KANSAS CITY, Mo. (LyonScots.com) – The Lyon College women's basketball team battled two top 30 teams in the past two weeks, posting a 1-1 record, and used that split to become one of 11 teams that moved up the NAIA Division I Top 25 Women's Basketball Poll that was announced Tuesday by the national office. The Scots leaped four spots in the latest poll, improving from No. 23 to No. 19.
The Scots, a NAIA National Tournament team from a year ago, is currently 12-2 on the year, and on a three-game winning streak. Lyon College has won eight of its past nine games, with the only loss coming to No. 1-ranked Lubbock Christian University, 90-68, on Dec. 29.
Since the last poll, the Scots also knocked off Oklahoma Baptist University, which had the 28th-most points in the poll at the time.
Lyon will face 16th-ranked William Woods University (11-1) on Saturday in Fulton, Mo., in a key American Midwest Conference matchup. The Owls are currently 2-0 in league play and tied with Lyon College, Hannibal-LaGrange University (9-4) and Columbia College (9-5) atop the conference standings. Columbia has the 30th-most points in this week's national poll. The Scots will play the Cougars on Jan. 19 at home (2 p.m.).
The Scots opened the 2012-13 season ranked No. 23 on Dec. 4 and have stayed at that spot for the next two polls, before moving up this week. They will be at home on Thursday night, hosting Park University (4-7, 1-1 AMC) at 5:30 p.m. in the first game of a women/men doubleheader in Becknell Gymnasium. The men host the Pirates at 7:30 p.m.
The Scots' women's team ranks in the top 50 nationally in 14 team statistical categories, and is led in scoring by 2011-12 Honorable Mention All-American senior Phagen Altom, who is averaging 11.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest. Senior Debbie Onukwube is second on the team in scoring, throwing in 11.6 points per game, while grabbing 5.1 boards. A third senior, Suzanne Fincham, is third on the team in scoring at 11.4, while hauling in 5.2 rebounds a game.
As has been the case in all four polls this season, Lubbock Christian claimed the No. 1 ranking in the third poll. The Lady Chaparrals, who are making their fourth all-time No. 1 ranking since 1999-2000, received 10 first-place votes and 281 total points en route to the top billing.
Lubbock Christian boasts a 25.9-point average margin of victory and an NAIA-best 16-0 record this season. The Lady Chaparrals only contest decided by 10-points-or-less was a 75-67 double overtime win against NCAA Division II then-No. 23 Northeastern State (Okla.) on Nov. 10.
Possibly the Lady Chaparrals toughest test comes on Thursday when they host defending national champion and sixth-ranked Oklahoma City. These two teams last met in the semifinals of the 2012 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship. Oklahoma City claimed an 85-56 win in that contest.
Fellow unbeaten Vanguard (Calif.) (9-0) received one first-place vote and 272 points to jump one spot to No. 2 - its highest ranking since Oct. 26, 2009. The Lions open Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) action on Tuesday against San Diego Christian (Calif.). Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) fell one spot to No. 3 with 263 points following a 74-71 overtime loss against then-NAIA Division II No. 4 College of the Ozarks (Mo.) on Jan. 2. No. 4 Westminster (Utah), who enters the week riding a six-game win streak, and No. 5 Lee (Tenn.) round out the top five with 254 and 241 points, respectively.
Central Methodist (Mo.) led 11 teams that posted positive movements with an eight spot surge from No. 25 to No. 17. The Eagles have continued their winning ways since first joining the poll in the previous edition, extending their win streak to six games with a pair of Heart of America Athletic Conference victories against Graceland (Iowa), 73-41, on Jan. 3 and Avila (Mo.), 69-53, on Jan. 5.
The other notable positive improvement came from The Master's (Calif.), who jumped five spots from No. 13 to No. 8. The Mustangs join Lubbock Christian and Vanguard as the only remaining unbeaten teams at 13-0, including a 96-62 thrashing of Simpson (Calif.) their last time out on Jan. 5.
No. 12 Westmont (Calif.) and No. 25 LSU Shreveport (La.) each dropped eight positions to suffer the largest drop amongst the Top 25. Twelfth is the first non-top 10 rating for Westmont since the 2011-12 preseason poll on Oct. 24, 2011.
No. 20 Wiley (Texas) is this edition's only newcomer. The Wildcats boast a 13-1 record, including victories against LSU Shreveport, 78-75, on Dec. 15 and then-No. 19 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas), 90-87, on Jan. 5. Wiley was last ranked on March 5, 2008.
2012-13 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll - No. 3 (Jan. 8)