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but first, the WNIT kicks us off with a fun story: Double Duty In Des Moines: Kansas Band Gets The Assist For Drake Women’s Basketball

A college basketball game without a band present … it’s just not the same, is it? Drake’s women’s team was facing that, though, for its WNIT opener Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa. The school is on spring break, and the Drake band members aren’t on campus.

However, Drake got a capable substitute: The Kansas band was in Des Moines for the Jayhawks’ NCAA men’s tournament game Thursday afternoon.

As for the games:

The band helped! Drake (MVC) over Sacred Heart (NEC), 95-59.

Road-weary UT Rio Grande (WAC) got swept away by TCU (Big12), 97-73.

Arkansas State (Sun Belt) chomped on Southern (SWAC), 68-45.

It was a tight one, as short-handed Nebraska (Big10) fell to Northern Iowa (MVC), 64-62.

Ball State (MAC) went on the road and topped Iowa (Big Ten), 77-72.

Arkansas Little-Rock (Sun Belt) and St. Louis (A-10) went down to the wire, but… Billikens win! 70-69.

And I swoop! Tennessee-Martin (Ohio Valley) came back to defeat Memphis (American), 79-73. It’s the programs first post-season win since 1999.

Dayton (A-10) fell to Western Kentucky (C-USA), 89-72.

San Diego (WCC) escapes Northwestern (Big 10), 69-65. The Wildcats scored 8 in the first and 35 in the fourth. Coach must be banging his head against the wall.

No, really, remember when they stunk? IUPUI (Summit) over Central Michigan (MAC), a tough program, 63-55.

Bucknell (Patriot) over Akron (MAC), 74-70. The Bison are the first team from the Patriot League to ever win a game in the WNIT, while also posting the program’s first victory in a national postseason tournament.

“We have had a lot of great things happen this year, but to get a postseason win is pretty sweet,” said Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell. “It’s a great accomplishment for our program and our league, and a huge feather in the cap for this gritty team. I am incredibly proud of them.”

Gonzaga (WCC) chewed up undermanned UC Riverside (Big West), 88-54.

Oregon (Pac12) over Long Beach State (Big West) by 8.

After all the waiting and working and wondering, Oregon coach Kelly Graves finally got the glimpse of his team’s future that he’d been looking for the past two weeks.

And he liked it so much that Graves told his rejuvenated Ducks to go play couch potatoes for a day like the rest of America as their reward.

 Welcome to March Madness, ladies. WNIT style.

Nice showing against a program that in no joke: Marshall (C-USA) falls to Ohio (MAC), 76-68.

Eastern Michigan (MAC) led wire to wire, and eked out an away win over Saint Mary’s (WCC), by one, 74-73.

Graduate transfer Chanise Baldwin’s ffensive rebound and put back with 1.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter lifted the Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team to a 74-73 victory over Saint Mary’s College in the opening round of the WNIT Thursday, March 17. The Eagles led by as many as nine, but needed Baldwin’s late game heroics to propel the Green and White into the second round of the tournament. 

In a back-and-forth battle, it was Abilene Christian (Southland) who blinked first. UTEP (C-USA) won, 66-62.

Virginia Tech (ACC) over Elon (CAA), 68-59.

Villanova (Big East) ousted Liberty (Big South), 67-51.

Hofstra (CAA) over Harvard (Ivy), 76-50.

Even with the loss of top-scorer Mikayla Venson, Virginia (ACC) managed a two-point win over VCU (A10).

Georgia Tech (ACC) stung Mercer (Southern), 73-56.

Rutgers (Big East Big 10) last-second-shot-ed a win over Georgetown (Old Big East), 57-55.

An improving Wake Forest (ACC) held off Charlotte (C-USA), 72-69.

First round NCAA games I’m keeping my eye on:

Albany/Florida
JMU/DePaul
Chattanooga/Mississippi State
Green Bay/Tennessee
St. Bonaventure/Oklahoma State

Michelle Smith: Tara VanDerveer vs. Jennifer Azzi

Asked to remember the last time they talked on the phone before they found out they would be matched up in the NCAA tournament, both Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer and University of San Francisco coach Jennifer Azzi came up with the same answer.

“Probably just a few weeks ago,” Azzi said.

“Not that long ago,” VanDerveer confirmed. “We talked about some things she was dealing with.”

There will be no talking this week.

Katie Barnes: UConn freshman Samuelson finds her footing

Bonnie and Karlie Samuelson, both of whom played at Stanford, are as responsible as anyone for making Lou the player she is.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be just like them, so that’s where it all started,” Samuelson said. “But once I got older, all I wanted to do was to be better than them.”

