Jimmies hit No. 3 in poll
There isn’t a whole lot higher the Jimmie women’s basketball team can go, at least not in the NAIA rankings.
The only two teams ahead of the Jimmies are No. 1 St. Francis, Ind. (16-0) and Northwestern, Iowa (15-0). Northwestern is the only team to beat the Jimmies this season. Davenport’s loss is to unranked, but receiving votes, Cornerstone (Mich.).
“I felt like we put together a nice résumé the last couple of weeks with some wins over high-quality teams,” said coach Greg Ulland, who is a rater in the poll and thought there was a chance his team could climb based how things played out over the last month. “It’s a tribute to the girls and the program that things are going in the right direction.”
The Jimmies climbed two spots from the Dec. 10 poll.
The Jimmies have wins over No. 7 Concordia, Neb. (14-3), No. 9 Morningside, Iowa (13-4), No. 21 St. Ambrose, Iowa (10-5) and 23rd-ranked Briar Cliff, Iowa (10-7).
“The biggest thing is that since we don’t have an automatic-qualifier the ranking is our way to get to nationals,” Ulland said. “Other than that, we don’t want to get too caught up in it. … There’s still a long ways to go.”
Looking way down the road, if the Jimmies can maintain the ranking, or possibly tick up a spot or two, it would be beneficial for seeding come national tournament time in Sioux City, Iowa. The higher the seed, the easier the first-round opponent and likelihood of a more favorable second-round match-up against a team that presumably had a challenging first-round game.
Elsewhere in the poll, Mayville State (11-2) moved up one spot to No. 19. The Comets and Jimmies play in Jamestown Jan. 22 and in Mayville Feb. 8.
“Over the next few weeks people are going to start to see how good they are,” Ulland said of Mayville State. “They have basically their whole team back and they’ve expanded their roles and are a real quality team.”
The Jimmies have not played since Dec. 31. The men and women host Oglala Lakota College (S.D. on Sunday, beginning at 2 p.m.
Ulland said they’ve used the down time to get re-energized. They are getting antsy for some game action, however. They’ll play a live scrimmage on Friday with fouls, subbing and the like.
“We’ve put some good work in. The girls are getting after each other,” Ulland said. “We’ve been getting our work in and it’s been good for us overall.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org