KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Buoyed by a three-game winning streak, Union has returned to the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday, landing at No. 25.
The Lady Bulldogs (20-7 overall, 11-5 Appalachian Athletic Conference) received 87 total points, 10 behind No. 24 Grace (Ind.).
For the second-straight week, nine first-place votes were enough to land Indiana Wesleyan on top of poll with the release of the ninth regular-season edition of the NAIA Coaches' Top 25 Poll. The Wildcats received the same total of 370 points as they did one week ago, placing them at No. 1 for nine-consecutive polls. With its 60-53 victory over then-No. 12 Bethel (Ind.) on Saturday, Indiana Wesleyan clinched its eighth regular-season Mid-Central College Conference (MCC) title in the last 11 seasons.
No. 2 Concordia (Neb.) took the remaining five first-place votes for the second week in-a-row and earned 366 points. The Bulldogs' lead the Great Plains Athletic Conference with a 16-2 league mark and extended their win streak to 13 with three more victories last week. College of the Ozarks (Mo.), who boasts a 15-game winning streak, moved up one spot to No. 3 with 348 points. Fourth-ranked Morningside (Iowa) and fifth-ranked Concordia (Mich.) also climbed one spot with 332 and 327 points, respectively.
No. 17 Friends (Kan.), who has improved its position in each of the last three polls, made the largest leap this week among ranked squads, jumping three slots. The Lady Falcons received a boost thanks to six-straight wins, including one over then-No. 14 Southwestern (Kan.) on Feb. 2, and a Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference-leading mark of 16-2. Moving in the opposite direction, No. 21 Southwestern fell hardest among Top 25 teams, moving back four spots after suffering a loss to Kansas Wesleyan last week.
Three teams are new to the poll this week: No. 23 College of Idaho, No. 24 Grace (Ind.) and No. 25 Union. Union has been tabbed as high as 18th this season, while Grace reached its zenith at No. 16 on Jan. 9. Meanwhile, College of Idaho is ranked for the first time since Oct. 25, 2010. Eastern Oregon (No. 15), Saint Francis (Ind.) (No. 24), Cornerstone (Mich.) (t-No. 25) and Marian (Ind.) (t-No. 25) dropped from the poll.
Twelve of the 14 Division II women's basketball conferences and independents are represented throughout the Top 25. The Great Plains Athletic Conference again placed the most teams of any league in the poll with five: Concordia, Morningside, No. 7 Northwestern (Iowa), No. 11 Briar Cliff (Iowa) and No. 18 Hastings (Neb.). The MCC was second with three ranked teams: Indiana Wesleyan, Bethel and Grace.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. The next poll will be announced on Feb. 20.
Union returns to action Wednesday when it pays Point (Ga.) a visit. The conference clash is set to tip at 5:30 p.m.
To view the entire poll, click here.