Women’s Basketball Preview For NCAA III Regional at Calvin College March 2 and 3
Thursday, March 01, 2012
CALVIN COLLEGE SEASON IN REVIEW
Under the direction of head coach John Ross, the Calvin women’s basketball team is making its third straight appearance in the NCAA III Tournament including its 13th overall. In 12 prior trips to the NCAA III Tournament, Calvin has fashioned a won-loss record of 15-13, earning berths in the national quarterfinals in both 2005 and 2007.
Ranked fifth nationally, Calvin received an automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament by defeating Hope 65-43 last weekend in the MIAA Tournament Championship game. In addition, Calvin captured the 2012 MIAA regular season title with a 15-1 league record with its only loss coming at Hope in early February.
Junior center Carissa Verkaik was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Player for the third straight year. She averages 18.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game. A three-time first team All-MIAA selection, Verkaik was recently named one of 10 finalists for the Josten’s Trophy and was also named a third team Capital One Academic All-American last month. Junior post Julia Hilbrands joined Verkaik on the All-MIAA first team this year. She averages 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds a game while connecting on a team-leading 60.6 percent of her field goal attempts.
Calvin also features three seniors who are making their third trip to the NCAA III Tournament. Those seniors are guards Jill Thomas and Leah Mattson and forward Courtney Kurncz. Thomas was recently named MIAA Player of the Week for her play in the MIAA Tournament. Mattson provides strong support off the bench while Kurncz is a three-year starter at forward.
Calvin’s starting lineup is filled out by junior forward Ally Wolffis and freshman point guard Kayla Engelhard. Wolffis was an All-MIAA selection in 2011 while Engelhard has notched double-digits in scoring eight times and will carry a three-game double-digit scoring streak into the NCAA III Tournament. Junior Kelsey Irwin has been Calvin’s top three-point threat, connecting on 48 triples on 107 attempts for a 40.7 percent three-point clip.
As a team, Calvin is ranked fifth nationally in scoring defense (46.5 ppg), fourth in field goal percentage defense (.296) and second in blocked shots per game (7.2).
Earlier this year, John Ross recorded his 200th victory at the helm of the Knights. Heading into NCAA III Tournament play, Ross has a collegiate won-loss record of 204-47. Ross is a native of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. His brother Dave Ross is employed at Wisconsin Lutheran College as the manager of the Generac Science Building. Dave also serves as an assistant coach for the WLC men’s and women’s track teams in the spring. Both Dave and brother Mark Ross are graduates of Wisconsin Lutheran. Mark is also an assistant women’s basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.
FRANKLIN COLLEGE SEASON IN REVIEW
Franklin College is making its seventh appearance in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament after capturing its fourth Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tourney title and the league’s automatic bid.
The Grizzlies fought back from a 10-point first-half deficit and defeated arch rival Hanover College 64-44 in the HCAC title contest at home on Feb. 26 to punch their ticket to the 2012 national tournament for the second time three years.
Franklin improved to 25-2 overall, setting a school record for wins in a single season by a Grizzly women’s basketball team.
The Grizzlies have won 11 of their last 12 contests heading into the NCAA tourney and are presently ranked 15th in both the USA Today/ESPN Division III Top 25 Coaches Poll and D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll,
Senior guard Sarah Condra leads the team in scoring average at 19.0 points per game, ranking her 20th among all Division III women’s basketball individuals. She was named the HCAC Tournament Most Valuable Player for the first time. Three days later, Condra was voted the conference’s MVP for the regular season for the second time in her career.
Moreover, Condra was named one of the 10 finalists for The Jostens Trophy for the 2011-12 season – the first Franklin College basketball player – male or female – to achieve the honor.
In less than three completed seasons – she didn’t come out for basketball as a freshman – Condra has scored 1,369 points, a total which ranks seventh on FC’s list of all-time scoring leaders.
Condra also leads Franklin in rebounding at 6.2 rebounds per game and blocked shots at 1.2 per contest this season,
The Grizzlies’ other starters include center Jess Prewett, who averages 8.6 points per game and 5.0 rebounds, and point guard Annie Tarkington, who averages 4.7 points and 2.9 assists. Both juniors were named to the HCAC’s All-Tournament Team along with Condra. Sophomore forward Krista Schott (5.2 ppg, 5.6 reb.) and senior forward Kasey Dollens (5.0 ppg.,+ 5.1 reb.) round out Franklin’s regular lineup.
Two of FC’s top subs are sophomore forward Krista Beaman (6.3 ppg., 3.9 reb.) and freshman center Lindsey Dall (5.5 ppg., 3.0 reb.).
Throughout the season, Franklin has won with a smothering defense and effective free throw shooting. In the most recent NCAA national stat rankings (through games as of Feb. 26), the Grizzlies are 15th in scoring defense at 49.7 points per game and 21st in team field goal percentage defense at 32.1 percent. Franklin is 16th in team free throw accuracy at 74.9 percent.
The Grizzlies are guided by Dr. Kim Eiler, who’s in her eighth season and owns a 151-63 record at FC, including a 91-37 mark in HCAC contests. She has coached Franklin to four HCAC championships (2005, 2006, 2010, 2012), four appearances in the NCAA Division III tournament (same years) and owns a 243-142 record in her 13th year overall as a head coach.
