KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Union women's basketball team is the 25th-ranked squad according to the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Coaches' Postseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Monday.
The Lady Bulldogs were 21st in the final regular-season poll, but they fell four spots to land at No. 25 in the postseason rankings. Union received 68 total points, six back of No. 24 Huntington (Ind.).
Northwestern (Iowa) is back where it began the 2011-12 season. The Red Raiders, who captured their third-straight national title on March 13, have been rewarded with the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Coaches' Postseason Top 25 Poll. Northwestern received all 12 first-place votes for 312 points in returning to the top spot for the first time since the preseason poll was released on Oct. 24.
The Red Raiders, who promoted seven-year assistant Chris Yaw to head coach this season, lost four of their first eight games and fell out of the rankings altogether on Nov. 28. They would then go on to win 24 of their final 27 games, including the 75-62 title game victory over College of the Ozarks (Mo.). The win made Northwestern the first school to win three-consecutive titles in Division II women's history and the first to record five national championships overall in the 21-year history of the championship event.
College of the Ozarks, which finished as the national runner up for the fourth time in program history, moves up one spot to No. 2 with 302 points in the postseason poll. Concordia (Neb.), the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) regular-season and tournament champion, flip-flopped with Ozarks and fell back to No. 3 with 290 points. Indiana Wesleyan, who held at least a share of the No. 1 ranking in 11-straight polls this season, dropped three spots to No. 4 after picking up 284 points. Grand View (Iowa), making its first appearance of the season in the top five, checks in at No. 5 with 260 points.
Eastern Oregon made the biggest hike up the rankings in the postseason edition. The Mountaineers vaulted from No. 24 in the final poll to No. 11 this week after pulling off two of the biggest surprises at the National Championship in Sioux City, Iowa. Eastern Oregon upset then-No. 11 Ave Maria (Fla.) in the first round and proceeded to take down then-No. 6 Concordia (Mich.) in the second round before falling to the Ozarks in the quarterfinals. The first-round loss for Ave Maria pushed the Lady Gyrenes all the way down to No. 18, a fall of seven spots.
Two newcomers entered the postseason poll in No. 23 Daemen (N.Y.) and No. 24 Huntington (Ind.). Daemen, a No. 7 seed at the national tournament, nearly pulled off an opening round stunner before dropping a 65-60 decision to second-seeded Morningside (Iowa). Huntington, who was an at-large National Championship qualifier, fell to Concordia (Mich.), 69-60, in the first round. Daemen and Huntington replaced St. Thomas (Fla.) (No. 20) and Indiana Southeast (No. 25) in the poll.
Twelve of the 14 Division II women's basketball conferences and independents are represented throughout the Top 25. The GPAC, which has led all leagues in Top 25 representation in each poll this season, again placed the most teams of any conference in the rankings with five: Northwestern, Concordia, No. 6 Morningside, No. 8 Briar Cliff (Iowa) and No. 15 Hastings (Neb.).
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents.
Union posted a 25-8 overall record and went 13-5 in conference play. The Lady Bulldogs won the AAC Tournament and advanced to the NAIA Division II National Championship Tournament.
To view the entire poll, click here.