a combined 62.5 percent. These shooters are deadly.
No. 2 Drury | Previous: 2: Well, if there were actual numbered seeds in the first regional rankings, Drury is the best No. 2 in the division. Now 21-1, the Panthers' lone loss came at the hands of Ashland by one in overtime almost three months ago. They have since won 17 straight and are powered by a top-five offense scoring 82.6 points per game. I have written much about their "Big Three," but Alana Findley is really putting in a GLVC player-of-the-year performance, leading the team in rebounds and steals while chipping in 14.2 points per game.
No. 3 Tampa | Previous: 3: The Spartans, who would undoubtedly be No. 1 in the South, have one loss this season and most recently avenged it. Tampa crushed Palm Beach Atlantic by 16 after losing by a mere basket to the Sailfish earlier this season. The Spartans have won 10 in a row, including key victories over fellow SSC heavyweights Eckerd, Nova Southeastern, and Lynn. You have to assume Sydney Kin is in the hunt for SCC player of the year, averaging nearly a double-double for the season.
No. 4 Western Washington | Previous: 6: The Vikings jump back up in the rankings after a big conference win against Central Washington. There is not enough credit given to this team's 18-2 record, especially when you consider it has been compiled against the 11th toughest schedule in the division. You won't find many teams outside the Power 10 as deep as the Vikings, as this really is a team effort: Eight players contribute at least 6.1 points per game.
No. 5 Texas Woman's | Previous: 10: Up, up and away the Pioneers go. Now winners of 19 straight since their overtime loss way back on Nov. 16, Texas Woman's is on absolute fire, climbing every rankings there are. Now, this region will be tricky, because Colorado School of Mines has played a much tougher schedule (statistically speaking), but make no mistake: The Pioneers have beaten the tough (and ranked) teams in their way. Ashley Ingram and Sadie Moyer continue to lead the way for the breakout team of the season.
No. 6 Glenville State | Previous: 7: The reigning champs continue to build steam, dominating its way to five wins in a row after its one-point loss about a month ago. Probably to no one's surprise these Pioneers are leading DII women's basketball in scoring (as usual) and are fueled by their fast-paced, aggressive defense (as usual), second in the division with 16.0 steals per game. While this is a group effort, Breanna Campbell has played amazing basketball, leading the team in rebounds, assists, and steals while scoring 15.8 points per game.
No. 7 Grand Valley State | Previous: First five out: The Lakers are back in the Power 10 after suffering that one-point loss to a great Michigan Tech team. In the three games since, we've seen their high-powered offense (No. 13 in the division) and third-ranked scoring defense pull off some pretty large victories. We'll know a lot more after Thursday, Feb. 9 when Michigan Tech comes to town. Another Huskies win ties Michigan Tech with the Lakers in the GLIAC and would give it the edge with the season sweep, possibly boosting them back into the Power 10.
No. 8 Eckerd | Previous: First five out: The Tritons have played the third-toughest schedule in DII women's basketball and are 19-3 after one week in February. That's flat out impressive. They have wins against nationally ranked opponents, and when you consider their two losses (competitive losses at that) were to the No. 2 and No. 3 team on this Power 10, it shows how tough they are. Sofia Persson and Maya Price are both averaging more than 15 points and seven rebounds per game.
No. 9 Central Missouri | Previous 5: The Jennies get the nod because of their Jan. 2 win over Nebraska-Kearney, but the Thursday rematch could quickly change things. A victory for the Jennies could boost them up, possibly to the No. 1 spot in the region. A loss could see either Minnesota Duluth or the Lopers take their spot here. Still, at 18-2 and playing a very tough schedule in the loaded MIAA, they hold tight inside the Power 10 despite the recent lost to a very strong Missouri Southern team.
ALL-STATS TEAM: A dream starting five of the best stats through January
No. 10 Cal State Dominguez Hills | Previous: 4: All good things come to an end, and such did the Toros 19-game winning streak to start the season. Still, 21-1 isn't too shabby at all, especially considering they quickly rebounded with a pair of double-digit victories after that first one-point loss. Dawnyel Lair leads the way, tops on the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals, for a team that plays solid on both sides of the court.
DII WOMEN'S HOOPS CENTRAL: News, stats, history and scores
First five out (in alphabetical order)
- Azusa Pacific
- Colorado School of Mines
- Michigan Tech
- Minnesota Duluth