Women’s Basketball Earns WBCA Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll

FHSU Sports Information Department

ATLANTA, Ga. – Fort Hays State women’s basketball earned a spot on the WBCA Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll, released by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. The WBCA Academic Top 25 presented by AT&T annually recognizes NCAA Division I, II and III; NAIA; and junior/community college women’s basketball teams across the nation that carry the highest combined grade point average (GPA) inclusive of all student-athletes on their rosters for the entire season.

Fort Hays State ranked 23rd in the top 25 schools, carrying a team GPA of 3.536. FHSU was one of just seven schools in the top 25 to be selected to the NCAA Tournament, showing they are among the best both on the floor and in the classroom.

The Tigers owned the top GPA for women’s basketball in the MIAA to go along with their conference regular season championship they earned with an 18-1 record in conference play. FHSU went on to finish the season at 30-4 overall, hosting the NCAA Central Regional in Hays. The historic season came to a close in the Central Regional Final, but the season saw the Tigers reach No. 2 in the WBCA Top 25 poll and No. 1 by a couple other ranking services during the regular season. Northeastern State, just behind FHSU at No. 24, was the only other MIAA school in the Academic Top 25.

FHSU ranked No. 8 in the final WBCA poll of the season, the highest final ranking on the court of the seven schools that made the NCAA Tournament listed in the Academic Top 25. Drury (No. 17 in the final poll and No. 5 on the Academic Top 25) and Ashland (No. 22 in the final poll and No. 7 on the Academic Top 25) were the only other schools among those seven to finish the year in the final WBCA Top 25 poll. FHSU was the only school in the Academic Top 25 to reach 30 wins last year.

Ohio Dominican was the nation’s top team academically with a 3.842, the highest of all NCAA levels (I, II, and III), NAIA, and junior colleges. FHSU would have ranked 10th among the highest grade point averages in NCAA Division I, 11th among NCAA Division III, or 11th among NAIA. NCAA Division II showed it was the strongest academically as all of its Top 25 ranks inside the top 15 of Division I, inside the top 16 of Division III, and inside the top 12 of NAIA.

Eight of Fort Hays State’s players had a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or higher and six had a GPA of 3.8 or higher. Senior Keriann Shaw led the way by finishing her collegiate eligibility with a perfect 4.0, while Taylor Menke posted a perfect 4.0 in her first year at FHSU. Three of Fort Hays State’s four all-conference players had a 3.8 or higher, which included Shaw, All-American Kate Lehman (3.85), and Beth Bohuslavsky (3.86). Jill Faxon, the other all-conference selection for FHSU, was not far behind at 3.65. Paige Lunsford, member of the starting five on the floor, sports a near-perfect 3.96 GPA, whileElle Stein gave the team a boost at 3.8 in her first year removed from junior college. Christine Russell (3.78) and Sarah Pimentel (3.75) were also among those above a 3.7.

This is the fifth time in Tony Hobson‘s seven years as head coach at Fort Hays State that the women’s basketball team earned the WBCA Academic Top 25 honor. The team ranked 14th in 2009-10, 12th in 2010-11, 4th in 2011-12, and 14th in 2012-13. FHSU was just outside the top 25 last year, but jumped back in this year as NCAA Division II has shown much more academic strength in women’s basketball the past two years.

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