Jeff Griffith (@Jeff_Griffith21)
With the college basketball offseason well underway, it’s time to look back to the season that was among the area’s Division II and III programs. Throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, both levels of college ball produced a number of successful programs and impressive individual seasons.
Here are our selections for the 2021-22 CoBL-area women’s D-III awards:
Averi Jordan (above) scored double figures in all but two games of her senior season. (Photo courtesy Stephanie Graffin/DeSales Athletics)
Averi Jordan, F/Sr., DeSales
While the area’s Division III programs produced several deserving candidates for Player of the Year honors, Jordan’s numbers are pretty hard to deny. Jordan, the MAC Freedom Player of the Year, scored in double figures in all but two games on the 2021-22 season, averaging a team-high 18.1 ppg while adding nine double-doubles to her season résumé.
She displayed an ability to take over on multiple occasions, scoring 25 or more points three different times this season, including two 30-point outings. Arguably the most impressive statistical performance of Jordan’s senior season, though, came in a 25-point, 19-rebound effort against Delaware Valley on Jan. 24. That showing came just two days after Jordan tallied 34 points and 13 boards in a road win over Arcadia.
In postseason play, Jordan recorded two double-doubles for DeSales on its way to a MAC Freedom tournament title, before adding 20 points and eight rebounds in the Bulldogs’ NCAA Tournament First Round win over SUNY Cortland.
Dana Bandurick (G/Jr., Swarthmore)
Bandurick absolutely loaded the stat sheet en route to a First Team All-Centennial Conference finish, to the tune of 16.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 2.4 spg, 1.5 bpg and 50.2 percent shooting from the field — all of which were among the conference’s top 10 — with 14 double-doubles to boot. The Council Rock North product cracked 20 points on seven occasions, including four in the span of five games around the calendar turn into 2022, maxing out with 26 points, as well as 13 boards, in an early win at Haverford.
Dakota Hitchner (G/Sr., Cairn)
In her return season from a full Achilles tear, Hitchner put up strong stats across the board with averages of 19.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 steals — all of which were team highs — and 2.0 assists to go with 39 percent shooting from the field and 34 percent shooting from distance. Hitchner was selected to the All-Atlantic East First Team, and went out on about as high a note as possible, pouring in 37 points on just 22 shots to go with five boards in the Highlanders’ season finale against Notre Dame (Md.).
Gabby Boggs (F/Sr., Albright)
Boggs’ numbers are impressive enough before mentioning she earned the MAC Commonwealth’s Defensive Player of the Year; she also made the league’s All-Conference First Team. Beyond her defensive prowess with an average of 2.7 blocks, Boggs’ 12.5 rpg were a league best, and her 16.9 ppg were good for second in the conference. Boggs shot 52.9 percent from the field on the season, and had several standout games, none more jaw-dropping than her 18 points and 27 rebounds — the latter being a program record — in a win at Lebanon Valley.
Leah Springer (F/R-Sr., Messiah)
Springer led the way in, essentially, all major statistical categories for Messiah’s NCAA Tournament squad, averaging 17.5 points and 11.1 boards on the season to go with 3.5 assists and 1.7 steals all en route to MAC Commonwealth Player of the Year honors. Springer locked in 15 double-doubles on the season, including eight contests with 14 or more rebounds. Springer’s scoring numbers were first in the conference, and her rebounding numbers were third; she shot 47.9 percent from the field, 84.6 percent from the line.
Veronia Christ (F/R-Sr., Elizabethtown)
The Landmark Conference’s Player of the Year, Christ rounded out her Elizabethtown career with a fantastic senior season, averaging 18.8 points — a league-high — 5.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Christ scored in double figures in all but one of the Blue Jays’ 26 contests, and reached fourth place on the program’s all-time scoring list. Christ was effective in all offensive facets of the game, shooting 81.6 percent from the line, 32.2 percent from distance and 38.9 percent from the field. In the month of December, Christ averaged 24.5 points and 4.75 rebounds over the course of four games.
Haley Crossley (above) led the Atlantic East in scoring and rebounding. (Photo courtesy Hunter Martin Photography/Gwynedd Mercy Athletics)
Nicole Barnes (G/Sr., Widener)
Barnes did a decent bit of everything for the Pride, averaging 10.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.8 steals. Her steals and assists numbers were both good for second in the MAC Commonwealth. As a result, the senior earned First Team All-MAC Commonwealth honors. While her numbers were generally balanced across the board, Barnes proved she could score in buckets with 27 points on 14 shots against York in early February.
