Jan. 27, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

Scranton head coach Mike Strong became the second Division III women’s basketball coach in NCAA history to reach the 700-victory mark as he guided the Lady Royals to a 73-54 win over Drew University Jan. 25.

Strong joins Phil Kahler of St. John Fisher College (757-171), who retired last year, on the elite list.  He is one of just 12 coaches in NCAA women’s basketball all-division history to accomplish the feat.

Scranton has won six straight games, and is currently tied with No. 17 Moravian for the top spot in the Landmark Conference standings.  Sophomore Megan Kopecki tallied 20 points in the milestone win, adding to her 23-poing performance against USMMA earlier in the week.  She averaged 21.5 points and shot 68 percent from the floor to earn the league’s Player of the Week award.

The Lady Royals look to add to Strong’s win total in a league tilt at Juniata College on Jan. 30.

TITANS ON TOP: Illinois Wesleyan is on top of both Division III polls for the first time in history after staying unbeaten with a pair of convincing College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin victories last week.

Senior guard Claire Sheehan netted 19 points in just 22 minutes as the Titans cruised by Augustana, 109-52, on Jan. 21, and then added 15 points in IWU’s 79-47 victory versus Wheaton three days later.  The native of St. Charles, Ill., averaged 17 points while shooting 63 percent from the floor as the Titans improved to 6-0 in league play.  She was named CCIW Player of the Week for her contributions.

The Titans, who ascended to No. 1 in the WBCA USA Today/ESPN Division III poll for the first time on Jan. 8, are now also the top-ranked team in the D3hoops.com Top 25 after previous No. 1 Rochester fell to the University of Chicago last week. 

Prior to this year, IWU had never been higher than fifth nationally, a ranking it earned during the 2007-08 season.

BUZZING AROUND: Baldwin-Wallace College extended its winning streak to eight consecutive games after upending first-place Capital University, 68-61, in Ohio Athletic Conference action Jan. 24.

Junior guard Amanda Schroeder tallied a career-best 23 points in the contest, while shooting 75 percent from the floor.  The native of Columbus Grove, Ohio, was named OAC Player of the Week for her stellar performance.

The victory against Capital edged B-W to within one game of the first-place Crusaders.  The Yellow Jackets are tied with
Muskingum for second place in the league standings.

ON A ROLL: Concordia College (Minn.) downed two of the top teams in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to remain tied for first place in the league standings while stretching their winning streak to five games last week.

Senior guard Jenna Freudenberg averaged 15.7 points and 6.0 assists during a 3-0 week, highlighted by 14 points and 10 assists in the Cobbers’ win over Gustavus Adolphus on Jan. 24.  The native of Parkers Prairie, Minn., picked up MIAC Player of the Week for her efforts.  Freudenberg ranks fourth in the MIAC in scoring (15.5) and third in assists per game (3.63).

The Cobbers have won 10 of their last 11 games, and are tied with Saint Benedict for first place in the MIAC standings.

NOTABLE:  Moravian connected on a season-high 31 free throws as the Greyhounds downed the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, 75-58, to remain undefeated at home this year.  The Greyhounds also improved their Division III-leading free throw percentage to 81.2 percent.  Moravian moved up to No. 16 in the latest WBCA USA Today/ESPN Division III Top 25 with its third straight victory … The University of Chicago moved into a four-way tie for first place in the University Athletic Association standings as the Maroons knocked then-No. 1 Rochester, 71-51, for their fourth straight victory.  Sophomore Karly Kasper registered a game-high 20 points.  Chicago jumped up five spots to No. 20 in the latest WBCA USA Today/ESPN Division III Top 25 with the upset win.