When will DePaul Women get their due as NCAA contenders?

Every year, I hear the same thing. “There are no Illinois teams in the NCAA tournament.”

And for the past 14 years, all those who have said that have been wrong.

Why, oh, why, do Illinois residents overlook the DePaul Blue Demons (25-8), who’ve achieved a berth in the NCAA Women’s Tournament for 14 CONSECUTIVE YEARS… also, their 21st overall appearance since 1990?

Jonathan Lintner: Cards’ Hines-Allen hitting high gear in March

Recently named the ACC Player of the Year, Hines-Allen registered a pair of double-doubles to open the postseason and hit 19 of her 33 shots.

“I want to prove to people it’s not a fluke and just give my all every single day,” the sophomore forward said. “That’s how I got the award.”

BTW: Division II has reached the Elite Eight.

4 Florida Southern v. 1 Lubbock Christian (March 22, 1pm)
2 Anchorage-Alaska v. 7 Francis Marion (March 22, 7pm)
1 Virginia Union v. 1 Bentley (March 22, 3:3o)
2 Grand Valley State v. 7 Pittsburgh State (9:30)

The big shockers were seeing #1 Union, #1 Azusa Pacific and #1 Limestone go down in the first round. #1 Ashland feel in the second round. #1 Emporia State lost in the 3rd round.

Division III’s Final Four is scheduled for March 19th, Capitol University, Columbus Ohio.

Tufts (27-3) v. Wartburg (23-7), 5pm.
Wartburg’s Final Four run stranger than fiction

 Amsberry’s Nine will do for a working title. Wartburg College’s surprise run into the NCAA Division III women’s basketball Final Four has the makings of a green-lit sports movie.

The plot is a season salvaged off life support by a group of athletes that had moved on before reuniting to accomplish an ambitious goal.

The script has more than final credits left to be written.

Jumbos book trip to NCAA tournament semifinals for third year in a row

For the past two years, Tufts had gotten it done at home in the postseason. The Jumbos had qualified for the NCAA tournament by winning the NESCAC championship, earned home court advantage and fought their way through dominant first-round wins and overtime thrillers alike to reach the NCAA Div. III championship semifinals, the Final Four.

This year was different. Tufts fell by one point in a heartbreaking loss to Amherst in the NESCAC championship but still earned an at-large bid. 

Amherst (30-1) v. Thomas More (31-0), 7:30PM

Saints on a different kind of mission

You already know what’s the same about the defending champs, so let’s look at what’s different about Thomas More this season.

It all starts with a change in hashtag philosophy.

Sister act adds to Amherst’s legacy

If Amherst head women’s basketball coach G.P. Gromacki hadn’t been persistent when reaching out to junior twins Ali and Meredith Doswell during the recruiting process, no telling what he would be doing this weekend.

 

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women’s basketball is trying this year with Division II and III basketball.

The finals will be part of a larger 35th anniversary NCAA women’s basketball championship celebration taking place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis the first week in April. Championship week will culminate with five championship basketball games and three national titles decided within a 48-hour period at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It will be the first time in the history of NCAA women’s basketball that all three divisional championships will be decided in the same city and venue. The Division I national semifinals will be played Sunday, April 3 at 6 and 8:30 p.m. EST. The Division II and III national championship games will be played on Monday, April 4 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, while the Division I national championship game will be played on Tuesday, April 5 at 8:30 p.m.

“OMG!” you must be thinking… “I haven’t filled out my DII/III brackets yet!” I know, I know, it sneaks up on ya. There’s still time, though.

The DIII brackets are out/up here. Rankings here. Your go-to source of information and predictions is, of course, D3hoops.com. For example

Castleton Edged by Husson for NAC Title

Never a Doubt: No. 3 Lady Royals Shoot Past Catholic, 78-57, to Capture Landmark Conference Crown

Beavers take down RHIT for first-ever HCAC title

Lynchburg Women Capture ODAC Title 62-55; Caroline Naumann Named MOP

WPI Wins NEWMAC Championship; Headed to NCAA Tournament

Lynchburg Tops Guilford For ODAC Women’s Basketball Title

Amherst Captures Sixth NESCAC Women’s Basketball Title with 50-49 Win at Tufts

CHAMPIONS! Panthers win first SAA title

Bluffton to face Whitewater in first-ever trip to NCAA Tournament

There is no longer an independent site for DII coverage. You’re going to have to wait for the brackets to be released, but in the meantime, drop by NCAA.com for the latest school news.

