Points. Rebounds. Assists. Oh my.
Every month, NCAA.com will put together a DII women’s basketball Starting Five, consisting of some of the statistical leaders* around the country. Here are some of the standouts from the first 15 games of the season.
Ivy Wallen, Gurad, North Alabama
— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) January 3, 2018
Wallen had a freshman year to remember for the Lions. She led the Gulf South Conference in scoring at 19.9 points per game en route to GSC Freshman of the Year honors and an honorable mention All-American nod.
This season, Wallen is third on her own team in scoring, dropping in 15.7 points a night. But she’s also leading DII with 10.3 assists per game, landing North Alabama at No. 21.
The Lions were a young team last season, learning on the run. They finished 19-10 overall and fourth place in the GSC with a 13-9 record. That’s changed this season, and Wallen is a big reason why. The most interesting part about her 10.3 assists per game? Her favorite target is her sister, Emma.
Emma Wallen is building off a big freshman year of her own, currently second in the GSC in scoring at 20.1 points per game. Throw in DI transer Brittany Panetti — third in the GSC with 16.7 points per game — and there are plenty of dimes to go around. And just for good measure, there is a third Wallen, Ella, on the team who plays in a reserve role. The Wallen triplets have had their own mini team since they were little, it’s no wonder they have turned around the Lions so quickly.
Chelsey Shumpert, Guard, Union (TN)
— The GSC (@GulfSouth) January 4, 2018
Shumpert was a key cog in UT Chattanooga’s Southern Conference tournament championship team last season. She’s now spending her graduate season with Union, studying up for her masters degree. In between, she’s the top scoring guard in DII.
Union finished 17-12 last season, sixth place in the GSC. The Bulldogs now find themselve 13-1, riding an eight-game winning streak and coming off a huge win against North Alabama for sole possession of first place in the conference. Their lone loss has come at the hands of Drury, a perennial postseason program that is currently No. 8 in the country.
During the eight-game streak, Shumpert has scored 201 points at a 51 percent rate. She has scored 30 points or more four times over the same stretch, including a season high of 34 against Delta State on December 2. She went for 31, adding eight rebounds in the big win against the Lions. The 5-foot-5 guard also leads the team in rebounding with 7.2 per game and is second in assists with 4.9 per game, and is in the Top 15 in DII in 3-point success at 45.8 percent.
Shumpert had the Bulldogs as high as 17 in the polls, currently sitting at 24. Her sharp shooting should keep this team in contention as the grueling GSC schedule continues.
Jessica Kelliher, Forward, Lewis
Lewis’ Kelliher Tabbed GLVC Women’s Hoops POW For Third Time This Year https://t.co/wMISyzzsWy
— Lewis Women’s Hoops (@LewisWBBall) January 3, 2018
The reigning Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year is picking up right where she left off. The junior forward is scoring 25.3 points on a remarkable 65.5 percent shooting, which is Top 5 in the Division. Kelliher is leading the GLVC in scoring and field goal percentage, while ranking fourth with her team-best 7.6 rebounds per game.
The Flyers had a rocky start to the season, dropping four very tough road games, one against GLVC foe and No. 20 Southern Indiana. They are back on track, however, riding a four-game winning streak. What has Kelliher done over that span? She’s scored 31, 25, 30, and 26 points respectively, an average of 28 points per game at an astounding 73.4 percent shooting from the floor. Throw in two double-doubles, nearly missing a third in the row with a nine rebound performance, and it’s clear that Kelliher is the key in the Flyers engine.
Sandra Ikeora, Forward, Dominican (CA)
The 5-foot-11 senior has established herself as one of the premier rebounders in the PacWest and all of DII after leading the division in rebounding last year with 13.0 per game. She set a program record last season with a 25 rebound game, scoring 22 points that same night.
While she hasn’t broken her program record (yet), she’s having an even better year overall.
Ikeora is once again leading DII in rebounding, recording 14.8 rebounds per night, and that’s after leaving her last game after only 13 minutes on the court. She double-doubled in each of her first 11 games this season, with a season high of 20 boards coming on opening night. Ikeora, alongside Natalie Diaz (23.9 points per game), helps lead the No. 1 scoring attack in the PacWest adding 21.8 points per game.
Dominican is currently 10-4, dropping its last two games that Ikeora has been sidelined. The Penguins hope she can find her way back on the court soon.
Dana Watts, Center, American International
Watts had a big sophomore campaign in 2016-17 for the Yellow Jackets earning Northeast 10 First Team All-Conference honors along with a couple of All-American nods. She is right back at it this season, currently the top scoring center in DII.
The 6-foot-1 junior center is tops in the NE-10 in scoring, leading the conference with 21.2 points per game, good for a Top 20 spot in DII. She’s also amongst the division’s best centers in rebounds, pulling down 9.7 per game. Watts has scored 30 or more points three times this season, while her ten double-doubles are Top 5 in DII.
The Yellow Jackets got off to a rough start this season, beginning the year 1-6. They have gone 7-2 since, trying to find their way back into the NE-10 hunt. Watts has averaged 20.8 points and 8.8 rebounds over that stretch, but that includes a game she left after just two minutes, recording one rebound. It’s clear that as Watts goes, so does the Yellow Jackets.
Honorable mention: Laney Lewis, Forward, Ursuline
Looking at the stat sheet alone, Lewis is having a big season, scoring 19.1 points per game, while pulling down 13.9 rebounds a game. But there is one stat that she is leading DII in that is more impressive than any of her big numbers.
Ursuline (@UCArrows) won its 8th straight game by beating #25 Findlay yesterday thanks to a triple-double from Laney Lewis. Check this line: 25 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal. Highlights below. #D2WBB #NCAA #NCAAD2 pic.twitter.com/qjuzEOvad0
— College Ave (@CollegeAveSport) January 5, 2018
Lewis leads DII in triple doubles. Her first came in a November 18 win against Saginaw Valley State in which she recorded 15 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists. She posted her second to cap the Arrows eight-game winning streak in an upset over No. 25 Findlay. That night she went for 25, 15, and 11. The senior foward also leads the team in assists with a 102, well on pace to break her career-high of 131 set last season.
* All leaders as of January 4, 2017 at NCAA.org Stats.