The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: IWU made a statement at Wheaton

December 7, 2023

By Riley Zayas

Any question marks still remaining about Illinois Wesleyan’s belonging in the Top 25 were quickly erased on Wednesday night. The Titans went to Wheaton, a quality CCIW program who started the season especially strong, and made a complete statement, running away with a 74-49 victory behind a surge in the second and third quarters.

Holding Wheaton, who has an All-America caliber guard in Annie Tate, to just 49 points is incredibly impressive. The Thunder hung with the Titans for the first quarter, as IWU led 19-17 after 10 minutes, but over the next 20 minutes, Wheaton tallied just 20 points, struggling as IWU stepped up its defensive pressure. The Titans are known for their full-court pressure, and it proved especially impactful in this road victory, as IWU forced 26 turnovers, leading to 30 points. And conversely, the Titans took care of the ball especially well, with just 13 turnovers.

This was a performance worthy of recognition, because more than just the final numbers, IWU played with such an intensity and cohesiveness that was evident watching the game unfold. As I posted on X/Twitter last night, IWU is a Top 15 team right now, in my opinion. The Titans’ two losses came at Hope (by 7) and vs UW-Whitewater (by 2). Along with that, according to D3 WBB stats guru Scott Peterson, Wheaton is currently projected to have a good shot at being regionally-ranked, which gives IWU yet another RRO win. He noted that according to his numbers, IWU now has the third-most RRO wins in the nation, at 3.1. Very impressive.

When you consider they have played the last two games without standout guard Lauren Huber, that makes yesterday night’s win and the Carroll win all the more notable. Ava Bardic did return to the court against Wheaton, which was great to see, after she suffered a non-contact knee injury against Elmhurst on Nov. 30. Bardic contributed with seven points and three assists in 17 minutes, and Kate Palmer had another outstanding performance, leading the Titans with 18 points. Mallory Powers added 16, and Sara Balli had 12 off the bench. And it is more than just the scoring, too.

The defensive communication is top-notch, which will keep IWU in games throughout this season whether the Titans shoot the ball well or not, and that obviously proves invaluable because cold shooting days will happen. That said, the depth on this roster allows for anybody to step up as the leading scorer on any given night, and so far, IWU has had that. This rotation is playing at such a high level right now. Circle Dec. 16 on your calendars, because that will be a must-see matchup as IWU makes the trip to play Chicago in what should be a Top 25 duel. Big-time Region 8 matchup there.

DeSales’ defensive effort gives way to Bulldogs’ seventh straight win

Moving on…I thought DeSales was another team who did a fantastic job on the defensive end yesterday (no surprise there!) against Messiah. The Bulldogs pulled out a 64-46 victory, winning their seventh straight. While Messiah shot 42% from the field, DeSales completely kept Messiah off of the offensive boards, as Messiah tallied just three offensive rebounds and zero second-chance points. I thought DeSales’ full-court press was extremely effective against Messiah, as it challenged the Falcons in bringing the ball up the court in transition. Messiah turned the ball over 16 times leading to 17 points for DeSales. Key stat right there.

Gettysburg dominates in 30-point win over Dickinson in Centennial Conference

Gettysburg added another big win to its resume, taking down Dickinson in Centennial Conference play, as the Bullets improved to 6-2. Gettysburg jumped out to a 23-9 run and closed the game on an 18-7 run, leading to the Bullets’ 68-38 victory. I thought the offensive rhythm was outstanding, as Gettysburg shot 49.1% and was 9-of-19 from 3-point range. Considering the way Dickinson has been playing so far this season (which includes beating Messiah), a 30-point victory is huge.

Marymount gets past Randolph-Macon in key victory for the Saints

Marymount also scored a big win, defeating Randolph-Macon, 56-48, who was 6-3 overall. The Saints outrebounded RMC by 12, 35-23, which was key in this victory, including 11-3 on the offensive boards. Marymount’s critical stretch came in the third quarter, as the Saints opened the second half by outscoring RMC 23-14. This was a game Marymount really had to win and it was great to them pull out that victory, especially against a team that should be pretty competitive in the ODAC this season.