As you wonder who to cheer for, I might remind you of this bit of December news: Religious colleges get exemptions to anti-bias law; critics denounce ‘hidden discrimination’ against LGBT students

Dozens of religious colleges have sought exemptions in recent years from federal prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, saying the waivers are needed to protect school policies consistent with their faith, according to a new report.

The government has granted more than 30 of these requests since 2013, the Human Rights Campaign said in a report released Friday. The schools that obtained religious waivers from the anti-discrimination law known as Title IX ranged from Baptist-affiliated Anderson University in South Carolina to Quaker-affiliated George Fox University in Oregon

The following schools received sexual orientation enforcement exemptions, according to the report:

  • Anderson University of South Carolina
  • Baptist College of Florida
  • Bethel College of Indiana
  • Blue Mountain College of Mississippi
  • Charleston Southern University of South Carolina
  • Covenant College of Georgia
  • East Texas Baptist University of Texas
  • Hannibal-LaGrange University of Missouri
  • Howard Payne University of Texas
  • Judson College of Alabama
  • Louisiana College
  • Mississippi College
  • North Greenville University of South Carolina
  • Oklahoma Baptist University
  • Oklahoma Christian University
  • Southwest Baptist University of Missouri
  • Spring Arbor University of Michigan
  • Toccoa Falls College of Georgia
  • Union University of Tennessee
  • University of Mary Hardin-Baylor of Texas
  • University of Mobile in Alabama
  • University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky
  • Williams Baptist College in Arkansas

The gender identity enforcement exemptions, according to the report, were granted to the 23 schools listed above and to:

    • Belmont Abbey College of North Carolina
    • Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio
    • Fresno Pacific University of California
    • George Fox University of Oregon
    • Northwest Nazarene University of Idaho
    • Oklahoma Wesleyan University
    • Simpson University of California
    • Southern Wesleyan University of South Carolina
    • St. Gregory University of Oklahoma
    • Tabor College of Kansas

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Ashland University (OH) Eagles. This is the first national championship for AU in a “team” sport.

From the New Philadelphia Times Reporter: 

Ashland came up short of a national championship a year ago.

The Eagles did not let history repeat itself.

River View High School graduate Kari Daugherty scored 26 points and hauled down 12 rebounds as the Ashland University women’s basketball team claimed the NCAA Division II National Championship with a 71-56 win over Dowling (30-4) in San Antonio on Friday night.

From Pat Turner at the Express-News: 

“It was a great game,” Ashland coach Sue Ramsey said. “I couldn’t be more thrilled with their performance, not only in this game but the past 365 days. After losing last year, they made it their commitment to come back. They deserve this.”

Said Dowling coach Joe Pellicane: 

“If you’re going to lose, it’s better to lose to the best team in the country. They are a great team. They deserve to be national champs.”

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Westmont College, which took down Lee University (TN), 71-65, for their first national championship.

The Warriors were led by two-time NAIA player of the year, Tugce Canitez who posted her 17th double-double of the season with 25 points and 20 rebounds, earning the Tournament MVP honors.  Teammate Kelsey Sampson, a freshman, also posted 25 points, the duo accounting for the majority of Westmont’s scoring. 

“This is the best year of basketball of my life,” said Sampson after the win. “To be able to experience it with the most amazing players and amazing coaches is just an honor.”

At Full Court, Sharon Crowson says Farewell to the Foster era at Ohio State

Last year, the Buckeyes showed more cohesion but failed to nail either the regular-season or the conference tournament titles, and their postseason ended with an early exit in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

For much of the season, this year’s edition of the Buckeyes seemed to be going through the motions, leading arch-rival Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant to note that “they don’t always play hard.”

In Division II NCAA, they’ve reached the Elite Eight set to be played San Antonio on the 26th:

#6 Augustana (SD) will face #1 Clayton State (GA) at 1PM

#3 Dowling (NY) will face #1 Colorado Mesa at 3pm

#1 Nova Southeastern (FL) will face #1 Western Washington at 7PM

#1 Gannon (PA) will face #1 Ashland (OH) at 9:30PM

A little somethin’ somethin’ on the teams:

Ashland University women’s basketball looking for return trip to national title game and Land Of Hope And Dreams? Ashland Women’s Hoops Program Learns Faith Will Be Rewarded

With three minutes left in the first half of a game against the University of Findlay, Kari Daugherty of Ashland, the best rebounder in all of Division II women’s basketball — and one of the best scorers too — went up for the ball. At the same time, though, a Findlay player’s foot hit her knee. Nine players sprinted down the court, and within nine seconds, Findlay had scored on a layup and drawn a foul.

