The SIAC women’s basketball season has been an interesting one, to say the least with a number of teams not just being in contention for the conference title, but could be major threats in the Division II tournament.
While there is the potential for a rematch of the 2021 SIAC championship game between Benedict and Tuskegee, Savannah State has looked like the prohibitive favorite thus far.
Any one of these teams has the potential to become the first HBCU to make it to the final of the D2 tournament since Virginia Union in 2017.
Before we get there, here are the midseason grades for the SIAC women’s basketball season.
Savannah State: A+
The Savannah State Tigers are not only the clear favorites to win the SIAC, but they may be a team to watch in the Division II women’s basketball tournament.
Savannah has just one loss this season coming against Benedict ending their unbeaten run that lasted through the first 14 games.
Elsewhere, the Tigers have been nothing short of dominant with just three of their wins coming within a single-digit margin.
They have the fifth-highest scoring margin in the country and the second-highest in the conference at 20.8 points.
While the Benedict Tigers have an uphill climb if they want to repeat as SIAC champions, the Tigers are certainly in the upper echelon of the conference.
Benedict is the only team in the SIAC that holds wins against Savannah State and/or Tuskegee (although they have a 29-point loss to the latter that did not count toward their conference record).
Other than Tuskegee, the Tigers have conference losses against Lane and Albany State the latter being their only loss against a team with an overall losing record.
Outside the SIAC, the Tigers have an impressive set of wins against West Florida and the previously national ranked Valdosta State.
Their grade was dropped from an “A+” to simply an “A” thanks to their 39-point loss to Augusta.
Albany State: C+
Do not let Albany State’s record fool you it will be an x-factor team to watch come conference tournament time.
All but one of Albany State’s eight victories have come against SIAC teams which include handing Benedict its lone division loss so far this year.
Elsewhere, however, the Golden Rams have struggled with their only non-conference win being against a Division III team.
Clark Atlanta: C-
Like Albany State, each of Clark Atlanta’s wins also come against SIAC opponents with the difference being the Panthers do not have a win against a team with a record above .500.
They have been involved in a number of close games with six of their 13 losses coming within a five-point margin.
That has not always been a good thing for the Panthers, however, as they opened the season with a loss to Johnson C. Smith despite leading by 23 points entering the fourth quarter and had an 11-point lead going into the fourth quarter against West Georgia before losing in overtime.
Fort Valley: D
Outside of beating Lane on its home court, there has not been much for Fort Valley State to celebrate this season.
The Wildcats currently have the second-worst conference record at 2-9 and are winless in their division at 0-4.
They have had golden opportunities to rack up two signature wins both against Miles but were unable to deliver losing in close contests.
If overall records are any indication, the SIAC could potentially see Tuskegee in the conference tournament final against Savannah State.
Tuskegee is the only team in the conference still unbeaten in division play with a perfect 5-0 record including wins over second and third place teams Miles and Lane that they won by a combined score of 138-74.
Tuskegee has the longest active win streak at 10 straight winning those games by an average margin of 22.2 points.
The Golden Tigers’ most impressive win is one that did not count toward their total as they beat Alabama State 72-70 in a preseason scrimmage.
Miles is a team to watch that has a great chance of either playing spoiler as a middle seed or snatching a high seed in the SIAC tournament.
The only bad loss on the Golden Bears’ resume comes against Kentucky State with their remaining three being conference elites Tuskegee, Benedict, and Savannah State.
The Golden Bears will have a favorable schedule down the stretch that sees them playing six of their eight remaining games on their home floor including contests versus their top competition in the SIAC West Tuskegee and Lane.
If all goes right, Miles could head into the SIAC tournament with a top-two seed in the tourney giving them an added advantage.
Lane is one of the few teams that has a better road record than they do at home going 5-2 in the former and 5-5 in the latter.
Four of their home losses have come against conference opposition including two against their top competition in the SIAC West.
Against the top five teams in the SIAC, Lane is 1-4 with their lone win coming against Benedict.
Getting wins over Tuskegee and Miles respectively will be key to the Dragons building confidence as they head toward the SIAC tournament.
While the bottom half of the SIAC West has not been able to keep up with the frontrunners, Lemoyne-Owen is certainly no scrub.
The Magicians have some solid wins under their belt against Albany State, Fort Valley State, and Central State the latter of which they won in the final seconds.
They also have some close, competitive losses against Miles and Lane with their loss to the Dragons coming in overtime on the opposing team’s home floor.
Kentucky State: D+
Talk about rare, Kentucky State is 5-11 on the season and none of their wins have come on their home court.
They are only team in either of the Division II HBCU conference (men or women) that has won five or more games with none coming at home.
While their road win against Miles is impressive, it is not enough to warrant them a grade higher than a D+.
Spring Hill: F
The SIAC’s only non-HBCU Spring Hill has had a rough go of it this season tallying the most losses of any team in the conference.
The Badgers have losses against the two teams at the bottom of each division Fort Valley State and Central State.
They are 1-9 in their last 10 conference games and are 0-5 overall in home conference games.
Central State: F
From the team with the most losses overall to the team with the worst conference win percentage Central State.
The Marauders are 2-10 in conference play with their only victories coming against Spring Hill and Allen.
Like other teams on this list, Central State have had their chances to stack up wins with a three-game stretch losing by three points or less including a road game against Lane.