Angela Sander (G/So., Penn State Abington)
The United East’s Player of the Year, Sander averaged a resounding double-double with 18.2 ppg and 10.1 rpg. She displayed significant defensive prowess as well, with averages of 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks. Sander took over for Penn State Abington on multiple occasions; she had 35 points and 19 rebounds in a close win over St. Mary’s (Md.), and had a stretch of five games in January with at least 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Ally Landau (G/Fr., Haverford)
The Centennial Conference’s co-leader in scoring at 16.2 ppg and CoBL’s all-area Rookie of the Year at the women’s D-III level, Landau put together a standout freshman season for the Fords. Landau chipped in 4.9 rpg to go with team-leading numbers in assists (3.5) and steals (2.5). Following the calendar’s turn to 2022, Landau didn’t score fewer than 10 points in a single game, and averaged 18.8 points in the Fords’ final eight games.
Kendis Butler (G/So., Penn State Harrisburg)
Butler led all scorers for the Lions with 13.5 ppg, while chipping in 3.3 rpg, 2.1 apg and 1.8 spg. This season marked Butler’s second in a row being named to the United East’s First Team, and her shooting was a major reason why — Butler ranked among the nation’s top 10 in made 3-pointers with 81, while shooting just over 30 percent from deep. Butler connected on 13-of-20 3-point attempts over the course of back-to-back wins over Penn State Berks in early February.
Haley Crossley (F/Jr., Gwynedd Mercy)
Crossley, an All-Atlantic East First Team selection and William Tennent product, led the conference in both scoring and rebounding with 16.6 ppg and 11.3 rpg. A true stat machine, Crossley finished among the league’s top 10 in total assists (55) and blocks (21), while finishing second in total steals (55). Crossley was red hot down the stretch, logging 26 points and 17 rebounds, immediately followed by 21 points and 16 rebounds, in two of the Griffins’ last three games.
Mikaela Reese (C/So., DeSales)
The 6-foot Souderton product finished second among Bulldogs — behind CoBL Player of the Year Averi Jordan — in scoring and rebounding, with 15.2 ppg and 7.9 rpg en route to an NCAA Tournament second round berth. She was tabbed the MAC Freedom’s Defensive Player of the Year with a league-high 56 total blocks, and also appeared on the conference’s First Team list. Reese averaged 21.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in DeSales’ two NCAA Tournament games.
Carly Rice (2) posted a career high of 28 points in her senior season. (Photo: Christy Selagy/CoBL)
Ashley Tutzauer (G/R-Sr., Cabrini)
Tutzauer, who averaged a team-high 12.2 points as a graduate student, added 3.7 rebounds and was selected to the Atlantic East’s First Team. She shot 81 percent from the free throw line and finished among the conference’s top 10 scorers.
Elise Sylvester (G/Jr., Gwynedd Mercy)
An All-Atlantic East Second Teamer and co-captain for the Griffins, Sylvester was tied for first nationally in assists per game with 6.2, including five in the conference title game. She was also third in the conference in total steals with 49 and averaged 10.8 points and 3.9 rebounds.
Theresa Kearney (G/R-Sr., Immaculata)
The 5-9 wing averaged a solid line of 13.1 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds this season for Immaculata. She shot 84 percent from the free throw line — Kearney made 15 of her last 17 attempts — and logged a pair of double-doubles on the season.
Carly Rice (G/Sr., Gettysburg)
Rice, selected to the All-Centennial Conference First Team, averaged 12.7 points on her senior season and ranked third in the conference with 41 made 3-pointers. She had a handful of explosive scoring efforts, including her career-high of 28, logged in a win over Stevens.
Katie Rodriguez (F/So., Cabrini)
Doing a little bit of everything for Cabirini, Rodriguez earned Atlantic East Defensive Player of the Year honors as a sophomore. She averaged 6.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, and an impressive 2.2 blocks, good for second in the conference.
Jordan D’Ambrosio (G/Jr., Widener)
The top scorer for the Pride this season, D’Ambrosio filled up the stat sheet with 13.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 2.2 apg en route to a Second Team All-MAC Commonwealth selection. She ranked among the league’s top five in free-throw shooting at 78.2 percent, and finished sixth in scoring.
