The Wayland Baptist Flying Queens are ranked No. 2 in the NAIA Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Preseason Poll, with rival Oklahoma City University coming in at No. 6.
Westmont (Calif.) opens the 2020-21 season at No. 1 in the poll, the NAIA national office announced Wednesday, as the NAIA ushers in a new era of women’s basketball with one combined division. The highest-ranked former Division II team is third-ranked Marian, Ind.
Wayland finished last season – which was shortened just before the NAIA National Championships due to COVID-19 – at No. 2, while OCU was No. 3. Westmont was No. 1.
The Flying Queens finished the 2019-20 campaign 31-2, while the Stars were 30-2. WBU and OCU shared the Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season championship, each with 19-1 records, before the Flying Queens won the SAC Tournament title.
The Flying Queens, the unanimous favorite in the SAC Preseason Poll, graduated three players, including all-American Morgan Bennett, the program’s all-time assists leader. Returning veterans include a pair of honorable mention all-Americans in senior forward Kaylee Edgemon and junior wing Jenna Cooper. Edgemon, Wayland’s lone senior this season, led the team in scoring a year ago averaging 13.6 points, while Cooper was third in scoring at 12.4 and first in rebounds at 8.6. Also back is junior point-guard Payton Brown, who averaged 10.5 ppg.
Oklahoma City will be headlined by the 2019-20 SAC athlete of the year and player of the year, junior center Abby Selzer.
The NAIA poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, Association of Independent Institutions and Unaffiliated Groups. The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 30 points for each first-place vote, 29 for second place and so on through the list.
Wayland is set to play seven games this fall, beginning Nov. 5 at Mid-America Christian University and ending with a two-game classic in San Antonio in late November. Four of the Flying Queens’ fall opponents are SAC members, although those games will not count in the league standings. Only the teams’ 14 games on Wayland’s spring semester schedule, which begins Jan. 9, will help determine a league champion.
NAIA Women’s Basketball Preseason Top 25
|RANK||LAST YEAR||SCHOOL [FIRST PLACE VOTES]||2019-20 RECORD||POINTS|
|1||1 (I)||Westmont (Calif.) ||27-3||586|
|2||2 (I)||Wayland Baptist (Texas) ||31-2||563|
|3||2 (II)||Marian (Ind.)||31-3||545|
|4||4 (I)||Campbellsville (Ky.)||29-3||534|
|5||5 (I)||The Master’s (Calif.)||29-3||529|
|6||3 (I)||Oklahoma City||30-2||486|
|7||3 (II)||Southeastern (Fla.)||27-3||464|
|8||12 (II)||Dordt (Iowa)||24-8||438|
|9||8 (I)||Shawnee State (Ohio)||29-4||437|
|10||9 (I)||Vanguard (Calif.)||23-6||416|
|11||1 (II)||Concordia (Neb.)||32-2||413|
|12||5 (II)||College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||29-4||343|
|13||20 (I)||Clarke (Iowa)||25-7||327|
|14||6 (I)||Bethel (Tenn.)||29-4||302|
|14||21 (I)||Thomas More (Ky.)||22-10||302|
|16||8 (II)||St. Francis (Ill.)||29-5||276|
|17||6 (I)||Central Methodist (Mo.)||31-2||274|
|18||11 (I)||Lyon (Ark.)||29-3||268|
|19||10 (I)||Talladega (Ala.)||28-5||247|
|20||17 (I)||Carroll (Mont.)||21-10||198|
|21||15 (I)||Columbia (Mo.)||25-7||179|
|22||6 (II)||Indiana Tech||30-4||155|
|23||9 (II)||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||29-5||154|
|24||10 (II)||Morningside (Iowa)||23-10||146|
|25||13 (I)||Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||26-6||144|
Receiving Votes: Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 122, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 102, Indiana Wesleyan 98, Bryan (Tenn.) 73, Loyola (La.) 71, Providence (Mont.) 50, WVU Tech (W.Va.) 42, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 27, Sterling (Kan.) 25, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 12, Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 6, Union (Ky.) 4, Antelope Valley (Calif.) 3, Rust (Miss.) 3, Bushnell (Ore.) 3