Kranson comes through with career day for Scranton

Kaci Kranson came through with 33 points in #6 Scranton’s 87-47 win over Drew, as the sophomore posted an outstanding stat line. She shot 13-of-19 from the field, 3-of-4 from 3-point range, grabbed nine rebounds (5 offensive), dished out two assists, and tallied three steals. Incredible effort both ends of the floor…just had to make sure I mentioned that stat line! Even in a one-sided win, scoring 33 is still pretty impressive.

Vassar notches key Liberty League win over Skidmore

Vassar defeated Skidmore, 64-51, in a game that could absolutely come into play come NCAA Tournament time, as those two are just behind Ithaca in the Liberty League title race. In the case that Ithaca gets the Pool A, the Liberty League has a good chance to put either Vassar or Skidmore in the tournament, but not both. This is likely a two-bid league, which made last night’s matchup all the more meaningful. Obviously, they’ll meet again in conference play, on Jan. 9, but Vassar looked fantastic, and likely picked up an RRO win in the process. It was the 19-9 start that really put Vassar in a position to control the game for the next three quarters, and while it was competitive throughout, Vassar separated itself as the better team on the court last night. Sierra McDermed posted a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double for Vassar as all five Vassar starters played at least 30 minutes. Not sure about the depth on the roster for them, but the starting five looked really strong against a talented Skidmore team.

Gerig scores 43 in an outstanding performance, but Smith takes down Williams, 76-68

I’ll wrap this up by congratulating Smith on getting past Williams, because Williams is increasingly getting better and better as the weeks progress. #10 Smith emerged with a 76-68 win last night over Williams and we were treated to some high-scoring individual performances. Arianna Gerig was fantastic for Williams, scoring 43 points on a 17-of-29 shooting day. On the other side, Sofia Rosa had 25 points and 10 boards for Smith, and Ally Yamada added 20 points for the Pioneers in the win. It was a well-played contest and Smith continues to win games against quality non-conference teams. While I was a little unsure of what we’d see from Smith this season, Rosa has made an immediate impact and overall, the Pioneers have several talented contributors who have stepped up. Smith is now 6-1 overall.

Games to watch today (all tip-off times are eastern)

#13 Trinity (CT) at Roger Williams, 7:00 p.m.—Trinity is the favorite here, but RWU could stay competitive. RWU beat Babson earlier in the year, and has won four straight coming into this one.

Maine Maritime at Husson, 7:30 p.m.—Conference games seem to bring out the best in teams, and both Maine Maritime and Husson have begun NAC play with wins. These two are likely to be in the hunt for the conference title later in the season, and this is definitely a game I see being decided late.


The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: Hardin-Simmons’ OT win over Trinity highlighted a key day of games across the country

November 26, 2023

By Riley Zayas

Hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving holiday and a great weekend so far! We had eight games on Friday, but returned to a full slate yesterday, which gave us plenty of intriguing matchups, particularly in the Midwest. Lots of tournament action taking place, which will continue into today, along with quite a few impactful results that will play a role the next Top 25, which will be released tomorrow night.

It’s hard to say one game stood above the rest yesterday afternoon, but if I had to choose one, it’d be #16 Hardin-Simmons beating #12 Trinity in overtime, 92-88. This game was played in Abilene (At HSU), and both teams were very evenly matched. It was what many (including myself) expected in a contest between the top two teams in Texas, who are both well-coached and play with a high basketball IQ.

Watching the matchup play out, it absolutely had the feel of an NCAA Tournament game, and if we’re being completely honest, there’s a good chance it’s a first or second round tournament game again this season. That’s what happens in Region 10.

When it comes to HSU, the experience on the roster is the first thing you notice. The Cowgirls’ starting five yesterday was composed of three 5th-year seniors (one of whom is a transfer) and two true seniors. That level of game experience is hard to find anywhere in the country, much less in a program that already went 18-0 in conference play last season. That showed up, especially in overtime, as HSU took control early, and ended up outscoring Trinity, 17-13.