Ally Landau (above) averaged the most minutes per game of any Centennial Conference player. (Photo: Christy Selagy/CoBL)
Ally Landau, G/Fr. Haverford
One of the top scorers both on her Haverford squad and within the Centennial Conference, Landau made major waves in her freshman season. Landau was named to the Centennial’s First Team after averaging 16.2 points, tied for second in the conference with Player of the Year Diarra Oden (Johns Hopkins).
Much was asked of Landau this season, and she generally was up to the task; the freshman averaged over 36 minutes — the most by any Centennial Conference player — and was one of just two players to average double-digit scoring. She also finished the year with 4.9 rpg, and a team-high 3.5 apg.
Summer McNulty (G/Fr., Elizabethtown)
McNulty ranked second among Blue Jays and among the Landmark Conference’s top 10 in scoring, en route to the league’s Rookie of the Year honors. The guard averaged 12.7 points and 3.8 rebounds, and her 2.6 apg were among the league’s top 10 as well. McNulty also ended up on the Landmark Conference’s second team, and showed flashes of takeover scoring ability, including 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting against Moravian.
Haley Keenan (G/Fr., Delaware Valley)
The 5-7 guard and winner of the MAC Freedom’s Rookie of the Year award put up eye-catching numbers in her first season at Delaware Valley. Keenan averaged a team-high 16.7 points, as well as 7.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists. She finished fourth in the conference in scoring and eighth in rebounding. Her lowest scoring output of the year was eight points, and it was her only single-digit scoring number. Keenan logged five double-doubles, including 23 points and 20 rebounds in just her fifth game, a win over Juniata.
Lynzie Eggers (G/So., Gwynedd Mercy)
A member of the All-Atlantic East Second Team, Eggers earned three separate conference Player of the Week honors and finished second among all Atlantic East scorers with 16.0 ppg. A strong rebounder, Eggers averaged 5.4 rebounds per game, and finished among the top 10 in her conference specifically in offensive rebounding with 59. Eggers broke 20 points eight times, including a pair of 30-point outputs.
Kate Fitzpatrick (F/Fr., Lebanon Valley)
Fitzpatrick, the Rookie of the Year in the MAC Commonwealth, was a consistently productive scorer for Lebanon Valley from start to finish of the season, ultimately averaging 13.7 points with just five games in single digits — three of those five came in her first six appearances. Fitzpatrick was out for the month of December, but averaged 15.0 ppg following her return. She missed just four of her 27 free throw tries on the season, and added 3.4 rpg.
Chinwe Irondi (F/Fr., Ursinus)
Irondi’s All-Centennial Conference First Team status was hard-earned; the Bears’ leading scorer and rebounder at 15.2 ppg and 9.9 rpg was top five in the conference in both categories, as well as field-goal percentage (43.8 percent). Irondi picked up 10 double-doubles, and had a pair of contests with 15 or more in each category, highlighted by an impressive 22-point, 20-rebound performance against Muhlenberg.
Taylor Hinson, (F/Fr., Cairn)
A productive scorer and arguably even better rebounder, Hinson logged eight double-doubles in her first year at Cairn and averaged 10.2 points and 8.7 rebounds, the latter of which led all Highlanders and ranked among the CSAC’s top 10. Hinson logged double-digit rebounds in her first four contests, en route to a total of 11 such occasions on the season.
Veronica Nolt (above) leveraged a roster of mostly newcomers to guide Elizabethtown to the NCAA Tournament. (Photo courtesy Elizabethtown Athletics)
Veronica Nolt, Elizabethtown
In her seventh season at Elizabethtown, Nolt took a full-time rotation of players that featured just one graduate student and no seniors and led it to the program’s best season in over a decade. In total, Elizabethtown’s roster featured 12 newcomers, but the Blue Jays ended up with 20 wins for the first time since 2013-14 and a trip to the NCAA Tournament to boot.
Elizabethtown was largely led by graduate forward Veronica Christ, who held team-highs in scoring (18.8 ppg) and assists (2.9 apg), but freshman guard Summer McNulty finished among the top 10 scorers in Landmark Conference play with 12.3 ppg. The Blue Jays found their stride down the stretch, closing the regular season with wins in eight of their last nine contests.