The 2023 DII women's basketball season ended with Ashland winning its third national championship since 2013.
Cal Poly Pomona won the very first title in 1982, and would go on to become one of the programs with the most championships in the history of the sport.
Let’s take a look at the DII women’s basketball programs with the most titles.
2023 RECAP: Ashland wins the 2023 national championship
Cal Poly Pomona, 5 (1982, 1985-86, 2001-02)
The Broncos set the bar for DII women’s basketball. They won the first-ever championship game and two short years later, the Broncos were the first program to go back-to-back. Cal Poly Pomona defined powerhouse, appearing in six of the first eight national championship games, winning three and losing three. The Broncos left their mark more recently as well becoming the first team to win in the new millennium, winning consecutive titles in 2001 and 2002.
North Dakota State 5, (1991, 1993-96)
The Bison began a 1990s run of dominance by the state of North Dakota in DII women's basketball, one in which a North Dakota program won eight of the ten titles. North Dakota State appeared in six straight national championship games, winning in 1991, losing in 1992, and then winning the next four in a row, a feat that has yet to be matched. Legendary coach Amy Ruley won all five, the only DII women’s basketball coach to do so. There were plenty of Bison faithful on hand to watch the run. North Dakota State led DII women’s basketball in attendance from 1992 to 2000.
Ashland, 3 (2013, 2017, 2023)
The Eagles have become one of the premier programs in DII women's basketball. Not only do they have those three national championships, they have a pair of national runners-up campaigns to add to their resume, all since 2012. Kari Pickens coached the most recent Ashland team to victory and was a star player on the Eagles first title team in 2013. In 2023, the Eagles became just the second program in DII women's basketball history to have two undefeated championship seasons (with Lubbock Christian being the other).
Lubbock Christian, 3 (2016, 2019, 2021)
The sport's current dynasty began playing at the DII level in the 2015-16 season. Not only did the Chaparrals win the national championship that year, but they've won two more in the time since. Head coach Steve Gomez has been at the helm for all three. In 2021, Lubbock Christian became the first team to repeat as champions since Cal Poly Pomona in 2002.
North Dakota, 3 (1997-99)
The North Dakota dominance of the 90s that was started by the Bison was concluded by the Fighting Hawks who won the last three championships to close out the decade. North Dakota was utterly dominant as Gene Roebuck’s squads won all three titles without a doubt, with 16 points the narrowest margin of victory. North Dakota returned a final time to the title game in 2001 but lost to Cal Poly Pomona.
Delta State, 3 (1989-90, 1992)
The Lady Statesmen were on the verge of a dynasty themselves until the North Dakota teams came to power. That said, Delta State appeared in four championships in a five-year span, winning consecutive titles in ’89 and ’90 behind 30-plus win seasons. An interesting fun fact about Delta State: all three teams they defeated in the title game have won at least one national championship. It certainly earned those trophies.
Four programs currently have two national championship trophy’s sitting on display back on campus. Central Missouri waited a long time in between titles, the longest span of any tenure to be precise, first winning in 1984 — the same season the men’s program won its first title — before claiming the 2018 championship. Northern Kentucky had an eight-year gap in between championships, winning first in 2000 before a 2008 championship run. Nancy Winstel was head coach on both occasions. California (Pa) has won two titles in the 2000s, first in 2004 and then again in 2014.
