For the first time ever, the top two teams in the nation both belong to the Peach Belt Conference as Lander remains #1 and Clayton State moves up to #2 in the latest poll from the WBCA, released on Tuesday. The 1-2 combination is the first in the history of Peach Belt Conference basketball and one of the few occurrences ever recorded by any division II league.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for both Lander and Clayton State and I am very excited to see those teams getting the recognition they have worked so hard for,” said PBC Commissioner David Brunk. “With three teams in the top 25 the Peach Belt Conference has become one of the top DII leagues in the nation for women's basketball. That is a testament to the dedication of the coaches and student-athletes at each of our schools."
Lander remains the #1 team in the nation for the second week in a row while Clayton State makes the move from #3 to #2 in this week’s poll following a loss by previous #3 Arkansas Tech. Lander received all 27 first-place votes by the national voting committee and 722 overall points. Clayton State has 682 overall points. USC Aiken is also ranked, coming in at #18 this week.
Both teams are undefeated and are two of the three undefeated teams remaining in the country along with California State – Monterey Bay who are 16-0 but not ranked in the top 25.
The 1-2 combination in one conference is very rare, but not unprecedented. In fact, to start the 2010-11 season Arkansas Tech was ranked #1 with Delta State at #2. Both are members of the Gulf South Conference. They kept those rankings through the first regular-season poll and are now ranked #3 and #5, respectively. Prior to this season, the Peach Belt Conference had never had two teams ranked in the top 10 at the same time.
Last week the Lady Bearcats tied the school record for best start and most consecutive wins after defeating No. 17 USC Aiken, 78-56, on Saturday for their 19th consecutive victory. Earlier in the week, Lander downed Armstrong Atlantic, 88-71, in Savannah.
The 18-0 start to the season is the best start to a season ever by a Clayton State women’s basketball team. The Lakers are currently 7-0 in the Peach Belt, and travel to Armstrong Atlantic on Wednesday for a key Peach Belt showdown at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s so flattering to be one of the top two teams in the nation - it’s an honor because there are so many great teams at this level in the nation,” said Clayton State head coach Dennis Cox. “But what gives us such good motivation is the fact that we haven’t even secured being the best team in our league.”
The two teams are scheduled to face one another on Thursday, Feb. 10, in Morrow.
See the complete poll here.