Skylights, UGF Climb Rankings in Postseason Polls - News, Sports and Weather

Skylights, UGF Climb Rankings in Postseason Polls

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The Stars of Oklahoma City successfully defended their crown at the 2015 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship, presented by Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City, to finish the season as the No. 1 team in the 2015 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Postseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Stars gathered all eight first-place votes and 188 total points to earn the top-billing.

Oklahoma City (30-2) is back atop the rankings for the first time since the Preseason Poll on Oct. 28, 2014, thanks to a 17-point victory over fellow No. 1 seed Campbellsville (Ky.), 80-63, on March 24 inside the Independence Events Center in Independence, Mo.

In the national championship tilt, Ouleymatou Coulibaly made her presence felt early and often from the start. The senior center recorded 13 points and five rebounds to help her squad go into the locker room up, 39-26. Rateska Brown also chipped in 12 at the half. The Stars finished the matchup with offense spread across the board, with four players hitting double-figures, led by Brown's 29.

Coulibaly – who averaged 12 points and almost seven rebounds in the championship – finished with 19 and 14 boards, for her 12th double-double of the season.

National runner-up Campbellsville slides up to the second spot, its highest ranking of the season, with 182 points. The Lady Tigers, making their first trip past the quarterfinals in their 23rd appearance, dropped to 33-4 as 2014-15 came to a close. Lindey Young had a team-high 16 points in the loss, and she was joined in double-figures by Caroline Owen (10) and Emily Fox (10).

After getting its streak of 11-straight top spots snapped, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) finds itself ranked third with 176 points. The Lady Lions fought their way to the national semifinals before falling short against Campbellsville, 56-52, finishing the season at 35-2.

The loss snapped the Lady Lions' NAIA-leading 35-game winning streak.

Fourth-ranked Bethel (Tenn.) (168 points) and No. 5 Westminster (Utah) (161 points) round out the rest of the top five in the poll. Bethel moved up one spot after being fifth for seven-straight releases.

Elsewhere in the ranking, No. 12 (tie) Great Falls (Mont.) made the largest leap of any program, moving up from No. 25. The Argonauts, in their first national championship appearance, defeated two seed Loyola (La) and three seed Langston (Okla.) before falling to Oklahoma City in the quarterfinals. No. 7 Westmont (Calif.) climbed from No. 16 after a national semifinal run.

No. 16 Vanguard (Calif.) dropped from No. 8 after a first round exit in the national championship.

Twenty-first-ranked Southern-New Orleans (La.) joins the poll alongside No. 25 Baker (Kan.). It's the first time the Lady Knights have been rated since being No. 4 on Jan. 6, 2004. The Wildcats are back in the Top 25 for the first time since Jan. 6 (No. 21).

For the fourth-consecutive week, the Frontier Conference and Golden State Athletic Conference are represented by a poll-best four programs each. The Mid-South Conference is second with three teams ranked. The Association of Independent Institutions is the only conferences without a rated team.

The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions. For the entire 2014-15 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll schedule, click here.

Notes (All information dates back to 1999-2000): Oklahoma City ends the season atop the poll, where it began the preseason… Freed-Hardman's (Tenn.) 11-straight No. 1 rankings is snapped… Two teams have held the No. 1 ranking in the 2014-15 season: Freed-Hardeman and Oklahoma City … Montana State-Northern's No. 10 ranking on Jan. 20 was its first time among the top 10 since March 2, 1999 … No. 12 Great Falls (Mont.) made its first-ever appearance on Jan. 20 … No. 23 Pikeville (Ky.) made its first appearance since Dec. 14, 2005 on Feb. 17 … Loyola's (La.) No. 4 ranking on Jan. 13 was its highest in program history … Former member Union (Tenn.) leads all schools in all-time No. 1 rankings with 53, while Oklahoma City (49), Vanguard (40), Freed-Hardeman (18) and former member Southern Nazarene (Okla.) (15) are the only other programs with 10-or-more No. 1 rankings … Since the start of the 1999-2000 season, only Oklahoma City and Freed-Hardeman have been listed in all 191 polls … Vanguard has appeared in 158-straight … Thirty-eight teams have been ranked in 2014-15 … Union and Vanguard are the only programs to have spent an entire season ranked No. 1 (Union: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11) (Vanguard: 2005-06, 2006-07).

2014-15 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll – Postseason (April 1)

1 Oklahoma City
2 Campbellsville (Ky.)
3 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.)
4 Bethel (Tenn.) 
5 Westminster (Utah) 
6 Oklahoma Baptist 
7 Westmont (Calif.) 
8 Montana State-Northern 
9 Concordia (Calif.) 
10 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 
11 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 
T12 Loyola (La.) 
T12 Great Falls (Mont.) 
14 Langston (Okla.) 
15 Shawnee State (Ohio) 
16 Vanguard (Calif.) 
17 Benedictine (Kan.) 
18 Wiley (Texas) 
19 The Master's (Calif.) 
20 Lyon (Ark.) 
21 Southern-New Orleans (La.)
22 Wayland Baptist (Texas) 
23 Pikeville (Ky.) 
24 Carroll (Mont.) 
25 Baker (Kan.) 

Others receiving votes: Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 38; Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 33; Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 30; William Woods (Mo.) 26; LSU Shreveport (La.) 15; Cumberland (Tenn.) 7.

Story contributed by NAIA Sports Information. Click here for the original story.

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