Trinity put up a remarkable effort, however, through all four quarters and the overtime. HSU never gained much separation for longer than a 20 or 30 seconds at a time, and Trinity fought back from a six-point deficit at the half to tie the game at the end of regulation. Trinity is definitely a big-time second-half team this season, and no halftime lead is safe against the Tigers.

Trinity actually ended up with 12 more points in the paint (48), five more points off turnovers (33), and six more fast-break points (20). Just another reason why it such a competitive game. But HSU maximized its 3-point opportunities, converting on two more 3-pointers than Trinity (finished 11-of-31). That included a key 3 from Paris Kiser with 47 seconds left in OT, which gave HSU an 87-84 lead that was held by the Cowgirls for the remainder of the contest.

Other winners of the day…

In a tight battle in the Great Lakes region, Trine overpowered Ohio Northern down the stretch, with the Thunder outscoring the Polar Bears, 19-12, in the final quarter. That was the difference, as Trine added another quality win to its resume after defeating Baldwin Wallace early in the year. Trine is now 3-1, while ONU is a surprising, 1-2, to start the 2023-24 campaign. Trine won the day, and may have added a RRO win to its resume. Not a bad performance from a team that has shown inconsistencies as of late.

Emory and Washington & Lee gave us a thrilling battle in Virginia, with the Eagles of Emory pulling out an 86-78 win. Yet another situation where the winning team trailed entering the fourth quarter. In this case, 30 points from Emory over the final 10 minutes led to the victory, and a likely RRO victory at that. Emory belongs in the Top 15, no doubt about it.

New Jersey City took down a solid SUNY New Paltz team, 75-71, moving NJCU to 2-1 on the year. NJCU outscored New Paltz 25-19 in the fourth, having trailed by two points entering the final quarter. The Gotham Knights took advantage of New Paltz’s turnovers, a product of quality defense from NJCU, and scored 30 points off 25 turnovers. Defense won out in that one.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps deserves mention in this category of “Winners of the Day” because CMS won a game for the first time this season, and did it against a solid East Texas Baptist squad. But ETBU looked a bit out of sorts last night on the West Coast, and CMS attacked early. The Athenas led 19-8 after the first quarter, and ETBU, despite a couple of strong runs, never gained the lead at any point. CMS overcame a -15 rebounding deficit by holding ETBU to a shooting percentage of just 25 percent. It was a nailbiter, especially after ETBU cut the CMS lead to two with under a minute to go, but ETBU missed three straight shots while it was a one-possession game. Congratulations to CMS on finding a way to get that first victory of the year.

Wisconsin Lutheran punched its ticket to the championship game of the Pat Deacon Classic and a matchup with top-ranked Transylvania by getting past Alma, 63-54, in Lexington, Kentucky. Alma was coming off a win over Wittenberg and WLC’s last game was a win over Hope. As it turned out, we saw a competitive neutral-court contest before WLC pulled away in the fourth, just as the Warriors did against Hope. The margin widened to as many as 14 points with 2:59 left. WLC finished with an impressive 20 assists on 24 made shots.

I don’t know if Wartburg “won the day”, but the Knights managed to avoid the upset bid from UW-Eau Claire and stay undefeated, which certainly warrants mention. UWEC led 58-53 with under five minutes left before Wartburg answered with a 9-0 run. The defense intensified down the stretch, holding the Blugolds without a made field goal for the final 4:52. Credit to Wartburg for that defensive effort, and for the quality free throw shooting (19-of-23).

WashU looked really strong against DePauw, setting up a key matchup against Illinois Wesleyan in Terre Haute, Indiana today. The Bears opened the game with a 23-13 lead and never let up, scoring 42 points in the paint. They have the advantage in the post against IWU, and will need to maximize that. Shooting 50% from the field also contributed greatly to WashU improving to an even 2-2 on the year.

