KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Union women's basketball team will enter the 2012-13 season as the 24th-ranked team according the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Coaches' Preseason Top 25, the national office announced Tuesday.
The Lady Bulldogs (25-8 overall, 13-5 Appalachian Athletic Conference) received 58 total voting points, putting them 38 behind No. 23 Saint Mary (Neb.). Union finished the 2011-12 season ranked No. 25, won the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament and advanced to the NAIA National Championship Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa.
The 25 wins matched a program record for most wins in a season.
Concordia (Neb.) has claimed the top spot in the NAIA Division II Coaches' Poll. Concordia collected 11-of-13 first place votes and 342 points for its first No. 1 ranking since the final poll on March 4, 2003 and its tenth overall No. 1 ranking.
Defending national champion Northwestern (Iowa) comes in at No. 2 as it tallied 328 points. Receiving the last two first-place votes was No. 3 College of the Ozarks (Mo.) with 323 points. Indiana Wesleyan comes in at No. 4 notching 314 points, while Morningside (Iowa) rounds out the top five collecting 293 points.
Five teams, who were not in the 201-12 Division II Women's Basketball Postseason Top 25 - No. 6 Saint Xavier (Ill.), No. 13 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), No. 22 Taylor (Ind.), No. 23 Saint Mary (Neb.) and No. 25 Saint Francis (Ind.)- join the poll. Saint Xavier and Olivet Nazarene were NAIA Division I members last season.
Eleven of the 13 Division II women's basketball conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) with five ranked teams. Representing the GPAC is Concordia, Northwestern, Morningside, No. 8 Briar Cliff (Iowa) and No. 18 Hastings (Neb.).
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and Independents. The first regular-season poll will be announced on Nov. 27.
Union will open the 2012-13 season on Nov. 2-3 when it hosts the Union College Classic.