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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | January 7, 2022

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It is time to welcome back the first DII women’s basketball all-stats team of the 2021-22 season. With this being the first installment, we turn our attention to those players performing best through the first half of the season.

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If you are new to our all-stats teams, we try to make a dream team of the best players at each position based purely on stats. Sometimes it’s as easy as picking the top scorer in DII, but other times you’ll see players that find themselves in the top 10 of multiple categories and are simply a dominating presence across the board.

The DII women’s basketball all-stats starting five from the first half of the season

(Note: All stats through Jan. 3 per NCAA.org)

Guard: Abby Beeman, Shepherd

Shepherd Athletics Abby Beeman leads DII women's basketball in assists per game.

Shepherd is off to a 10-1 start and Beeman has been leading the charge. The 5-foot-4 guard currently leads DII in assists with 7.6 per game — a full assist more than the next closest player. But she’s not just dishing it: Beeman leads her team in scoring, dropping 19 points per game on 51% shooting while also averaging 6.4 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game. Talk about a player that can do it all.

Also considered: Audrey Tingle, West Liberty: Speaking of doing it all, Tingle has helped West Liberty get off to a 9-3 start with nightly averages of 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists. That places her fourth in DII in assists and tied for third in double-doubles with nine.

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Guard: Aspen Thornton, Ouachita Baptist

Ouachita Baptist Athletics Aspen Thornton leads DII women's basketball in scoring.

Thornton is a mere freshman, but eight games into the 2021-22 campaign she’s playing like a seasoned veteran. The Tigers guard leads DII in scoring, averaging 27.4 points per game while shooting 48% from the field. She’s very aggressive and attacks on both ends of the floor, currently in the top 10 in steals per game with 3.4. It has been quite the debut for Thornton thus far.

Also considered: Paige Robinson, Drury: Robinson has missed a few games with injury, but she’ll be back. Before she went down, the 2021 DII player of the year was off to another hot start, dropping 22.4 points per game, the second highest number among all guards.

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Forward: Nija Collier, Central Missouri

Central Missouri Athletics Central Missouri's Nija Collier is averaging a double-double in 2021-22.

The 6-foot senior can swing between guard and forward for the Jennies, but her defensive prowess in the paint and on the boards lands her at forward here. Collier is second in DII with 10 double-doubles, averaging 20.4 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. The MIAA defensive player of the year is in the top 10 in rebounding and also averages 1.7 blocks per game.

Also considered: Lauren Schetter, Pace: Schetter has been one of the best scoring forwards in DII women’s basketball, averaging 23.3 points per game on 54.4% shooting from the field. She also chips in 8.8 rebounds per game as a double-double threat every night.

Forward: Riley Fitzwater, Concord

Concord Athletics Riley Fitzwater leads DII women's basketball in field-goal percentage.

Since the advent of the “all-stats” team three years ago, Fitzwater has become as much a regular as any player in DII. We coined her “Fitz-swatter” some years ago as the 6-foot-4 forward has annually been among the DII leaders in blocks. She is this year at third with 3.5 per game. Fitzwater has also been one of the best shooters in DII four years running, finishing either first or second in field goal percentage in every one of those seasons, and is leading DII once again at 68.9%. She also owns the boards with a top-5 mark in defensive rebounds and already has seven double doubles on the season.

Also considered: Riley Friauf, Concordia (CA): A double dose of Rileys at the forward position. Friauf is averaging 22.6 points per game and pulling down 9.69 rebounds per game while shooting a very impressive 50% from the field.

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Center: Jamiyah Johnson, Slippery Rock

Slippery Rock Athletics Jamiyah Johnson leads DII women's basketball in rebounds.

Johnson was also a regular on all-stats teams during her tenure at Davis & Elkins and may be having her best season yet with The Rock. Johnson leads DII with 15.6 rebounds per game and is also tops with 11 double doubles. The 6-foot center is shooting a cool 59% from the floor and scoring 19.3 points per game. Slippery Rock, which was 8-20 in its last full season, is off to an impressive 8-3 start in 2021-22 and Johnson is a big part of that.

Also considered: Samantha Bowman, Central Washington: When it comes to centers, Johnson and Bowman are heads and shoulders above the rest. Bowman is second in DII with 15.5 rebounds per game, but also chips in 17.7 points and 3.1 blocks per game.

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