Ashland University's women's basketball team finished 2016-17 as the best in NCAA Division II, and the Eagles will start 2017-18 there, according to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).
In the WBCA Division II Preseason Coaches' Poll, released on Tuesday (Oct. 31) afternoon, Ashland is ranked No. 1 prior to the start of a campaign for the second time (2012-13). The Eagles received 23 of 24 first-place votes, with last season's national runner-up, Virginia Union, garnering the other.
Last season, the Eagles completed Division II's first 37-0 women's or men's basketball season, scoring a D-II women's hoops-record 3,456 points in the process. It was the program's second national championship.
Ashland will enter 2017-18 with the longest winning streak (37 games) of any basketball team, men or women, at any level of the NCAA.
This is the 35th consecutive poll in which Ashland has been in the WBCA Top 25, and the 14th straight poll at No. 1 – tied for the second-longest streak in the poll's history, dating back to 1982. The Eagles have been ranked as the top team in the country 27 times, fourth-most in the history of the poll, and their streak of 18 straight polls in the Top 5 is the longest active mark in the country.
Ashland has been ranked in the WBCA Top 25 in the preseason five times, all since 2012-13.
Also released on Tuesday, Ashland was the No. 1-ranked team in the 2017-18 D2SIDA Women's Basketball Preseason Media National Poll.
The Eagles played at Ohio State in an exhibition game on Sunday (Oct. 29), and will face perennial NCAA Division I contender Connecticut on the road in another exhibition on Sunday (Nov. 5) at 1 p.m. Ashland's regular season will begin on Nov. 10 at 5:30 p.m. vs. Ohio Dominican in the G-MAC/GLIAC/GLVC Crossover at Cedarville, Ohio.
ASHLAND WOMEN'S BASKETBALL WBCA TOP 25 POLL HISTORY
Weeks in rankings: 70
Weeks in Top 10: 54
Weeks in Top 5: 47
Weeks at No. 1: 27
Most consecutive weeks in rankings: 35 (current)
Most consecutive weeks in Top 10: 29 (current)
Most consecutive weeks in Top 5: 23
Most consecutive weeks at No. 1: 14 (current)
Highest ranking: No. 1 (last on Oct. 31, 2017)
Highest final ranking: No. 1 (2012-13 and 2016-17)
Full seasons in rankings: 3 (2012-13, 2015-16 and 2016-17)
Full seasons in Top 10: 2 (2012-13 and 2016-17)
Full seasons in Top 5: 2 (2012-13 and 2016-17)
Current streak: 35