Lady Hilltoppers Dominate All-MEC Team

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After winning their second straight Mountain East Conference championship, the nationally-ranked West Liberty University women’s basketball team dominated the balloting on Monday when the MEC coaches announced the All-MEC honor roll.

Kiki Simpson, the Hilltoppers’ record-setting senior post, was honored as the 2016 MEC Player of the Year while fellow seniors Kailee Howe and Liz Flowers were repeat first-team selections. Veteran head coach Lynn Ullom was the MEC Coach of the Year.

It’s the first time West Liberty has produced three first-team All-Conference honorees and the 18th consecutive season that at least one Lady Hilltopper has been accorded first-team honors.

Simpson, Flowers and Howe led No. 16-ranked West Liberty to a 25-3 regular season record, giving Ullom the fifth conference title of his career, the 10th 20-win season in the past 11 years and the No. 1 seed in this week’s MEC Tournament at Charleston

A 5-11 forward from Columbus, Ohio, Simpson emerged as one of the most dominant low-post players in the nation this winter. The first Mountain East Conference woman ever to pass the 1,000-point and 1,000-rebound career milestones, Simpson leads the nation in field-goal percentage (161-242, .665), ranks No. 2 in rebounds (13.4/gm), No. 3 in blocked shots (3.25/gm) and No. 4 in double-doubles (19) while averaging a career-best 14.0 points per game. She was the MEC’s only 3-time Player of the Week this winter and also picked up a USBWA National Player of the Week Award. The leading rebounder in school history with 1,168 career boards, Simpson closed out the regular season with 17 points, an ASRC arena-record 22 rebounds and 6 blocked shots in a nationally-televised 60-50 win against Wheeling Jesuit. She broke her own school single-season record with 376 rebounds in that game and needs just 2 more blocks to become WLU’s all-time leader in blocked shots. 

Flowers, a 5-8 senior from Williamstown, W.Va., is a rare 3-time first-team All-Conference selection. She leads the MEC and ranks among the top 10 nationally with 91 3-point field goals and is the third-leading scorer in the league at 19.4 ppg. A four-year starter, she ranks No. 3 all-time at West Liberty with 1,975 points and also ranks among the Lady Hilltoppers’ Top 10 in rebounds (686), assists (470), 3-point field goals (263) and blocked shots (120). She has 88 double-figure scoring games and has 39 games with 20 or more points. 

Howe, a 5-10 senior from Zanesville, Ohio who is leading the nation in assists for the second straight season, is a 2-time first-team All-MEC pick. Averaging 14.1 points and just under 10 assists per game, Howe is already well over the 1,000-point mark with 1,280 career tallies and is on pace to become the first NCAA Division II woman ever with multiple 300-assist seasons. She had a season-high 41 points and six 3-point field goals in an 80-56 win against Charleston on Jan. 28 and tied her own MEC record with 17 assists on two occasions.

This is the third Conference Coach of the Year Award for Ullom, who was previously honored as the 1996 and 2000 WVIAC Coach of the Year. The winningest women’s basketball coach in West Virginia history, he passed a significant milestone earlier this season with his 500th career win. His 25-year record (521-230, .694) ranks him among the top 15 active NCAA Division II women’s coaches in total victories and winning percentage.

The Hilltoppers were the only team with multiple first-team selections. Rounding out the 8-woman honor roll are Wheeling Jesuit’s Jaila Bryant, Charleston’s Chyress Lockhart, Notre Dame’s Martha Nagbe, Urbana’s Danie Shafer and Mari Stewart from West Virginia Wesleyan. West Virginia State’s Laura Szorenyi was named MEC Freshman of the Year.

The West Liberty women open defense of their MEC Tournament title Thursday night in Charleston when they take on the winner of Tuesday’s first-round game between West Virginia State and UVA-Wise in a 6 p.m. quarterfinal at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

2016 All-Mountain East Conference Team

Player of the Year: Kierra Simpson, West Liberty

Freshman of the Year: Laura Szorenyi, W.Va. State

Coach of the Year: Lynn Ullom, West Liberty

First Team

Name School Cl. Pos. Ht. Hometown

Jaila Bryant Wheeling Jesuit Sr. G 5-8 Pickerington, Ohio

LIZ FLOWERS WEST LIBERTY SR. G 5-8 WILLIAMSTOWN, W.VA.

KAILEE HOWE WEST LIBERTY SR. G 5-10 ZANESVILLE, OHIO

Chyress Lockhart Charleston Sr. G 5-6 Euclid, Ohio

Martha Nagbe Notre Dame Sr. G 5-7 Lakewood, Ohio

Danie Shafer Urbana So. G 5-8 Huber Heights, Ohio

KIERRA SIMPSON WEST LIBERTY SR. F 5-11 COLUMBUS, OHIO

Mari Stewart W.Va. Wesleyan So. F 6-0 Templeton, Calif.

Second Team

Name School Cl. Pos. Ht. Hometown

Morgan Arden Shepherd So. G 5-5 Hanover, Pa.

Kennedy Boggs Urbana So. G 5-5 Delphos, Ohio

Brittany Jackson Glenville State Jr. G 5-8 Montgomery Village, Md.

Lauren Langenderfer Notre Dame Sr. G 5-8 Lyons, Ohio

Paris McLeod Glenville State So. G 5-5 Belleville, Mich.

Amanda Ruffner Fairmont State Jr. F 5-10 Procotorville, Ohio

Laura Szorenyi W.Va. State Fr. G 5-10 Budapest, Hungary

Makenzie White Fairmont State Jr. G 5-9 Madison, W.Va.

Honorable Mention

Name School Cl. Pos. Ht. Hometown

Mariah Callen Wheeling Jesuit So. G 5-4 Morgantown, W.Va.

Blair Harding UVA-Wise Sr. G 5-8 Baltimore, Md.

Kiara Johnson Charleston Sr. F 6-2 Jacksonville, Fla.

Liz Myers Shepherd Jr. F 5-11 York, Pa.

Taylor Sandidge UVA-Wise Jr. G 5-5 Waynesboro, Va.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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