This week in D2 women's basketball, we're going to feature the top 5 players in the Heartland Conference. There were quite a few reasons these five ladies made the list, high scoring is obviously valued but all-around stats helped each of them out as well.
Think someone else should've made the list? Let me know in the comments!
5. Khiani Clark, F, St. Edward's
After joining the starting rotation this season, Khiani Clark more than doubled her scoring average of 6 points per game from a year ago to 12.2 points per game, while also grabbing 8.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest. In the offseason she worked hard on improving her ability to score, saying, "I worked a lot on my footwork and getting stronger. I think that it is reflected in my ability to make a quick post move and get a shot up as well as establishing deep posting position for a lay-up. The strength training has also helped with rebounding and gaining position to get on the boards."
The offseason is where players typically grow the most, and with Clark this reigns true.
4. Nicole Hampton, G, Lubbock Christian
After redshirting last season, Nicole Hampton returned this season as a senior and is having a very solid start to the year. The point guard is averaging 12.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 2.6 steals per game.
She's had game highs of 21 points, 9 rebounds, and an amazing 17 rebounds. As a guard who can box out with the best of them, Hampton would be a valuable asset to any team.
3. Jessica Prieto, G, Texas A&M International
Part one of the top scoring duo in the Heartland Conference, Jessica Prieto is averaging 16.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. She said that the key to her success in assists is her surrounding cast of players who can all score in bunches, and it's likely that forward Keiona Mathews has reaped the rewards of her skillful passes most often (spoiler alert for #1 on the list).
2. Kiara Etheridge, G/F, St. Mary's
So far this season, Kiara Etheridge is close to reaching her goal of averaging a double double, as she sits at 15.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. However, she is also averaging 3.8 turnovers per game – not terrible, but without those she could take her game to the next level.
She remarked that during the offseason she, "worked very hard on improving my guard skills and I want that hard work to translate to team success on the court…I'm not consistent enough yet, but it's coming." Be scared for when it does come.
1. Keiona Mathews, A&M International
Keiona Mathews is the top scorer in the Heartland Conference, and makes up the second half of the lethal duo at A&M International. Before games, Mathews goes into each game knowing she and Jessica can make a huge impact, saying, "my mindset going into each game with Jessica is to 'get the job done' and the best way to do that is when we're in sync with one another, it makes the game so much fun when we're both aggressive, competitive, and looking for each other out on the court. It's hard for our opponents to stop us."
That certainly seems to be the case, as she's averaging 21.2 points, 8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.