DII women's basketball: Senior Kelly Moten a driving force in Emporia State's top 15 ranking
As a fifth-year senior, Emporia State’s Kelly Moten is the most feared offensive player in the MIAA. After coming off back-to-back seasons of earning first-team All-MIAA honors, Moten has scored more points than anybody else in conference this season.
But you would never know it if you listened to her talk about her game or watched her last Wednesday in a win over Northwest Missouri State. In the victory, Moten scored only two points in the first half and finished with 11, well off her scoring average of 18.4 points per game.
“If the team doesn’t need me to score, I don’t score,” Moten said. “As long as we have that W next to our name at the end, that is all I care about. Whatever they need me to do, get assists, guard the best player on the other team or get rebounds, that is what I will do.”
Her response basically sums up how Emporia State coach Jory Collins sees Moten.
“She is quiet and as humble as they come for the type of player she is,” Collins said. “She never toots her horn. It has been really special to have her here.”
And the most impressive aspect of Moten’s five years at Emporia State will never be revealed in a box score, statistics and end-of-the-season honors. Moten is on schedule to get her degree in crime and delinquent studies with a minor in sociology.
Five years ago, Moten arrived at Emporia State as a partial qualifier and had to redshirt her first year to get her academics up to NCAA standards. It wasn’t all her fault. She went to Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana.
Collins said Moten’s class was the last to graduate from Roosevelt because the Indiana Department of Education was forced to take control of the school because of substandard academic performance. It is now a charter school called Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy.
“She will tell you it was rough academically for her the first year, just being accountable to be in class and at practice on time and doing those things,” Collins said.
Moten only knew one person at Emporia State. He was a quarterback at her high school, but he wasn’t involved in sports at Emporia State. Home was 10 hours away for Moten.
“The environment and having the community behind me and all their positivity were a big key for me going into the next year,” she said. “Getting locked in on the academic side of things got better. School has gotten a lot easier.”
Moten is only three hours short of graduating in May and she is taking care of that now. She is doing whatever is necessary to help the Hornets finish strong. Last season Emporia State lost in the regional championship game.
The Hornets, after losing on Saturday, are 20-4 overall and 11-4 in the MIAA. They are currently ranked No. 11 in the WBCA top 25.
“We are doing really well,” Moten said. “We are sticking to things that we do well and not letting teams take us out of what we do. It has been a big key for us.”
Collins said Moten and seniors Megan Holloway and Kathryn Flott are the heart and soul of the team.
“Kelly is such a dynamic player that when she has it going good, she raises the confidence level of everybody on our team,” Collins said. “She is the best two-way player I have had the privilege of coaching.
“She has grown more from the day she stepped on campus to the end than any player we have had. She has been a model citizen and a terrific representative of our team and our community.”
Colorado State-Pueblo women’s controls its destiny for the outright RMAC title
A day before playing at Westminster, Colorado State-Pueblo women’s basketball coach Jim Turgeon said the ThunderWolves have been fortunate to win all their close road games.
Those victories allowed CSU-Pueblo to win its first 24 games, move to No. 3 in the WBCA top 25 and clinch at least a share of the RMAC title with still four conference games left.
“The one constant we had this year is our defense,” Turgeon said Thursday afternoon. “We do have a target on our back. We have run into teams who shoot better than they normally do.
“It feels like every game is a playoff game. It is going to prepare us for the RMAC Tournament, no question and the region tournament. Teams are so excited to play us. It is good for us.”
It appeared likely that the ThunderWolves would clinch their first outright conference title since the 1987-88 season on Friday when it played at Westminster.
Westminster was ready for the ThunderWolves, pulling off the biggest upset in Division II women’s basketball over the weekend with an 85-81 victory. Westminster entered the game with 11 conference losses compared to CSU-Pueblo’s 18-0 conference record.
CSU-Pueblo can clinch the outright conference title on Saturday at home against Colorado Christian on senior night.
“We didn’t set the goal to win the RMAC championship,” Turgeon said. “What we talked about this year is it only takes one bad game to not win the RMAC championship. That is what happened last year.
“This year we talked about not having many bad games and this year we haven’t had many.”
This is the first week since Christmas break that the ThunderWolves aren’t playing two games in a week.
“We haven’t worked on things forever, trying to keep the girls fresh with short practices,” Turgeon said. “It seems like every other day we had a game. This is coming at a good time. Besides getting in the gym and getting back to where we were offensively, it helps our kids freshen up.”
Ashland women’s basketball team stays perfect
And now there is one. Ashland is the only Division II women’s basketball team that is undefeated. The Eagles improved to 25-0 overall and 17-0 in the GLIAC with a win Thursday Lake Erie. It was the fourth time in the last five games Ashland has scored over 100 points.
“It's just a testament to this team and their consistency, their ability to work and their ability to just stay present,” said Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick on the school’s website. “It's a great record, but yet it just seems really peripheral, in the whole scheme of us focusing on consistent improvement.”
The 25th victory set a program record of consecutive wins to start a season. The Eagles also broke a school record for made three-pointers on Thursday with 17. Leading the way was senior guard Kelsey Peare, who had a career-night, scoring a career-best 24 points on eight three-pointers. She was one three-pointer shy of matching the school record.