Taking a look at some of the top individual performances from yesterday’s action…UW-Whitewater’s Kacie Carollo did a little bit of everything for the Warhawks in the 64-55 win at Calvin, scoring 19 points to go along with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals…Emory was led by Claire Brock’s 39-point effort in the win at W&L, as she shot 7-of-10 from 3-point range and added six rebounds…On the other side of that matchup, Mary Schleusner contributed in a big way to W&L’s 52 points in the paint, tallying a total of 38 points on a 15-of-30 shooting day along with 13 rebounds, 7 of which were offensive boards…Lauren Huber put Illinois Wesleyan into the championship game of the RHIT Tournament, with a 15-point, 11-rebound, 5-assist, 4-steal effort, as she led the Titans on both ends of the floor…also for Illinois Wesleyan, Sawyer White had a strong had, with 13 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals off the bench…Carroll’s Olivia Rangel scored 28 points in her team’s win, and added 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals…WashU’s Lexy Harris led the Bears’ winning effort over DePauw, shooting 8-of-12 from the field in a 20-point, 13-rebound double-double performance…Piedmont’s Andelin Hill had 13 points and an impressive 16 rebounds in yesterday’s win over BSC, with 13 of those 16 boards coming on the offensive end…HSU’s Paris Kiser shot 5-of-8 from 3-point range in a 23-point, 9-rebound, 4-assist showing that helped lift HSU to victory.

A couple games I’ll be keeping an eye on today… (all times eastern)

#5 Rhode Island College at #13 Babson, 1:00 p.m.

#7 Trinity (CT) at #11 Smith, 2:00 p.m.

Wisconsin Lutheran vs #1 Transylvania, 3:00 p.m.

WashU vs Illinois Wesleyan (neutral court), 4:00 p.m.

Links and complete schedule can be found on

Have a great rest of your weekend! I’ll have a breakdown of my new Top 25 ballot out tomorrow morning!


ETBU women’s basketball will be in midst of national spotlight, faces LSU tonight in Tigers’ first game since winning national title

By Riley Zayas, The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023

It was early April, and ETBU head coach Blake Arbogast and his staff found themselves at the 2023 Women’s Final Four in Dallas. LSU stole the show in Sunday’s championship game, taking down Iowa for the D-I national title on Sunday afternoon, winning under the direction of second-year head coach Kim Mulkey.

Of the eight teams in attendance–four from the D-I ranks, and two from the D-II and D-III ranks (the D-II and D-III championship games were played at the D-I Final Four in a unique setup)–LSU was the closest in proximity to the Lone Star State. After all, Baton Rouge sits just four hours and 20 minutes from Marshall, Texas, the home of ETBU.

At this point in the spring, Arbogast and his staff had struck out in pretty much all of their original queries for D-I opponents for the 2023-24 schedule, from Stephen F. Austin to Lamar, due to a variety of factors. Throughout his three-year tenure in Marshall, Arbogast had made it a point to get at least one D-I opponent on the schedule each season, giving his team a unique opportunity to face stiff competition and get the “D-I experience” in an early season exhibition.

So he decided to take a shot at getting the reigning national champions on the slate.

“Me and my staff were out at the Final Four, enjoying it, and LSU wins,” Arbogast said. “I was like, ‘I’m just going to see if they [have a date available for an exhibition].’ So I sent Mulkey an email. I didn’t think much of it.”

It was several weeks before a response found its way into his inbox. He was doubtful initially, as the days turned into weeks. But a reply from Baton Rouge came through, sure enough.

“A couple weeks go by and I originally thought, ‘Oh well, you have to shoot your shot. That’s alright.’ And then on my anniversary with my wife, I got an email from one of Mulkey’s assistants who handles scheduling, saying that they had October 26th open, asking if we could make that work.

“I said, ‘Absolutely,’ and then called my assistant and said, ‘Hey, clear October 26th. Clear whatever we had that day…because we’re going to LSU.’”

The high-level scheduling was initially met with a hint of surprise when Arbogast first mentioned it to his team. After all, per research done by ETBU’s Sports Information Department, this marks the first time in women’s college basketball history dating back to 2000 that a D-III team has faced the reigning D-I national champ to begin the season.

