by Ed Beach
The Drury Lady Panthers held on to their number one ranking in the NCAA-II women’s basketball coaches poll for the 14th straight week. Drury is 27-0 and 18-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference and received 14 first-place votes while Ashland (27-0), the only other undefeated team in NCAA-II, tightened the gap in the poll picking up nine votes for first and finished five points behind the Lady Panthers.
Hawaii Pacific (25-1) moved up to third in the rankings while Grand Valley State (25-2) is fourth, and Alaska Anchorage (27-2) is fifth. Texas A&M-Commerce (25-1) fell from third to a tie for sixth after they lost to 25th ranked West Texas A&M 58-55 last week.
While both Drury and Ashland won both of their games last week, the Eagles pulled closer in the poll despite Drury’s 30.0-point average margin of victory to Ashland’s 23.0 average margin of victory in their pair of games last week. The Lady Panthers defeated Truman State 77-56 and won at Quincy 112-63 while the Eagles claimed a 94-69 win at Saginaw Valley State, followed by a 77-56 win at Northwood.
The Midwest Region of NCAA-II has five teams ranked in the top 25. In addition to Drury ranked number one, and Ashland at number two, Grand Valley (25-2) moved up to fourth in the nation, Walsh (23-2) is 11th, and Kentucky Wesleyan (25-1) is ranked 17th.
This week’s poll marks the 109th consecutive week the Lady Panthers have been in the top 25, the longest such streak in the nation. It is their 47th straight week in the top 10, and their 14th week in a row at number one dating back to the NCAA-II preseason poll in October.