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Wayne Cavadi | | April 2, 2023

DII women's basketball programs with the most NCAA DII national championships

Ashland beats Glenville St. in the 2023 DII women's basketball semifinals

The 2023 DII women's basketball season ended with Ashland winning its third national championship since 2013. 

Cal Poly Pomona won the very first title in 1982, and would go on to become one of the programs with the most championships in the history of the sport. 

Let’s take a look at the DII women’s basketball programs with the most titles. 

2023 RECAP: Ashland wins the 2023 national championship

Cal Poly Pomona, 5 (1982, 1985-86, 2001-02)

NCAA Photos Cal Poly Pomona celebrates after winning its fifth DII women's basketball national championship.

The Broncos set the bar for DII women’s basketball. They won the first-ever championship game and two short years later, the Broncos were the first program to go back-to-back. Cal Poly Pomona defined powerhouse, appearing in six of the first eight national championship games, winning three and losing three. The Broncos left their mark more recently as well becoming the first team to win in the new millennium, winning consecutive titles in 2001 and 2002. 

North Dakota State 5, (1991, 1993-96)

The Bison began a 1990s run of dominance by the state of North Dakota in DII women's basketball, one in which a North Dakota program won eight of the ten titles. North Dakota State appeared in six straight national championship games, winning in 1991, losing in 1992, and then winning the next four in a row, a feat that has yet to be matched. Legendary coach Amy Ruley won all five, the only DII women’s basketball coach to do so. There were plenty of Bison faithful on hand to watch the run. North Dakota State led DII women’s basketball in attendance from 1992 to 2000.

Ashland, 3 (2013, 2017, 2023)

The Eagles have become one of the premier programs in DII women's basketball. Not only do they have those three national championships, they have a pair of national runners-up campaigns to add to their resume, all since 2012. Kari Pickens coached the most recent Ashland team to victory and was a star player on the Eagles first title team in 2013. In 2023, the Eagles became just the second program in DII women's basketball history to have two undefeated championship seasons (with Lubbock Christian being the other). 

Lubbock Christian, 3 (2016, 2019, 2021)

The sport's current dynasty began playing at the DII level in the 2015-16 season. Not only did the Chaparrals win the national championship that year, but they've won two more in the time since. Head coach Steve Gomez has been at the helm for all three. In 2021, Lubbock Christian became the first team to repeat as champions since Cal Poly Pomona in 2002.

North Dakota, 3 (1997-99)

The North Dakota dominance of the 90s that was started by the Bison was concluded by the Fighting Hawks who won the last three championships to close out the decade. North Dakota was utterly dominant as Gene Roebuck’s squads won all three titles without a doubt, with 16 points the narrowest margin of victory. North Dakota returned a final time to the title game in 2001 but lost to Cal Poly Pomona.

Delta State, 3 (1989-90, 1992)

Delta State Athletics Delta State has won three DII women's basketball titles.

The Lady Statesmen were on the verge of a dynasty themselves until the North Dakota teams came to power. That said, Delta State appeared in four championships in a five-year span, winning consecutive titles in ’89 and ’90 behind 30-plus win seasons. An interesting fun fact about Delta State: all three teams they defeated in the title game have won at least one national championship. It certainly earned those trophies.

Two-title programs

Four programs currently have two national championship trophy’s sitting on display back on campus. Central Missouri waited a long time in between titles, the longest span of any tenure to be precise, first winning in 1984 — the same season the men’s program won its first title — before claiming the 2018 championship. Northern Kentucky had an eight-year gap in between championships, winning first in 2000 before a 2008 championship run. Nancy Winstel was head coach on both occasions. California (Pa) has won two titles in the 2000s, first in 2004 and then again in 2014.

