Category Archives: NCAA Division II

Division II women’s basketball: 9 impact players for the 2018-19 season

(From NCAA.com, see the full story HERE)

The road to Columbus, Ohio, for the DII Women’s Basketball Elite Eight is set to tipoff. Last season, Central Missouri claimed the title over a seemingly unbeatable Ashland team in a thrilling finale. Both the Jennies and Eagles enter the season as two of the favorites to get back to the national quarterfinals.

But who are the players that will get them there? Let’s take a look at nine players that can make a big impact on the DII women’s basketball season.

MORE: Expect to see these 10 teams atop the preseason rankings

Jodi Johnson, Ashland

Ashland University Eagles@goashlandeagles

Johnson has some big shoes to fill with two of Ashland’s all-time greats — Andi Daugherty and Laina Snyder — graduating. But if there was any one player to carry that load, it’s Johnson. There was very little she couldn’t do in her breakout sophomore season, taking home consensus Player of the Year honors from every outlet. She can score, averaging 18.7 points per game at a 60.3 percent field goal percentage, and if you leave her open beyond the arc, she will slay you, shooting a new Ashland all-time best 58.1 percent from 3.  Johnson can board, ripping down 5.7 points per game and also dish it out (3.8 assists per game). She’s also DII women’s basketball’s best thief, swiping an incredible 3.7 steals per game. Having to pay constant attention to her elevates the game of Renee Stimpert, who will be one of the best floor generals in DII this season. What Johnson can do for an encore to 2018 will be fun to watch.

Morgan Fleming, Central Missouri

The reigning 2018 national champions return a lot of firepower, but it may rest on Fleming’s shoulders to make an impact. Why Fleming? Gone this season is the Jennies’ muscle inside the paint, Kayonna Lee. We know Central Missouri has scorers and sound defense, but replacing the presence down low will be vital. Fleming went on a tear in the NCAA tournament, pulling down 33 rebounds in six games. She will have plenty of help on the boards from Megan Skaggs, but if Fleming’s elevated presence in the postseason carries over into this season, the Jennies will be dangerous.

MORE: Lubbock Christian upsets SMU in exhibition bout

Hailey Tucker, Southwestern Oklahoma State

SWOSU Athletics@SWOSUAthletics

The Bulldogs have a lot of sleeper appeal entering the 2018-19 season. Tucker has some nice weapons at her side like Hayden Priddy and Bethany Franks, who led the conference in rebounding as a freshman, but her presence is vital to the team’s success. She led the Great American Conference in scoring last season with 20.5 points per game while adding 7.5 rebounds per game. At 6’2” and so athletic inside, the attention paid to Tucker makes Franks that much more dangerous down low, and Priddy, who joined Tucker in the 1,000-point club last season, that more threatening as a scorer. This team has as good a Big Three as any, and if Tucker can match her big 2018, they could make program history this season and make the Elite Eight for the first time.

Haris Price, Carson-Newman

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NCAA Division II

@NCAADII

The Eagles had a dream season last year, racking up 32 wins and a trip to the Elite Eight. Like Central Missouri, Carson-Newman has a lot of key returners and are in a prime position to make another deep run. Price is the engine that makes the Eagles’ machine roll, a machine that was the third-highest scoring offense in DII women’s basketball season with 90.9 points per game. Not only is she one of the top scorers on a top-scoring team, but she commands the floor offensively and defensively, swiping more than two-and-a-half per game. The Eagles should go far this season, and Price, with players like Mika Webster and Kayla Marosites around her, is poised for a big year.

Hailey Diestelkamp, Drury

GLVC Sports Network@GLVCSN

The Panthers have been an NCAA postseason regular for quite a few years. Diestelkamp does a little bit of everything that continues to make this team a perennial contender. She’s been a model of consistency the past two years, shooting 51 and 52 percent and pulling down 8.2 rebounds in both her freshman and sophomore year. Last year, Diestelkamp became more of a scorer and that trend should easily continue this season. This is another team with a lot of returners ready for a deep run. The continued progression and ever-steady athleticism of Diestelkamp will lead the way.