LSU is undoubtedly the biggest brand in women’s college basketball currently, as the nation’s No. 1 ranked team, led by a recognizable figure in Mulkey, who previously led the program at Baylor for 21 seasons. And then there’s the roster LSU has put together, with three of the Top 5 NIL earners in women’s college hoops per That would be Angel Reese (No. 1), Flau’jae Johnson (No. 2), and Hailey Van Lith, a transfer from Louisville (No. 5). Van Lith was a key contributor to the USA 3-on-3 Women’s National Team that won gold at the FIBA 3×3 World Cup this past summer, and Reese was part of the USA Women’s National Team that finished as runners-up in the FIBA AmeriCup in July.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Arbogast added. “LSU had players who were representing our country this past summer and brought home medals and hardware as the best in the world. So it’s a great opportunity, not only for ETBU and our girls, but for D-III women’s basketball, truthfully.”

That isn’t to say putting together the scouting report has been easy. Not when you’re prepping for the nation’s top-ranked team, with a very experienced roster, who will be playing on its home court for the first time since winning it all in April. But that is a challenge Arbogast and his staff have embraced. If anything, it’s good practice considering three of ETBU’s first four non-conference opponents in the regular season are likely Top 25 teams (Trinity (TX), Elizabethtown, Christopher Newport).

“We’re excited. It’s honestly tricky when we’re doing a scouting report on the best of the best, since you’re trying to find flaws and things like that. So it’s been fun from a coaching perspective too. We’re going to go in there and try to represent the university, ourselves, and D-III the best we can.”

For the players on the ETBU roster, it is a similar feeling of excitement. In several cases, it is an opportunity to go toe-to-toe with players they have been watching on national television for years, and a team that played in front of 20,000 in an NBA arena just over six months ago.

“One of our transfers is actually from Louisiana, and idolizes Hailey Van Lith,” Arbogast said. “So she’s excited to be on the same floor as her. And we have a post player, who, for all of last year, couldn’t stop talking about Angel Reese. So I’m like, ‘Alright, well here you go.’”

When it comes to getting the nation’s No. 1 D-I team on the schedule for a preseason exhibition, or traveling to the home court of last year’s D-III national runner-up, ETBU has not shied away from difficult matchups early in the season. Much of that is a credit to the administration, Arbogast said, who have supported his program well and provided it with opportunities to go up against the best.

“Our administration is great. During that Covid year, they really understood that over 50 percent of our student population is athletes so they let us, within reason, get a full 25-game schedule. We were one of the few able to do that. So our administration does a great job at supporting athletics and having the best chance available and the best experience.

“At the end of the day, you have to play the best to see where you’re at. With the way our conference is, UT-Dallas was the No. 4 seed [in last year’s ASC Tournament] and they go win the tournament. Hardin-Simmons needed to have a good enough strength-of-schedule and resume [to get into the NCAA Tournament]. So it’s good for us to play these teams early.”

The contest will tip off at 7 p.m. CT and be broadcasted on SEC Network Plus. A radio broadcast is also available at Live stats can be found here.

The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: Mid-October thoughts

It’s time…the offseason is over. We’ve got games tipping off in less than 30 days and I can’t wait! No more posting once every other week for me, haha. At least not until April. After jumping into this blog/newsletter thing literally as the first games of the year tipped off last season, I feel both more prepared and more confident now as we head into this season. My knowledge base increased tremendously with the help of so many fans, supporters, and coaches, last season, and I truly appreciate each and every one of you for following along as I figured out how all of this worked along the way.

I am extremely excited for what this season is going to bring. I’ll be working on a very fun, insightful D3 basketball project over the course of the next couple years that I’ll write about a bit more as the season draws closer. Long story short, I’ll get to see plenty of games in lots of new places, and that has me pumped, especially as I start to look at the next few months!

