The 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship is just a few days away, so let’s take a closer look at some of the things to watch for during the run to the title.
Saint Francis (Ind.) is the only remaining unbeaten in the country with a 33-0 record on the season. They have earned the #1 ranking in the weekly coaches’ poll 10 straight times entering the tournament. This will be the 15th appearance for the Lady Cougars who lead NAIA DII in field goal percentage on the season at 48.5%.
Jamestown College (N.D.) earned a 1-seed in the tournament after compiling a 26-3 overall record. The Jimmies fell to Mayville State in the inaugural North Star Athletic Association Tournament final, but earned the first at-large bid to the tournament. Jamestown has never advanced past the second round of the National Tournament.
Defending national runner-up and 1-seed Davenport (Mich.) will look to capture its first Championship after falling short twice, last year to Indiana Wesleyan and in 2011 to Northwestern. Tiesha Stokes is shooting a country-best 67.9% on field goal attempts this season for the Panthers.
Final 1-seed Northwestern College (Iowa) was denied a shot at winning four straight National Titles last year after falling to Davenport in the semifinals. The Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament champion Red Raiders have won five National Championships in the past 13 years. Northwestern has never lost in the first round of the National Championship.
Other Tournament Teams
For the second straight year, the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference has the most teams of any conference with five. Cardinal Stritch (Wis.), Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), Purdue Calumet (Ind.), Roosevelt (Ill.) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) will represent the conference in Sioux City. Each of those teams also made the tournament last season.
Defending champion Indiana Wesleyan is the only non-GPAC team to win the Championship since 2001. The Wildcats also won in 2007. Hastings (Neb.), Northwestern (Iowa) and Morningside (Iowa) are the only other teams to win the Championship in that span.
Northwestern, Hastings, Morningside and Concordia (Neb.) all tied for the 2014 GPAC regular season title. The last time four teams tied for the GPAC regular season title was 2007 which is also the last time no GPAC teams advanced to the semifinals of the National Championship.
Ashford (Iowa) is the only team making its first ever appearance at the tournament.
Eastern Oregon’s Brittney Newcomb leads the country in free throw percentage (90.7%)
Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) leads the country in 11 separate categories including scoring offense per game (108 ppg), steals per game (21.6), total rebounds per game (51) and 3-pt field goals made per game (17.1). Liz Bart ranks number one in 3-pt field goals made (141) and Miranda Geever leads the country with 127 steals. Olivet Nazarene has led the NAIA in scoring offense 9 of the last 10 years.
College of Saint Mary (Neb.) leads the country in assists per game (21.2)
Nikki Lewis of Tabor (Kan.) leads the country in in total assists (216)
Mayville State (N.D.) leads the country in scoring margin (27.7 ppg), rebound margin (11.8 rpg) and 3-pt field goal percentage (38%)
Morgan Stuut of Saint Xavier (Ill.) leads the country in total rebounds (414)
Indiana Wesleyan holds opponents to a NAIA DII best 52.8 points per game
Purdue Calumet (Ind.) leads the country in free throw percentage (79.8%)
Oregon Tech holds opponents to a NAIA DII best 33.2% field goal percentage
Cornerstone (Mich.) handed Davenport (Mich.) its only loss so far this season.