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THE COUNTDOWN - #1

#1 Women’s Basketball

There was little doubt in our minds as to what would be the top story from this past year of MCC Athletics – and that was the outstanding season that our Women’s Basketball team put together. 

The ladies finished the year at 27-5 and along the way they won the Midwest Christian College Conference Regular Season and Tournament Championship.  They won the NCCAA Central Region Championship, and they advanced to the NCCAA National Championship game for only the second time in school history (the previous time was 2004).

MCC actually got off to a tough start in region play as they dropped their first region road game at Central Christian College of the Bible, 68-60.  However from that point on MCC wouldn’t lose another game against an NCCAA II school until the NCCAA National Championship game.  The ladies got on quite a roll second semester as they went 20-2 from that point, and there two losses were by a combined four points.  MCC defeated CCCB, 66-51 when they came to Manhattan.  These two teams would become familiar foes as they would face off two more times in both the Conference Tournament Championship and Regional Tournament Championship games.

MCC entered the Conference Tournament as the #1 seed as they finished a perfect 10-0 in conference play.  In the third match-up of the season MCC withstood a determined CCCB squad who overcame a late deficit to force overtime.  However in the extra period MCC got on a roll and would go on to the 76-63 victory.  Lindsey Anderson (SR, Olathe, KS) was named MVP of the Conference, while Kaylan Fagley (SR, Arlington, TX) and Libby Witte (FR, Wichita, KS) were named 1st Team All-Conference and Sarah Wenger (JR, Topeka, KS) was named Honorable Mention All-Conference.

MCC and CCCB would face off for the fourth time one week later in the Region Championship game and MCC would come away with the victory for the third straight time, winning 77-64.  This was the eighth time that women’s basketball had won the Regional Championship and those have all occurred within the last twelve years.  Anderson was named MVP of the Region and Coach Larry Olson was named Region Coach of the Year.

The ladies would enter the National Tournament as the #2 seed and would take on Arlington Baptist College in the opening round.  MCC rolled to the victory behind the strong play of Ashley Valentine (JR, Benoit, MS) who recorded a triple-double by tallying 23 points, 17 rebounds and 10 blocks.  In the semi-finals MCC took on the most storied program in NCCAA II women’s basketball Kentucky Christian University.  KCU had won the last six NCCAA II National Championships and nine of the last ten.  MCC wouldn’t be intimidated by KCU and came out took control of the game from the start and defeated KCU 64-44.  Brittany Shaklee (JR, Madison, KS) led MCC with 14 points, Anderson added 13 points while Witte chipped in with 12 points and Valentine contributed 10 points.

In the Championship Game MCC would take on Maranatha Baptist Bible College (WI) who entered the tournament as the top seed and been to the National Championship game each of the last two years.  Maranatha would jump out to an early lead and at halftime would lead 31-26.  Maranatha stretched their lead out to 37-30 before MCC went on a 20-10 run to take a 50-47 with about four minutes left.  MCC wasn’t able to hold on down the stretch as some key turnovers and missed free throws proved costly to their chances and Maranatha came away with the 56-53 victory.  Anderson led the way for MCC with 12 points while Valentine added 10 points and 13 rebounds.  Anderson was selected a 1st Team All-American, while Fagley was selected as a Honorable Mention All-American.  Valentine was named to the NCCAA II All-Tournament Team and Coach Olson was named NCCAA II Coach of the Year.

Not only did this team perform on the court but they excelled in the classroom as well as Fagley, Alicia Henry (SR, Circleville, KS), Liz Jackson (SR, Budapest, Hungary), Shaklee and Wenger were named NCCAA II Scholar-Athletes.  To receive that award you have to be a junior or senior academically and you must have a GPA of 3.40.  The team was also honored with the Scholar-Team award, by achieving a 3.70 GPA as a team for the 2012-13 season.

This was a great season for the women’s basketball program and we are excited to see what is in store for the team as they prepare for the 2013-14 campaign!