There’s a new No. 1 atop the DII women’s basketball Power 10 rankings

There is a new No. 1 in the DII women’s basketball Power 10 rankings. As discussed in the previous Power 10, the top 25-30 teams were very hard to separate due to the fact that they were all playing extremely competitive basketball early on. Almost on cue, then-No. 1 Fort Hays State was upset by Nebraska-Kearney, opening the door for Drury to take the top spot heading into the new year. 

RANKINGS: The last Power 10 rankings had a different look

These rankings weren’t any easier, as there are many teams playing quality basketball right now. Here is your weekly reminder: These are my rankings, and mine alone. I pair insight from coaches, SIDs and insiders with what the selection committee tends to look at come tournament time — strength of schedule, win-loss percentage and stats of that nature — to come up with a fair — albeit not perfect — version of the top 10. This is the final DII women’s basketball Power 10 of 2021, and we will resume every Wednesday, beginning Jan. 5.

The DII women’s basketball Power 10 — all games through Dec. 20, 2021

No. 1  Drury | Previous: 2 (tie)
I know, I know. The other polls have Lubbock Christian at No. 1, so why does Drury have the slight edge here? Per, Drury is off to a 12-1 start against the 12th toughest schedule in the division. That’s flat out impressive. As always, this team is deep, but there isn’t enough you can say about Paige Robinson. There are many players good at scoring, there are a lot of players that dominate the boards and plenty of smart players with the intangibles. There aren’t many that do all those things as well as Robinson.

No. 2 Lubbock Christian | Previous: 2 (tie)
Think of the Chaps more as a 1B than No. 2. They certainly have the resume with a win over then-No.1 Lander, and like Drury, have an incredibly deep starting five and bench that gives them the fuel to run their attack. This defense, as always, is suffocating, allowing just under 52 points per game. Based on early season success for both, we can be hopeful to be on a third-straight postseason matchup between these two powerhouses. 

2021 RECAP: Lubbock Christian repeats as national champions

No. 3 Lander | Previous: 4

Lander Athletics

The Bearcats have rolled the competition since their one loss to Lubbock Christian, trouncing opponents by an average of 28.7 points per game on their current six-game winning streak. I will continue to talk about the elite play of Lander’s dangerous duo of Zamiya Passmore and Makaila Cangé. Both are in the top 16 in DII in scoring averaging more than 20 a night while Passmore is in the top 20 in assists and Cangé is averaging 9.2 rebounds a game. The two alone will make Lander tough to beat. 

No. 4 Texas A&M-Commerce | Previous: 8
The Lions finished up before the break a perfect 10-0 and have really shown a balance on both sides of the floor. They are averaging 81.7 points per game while allowing just 59.5, winning games in blowout fashion and showing the prowess to hold on to the tight ones. Dyani Robinson continues to be the spark plug that makes this engine roll, leading the team in points and assists.

No. 5 Western Washington | Previous: 6

Yes indeed, I am still very high on this Vikings club. They remain one of just eight undefeated teams at 9-0, have signature wins against multiple top-25 schools and have the third-best scoring defense in DII, allowing just 49.4 points per game. Western Washington has yet to enter conference play, but this is a nice cushion to start. Get to know the name Emma Duff: She’s leading the team in points, rebounds and steals.

No. 6 Glenville State | Previous: 9

Glenville State Athletics
Glenville State has the top-scoring offense in DII women's basketball.

The Pioneers closed the 2021 portion of their schedule a perfect 10-0, but that’s not all. Kim Stephens bunch is once again a potent scoring machine, leading DII women’s basketball with 98.5 points per game fueled by the best turnover margin in the division as well. Glenville State is going to run every night, so opponents need to be ready for its high-fueled attack with a bevy of players that aren’t afraid to take on the scoring role. 

No. 7 Fort Hays State | Previous: 1
The Tigers dropped a tough one, but it was to a very good Nebraska-Kearney team. They have since bounced back with three-straight victories. With Jaden Hobbs back, this starting five is incredibly stacked, and each one can score in double figures on any given night. Katie Wagner has been sensational, scoring 16.8 points per game on 51.7% shooting from the field, while pulling down 10.0 rebounds per game.

HISTORY: The programs with the most titles

No. 8 Nebraska-Kearney | Previous: NR

Nebraska-Kearney Athletics
Nebraska-Kearney upset No. 1 Fort Hays State in DII women's basketball.

Well, when you take down the No. 1 team in DII AND hold them to their lowest scoring output of the season, you make big jumps. That’s what the Lopers did, hands down the largest risers in a week full of rising teams. The MIAA is absolutely stacked with deep teams and superstar talent, and UNK is the last team undefeated in conference play. Add in the top defense in the MIAA and you have a dangerous squad on your hands. 

No. 9 Ashland | Previous: 10 
The Eagles have won six in a row since their somewhat surprising loss to Southern Indiana… and only one of those games was remotely close. Ashland is winning games by more than 20 points per game and has a potent duo in Annie Roshak and Hallie Heidemann that account for 33.9 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. An undefeated start in their new conference has the Eagles soaring all alone atop the G-MAC. 

No. 10 Grand Valley State | Previous: First five out
This is a much higher ranking for the Lakers than other polls but hear me out. Grand Valley State is 10-1 against the 45th toughest schedule in DII, which is much more difficult than the remaining undefeated teams not in the rankings. The Lakers also have the best scoring defense in DII, allowing a mere 47.5 points per game. Rylie Bisballe is maturing into a solid all-around player, leading the Lakers in scoring, rebounds, steals and blocks as a key cog in this stingy defense. 

TOURNEY FAQ: The essential guide to the DII women’s basketball championship

First five out (in alphabetical order):

Azusa Pacific Athletics
Azusa Pacific is off to another strong start in DII women's basketball.
  • Alaska Anchorage: The Seawolves saw the longest active win streak in DII snapped last time out, dropping a nail biter to Hawaii Hilo by three in overtime. This team has still played one of the tougher schedules in DII, going 8-1 against a schedule with a .566 winning percentage. 
  • Azusa Pacific: Laura Pranger finally returned four games ago, and the Cougars are 4-0 in dominating fashion since. Pranger — the 2019-20 Pacific West defensive player of the year — takes this team to a whole new level.
  • Indiana (Pa): The Crimson Hawks dropped their first PSAC game to a surprisingly very good Shepherd team, which is why they don’t fall too far in the rankings. Per usual, this team is a tournament threat. 
  • North Georgia: The Nighthawks bounced back from their first loss to Tusculum with a pair of dominating victories. Julianne Sutton is playing phenomenal basketball once again and is a player-of-the-year candidate. 
  • Tampa: The Spartans continue to win, shrugging off two early season losses to win 11 in a row against a schedule with a combined .624 winning percentage. A return to action against undefeated Eckerd on Dec. 31 will be a good indicator for both teams.