But nobody was watching. Just about every fan — all 1,072 of them at Kates Gymnasium — was watching the one player who didn’t sprint down the court.

Augustana’s postseason run providing redemption and Augie women are simply elite

A controversial ending led to a historic triumph for the Augustana women’s basketball team Monday night.

Emporia (Kan.) State was clinging to a one-point lead against the Vikings in the NCAA Division II Central Region championship game when Hornets guard Laura Patrick was whistled for a foul that appeared to be simultaneous with the sounding of the buzzer.

Clayton State Women’s hoops are “Picture Perfect”

 As tournament time approaches the Clayton State Womens Basketball team is gearing up for another run at the NCAA Division II Championship. 

The Lakers are a perfect 24-0 and ranked #2 in the nation.

March Mav-ness – Fans turn out in droves to support Mesa women’s basketball team and Can’t spell Colorado Mesa without the ‘D’ – Defensive focus has been key for Mavs all season

Dowling take down – Bentley Falcons fall in final :05

The Dana Center on the campus of Bentley University has historically been a graveyard for postseason opponents of the Falcons.

But last night, Dowling snapped the Bentley women’s basketball team’s 28-game home winning streak and handed the Falcons their first tournament loss at the Dana Center since 2001.

Former players show support for Gannon women in run to Elite Eight

Thirteen players are listed on the Gannon women’s basketball roster. But there might as well have been two dozen, including the alumni who attended the Division II Atlantic Regional at the Hammermill Center.

When the Lady Knights won their second regional in four seasons Monday night, completed by a hectic 50-47 win Monday over PSAC West rival California (Pa.), several cheering former players and coaches watched the 2012-13 winners cut down the nets. They hung around long after the game was over to celebrate the Maroon and Gold victory.

They all played for 11th-year coach Cleve Wright, who talked at length in the postgame news conference about their support.

Former South Broward standout Robinson starring for Nova Southeastern

When Nova Southeastern University women’s basketball coach LeAnn Freeland took over a program that needed reviving, she found a guard from South Broward High as her first signee.

Two years later, that player, Danielle Robinson, is a major reason the Sharks are the No. 1 seed and host of the NCAA Division II South Regional.

Western Washington reaches first Elite Eight since 2000

“It’s unreal,” Waltrip said of reaching the Elite Eight. “We’ve been working so hard for this our entire career, the whole year. … We’ve had a great season, and every win from here on out is icing on the cake. It’s a great feeling to know that we’re in the top eight in the country.”

The Final Four will play on the 27th. The Championship game is scheduled for March 29th, 8pm.

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but readers of this blog wouldn’t be surprised at all: Texas, Karen Aston talk

In another “who knows if this is going to happen” vein, at Auburn looks like they’re talking to Georgia Tech’s Joseph and North Carolina State’s Harper.

In other coaching news, big shoes to be filled: Time for Northern Kentucky coach Nancy Winstel to move on after building Norse

“I’m a 100 percent-type person, and I tell my players, you’ve got to be 100 percent in,” Winstel said. “I think I was starting to feel like maybe I wasn’t 100 percent in all the time. And when the leader may be thinking that, then it’s time to take a good, hard look at what you’re doing.”

The Norse evolved into a national power, tallying 636 victories and winning the 2000 and 2008 NCAA Division II national championships, under the six-time Great Lakes Valley Conference coach of the year.

She retires with a 675-255 record in 32 seasons. That makes her the third winningest coach in NCAA Division II history.

Wow. Trinity Valley coaching duo leaving for Ole Miss

Side by side they helped lead Trinity Valley Community College to its sixth women’s national championship.  Side by side Michael and Kenya Landers will leave for assistant coaching positions at the University of Mississippi.

The husband and wife who acted as co head coaches the last two years in Athens, submitted their resignations on Thursday.  The resignations are effective Friday.  TVCC President Dr. Glendon Forgey said the search for a replacement to lead the women’s basketball program would begin immediately.

Hmmm… seems all this “coach talk” as got people thinking about the future: Stanford assistant Paye could succeed VanDerveer

Every once in a while a large bug crawls around on the court at practice. Stanford assistant coach Kate Paye loves to see who’s the first to jump, since she’s the one who planted the plastic creature.

