The Mount Marty College women’s basketball team has 17 wins, haven’t lost to an unranked team this season, but could still end up on the outside looking in when the NAIA Division II National Tournament is selected next month.
Hard to believe? Think about this.
After an 88-59 loss to No. 2 Northwestern Wednesday, the 22nd-ranked Lancers will likely slide down a few spots, especially since Dordt upended No. 17 Briar Cliff on Wednesday. The Lancers would need teams ahead of them losing to have a chance to get those spots back, and they don’t play any more ranked teams in the regular season. (They do play Dordt, which is receiving votes.)
Mount Marty’s eight losses have all come to nationally-ranked teams, all to teams currently ranked ahead of the 22nd-ranked Lancers (which makes sense). Six of those eight losses are to teams currently ranked in the top six: two each to No. 2 Northwestern and No. 3 Morningside, one to No. 5 Black Hills State and one to No. 6 Sioux Falls (a loss the Lancers avenged last month). No. 17 Briar Cliff and No. 21 Jamestown also had the upper hand on the Lancers.
MMC plays DWU (6-19, 2-13), Doane (7-15, 5-8), Dordt (14-8, 5-7) and Concordia (13-12, 5-8) to finish the regular season, which could give the Lancers 21 wins going into the GPAC tournament. Barring a couple upsets, the Lancers would end up fifth in the GPAC, which would mean a quarterfinal matchup at Briar Cliff, a team that scored a 77-63 victory over the Lancers in a game that wasn’t that close.
MMC would likely need an upset of Briar Cliff and a better showing against Northwestern in order to move up in the conference ranking and, in turn, move up in the national rankings.
(By the way, this is where I hope I’m wrong and MMC can make a trip to nationals by simply taking care of business in their next four games.)