Rejoice Spivey, Virginia Union

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HERO Sports WBB@HEROSportsWBB

Virginia Union has become a perennial powerhouse winning 28 games in each of the last three seasons. While Spivey may not finish with the most points or rebounds on this team, she is in a position to make the biggest impact, running the floor for a team that outscored its opponents by 17.4 points per game last season. Spivey was second in DII women’s basketball with 6.9 assists per game, and that experience will be vital in replacing last year’s top scorers Alexis Johnson and Rachael Pecota. If the Panthers want to continue this run of success, a lot of it will fall on Spivey’s abilities as the on-court leader of this offense.

Yazmeen Goo, Alaska Anchorage

The only thing missing from her last name is an “L” because Goo is your quintessential “glue guy”. The Seawolves have better scorers and bigger presences down low who may steal a lot of the limelight stuffing the stat sheets, but a lot of it is from the little things in which Goo excels. Goo had a team-best 132 assists and 89 steals, all while still contributing 8.5 points per game. The Seawolves have been a tough team for the past few seasons, and with Goo in the rotation, nothing should change this year.

Jessica Kelliher, Lewis

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HERO Sports WBB@HEROSportsWBB

Kelliher had her best season yet last year as a junior, and that’s really saying something. The 6’0” senior has kept the Flyers near the top of a very competitive Great Lakes Valley Conference. The All-American is a point-scoring machine, entering 2018-19 just 14 points shy of 2,000 for her career. She’s led the GLVC in scoring in each of the past two seasons, and all of DII women’s basketball in 2018, but also completely controls the paint averaging 9.0 rebounds and more than a block per game. Kelliher is a dominating force on a Lewis team that should have a dominating season.

Jada Perkins, Union

Union had a monster 32-win season last year, making it to the national semifinals. The Bulldogs will have to replace some big-time scorers including Chelsey Shumpert who was top five in DII women’s basketball with 23.8 points per game. Perkins may not be the one to dominate the scoring, but she can make an impact across the board that keeps the Bulldogs competitive in 2018-19. That said, Perkins can score, but her strength is pacing the tempo, leading the team in both assists and steals. Union only has two seniors returning after its monster season so Perkins leadership and talent will be invaluable in repeating last season’s success.

Others to watch:

Dana Watts, American International; Riley Fitzwater, Concord; Morgan Greene, Cal. State East Bay.

MORE: 2018 championship bracket | History

DII men’s basketball: 5 takeaways from the SCB Hall of Fame Classic

(From NCAA.com; see the full article HERE)

The DII men’s basketball season kicked off this past weekend at the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. Former champions and tournament regulars tipped off the season in a two-day college basketball extravaganza.

Last year’s national champions, Ferris State, and defending runners-up, Northern State, were on hand as were the schools from the 2016 DII Men’s Basketball Championship title game. When the final whistle blew, two teams left St. Joseph, Missouri unscathed, ready to kick off their schedules a perfect 2-0.

Here are five takeaways from the Hall of Fame Classic.

MORE: NABC preseason poll

Northwest Missouri State opens 2-0 against DII basketball’s best

The Bearcats downed the 2018 national runners-up and defending national champions on consecutive days. Not bad for a team that lost its all-time leading scorer (Justin Pitts) to graduation.

Northwest Missouri State is alive and well, taking down Northern State 72-70 in an overtime thriller and then Ferris State 100-86 in an all-out 3-point assault. Despite losing some key pieces, the Bearcats are clearly ready to ball.

Bearcat Basketball@NWBearcatMBB

Joey Witthus, the Bearcats’ top returner, had a strong showing, scoring 15 and 17 respectively and pulling down 14 boards. Redshirt freshman Trevor Hudgins showed he may be the driving force in a Bearcats run this season, scoring 51 points in his first two games. He added 5.5 assists over the two games to earn MVP honors.

Watch out when the Bearcats get hot. They drained 10 straight 3-pointers to open things up against Ferris State. Northwest Missouri State finished the game 14-for-24 and showed that they are a dangerous team to watch this year.

Tarleton State opens up perfect

Tarleton State heads to the Texan Tip-Off Classic this weekend undefeated. That makes first-year head coach Chris Reisman perfect in his young career. While they have a bevy of people who can score, Josh Hawley played like a total beast.