Last year she had the whole team thinking she had crossed some kind of threshold and gotten her arm tattooed. They kept getting a glimpse of her body art during practice. Finally they surrounded her to find out if it was real. It wasn’t, and she relished hooking them in.

Otherwise, Paye is the real deal.

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#1 Ashland (OH) v #2 Shaw (N.C.) in San Antonio on CBS Sports Network. To win, Shaw’s going to have to stop Kari Daugherty (a transfer from DI Dayton), who averages 21.2 points and 14.0 rebounds per game.

Those Ohio Eagles have been bloggin‘. Find out more about those N.C. Bears here.

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may recognize this name: Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn. (Check here if you want to know about the resurrection of their women’s basketball program.)

It’s very cool to be able to say Meribeth Boehler of Freed-Hardeman have been named the NAIA D-I Player of the Year.

Boehler, who is from Ramer, Tenn., and attended McNairy Central High School, leads the seventh-ranked Lady Lions in scoring with a 23.3 point-per-game average, which ranks second nationally among all NAIA Division I players. She also leads the Lady Lions in rebounding (9.8 rpg.) and blocked shots (45), and is second on the team in assists (75) and steals (51).

NAIA Coach of the Year honors went to Earl Woudstra, who just coached his Northwestern College Red Raiders to a second-straight NAIA Division II national championship.

With Woudstra at the helm, Northwestern has won more than 30 games five times and amassed 20 or more wins 11 times. In 2007-08, the year of Woudstra’s second championship, Northwestern won a school-record 35 games — a mark equaled by this season’s team, which finished its championship season at 35-1. Woudstra also led the Red Raiders to the national championship in 2001 with a 32-4 record and guided his team to a runner-up finish in 2000 with a 27-6 record. His 2006 and 2009 squads reached the national semifinals, and he guided his team to the quarterfinals in 2002.

A 1978 Northwestern alum, Woudstra also serves as the assistant athletic director and professor of kinesiology. In addition, Woudstra serves on the Orange City City Council, a position he has held since 1999.

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NAIA Division II

Davenport (MI) finished the regular season at 33-0, and kept themselves in the #1 slot. 1-loss Northwestern (IA) (That loss against guess who) sits in second followed by Morningside (IA).

The NAIA Division I final poll doesn’t come out until the 9th.

NCAA Division III

Not to be outdone in the undefeated race, Thomas More boast a gaudy 28-0 record, and sits atop the polls. Lurking are Amherst (26-1), Wisconsin-Stevens Point (2502) Babson College (also undefeated at 27-0) and University of Chicago. Hope College, a perennial top 5 team, dropped to the sixth slot, but I’m thinking that that’s just going to make’em cranky when they start tournament play.

Check out D3Hoops.com for a preview of the tourney. (And their picks)

This is where we pick a Cinderella team, a surprise team that ideally can win two games on someone else’s floor to advance to the Sweet 16. We’ll also pick a disappointment and a champion. We’ll pose a big question in each bracket that goes beyond which team will win a particular game. We’ll offer a first round toss up that could go either way. And we’ll toss out a marquee matchup that would provide fun story lines in later rounds.

As an added bonus, I’ll be at the Final Four in Bloomington while Pat’s in Salem. So when your team advances through the bracket and proves me wrong, you can tell me how wrong I was in person. That’s one more reason for you to look forward to the Final Four.

NCAA Division II

Gotta wonder what’s going on in women’s basketball ’cause, well, LOOK at who’s got the #1 slot: ANOTHER undefeated team: Clayton State University (GA) with a record of 28-0. They’re followed by Arkansas Tech and (quiet historian cheer) Delta State.

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The NJCAA’s Top 26 (I like that!) sees 27-0 Pensacola State College at the top. Vincennes is #2, and the ever present Trinity Valley sits in third.

NAIA Division II: Davenport (MI), Northwestern (IA) and Morningside (IA).

NAIA Division I: (Drum roll please!) Union (TN) *gasp*, Oklahoma City and college name of the day Azusa Pacific (CA)

NCAA Division III: (Deja vu all over again?) Thomas More (KY), Hope College (MI), Amherst (MA).

NCAA Division II: Clayton State (GA) earns the top spot with their 26-0 record, followed by Lander (NC) and Fort Lewis (CO).

NCAA Division I: Yadda, yadda and yadda… Oh, LOOK! It’s HOUSTON coming in at the 25th spot!

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NAIA Division I:

Let’s see… Union? Check. Oklahoma City? Check. Whoa! What happened? Seventeen teams shifted rank, while two others fell out of the top 25 poll.