But anyway, that’s probably enough of an intro. I don’t plan on changing too much with the setup of this newsletter, especially as we get into the season. I’ll still have a breakdown of my Top 25 each week on Mondays, and thoughts each morning on the previous day’s games/results. Often, I’ll change the format of those daily posts, just to keep it interesting, but all of the same content will still be there. I do my best to highlight all 10 regions and the best individual and team performances on a daily basis, but if I miss anything (because I know I will), please don’t hesitate to reach out with a comment or note. It always helps when someone draws my attention to a 30+ point game from a player or a record-setting performance from a team’s defense. Because let’s face it…there are 428 D-III women’s basketball teams…that’s a lot to follow!

As the season nears, more and more teams have released their rosters, which often gives very helpful clarification on a program’s returning group, any previously unknown transfers, and of course, which players decided to use their Covid year to return for a fifth season.

On that note, Hardin-Simmons was not included in my Early Preseason Top 30. There were too many question marks as to their stellar senior class from last season, and how many, if any, would be back. If you remember, HSU went 24-4 in 2022-23, with three of those losses coming to Trinity (TX) and finished the ASC schedule with a flawless 18-0 mark.

I came across HSU’s new roster a few days ago, and it confirmed what a few sources had previously told me. Point guard Paris Kiser, forward Parris Parmer, and guard Samantha Tatum are all back as graduate students. All three were 500-600 minute players for HSU last season, and were three of the Cowgirls’ top four leading scorers. That is incredible valuable. HSU just vaulted into my Top 25, now that these returners are confirmed. Kiki Gonzales and Kylie Ellsworth will both be back as well after seeing significant playing time (mostly off the bench) last season, and the depth on this roster will be a strength for HSU. I’ll get a chance to see them play in person here in about 22 days when they battle Baylor in an exhibition in Waco.

Let’s continue with the 5th-year discussion a little bit. As if we needed one more thing to make the WIAC interesting, Macy Nilsen is back on the roster for UW-River Falls. She was a First Team All-WIAC honoree last year and averaged 14.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. The Edna, Minn. native put the team on her back at multiple points last season, and with 71% of last year’s squad back, UWRF will be a tough out for any team in the WIAC. Who knows what will happen in that league from week to week. Very excited to see that conference title race unfold.

Another interesting storyline to follow will be that of Sofia Rosa, who set the Tufts program record for field goal percentage in 2019-20. After playing four years at Tufts, she joined the MIT coaching staff as an assistant last season. But her name has since resurfaced on Smith’s roster as a player! It appears that Rosa is using her 5th year and will add some serious depth in the post to a team that loses WBCA Player of the Year Morgan Morrison, who is playing her 5th year at NYU. Rosa is a 6-foot-2 center who scores well around the rim, and should be a tough matchup for any NEWMAC opponent.

Out on the West Coast, keep an eye on Amanda Inserra to be in for a big year. UC-Santa Cruz isn’t the NCAA Tournament contender they were last year (from a projections standpoint) but Inserra’s return should give the Banana Slugs a bit of a boost. She averaged 12.6 points and 5.1 boards per game last season, and on an 11-player roster, I expect she’ll be on the floor for 30+ minutes per game again. UCSC has some experience on its roster, but last year’s group was unbelievably talented. Losing a Kaylee Murphy, Ashley Kowack, or Tess Oakley-Stilson is tough. Losing all three at the same time to graduation is really difficult.

I will say, UCSC did get a bunch of D3 games, which is good to see considering how tough of a scheduling battle they have. Matchups against Whitworth, Whitman, Pomona-Pitzer, Pacific, Hamilton, NYU, UW-Platteville, and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps highlight the schedule. Monica Armstrong will be in her first year as UCSC’s head coach this season. Definitely wish her the best of luck in that new role!

Speaking of the West Coast, the Northwest Conference (NWC) might be one of the more underrated leagues in the country heading into this season. The talent and depth on some of these rosters is impressive, and I believe there are at least three legitimate NWC title contenders. Puget Sound brings back standouts in Kennedy Brown, Sophie Nilsson, and Katie Minnehan who were all very fun to watch throughout last season. They finished 21-5 and seem ready to take a step forward, especially with a non-conference schedule that includes games with UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire, Illinois Wesleyan, Trinity (TX) and possibly John Carroll. Pacific has 99% of its roster back and they had Puget Sound’s number last season. Twice they beat the Loggers in the span of about two weeks, and missed an NCAA Tournament berth by a six-point margin in the NWC title game against Whitman. Whitman is the third contender, and they too, have a bunch of returning talent. With forwards Korin Baker and Lindsay Drango leading the way, Whitman is poised for another strong year. Carly Martin is the top returning guard, and while I think the strength of this team is at the forward/wing position, Whitman should be plenty good in the backcourt too.

