For the second straight time, Lubbock Christian (Texas) claims the No. 1 ranking in the 2012-13 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Lady Chaparrals, who received 10 first-place votes and 281 points in the first regular-season edition, boast an 11-0 record with only one of those victories by a margin of less than 18 points.
Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) received the remaining first-place vote and 272 points to move up one spot to No. 2. Vanguard (Calif.) is third with 262 points, while No. 4 Westminster (Utah) and No. 5 Westmont (Calif.) round out the top five with 255 and 245 points, respectively.
Four teams improved at least four spots from the preseason poll with Bethel’s (Tenn.) 10-spot jump from No. 22 to No. 13 headlining the group. The Wildcats are 10-1 on the year with their lone loss coming against St. Catharine (Ky.), 73-68, on Nov. 6. Bethel faces a major test on Thursday when it travels to sixth-ranked Lee (Tenn.). The other three squads include No. 9 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), No. 19 William Woods (Mo.) and No. 20 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas).
Conversely, three teams – No. 12 Shawnee State (Ohio), No. 18 Georgetown (Ky.) and No. 22 Biola (Calif.) – fell at least 10 places, while five other squads dropped out of the Top 25.
Newcomers to the poll are No. 7 Cumberland (Tenn.), No. 14 The Master’s (Calif.), No. 20 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), No. 23 Lyon (Ark.) and No. 24 Carroll (Mont.). Lyon is the only program amongst the quintet that received Top 25 mention last season. Cumberland snaps the longest drought within the group, as the Bulldogs last prior ranking came on Jan. 9, 2008.
The Mid-South Conference leads all conferences with five teams in the Top 25 (Cumberland, No. 11 Campbellsville (Ky.), Shawnee State, No. 16 Cumberlands (Ky.) and Georgetown), while the Golden State Athletic Conference is second with four teams. Ten conference/unaffiliated groups are represented in the preseason poll.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and unaffiliated group. The second regular-season Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll will be announced on Dec. 11.
Notes (all information dates back to 1999-2000):
The top billing is the second all-time for the Lubbock Christian (Texas), who has been ranked amongst the top 10 in 10-straight polls … Four programs have topped the poll 10-or-more times: former NAIA member Union (Tenn.) (53), Oklahoma City (45), Vanguard (Calif.) (27) and former NAIA member Southern Nazarene (Okla.) (15) … Since the start of the 1999-2000 season, only Oklahoma City and No. 2 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) have be listed in all 155 polls … Fourth-ranked Vanguard has appeared in 122 consecutive polls … No. 20 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) and No. 25 Faulkner (Ala.) made their first-ever appearance in the Top 25 on Oct. 23 … No. 7 Cumberland (Tenn.) was last ranked on Jan. 9, 2008 … Union and Vanguard are the only programs that have spent an entire season ranked No. 1 (Union: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11) (Vanguard: 2005-06, 2006-07).