The fourth-ranked Fort Hays State women's basketball team is listed atop the initial set of NCAA Division II Central Region rankings, released Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 20). This is the first of three sets of regional rankings that will be announced before the NCAA Championship bracket is released on March 10.

The 23-1 Tigers are one of two teams in the region with just one loss this season, joined by second-ranked Southwestern Oklahoma State (23-1). Every other team in the region has at least five losses so far this season.

Fort Hays State is 5-1 against teams listed in the top 10 in the region.

The Tigers are one of six MIAA programs mentioned in the initial release, with Central Missouri ranked third, Emporia State ranked sixth, Pittsburg State sitting in eighth, Lindenwood ranked ninth and Washburn slotted 10th.

The champions of the MIAA, GAC and NSIC tournaments will all earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Championship field, with the next five teams in the region also earning an at-large selection. The top team in the region earns the right to host the regional tournament, which will be held March 15-18.

With just four games remaining in the regular season, the Tigers will hit the road for the final time this weekend with a trip to Oklahoma. Fort Hays State will take on Central Oklahoma Thursday (Feb. 21) at 5:30 p.m. before facing off with Northeastern State at 1:30 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 23).

                         DII Record In-Region Record

1 Fort Hays State 20-1 20-1

2 Southwestern Oklahoma State 23-1 23-1

3 Central Missouri 18-5 16-4

4 Minnesota State University Moorhead 21-5 19-5

5 Minnesota Duluth 17-6 17-6

6 Emporia State 19-5 17-5

7 Concordia-St. Paul 17-6 17-6

8 Pittsburg State 16-5 15-5

9 Lindenwood (Missouri) 17-5 17-5

10 Washburn 16-7 14-7