WISCONSIN LUTHERAN COLLEGE SEASON IN REVIEW
The Wisconsin Lutheran College women’s basketball team enters its fourth NCAA Tournament in school history with a 24-4 overall record after winning the 2012 Northern Athletics Conference Tournament championship by defeating Dominican University 85-61 last Saturday at the Recreation Complex.
Besides its win over Dominican in the championship game last weekend, WLC also defeated Benedictine University in the quarterfinals, 74-56 and knocked out Concordia University Wisconsin 61-55 in its semifinal matchup. Junior guard Shavon Dillon led Wisconsin Lutheran throughout the tournament as she averaged 15.7 points per game and scored 18 points in the championship game.
The Warriors went 17-1 in conference play this season and earned their fourth consecutive NAC division championship. WLC has played its best basketball of late, having won 18 of its past 19 games and winning 15 of those 18 games by double-digits.
Of the Warriors four losses this season, two have come to teams also in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field in Carthage College and Washington University (Mo.). The Warriors also lost to NCAA Division II Lynn University and dropped its only conference game to Lakeland College.
Wisconsin Lutheran is led by senior forward Rachel Johnson and Dillon as both players are averaging a team-best 12.0 points per game. Depth has been a key to the Warriors’ success all season as seven different players have led the team in scoring. Those seven players are starters Johnson, junior guards Krissy Day and Alyssa Allister, freshman forward Katelyn Kuehl and freshman center Kristen Schulz as well as reserves Dillon and sophomore guard Rachel Hoft.
Wisconsin Lutheran’s depth has been impressive in the fact that the Warriors have had seven different players lead the team in scoring this season. Its bench has out-scored its opponents by 441 points, 811-370. WLC has nine players averaging at least 13 minutes per game, the seven mentioned previously as well as senior forward Jenna Neuberger and sophomore forward Melanie Laete.
The Warriors have also been strong on the glass this year winning the rebounding battle in 24 of 28 games and out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 8.5 rebounds per game. Johnson leads WLC averaging 7.5 rebounds per game, while Schulz pulls down 7.1 per contest. Kuehl leads Wisconsin Lutheran with 83 offensive rebounds.
Johnson also leads Wisconsin Lutheran with 79 assists and is one of four players with 60 or more assists this season. Dillon (72), Kuehl (70) and Day (65) are the other three as WLC has dished out 414 assists this season compared to its opponents 277.
The trip to the 2012 NCAA Tournament will be the fourth in school history for the Warriors with the three other appearances coming in 2011, 2003 and 2000. The Warriors picked up their first-ever NCAA Tournament win last season with a first round 73-59 win over Wis.-La Crosse.
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-STEVENS POINT SEASON IN REVIEW
UW-Stevens Point received the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) automatic bid as it captured its fifth consecutive WIAC Tournament Championship after defeating two top 25 teams last weekend. The Pointers also posted their second consecutive regular season conference title, this year sharing the regular-season title with UW-Eau Claire after both squads finished with a 13-3 record. In the most recent D3hoops.com poll, UWSP comes in ranked No. 11 and has now been ranked in the top 25 31 consecutive weeks dating back to the week 13 poll conducted in the 2009-10 season. The Pointers have also been ranked in the top 25 of 115 of 199 polls conducted and have received votes in 148 of 199 polls.
UWSP is led by WIAC Player of the Year Sam Barber who led the conference in three-point field goal percentage (44.2), second in points per game (14.0), sixth in free throw percentage (80.2), seventh in blocks (0.77) and eighth in field goal percentage (46.5). Seniors Ashley Averkamp and Cassie Bandow eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for their careers earlier this season while each was named to the all-conference squad. Averkamp was voted to the first team for the second time after averaging 10.6 points, 4.0 rebounds while shooting 53.4 percent from the field, fifth best in the WIAC. For the third consecutive season, Bandow was named to the honorable mention team along with receiving the Judy Kruckman Scholar Athlete Award. This season the guard ranks first in the WIAC and in assist/turnover ratio at 2.25 and second in assists (3.7) and three-point field goal percentage (41.0) while averaging 10.6 points and 3.6 rebounds. Junior Brooke Allen was selected to the all-defensive team as she helped lead the Pointers to a WIAC best 24.3 three-point field goal percent defense and second in field goal percentage defense at 34.0 percent.
Head coach Shirley Egner is the winningest head coach in WIAC history, having amassed a 432-176 record in 23 seasons with UWSP. Egner led the Pointers to the 2002 NCAA Division III championship and then took UWSP back to the Final Four two years later in 2004. Once again this season, the Pointers have surpassed the 20-win mark and have done so in 11 of the last 12 seasons.
As a team, UWSP averages 69.8 points per game while allowing 54.1 points, a 15.6 average margin of victory and in its 27 games, it has only trailed once at halftime. Nationally, the Pointers ranks ninth in field goal percentage (44.8), 10th in assists/turnover ratio (1.04), 12th in three-point field goal percentage (35.8), 15th in assists (16.5) and 21st in scoring margin (+15.6).