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Red Raiders #1 in NAIA Pre-Season Poll



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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Following an impressive national title run in 2010, Northwestern (Iowa) has been tabbed as the No. 1 team in the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Preseason Poll, the NAIA announced Monday. Northwestern grabbed all but one of the 15 first-place votes to earn 405 points. Davenport (Mich.) claims the No. 2 spot, followed by No. 3 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 4 Black Hills State (S.D.) and No. 5 Morningside (Iowa).

The Great Plains Athletic Conference boasts six nationally-ranked teams, including two in the top five in Northwestern, Morningside, No. 11 Concordia (Neb.), No. 16 Sioux Falls (S.D.), No. 21 Hastings (Neb.) and No. 23 Briar Cliff (Iowa). The Midwest Collegiate Conference and Mid-Central College Conference each have three ranked teams in the Top 25.

The Red Raiders vaulted to the top slot of this week's preseason poll after capturing their third national title at the 2010 State Farm-NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship. Northwestern, who averaged 91.4 points per game in its five outings at the National Championship, earned its second title in three years with an 85-66 win over Shawnee State (Ohio). Head coach Earl Woudstra brings back four starters from his title squad that finished 31-5, 15-3 GSAC, including two-time NAIA First-Team All-American and Tournament MVP Becca Hurley. Northwestern will begin its season at home on Nov. 5 against Jamestown (N.D.).

No. 2 Davenport (31-3, 13-1 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference) grabbed one first-place vote and brought in 386 points. The Panthers welcome back two-time All-American senior Kallie Benike, three-time WHAC Defensive Player of the Year Kristi Boehm and Jeannie Closson, who was named to the 2010 WHAC All-Newcomer Team. Head coach Mark Youngs will guide his Panthers through a tough 2010-11 schedule, which includes 22 teams that won at least 16 games in 2009-10.

After a semifinal appearance in Sioux City, Iowa, Indiana Wesleyan comes in at No. 3 with 384 points. The Wildcats return four starters from a team that lost by one point to national runner-up Shawnee State 55-54. Indiana Wesleyan (29-7, 14-2 Mid-Central College Conference) will be led by MCCC Player of the Year and NAIA First-Team All-American Elaine Hessel, who averaged 18.8 points and five rebounds per game, and fellow seniors Kayla Thompson and LeAnn Douglas.

Dakota Athletic Conference representative Black Hills State (26-7, 12-2 DAC) enters the 2010-11 season ranked fourth with 362 points. Head coach Mark Nore and his Yellow Jackets look to build on their National Championship experience that was ended in the second round in a 58-50 loss to Indiana Wesleyan. The Yellow Jackets will rely on their upperclassmen, led by NAIA First-Team All-American Katelynn Lamb. The senior averaged 13.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and nearly two steals per game during her junior campaign.

Morningside, last season's preseason No. 1, rounds out the top-five teams with 355 points. Defending their 2009 National Championship, the Mustangs (21-12, 12-6 GPAC) were ousted in the second round after suffering a 92-74 loss to College of the Ozarks (Mo.). Senior NAIA Second-Team All-American Tanaeya Worden will be surrounded by a young group of players that will try to make it nine-consecutive NAIA National Championship appearances for the Mustangs.

The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences. The first regular-season poll will be announced on Nov. 29.


2010-11 Division II Women's Basketball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll

RANK

LAST WEEK^

SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)

2009-10 RECORD*

TOTAL POINTS

1

3

Northwestern College (Iowa) (14)

31-5

405

2

2

Davenport University (Mich.) (1)

31-3

386

3

7

Indiana Wesleyan University

29-7

384

4

4

Black Hills State University (S.D.)

26-7

362

5

11

Morningside College (Iowa)

21-12

355

6

6

College of the Ozarks (Mo.)

29-5

328

7

5

Cedarville University (Ohio)

27-6

327

8

17

Grand View University (Iowa)

27-9

303

8

12

University of Saint Francis (Ind.)

23-11

303

10

14

Sterling College (Kan.)

27-5

296

11

21

Concordia University (Neb.)

21-11

275

12

13

Iowa Wesleyan College

27-8

263

13

15

Minot State University (N.D.)

21-9

228

14

24

Walsh University (Ohio)

24-10

217

15

19

Kansas Wesleyan University

22-8

205

16

NR

University of Sioux Falls (S.D.)

18-14

204

17

NR

Cornerstone University (Mich.)

16-15

180

18

RV

Bethel College (Ind.)

23-12

167

19

20

College of Idaho

21-8

161

20

RV

Indiana University Southeast

23-9

159

21

1

Hastings College (Neb.)

31-5

144

22

23

Holy Names University (Calif.)

23-10

128

23

8

Briar Cliff University (Iowa)

28-8

108

24

RV

Milligan College (Tenn.)

20-12

101

25

RV

Saint Ambrose University (Iowa)

24-8

96

 

Other receiving votes: Southwestern (Kan.) 80; Daemen (N.Y.) 47; Concordia (Mich.) 34; Peru State (Neb.) 30; Union (Ky.) 28; Florida Memorial 25; Valley City State (N.D.) 23; Brescia (Ky.) 19; Taylor (Ind.) 16; Southern Oregon 15; William Jessup (Calif.) 3; Saint Thomas (Fla.) 3; Marian (Ind.) 1; Maine-Fort Kent 1; Madonna (Mich.) 1; Bethel (Kan.) 1; Haskell Indian Nations (Kan.) 1; Mount Marty (S.D.) 1; Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) 1; Tennessee Wesleyan 1; William Penn (Iowa) 1; Corban (Ore.) 1; Ave Maria (Fla.) 1

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