Despite finishing the 2013 season with a 6-4 record, the DC Divas once again proved to be one of the best teams in women’s football. The Divas finished fourth in the final WFA power rankings, which ranked the league champion Chicago Force at #1. The Boston Militia claimed the #2 spot, while the Divas’ division rivals, the Pittsburgh Passion, narrowly edged DC for the #3 position. The Divas took fourth, easily coming in ahead of the Western Conference champion Dallas Diamonds, who placed fifth.
With their #4 finish, the Divas have been ranked among the top five teams in the sport in each of the last five seasons. Remarkably, the Divas have finished in every position in the top five over that span: #1 in 2009, #2 in 2011, #3 in 2010, #4 this year, and #5 the season before. DC has also finished in the top five of the final league power rankings ten of the last 11 years, showing a consistent run of success among the elite in women’s football.
DC Divas Final Power Rankings, 2003-2013:
2003 – #4
2004 – #4
2005 – #3
2006 – #1
2007 – #2
2008 – #7
2009 – #1
2010 – #3
2011 – #2
2012 – #5
2013 – #4
The Divas’ strength of schedule was ranked as the #2 most difficult in the sport, breaking a streak of three consecutive years in which the Divas played the toughest schedule in women’s football. The Divas’ 2013 schedule was narrowly placed in the #2 spot behind the Boston Militia, who faced the Divas three times this season. Still, the Divas have maintained the #1 or #2 toughest schedule in the sport for each of the last five years dating back to 2009, when their strength of schedule was ranked #2 behind the Detroit Demolition.
The DC Divas’ offense was ranked third in the WFA in 2013. This marks the sixth time in the last eight years that the Divas have featured one of the top three offenses in the sport. DC averaged 42.8 points per game and showed remarkable consistency, topping the 40 point mark in seven of their ten contests. The Divas scored 61 touchdowns and gained over 4,000 yards of offense against some of the stiffest competition in the league.
Despite surrendering 32 points per game, the Divas’ defense was still ranked sixth in the league. This marks the ninth consecutive season that the Divas’ D has placed sixth in the sport or better.
DC Divas Offensive and Defensive Power Rankings, 2005-2013:
2005 – Offense: #7, Defense: #1
2006 – Offense: #1, Defense: #1
2007 – Offense: #2, Defense: #5
2008 – Offense: #6, Defense: #4
2009 – Offense: #2, Defense: #1
2010 – Offense: #2, Defense: #6
2011 – Offense: #3, Defense: #2
2012 – Offense: #5, Defense: #4
2013 – Offense: #3, Defense: #6
Individual Rankings – Offense
Individually, several Divas ranked among the league leaders in major statistical categories. Quarterback Allyson Hamlin ranked fourth in the WFA with 1,924 passing yards (placing behind Sami Grisafe of Chicago, Chantel Niino-Wiggins of the Central Cal War Angels, and Lisa Horton of Pittsburgh). Hamlin also ranked fifth in the league with 25 passing touchdowns, behind Grisafe, Niino-Wiggins, Horton, and Jenny Schmidt of the Kansas City Titans.
Kenyetta Grigsby again established herself as one of the top rushers in women’s football. Even though she missed two full games and the majority of a third, Grigsby still ranked second in the league in rushing (behind Boston’s Whitney Zelee) with 1,408 rushing yards. Grigsby also placed fifth in the WFA with 23 rushing touchdowns (behind Zelee, Launa Sims of the Atlanta Phoenix, Rachel Gore of the Seattle Majestics, and Niino-Wiggins).
Donna Wilkinson, playing her 13th season with the Divas, was second on the team in rushing with 343 yards. Ellise Pittman gave the team a third 100-yard rusher on the season with exactly 100 yards on the ground. Stacy Bruce chipped in 77 rushing yards, all in two key games late in the season – the division-clinching victory over Columbus and the playoff victory over the Comets two weeks later.
Despite missing three regular season games due to work commitments as an Alexandria, Virginia, firefighter, Ashley Whisonant compiled some impressive numbers that ranked her among the best wide receivers in the sport. Whisonant ranked sixth in the WFA with 774 receiving yards after Jeannette Gray, Ashley Berggren, and Brandy Hatcher, all of Chicago; Rachel Wojdowski of Pittsburgh; and Jamie Fornal of Central Cal. In just seven games, Whisonant collected 13 receiving touchdowns, fifth-best in the league behind Gray, Wojdowski, Fornal, and Berggren.
Whisonant was ably supported by Juliette Baker-Brice and Kasee Hilliard. Baker-Brice compiled 458 receiving yards and five touchdowns to rank second on the team, while Hilliard was close behind with 345 receiving yards and four touchdowns on the season. Melissa Mitchell and Lakia Barber made an impact catching the football in several games as well.
Individual Rankings – Defense
Defensively, the only player to rank in the top ten in any league-wide category was Callie Brownson, whose five interceptions on the season placed her ninth in the WFA. Eleni Kotsis and Trigger McNair each grabbed two interceptions as well.
McNair led the Divas’ defense by a wide margin in total tackles with 65. Kotsis added 33.5, while Brownson had 32. Three players – Melissa Washington, D’Ajah Scott, and Jimmien Strong – were all credited with 27 tackles in the 2013 season.
Strong paced the squad with 8.5 tackles for loss, while Missy Bedwell ranked second on the Divas with five. Washington and Cherre Marshall were both credited with four tackles for loss, and McNair had three. Melissa Washington led the team with three sacks, and her two forced fumbles tied Alicia Hopkins for the team lead in that category as well. Hopkins also led the Divas with three fumble recoveries, all of which she claimed in a single game against the Central Maryland Seahawks.