As I close this out, I see that Bob Quillman has published his intervew with Transylvania head coach Juli Fulks on his podcast, the Q-Cast. It’s definitely worth a listen. Coach Fulks always has phenomenal insight, and Bob does a nice job with asking unique and insightful questions. Listen here:


I’ll end here, but updates will be coming much more frequently, especially once we get into preseason exhibitions here in about two weeks. Oct. 22 is the earliest date I have written down for D3 vs. D1 exhibitions/scrimmages as NJCU plays at Wagner. Looking forward to this season as tip off approaches! Have a great weekend.

The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: Blinstrub retires at Babson + Highlighting more multi-sport athletes in D3 women’s basketball

By Riley Zayas

June 30, 2023

On the coaching front….things have really picked up! Wanted to come on here and post the second edition of my series highlighting the multi-sport athletes in D3 women’s hoops but also catch you up on some of the recent coaching chances that have taken place within the last 48-72 hours.

No coaching announcement is bigger than the news released the morning that Babson head coach—legendary Babson head coach—Judy Blinstrub has retired after leading the Beavers for 39 seasons. That is an incredible career. When you think about how far D-III has come since she took over the program in 1984, it is incredible. She leaves the sidelines 11th in D-III women’s basketball in all-time wins, with a 719-330 record at Babson. She is the only coach in D-III history with 700+ wins in basketball and 200+ wins in soccer.

Not to mention she led the Beavers to 23 postseason appearances, including 12 NCAA Tournament runs. Babson has long been a power in the NEWMAC and Blinstrub brought so much experience and poise to her team as she led them through what was often a stacked regular season slate. Those will be big shoes to fill for whoever follows her as head coach of that program!

“Babson has been a part of my family and my home for so long,” said Blinstrub in a press release. “I have so many wonderful memories to reflect on. The student-athletes that I have had the opportunity to coach and mentor will forever have a special place in my heart. I will always treasure all the relationships I have formed in the Babson community and beyond throughout my career.”

She guided Babson to a MAIAW championship back in 1986 and the accomplishments for Babson women’s basketball continue to build from there. In the 14 full seasons from 2008-09 to 2022-23, Babson won 20 games or more in 11 of those.

“Coach, mentor, leader are only a few of the adjectives that can describe Coach Blinstrub,” said Megan Bauman, one of the stars of this past year’s Babson squad. “Throughout her illustrious career she has left a mark on the game of basketball and countless student-athletes. Her coaching ability speaks for itself with over 700 career wins and numerous Coach of the Year honors. However, the hours behind the scenes – recruiting, scouting or even sitting down with players to simply ask how they are doing is the reason she and the program were so successful.”

Blinstrub certainly leaves behind a lasting legacy. Congratulations to her on everything she accomplished in her 39 seasons there!


In other coaching news…

  • Misericordia HC Jason Rhine has resigned after seven years of leading the program. No official announcement was made by the university, but I have confirmed the move. D3.ticker first reported the coaching change.
  • Cassandra Taylor was hired as the new head coach at Valley Forge, a UEC institution that went 6-17 in 2022-23. Taylor most recently served as the associate head coach at John Jay University, where she coached for five years. This will be her first head coaching gig. UVF AD Gretchen LeVan coached the team as the interim head coach this past season, so this was technically a job that was open dating back to last season.
  • Mitchell also hired its next women’s basketball head coach earlier in the week, as Ashley Wilson comes from D-I Central Connecticut State, where she spent the last two years as an assistant. A standout at Wayne State, where she graduated in 2016, Wilson played professionally overseas and spent the 2020-21 season as head coach at Putnam Science Academy (high school). Like Taylor at Valley Forge, this will be just the second collegiate program Wilson has coached for during her career.
  • Greensboro completed its coaching search rather quickly, and has hired Laquanda Dawkins Prince as head coach. This will be Prince’s first D-III coaching position, but she has extensive D-I and D-II experience. The last six years, however, she has coached at the high school level, leading the nationally-acclaimed program at Yulee High School in Jacksonville, Florida. She has coached six All-Americans during her coaching career and 19 All-Conference selections.