Here’s the complete history of the DII women’s basketball championship game. Note that there was no winner in 2020, as the tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

2023 Ashland (37-0) Kari Pickens 78-67 Minnesota Duluth Dallas, TX
2022 Glenville State (35-1) Kim Stephens 85-72 Western Washington Birmingham, AL
2021 Lubbock Christian (23-0) Steve Gomez 69-59 Drury Columbus, Ohio
2019 Lubbock Christian (32-5) Steve Gomez 95-85 (2OT) Southwestern Oklahoma  Columbus, Ohio
2018 Central Missouri (30-3) Dave Slifer 66-52 Ashland Sioux Falls, S.D.
2017 Ashland (37-0) Robyn Fralick 93-77 Virginia Union Columbus, Ohio
2016 Lubbock Christian (35-0) Steve Gomez 78-73 Alaska-Anch. Indianapolis
2015 California (Pa.) (32-4) Jess Strom 86-69 Cal Baptist Sioux Falls, S.D.
2014 Bentley (35-0) Barbara Stevens 73-65 West Texas A&M Erie, Pa.
2013 Ashland (38-1) Sue Ramsey 71-56 Dowling San Antonio
2012 Shaw (29-6) Jacques Curtis 88-82 Ashland San Antonio
2011 Clayton State (35-1) Dennis Cox 69-50 Michigan Tech St. Joseph, Mo.
2010 Emporia State (30-5) Brandon Schneider 65-53 Fort Lewis St. Joseph, Mo.
2009 Minnesota State-Mankato (32-2) Pam Gohl 103-94 Franklin Pierce San Antonio
2008 Northern Kentucky (28-8) Nancy Winstel 63-58 South Dakota Kearney, Neb.
2007 Southern Connecticut State (34-2) Joe Frager 61-45 Florida Gulf Coast Kearney, Neb.
2006 Grand Valley State (33-3) Dawn Plitzuweit 58-52 American International Hot Springs, Ark.
2005 Washburn (35-2) Ron McHenry 70-53 Seattle Pacific Hot Springs, Ark.
2004 California (PA) (35-1) Darcie Vincent 75-72 Drury St. Joseph, Mo.
2003 South Dakota State (32-3) Aaron Johnston 65-50 Northern Kentucky St. Joseph, Mo.
2002 Cal Poly Pomona (28-4) Paul Thomas 74-62 Southeastern Oklahoma Rochester, Minn.
2001 Cal Poly Pomona (27-3) Paul Thomas 87-80 (ot) North Dakota Rochester, Minn.
2000 Northern Kentucky (32-2) Nancy Winstel 71-62 (ot) North Dakota State Pine Bluff, Ark.
1999 North Dakota (31-1) Gene Roebuck 80-63 Arkansas Tech Pine Bluff, Ark.
1998 North Dakota (31-1) Gene Roebuck 92-76 Emporia State Pine Bluff, Ark.
1997 North Dakota (28-4) Gene Roebuck 94-78 Southern Indiana Grand Forks, N.D.
1996 North Dakota State (30-2) Amy Ruley 104-78 Shippensburg Fargo, N.D.
1995 North Dakota State (32-0) Amy Ruley 98-85 Portland State Fargo, N.D.
1994 North Dakota State (27-5) Amy Ruley 89-56 Cal State San B'dino Fargo, N.D.
1993 North Dakota State (30-2) Amy Ruley 95-63 Delta State Waltham, Mass.
1992 Delta State (30-4) Lloyd Clark 65-63 North Dakota State Fargo, N.D.
1991 North Dakota State (31-2) Amy Ruley 81-74 Southeast Missouri State Cape Girardeau, Mo.
1990 Delta State (32-1) Lloyd Clark 77-43 Bentley Pomona, Calif.
1989 Delta State (30-4) Lloyd Clark 88-58 Cal Poly Pomona Cleveland, Miss.
1988 Hampton (33-1) James Sweat 65-48 West Texas A&M Fargo, N.D.
1987 New Haven (29-2) Jan Rossman 77-75 Cal Poly Pomona Springfield, Mass.
1986 Cal Poly Pomona (30-3) Darlene May 70-63 North Dakota State Springfield, Mass.
1985 Cal Poly Pomona (26-7) Darlene May 80-69 Central Missouri Springfield, Mass.
1984 Central Missouri (27-5) Jorja Hoehn 80-73 Virginia Union Springfield, Mass.
1983 Virginia Union (27-2) Louis Hearn 73-60 Cal Poly Pomona Springfield, Mass.
1982 Cal Poly Pomona (29-7) Darlene May 93-74 Tuskegee Springfield, Mass.

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