NAIA Division II:

Sorta the same ole same ole: Davenport as the unanimous #1, followd by Northwestern, Morningside, Saint Francis and Black Hills State.

NJCC Division I:

A mix of familiar and newbies: Pensacola State College, Trinity Valley CC, Vincennes University, Central Arizona and State Fair. Both Pensacola and Trinity are 22-0.

NCAA Division III:

Yup, we recognize these people: Thomas More, Kean, Hope, Amherst and Babson. Gaullaudet, at 18-0, sits tied for the 20th spot.

NCAA Division II:

The D-II peeps held serve: Lander (S.C.), Clayton State (Ga.), Delta State (Miss.), Fort Lewis (Colo.), and Arkansas Tech.

College Insider’s Mid-Major:

An interesting group of programs: Green Bay, Princeton, Gonzaga, Florida Gulf, Marist

Lady Swish’s Silent Majority Poll

They have Xavier, Marist, Green Bay, Duquesne and Princeton

NCAA Division I:

No surprise, there are changes: Baylor and UConn hold the top two spots, followed by Stanford, Tennessee and Duke.

Ohio State, Georgia and Texas Tech dropped out of the poll.

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Polls

NAIA Division I: Union Continues to Reign Supreme

The first poll of 2011 has Union (Tenn.) continuing its hold at No. 1 in the NAIA Women’s Division I Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the NAIA announced Monday. The Lady Bulldogs were awarded all 12 possible first-place votes in the third edition of the poll. Oklahoma City and Campbellsville (Ky.) hold as the second and third-ranked teams, respectively. Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) checks in at fourth and No. 5 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) cracks into the top-five for the first time this season.

NAIA Division II: Davenport Slides into No. 1 Spot

Following a win over top-ranked Northwestern (Iowa) on Dec. 29, Davenport (Mich.) takes over as the No. 1 team on the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the NAIA announced Monday. The Panthers were a unanimous selection, collecting 15 first-place votes and tallying 405 points. The Red Raiders, who held the top spot for four-straight weeks, fall to No. 2 with 392 points. For the fourth week in-a-row, Morningside (Iowa) holds steady at No. 3, earning 375 points. Sioux Falls (S.D.) comes in at No. 4 for the second-consecutive week and continuing to climb the rankings is No. 5 Kansas Wesleyan with 355 points.

NCAA Division III – The top 5 were undefeated until the Lord Jeffs stomped Williams: Amherst, Hope, Thomas More, Babson, Williams

NCAA Division II – The history buff loves the fact that Delta State is #1 and undefeated. Luksing behind: Lander University (S.C.), Fort Lewis (Colo.), Arkansas Tech and Clayton State (Ga.).

NJCAA Division I: Two undefeateds at the top: Pensacola State College and ye olde familiar Trinity Valley CC.

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it was sad to see the DII site go away.

This Division II Notebook was released by the NCAA.

MAKING A STATEMENT: Delta State moved up to No. 1 in the latest USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25 for the first time since the 2007-08 season.  The Lady Statesmen are 5-0 following a 63-44 win over North Alabama last weekend, improving their Gulf South Conference-leading scoring defense to 43.8 points per game.

Arkansas Tech, ranked No. 1 in last week’s poll, dropped to No. 6 after a loss at unranked but unbeaten West Alabama.  The Golden Suns did bounce back with a victory over West Georgia on Nov. 29.  ATU leads the GSC with 92.8 points per game.

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Fans of this blog will recall my infatuation with the Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels.

SO, how could I resist this headline?!? Ihnen Reaches 1,000-Point Milestone as Lady Hardrocker

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budget issues or the desire to face organized competition vs. the scattershot ensembles of preseason teams), but I’m loving the fact that Division I teams are playing top Division II and NAIA Division I teams. What a great opportunity for some of the best players (within their Division) to meet their counterpoints in NCAA Division I. And play in front of great crowds (and show their skills). And have their program earn a little money.

Case in point, UConn played Franklin Pierce College (Division II finalist).

Second case in point: Tennessee played Union (NAIA D-I champeens.) Nice bit of press on the game. An example: Union takes loss in exhibition at Tennessee

Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt has more than 1,000 wins entering her 36th season, but her Lady Volunteers weren’t the only team she was paying attention to Sunday during an 86-53 exhibition win against Union at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Summitt admitted that she “caught herself watching” the Lady Bulldogs’ teamwork.

“They are so well coached and so disciplined, and I give them an enormous amount of credit on how they played,” Summitt said. “I’m glad we had this game.

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