Multi-Sport D3 WBB student-athletes
Raegan Sorensen | UW-Stout | Track, Basketball

Sorensen finished her sophomore year with numerous honors in both basketball and track, contributing significantly to Stout’s success across both sports. On the court, where Stout finished as the Co-Regular Season Champs in the WIAC, Sorensen did a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor. She played in all 26 games, starting 13, and led the Blue Devils with 15.8 points per game. But that’s not all! She averaged a team-best 7.3 rebounds per contest, tallied 55 steals (another team-high) and shot 45% from 3-point range on 60 3-point attempts. Sorensen deservedly earned First Team All-WIAC honors as well as an All-Region selection from

On the track, she finished as an All-America selection in the Javelin, finishing fourth overall at the NCAA Championships in Rochester. Her throw of 44.12 meters at nationals broke the Stout record, a record she had claimed with her throw a week earlier at the UWL Final Qualifier. Amazingly, in the span of a week, Sorensen broke her own school record by 13 feet! That came after narrowly earning a spot in the field at nationals, as she threw over five meters further at the UWL Final Qualifier than she had at the WIAC Championships two weeks prior. Sorensen is also a talented pole vaulter and holds a PB of 3.71 meters, set back in April.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that Sorensen may have had the best year of any of the multi-sport D3 women’s basketball players in 2022-23. “All-American” is a prestigious honor, and then to succeed in the way she did on the court in quite possibly the strongest league in the nation…it deserves some serious recognition.

Claire Greene | Rhode Island College | Lacrosse, Basketball

Greene was spectacular for Rhode Island College in lacrosse this past season, leading the team in points (32), goals (31), and shots (75). The freshman from Storrs, CT was the only player with double digits in goals as the next-highest scorer had eight. She started in 11 games, playing her first match on March 20, just days after basketball season concluded with RIC’s Final Four run.

In basketball, she played in 28 games with two starts, averaging 14.1 minutes per game. Greene had 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, and made the most of her opportunities on a team that caught fire late in the season, and finished with a 28-4 record. Greene is likely to see more action this coming season on the court, considering RIC graduated a handful of seniors.

Ella Mackiewicz | UW-Platteville | Track & Field, Basketball

Another WIAC star-in-the-making, Mackiewicz was only a freshman this past year, yet accomplished a great deal for Platteville in both basketball and track & field.
The Kansas native started in all 26 games for UWP, leading the Pioneers in virtually every stat category. She tallied 11.5 points per game, including 23 in a dramatic 61-52 upset of first-place UW-Whitewater on Feb. 15. Her 5.2 rebounds also ranked No. 1 on the team and she was the only player to average more than one steal per game (1.7). That led to her selection as both the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Newcomer of the Year and WIAC Newcomer of the Year.

As a high jumper in track & field, Mackiewicz posted six Top-5 finishes, and placed second at the WIAC Championships with a mark of 1.56 meter. She set a new PB with her fourth-place finish at the Eagle Open on May 12, recording a jump of 1.59 meters. The future is certainly bright for Mackiewicz, as she enters her sophomore year aiming to build on a very noteworthy freshman campaign. Not many student-athletes can easily adjust to the level of competition at the college in one sport, much less two, along with adjusting to the academics and living multiple states away from home. But Mackiewicz definitely seemed to do that this past year.

That’s a wrap for this post! I’ll be back on Monday with another edition of “Schedule analysis”, looking at the 2023-24 slates for Hope, Trine, Carnegie Mellon, and Trinity (CT). Can’t wait! Have a great weekend.