Lady Bulldogs Ranked No. 21 in Final Top 25 Poll

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Fresh off its Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Championship, Union moved up one spot to No. 21 in the final regular-season NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Polls, the national office announced Wednesday.

The Lady Bulldogs (25-7 overall) received 134 total points to come in 21st, five back of No. 20 St. Thomas (Fla.) and 34 more than No. 22 Southwestern (Kan.).

Union recently captured its fourth-ever AAC Tournament crown with a 55-50 win over top-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan, who dropped from No. 13 to No. 14 in this week's poll.

Other AAC schools receiving votes are Bluefield (Va.) with 10 and Virginia Intermont with one.

No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan has finished the regular season at No. 1 after splitting first-place votes with Concordia (Neb.) for the fourth-straight week. The Wildcats have earned at least a share of the top spot in 11-consecutive NAIA Coaches' Top 25 Polls. Indiana Wesleyan won the both the Mid-Central College Conference regular-season championship and the league tournament title and collected eight first-place votes and 339 points.

Qualifiers for the 21st annual State Farm-NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship will be announced today at 3 p.m. CST on NAIA.org. Eleven at-large selections will be added to the 21 teams that have been awarded automatic bids. The official 32-team bracket will then be unveiled by 6 p.m. CST on NAIA.org.

Concordia (Neb.) comes in at No. 2 with 336 points and five first-place nods for the fourth week in a row. Concordia breezed to the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) championship game where it triumphed, 73-66, over second-seeded Morningside (Iowa). College of the Ozarks (Mo.), which boasts the nation's longest winning streak at 20, remained at No. 3 with 320 points. No. 4 Davenport (Mich.) moved up two spots with 310 points after knocking off then-No. 4 Concordia (Mich.) in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament championship. Morningside again rounds out the top five with 296 points.

No. 16 College of Idaho, fresh off its Cascade Collegiate Conference Tournament title, made the biggest move up in the poll by advancing four positions. Meanwhile, no Top 25 squad fell more than two spots. No. 25 Indiana Southeast, the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament champ, is making its first poll appearance since the Jan. 9 release. Indiana Southeast replaced Saint Mary (Neb.) (No. 23) in the rankings.

Thirteen of the 14 Division II women's basketball conferences and independents are represented throughout the Top 25. The GPAC, which has led all leagues in Top 25 representation in each poll this season, again placed the most teams of any conference in the rankings with five: Concordia, Morningside, No. 8 Northwestern (Iowa), No. 12 Briar Cliff (Iowa) and No. 19 Hastings (Neb.).

The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and independents. The postseason poll will be released on March 19.


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