KANSAS CITY, Mo. (LyonScots.com) – There have been nine NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches Top 25 Polls this season and for the first time in the history of the program, the Lyon College women's basketball team has been named in each one. This week's poll saw the Scots make the biggest leap, moving up three spots to No. 17, their second-highest ranking in the history of the program and the season.
Lyon has positioned itself heading into the final regular season game, with a chance to claim no worse than a share of its first-ever American Midwest Conference title. The Scots did that by knocking off 15th-ranked Columbia College, 73-69, in overtime in Columbia, Mo. The Cougars were previously the only unbeaten team in the AMC. Now both Columbia and Lyon are deadlocked with identical 16-1 league marks, with the Scots hosting Stephens College (7-20, 4-12 AMC) and the Cougars visiting third-place and 22nd-ranked William Woods University (23-4, 14-3 AMC) at 2 p.m. Saturday.
If both teams win on Saturday, they will be deadlocked as the Co-American Midwest Conference championship, with the Cougars holding the tie-breaker to head into the upcoming AMC Postseason Women's Tournament as the No. 1 seed. A win by either team, combined with a loss by the other, will give the outright title to the survivor.
Both Lyon and Columbia will receive a first-round bye in the postseason tournament, which begins Monday with the No. 8-seed hosting the No. 9-seed and the No. 7-seed hosting the No. 10-seed. Both Lyon and Columbia will host second-round games on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The seeding of the tournament will be released on Sunday evening.
Despite their first loss after 18 straight wins, Columbia remained at No. 15 in the national poll this week, while William Woods captured their fourth straight and inched up one spot.
For the second-straight week, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), a new addition to the AMC next season, holds a one-point advantage over Oklahoma City to receive the No. 1 ranking. The Lady Lions received six first-place votes and 277 points, while Oklahoma City claimed five first-place votes and 276 points.
On March 6, the NAIA is providing a free graphical selection show to reveal the 32-team bracket for the 33rd annual NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship. The event is scheduled to begin at approximately 7 p.m. CST on www.NAIA.org.
Freed-Hardeman remains as the only one-loss team with a 26-1 record after posting victories over then-No. 17 Bethel (Tenn.) (67-50) and Mid-Continent (Ky.) (93-35). In addition to keeping pace with No. 12 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) for most wins this season, the Lady Lions' victory against Mid-Continent clinched their first TranSouth Athletic Conference regular-season title since 2006 – fourth in program history.
Similarly to Freed-Hardeman, No. 2 Oklahoma City claimed the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) regular season crown with a dominating 102-54 win over St. Gregory's (Okla.) at Abe Lemons Arena on Feb. 16. The Stars have won or shared 12 of the last 14 SAC regular season championships, including a current streak of four-straight.
Westminster (Utah), who had been stuck at No. 4 or No. 5 in every prior poll, climbs to No. 3 – its highest all-time ranking dating back to 1999-2000 – with 263 points. The Griffins quietly collected their fifth-consecutive Frontier Conference regular season title with a 70-53 win over Montana State-Northern on Feb. 16. Westminster enters the week riding a 16-game winning streak, which is second only to Oklahoma City's 21-gamer. The Griffins' last loss came on Dec. 8 at then-No. 3 Vanguard (Calif.), 73-51.
Climbing two spots to No. 4 is Westmont (Calif.) with 252 points. The Warriors had won 14-straight, including 12-consecutive Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) contests en route to a 22-3 overall record (12-0 GSAC) heading into play Tuesday night.
Lubbock Christian (Texas) rounds out the top five with 246 points. The Lady Chaparrals went 1-1 last week and are 3-2 over their last five contests. Lubbock Christian was tied for second in the SAC standings with Rogers State at 11-3 heading into his week.
Bethel (Tenn.), who slid six positions from No. 17 to No. 23, posted the largest fall this week after dropping three-straight, including two against unranked opponents. No. 25 LSU Shreveport (La.) returns to the poll for the first time since Jan. 8. The Pilots replace previous No. 25 Carroll (Mont.).
2012-13 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll - No. 9 (Feb. 19)