National Academic Champs ... Again

The Mount Marty College women’s basketball team posted the top team GPA among NAIA women’s basketball programs, according to an announcement by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association on Tuesday. MMC has held the top honor three times in the last five years, and has ranked in the top six in each of the last five seasons.

For the third time in five years, the Mount Marty College women’s basketball team has topped the NAIA in team grade point average, announced by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association on Tuesday.

MMC, in its final season under Tom Schlimgen, finished with a team GPA of 3.683, just ahead of Indiana Institute of Technology (3.675). The Lancers also led the NAIA in 2014 and 2016, and ranked second in 2017. The team was sixth in 2015.

The 2017-18 Lancers featured six NAIA Scholar-Athletes — senior Kelsey Sutera and juniors Rachel Houdek, Karissa Chamley, Kelli Steffen, Samantha Kasowski and Mikayla Prouty — and 12 Pflieger-Olson Academic All-Conference selections. The squad went 13-17 overall last season, 3-17 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.

The team has had at least three NAIA Scholar-Athletes and nine Pflieger-Olson honorees each of the past five years, peaking with eight NAIA Scholar-Athletes in 2015 and 2016, and 14 Pflieger-Olson honorees in 2015.

Fellow GPAC members Doane (tied for 5th, 3.663) and Northwestern (7th, 3.611) also made the top 10.

Four Summit League teams ranked in the NCAA Division I list, including both South Dakota State (8th, 3.641) and South Dakota (17th, 3.506). Western Illinois (3.751) finished second to Wisconsin-Green Bay (3.753), while North Dakota State (3.500) tied for 18th.

The first undefeated Summit League regular season champion in 24 years, South Dakota boasted a 29-7 overall record. The Coyotes advanced to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals for the second time in three years. Guard Ciara Duffy became the Coyotes’ first NCAA Division I Academic All-American in women’s basketball.

It was USD’s third straight season on the Honor Roll.

Minnesota State-Moorhead led a large group of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference teams in the NCAA Division II list, ranking seventh at 3.686. Wayne State (3.677) was 10th, Augustana (3.634) was 18th, Minnesota State-Mankato (3.611) was 20th and Mary (3.596) was 21st.

Michigan Tech (3.796) led NCAA Division II, while Emerson (3.712) led NCAA Division III and Northwest (3.449) led all two-year members.

The WBCA Academic Top 25 recognizes NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA and two-year GPAs inclusive of all student-athletes on their rosters for the entire season. The 2017-18 season is the 23nd in which the WBCA has compiled the honor rolls.

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