Here’s the complete history of the DII women’s basketball championship game. Note that there was no winner in 2020, as the tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
|2023||Ashland (37-0)||Kari Pickens||78-67||Minnesota Duluth||Dallas, TX|
|2022||Glenville State (35-1)||Kim Stephens||85-72||Western Washington||Birmingham, AL|
|2021||Lubbock Christian (23-0)||Steve Gomez||69-59||Drury||Columbus, Ohio|
|2019||Lubbock Christian (32-5)||Steve Gomez||95-85 (2OT)||Southwestern Oklahoma||Columbus, Ohio|
|2018||Central Missouri (30-3)||Dave Slifer||66-52||Ashland||Sioux Falls, S.D.|
|2017||Ashland (37-0)||Robyn Fralick||93-77||Virginia Union||Columbus, Ohio|
|2016||Lubbock Christian (35-0)||Steve Gomez||78-73||Alaska-Anch.||Indianapolis|
|2015||California (Pa.) (32-4)||Jess Strom||86-69||Cal Baptist||Sioux Falls, S.D.|
|2014||Bentley (35-0)||Barbara Stevens||73-65||West Texas A&M||Erie, Pa.|
|2013||Ashland (38-1)||Sue Ramsey||71-56||Dowling||San Antonio|
|2012||Shaw (29-6)||Jacques Curtis||88-82||Ashland||San Antonio|
|2011||Clayton State (35-1)||Dennis Cox||69-50||Michigan Tech||St. Joseph, Mo.|
|2010||Emporia State (30-5)||Brandon Schneider||65-53||Fort Lewis||St. Joseph, Mo.|
|2009||Minnesota State-Mankato (32-2)||Pam Gohl||103-94||Franklin Pierce||San Antonio|
|2008||Northern Kentucky (28-8)||Nancy Winstel||63-58||South Dakota||Kearney, Neb.|
|2007||Southern Connecticut State (34-2)||Joe Frager||61-45||Florida Gulf Coast||Kearney, Neb.|
|2006||Grand Valley State (33-3)||Dawn Plitzuweit||58-52||American International||Hot Springs, Ark.|
|2005||Washburn (35-2)||Ron McHenry||70-53||Seattle Pacific||Hot Springs, Ark.|
|2004||California (PA) (35-1)||Darcie Vincent||75-72||Drury||St. Joseph, Mo.|
|2003||South Dakota State (32-3)||Aaron Johnston||65-50||Northern Kentucky||St. Joseph, Mo.|
|2002||Cal Poly Pomona (28-4)||Paul Thomas||74-62||Southeastern Oklahoma||Rochester, Minn.|
|2001||Cal Poly Pomona (27-3)||Paul Thomas||87-80 (ot)||North Dakota||Rochester, Minn.|
|2000||Northern Kentucky (32-2)||Nancy Winstel||71-62 (ot)||North Dakota State||Pine Bluff, Ark.|
|1999||North Dakota (31-1)||Gene Roebuck||80-63||Arkansas Tech||Pine Bluff, Ark.|
|1998||North Dakota (31-1)||Gene Roebuck||92-76||Emporia State||Pine Bluff, Ark.|
|1997||North Dakota (28-4)||Gene Roebuck||94-78||Southern Indiana||Grand Forks, N.D.|
|1996||North Dakota State (30-2)||Amy Ruley||104-78||Shippensburg||Fargo, N.D.|
|1995||North Dakota State (32-0)||Amy Ruley||98-85||Portland State||Fargo, N.D.|
|1994||North Dakota State (27-5)||Amy Ruley||89-56||Cal State San B'dino||Fargo, N.D.|
|1993||North Dakota State (30-2)||Amy Ruley||95-63||Delta State||Waltham, Mass.|
|1992||Delta State (30-4)||Lloyd Clark||65-63||North Dakota State||Fargo, N.D.|
|1991||North Dakota State (31-2)||Amy Ruley||81-74||Southeast Missouri State||Cape Girardeau, Mo.|
|1990||Delta State (32-1)||Lloyd Clark||77-43||Bentley||Pomona, Calif.|
|1989||Delta State (30-4)||Lloyd Clark||88-58||Cal Poly Pomona||Cleveland, Miss.|
|1988||Hampton (33-1)||James Sweat||65-48||West Texas A&M||Fargo, N.D.|
|1987||New Haven (29-2)||Jan Rossman||77-75||Cal Poly Pomona||Springfield, Mass.|
|1986||Cal Poly Pomona (30-3)||Darlene May||70-63||North Dakota State||Springfield, Mass.|
|1985||Cal Poly Pomona (26-7)||Darlene May||80-69||Central Missouri||Springfield, Mass.|
|1984||Central Missouri (27-5)||Jorja Hoehn||80-73||Virginia Union||Springfield, Mass.|
|1983||Virginia Union (27-2)||Louis Hearn||73-60||Cal Poly Pomona||Springfield, Mass.|
|1982||Cal Poly Pomona (29-7)||Darlene May||93-74||Tuskegee||Springfield, Mass.|