Small College Basketball@smcollegehoops

Congratulations to the 2018 Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic Team

Shaun Willett, Queens

Daniel Carr, Queens

Josh Hawley, Tarleton State

Ian Smith, Northern State

Jason Jolly, Fairmont…

Hawley, known for his defensive prowess, was filling the stat sheet with points and rebounds this weekend. The junior forward is a perfect 2-for-2 in double-doubles, going for 12 and 14 in the opening two-point win over Missouri Western and then 22 and 13 in the 92-81 win over William Jewell. Hawley is definitely one to keep eyes on in Stephenville, Texas this season.

Northern State has a balanced attack once again

Last year, the Wolves made it all the way to the finals on the heels of a team that could hurt you in a few different ways. While Darin Peterka may have been the go-to scorer, that team was deep in players that can put it in the bucket. Nothing has changed in 2018.

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#GoWolves@WolvesAthletics

Though they dropped the opener to the Bearcats, Northern State fired back to take down a very tough Queens (N.C.) team 87-74. The Wolves got those 87 points behind six players dropping double-digits. Ian Smith is the star and can do everything well, going for 14 points, eight assists, and six rebounds in the victory, but he has a sound supporting cast. Parker Fox is one worth watching, making it to the free throw line 17 times over two days.

MORE: 11 impact players for the 2018-19 season

Queens should contend once again

Having Lincoln Memorial and Queens in the same league is a treat for South Atlantic Conference fans. The Royals lost a few pieces but showed there is still plenty in the tank for another big run.

The Charlotte Post@thecharpost

Shaun Willett is going to do great things this season. We know that because he already has. Willett left Missouri with a pair of double-doubles, scoring 19 points in each of Queens first two games while pulling down 29 total rebounds. Daniel Carr, whose primary role last year was as a key reserve like Willett, showed little trouble adjusting to the role of starter, scoring 35 points and dishing out 14 dimes. Mark your calendars. The Dec. 8 showdown against LMU in Charlotte is going to be a good one.

Missouri Western’s model of consistency

The Griffons fell one basket short of leaving the Hall of Fame Classic undefeated. It certainly wasn’t Lavon Hightower’s doing.

Griffon Athletics@gogriffons

Hightower, Missouri Western’s senior forward, exploded for 52 points, scoring 26 points in both the Griffons two-point loss and seven-point win. He also grabbed 16 rebounds over the weekend. That’s right, he grabbed eight in each game. His game was particularly helpful against Fairmont’s red-hot Jason Jolly who went for 30 in the Griffon’s victory. Missouri Western is certainly hoping he can keep up that consistency straight through March.

MORE: 2018 championship bracket | History

DII football: These are the best stats and numbers from Week 10

(From NCAA.com, view the full article HERE)

Three upsets in the top 15. A tremendous amount of rushing yards piled up on the ground. Two teams combining for over 1,300 yards. Conference titles decided.

Yes, indeed, it was just another wild weekend in DII football.

Let’s break down the box scores and look at what stood out in Week 10.

MORE: Week 9 AFCA poll takeaways | Regional rankings

The top 25 by the numbers for Week 10

2

Shutouts posted by the top 25, the same number as last week. For the second week in a row, No. 12 Colorado State-Pueblo’s defense posted a zero, blanking Black Hills State 59-0. No. 5 Minnesota Duluth also handed out a goose egg to Mary, defeating them in dominating 55-0 fashion.

3

Upsets in the top 15. No. 6 Colorado School of Mines nearly pulled off the comeback, but unranked Dixie State answered in the final minute of play to win 52-45. Fort Hays State made its case for the postseason, defeating No. 10 Northwest Missouri State by one point, 17-16. No. 25 Hillsdale upended No. 15 Tiffin 48-26, taking the Great Midwest Athletic Conference along the way.

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Hillsdale College Chargers@HCChargers

Three was also the number of running backs who eclipsed the 100-yard mark for No. 8 Tarleton State. Xavier Turner piled up 128 yards and three touchdowns, while Adam Berryman added 114 and three touchdowns with Daniel McCants putting up 107 yards and a touchdown of his own.

