Jan 4, 2012

Columbia Basin No. 1 in Power Rankings

NWAACC Women's Basketball
The last three weeks saw the last of the undefeated teams in the NWAACC, and the teams have begun to split themselves into three groups. Clackamas and Columbia Basin are off ahead of everyone else, Lane, Yakima Valley, and Walla Walla sit on a middle tier, and Blue Mountain, Bellevue, and Big Bend round out this week's JOWARD Power Rankings top eight. Coaches rankings are in italics next to each team's record.
1. Columbia Basin (12-1) - #1 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 5, No. 4 Coaches

The Hawk's one loss isn't too much to worry about: it was to NJCAA Champion North Idaho, and it was relatively close compared to many of North Idaho's other bouts in the NWAACC. Columbia Basin still doesn't have the most impressive schedule or the flashiest stats, but they've still managed to clean up lesser opponents without much of a slip up so far. However middle-of-the-road their numbers may be, they're still 12-1. Whether they've got what it takes will be seen once region play begins, as they have four of the eight ranked teams in their region.
2. Clackamas (11-1) - #2 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 1, No. 1 Coaches

Clackamas was running away from opponents before they tripped and fell flat on their faces against Yakima Valley on December 18th in the final of their own NWAACC crossover tournament. The 72-53 rout came with 32 turnovers, something that has been a problem of theirs, averaging nearly 23.5 turnovers per contest. They normally make up for such a stat with takeaways of their own, leading the NWAACC in points, assists, and steals. This time they just didn't get away with it.

3. Lane (10-3) - #7 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 6, No. 5 Coaches

Of the teams tied at 10-3, Lane has been the most consistent. Their wins aren't all that impressive, but their losses are to #1 Columbia Basin and #2 Clackamas, as well as the aforementioned North Idaho. Lane may be the most well rounded team in the NWAACC, even if they don't have the best record. Lane is 3rd in the NWAACC with 75.77 ppg, leads the league in blocks, and is among the leaders in steals.


4. Yakima Valley (10-3) #4 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 4, No. 6 Coaches 

YVCC's trouble still seems to be consistency. On one hand, they handed then No. 1 and undefeated Clackamas their first loss in a 72-53 blowout. But on the other hand, they've also coughed up games to unranked Linn-Benton and unranked Clark. However, things may be turning around, as the Yaks have two wins of over 40 points, and four wins of 16 or more since their back to back losses in early December. Things may be looking up once the NWAACC's leading scorer, Brandi Henton, returns from injury.


5. Walla Walla (9-3) #3 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 3, No. 2 Coaches

Of all the teams to play North Idaho College, the Warriors have done the best job. Still losing 71-65, Walla Walla fell by only 6 points, the closest margin for any NWAACC team. If Walla Walla's only other loss was to #4 Yakima Valley, then they'd most likely be ranked much higher than they are. That isn't quite the case, as Walla Walla fell in a puzzling game to Clark in which the NWAACC's second highest scoring team couldn't muster 60 points in the 70-59 loss to an unranked team for the first time this season. 

6. Blue Mountain (8-3) #9 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 7, No. 8 Coaches

The Timberwolves have been teetering on the edge of success all season. That is, until now. They finally announced their coming out party in an 86-66 trouncing of then No. 2 Bellevue. Blue Mountain continues to shoot extremely well from the field, and leads the NWAACC in free-throw percentage. However good their shooting is, they still lack a strong inside presence, as their rebounding is dreadful, and they have only five blocks all season long.


7. Bellevue (8-3) #5 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 2, No. 3 Coaches

Once a team that sat nearly atop the rankings, Bellevue has clearly fallen from grace. All went well until a forfeit with Spokane, and since then the Bulldogs have lost two of four, their stumbling seemingly culminating in the dreadful blowout at the hands of the Blue Mountain Timberwolves on December 30th. Only time will tell whether Bellevue can halt their skid down the power rankings.


8. Big Bend (10-3) Unranked Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 8, No. 7 Coaches

One would think that the 68-63 victory over then #2 Bellevue would put Big Bend a lot higher on the list, but then you have to consider that two of their losses were to teams at .500 in Whatcom and Skagit Valley. As for much of the rest of Big Bend's schedule, it's dismal. The rubber will really meet the road when region play begins, as Big Bend's Eastern Region is shaping up to be a tough place to play this season.

Teams moving up: Columbia Basin, Blue Mountain, Lane
Teams moving down: Bellevue, Walla Walla, Clackamas

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