MORE: Best mascots and nicknames in DII sports

10

Weeks in a row where Ferris State’s Jayru Campbell has produced at least three touchdowns. For those keeping score at home, that’s every week this season. Campbell threw for 142 yards and two touchdowns this week while rushing for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He now has 40 total touchdowns on the season.

MORE: Best dual-threat quarterbacks in DII football

11

Teams that scored more than 40 points this week, the same exact number as last week. No. 19 Central Washington led the way with 74 points as the top 25 teams combined for 883 total points on the week. No. 22 Indiana (Pa.) had the lowest output, though it was still able to hold on 13-6 over Edinboro.

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23

Consecutive wins in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference for No. 1 Minnesota State. We’ll just leave this counter up until further notice. The Mustangs didn’t have it as easy this past week, taking down Sioux Falls, 31-21. The Cougars were the last NSIC team to defeat Minnesota State way back on October 29, 2016.

25-2

That’s the Bearcats’ record at home over the past four years, including a run of 21 straight games from the end of 2014 to the end of 2017. The only two losses have come by one-point each to Fort Hays State, this time the 17-16 grudge match.

MORE: Fort Hays State upsets No. 10 Northwest Missouri State, makes a postseason statement

514

Total rushing yards by Central Washington in its 74-28 victory over Southwest Baptist. Two running backs — Cedric Cooper (203) and Michael Roots (140) — broke the 100-yard mark, while quarterback Riley Hennessey chipped in 82 yards and running back Christian Cummings added another 61 to lead the attack. The four combined for nine touchdowns, with Cooper punching in four.

MORE: DII football’s most scenic stadiums

1,318

Combined total yards in Dixie State’s upset over No. 6 Colorado School of Mines. It comes one week after the Mines offense combined to put up 126 points, the most in a DII football game this season. The Trailblazers put up 692 yards, led by quarterback Michael Sanders’ 553-yard day. That set the school record, topping his own mark of 527 he set two weeks prior.

MORE: Dixie State stuns No. 6 Colorado School of Mines in an offensive explosion

Here is a position-by-position breakdown of this weekend’s standout performers in the top 25:

QUARTERBACKS

QUARTERBACK SCHOOL STATS
Nick Watson Tiffin 387 yards, 3 TD
Isaac Harker Colorado School of Mines 327 yards, 3 TD
Eric Nickel Kutztown 323 total yards, 5 total TD
Willie Candler West Georgia 307 yards, 2 TD
Layton Rabb MSU Texas 300 yards, 2 TD

 

RUNNING BACKS

RUNNING BACK SCHOOL STATS
Cameron Mayberry Colorado School of Mines 224 yards, 2 TD
Cedric Cooper Central Washington 203 yards, 4 TD
Ovie Urevbu Texas A&M-Commerce 195 yards
Michael Roots Central Washington 140 yards, 2 TD
Vincent Johnson MSU Texas 135 yards, 3 TD

 

MORE: Adam Thielen’s college numbers from Minnesota State

RECEIVERS

RECEIVER SCHOOL STATS
Marvell Ross Notre Dame (OH) 186 yards, 2 TD
Laperion Perry West Georgia 183 yards, 2 TD
Trey Brock Hillsdale 156 yards, 4 TD
Lex Rosario West Chester 121 yards, 1 TD
Malik Higgins Indianapolis 119 yards

Outside the top 25

Tired of hearing about Bowie State’s Amir Hall yet? Too bad, he’s done it again. Not only did he throw for 333 yards and four touchdowns, but he also threw for his 97th career touchdown, the all-time Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association record.

Slippery Rock’s Wes Hills ran for 207 yards this week. That’s three straight weeks with at least 200 yards, a span in which he’s also scored eight touchdowns for the red-hot Rock.

Virginia Union’s Tabyus Taylor and Sioux Falls Gabe Watson continue piling up touchdowns for the race to the most in DII football. Taylor scored two more on Saturday, giving him 19, but that still leaves him four behind Watson who also tacked on two more this past weekend against a very formidable Minnesota State defense.

MORE: The championship heads to Texas | Most DII titles