Full Court mid-major All-Americans: Much more than Delle Donne

April 6, 2013 - 8:52am
Elena Delle Donne lead the Delaware Blue Hens to their first ever Sweet 16 appearance. (Photo courtesy of Delaware athletics)

Elena Delle Donne lead the Delaware Blue Hens to their first ever Sweet 16 appearance. (Photo courtesy of Delaware athletics)

Given the nature of the American sports media, it's easy to think that the only special players are the ones who play at the biggest schools. But special players can be found throughout the Division I ranks -- and not just at Delaware -- so the Fullcourt.com Mid-Major All-American team is our way of recognizing some of the talent that often gets overlooked.

Of course, as is the case with our Player of the Year, every so often there's a star so incandescent she manages to seize the spotlight no matter where she enrols.

Player of the Year

Elena Delle Donne, Delaware, 6-5 senior wing, Wilmington, Del.

It's hard to come up with a superlative that doesn't fit Delle Donne, who transformed Delaware's program into a national power while compiling statistics rarely seen in the women's game. With Delle Donne leading the way, the Blue Hens went 63-6 the past two seasons, won 42 straight games against Colonial Athletic Association foes, captured two CAA tournament titles, generated sellout crowds at the Carpenter Center, collected the first three NCAA Tournament appearances in program history, and finished the 2012-13 season in the Sweet 16. As for Delle Donne, the (soon-to-be) first-team All-American will leave Delaware after amassing 3,039 points, the fifth-most in Division I history.

First team

Niveen Rasheed, Princeton, 6-0 senior guard, Danville, Calif.

The Delle Donne of the Ivy League, Rasheed spearheaded a four-year reign of league dominance by the Tigers, who captured a quartet of conference titles and NCAA Tournament appearances with Rasheed on campus. Rasheed ends her career as a two-time unanimous Ivy League Player of the Year after a senior senior in which she led the conference in scoring (16.9 ppg) and steals (2.6 spg) while also pacing Princeton in rebounding (9.0 rpg) and assists (3.3 apg).

Crystal Bradford, Central Michigan, 6-0 sophomore guard, Detroit, Mich.

Bradford earned first-team All-MAC honors after leading the Chippewas in scoring (16.1 ppg), rebounding (9.9 rpg), steals (2.3 spg) and blocks 1.8 bpg), but she saved her most spectacular play for the postseason. First she collected MAC Tournament MVP accolades for leading the Chippewas on a three-game sprint to the title and an NCAA bid for the first time in 29 years. She then singed Oklahoma for a program tournament record 36 points and added 14 rebounds in CMU's 78-73 loss in the first round.

Kevi Luper, Oral Roberts, 5-10 senior guard, Adair, Okla.

Closed out one of the most prolific careers in Division I history by earning Southland Tournament MVP honors and leading the Golden Eagles to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. Luper finished with 2,867 career points to rank 14th in NCAA Division I history. She also ranks sixth all-time in D-I in career steals with 463.

Ki-Ki Moore, Fresno State, 5-8, junior guard, San Francisco, Calif.

First-team All-Mountain West performer and her league's Defensive Player of the Year (a conference-record 103 steals) who, like Central Michigan's Crystal Bradford, turned it on even more in the postseason. Moore hit the game-winning shot with 2.5 seconds left in an MWC Tournament semifinal win over Wyoming, averaged 20.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in three victories and was named the event's MVP. She then scored a career-high 33 points in a loss to California in the NCAA Tournament.

Chelsea Hopkins, San Diego State, 5-8 senior guard, Las Vegas, Nev.

Do-it-all Duke transfer and Mountain West Conference Player led Division I with four triple-doubles. Also ranked eighth nationally in assists (6.8 apg), a stat highlighed by her MWC tournament-record 14-assist performance in a quarterfinal win over Nevada. Hopkins had dimes on all 12 of the Aztecs' first-half field goals in that game.

Second team 

Keiara Avant, Hampton, 5-11 senior forward, Chesapeake, Va.

MEAC Player of the Year averaged 16.2 points and was one of only six players in Division I to average double-digit rebounds (10.1) despite standing less than six feet tall. Also one of the nation's most improved players: Avant averaged 7.7 points and 7.9 boards as a junior.

Jasmine Newsome, Tennessee-Martin, 5-6 junior guard, Millington, Tenn.

Pint-sized scoring machine (22.9 ppg, fifth in Division I) bagged Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and league tournament MVP honors. Also averaged 3.0 steals a game and is already the program's all-time leader in assists.

Jennifer Hailey, Charlotte, 6-3 senior forward, Marshville, N.C.

A double-double specialist (15.4 ppg, 11.5 rpg) and the best player in the deepest non-BCS conference, Hailey earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors while becoming just the fourth player in program history to finish with more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

Devon Brown, Liberty, 5-10 senior wing, Waynesboro, Va. 

The four-time first-team All-Big South performer and league tournament MVP saved her best efforts for the Lady Flames' toughest foes -- 23 points against Texas A&M; 20 against Baylor and 21 versus Big Ten Tournament champion Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Ebony Rowe, Middle Tennessee State, 6-1 junior forward, Lexington, Kent.

Averaged 19.9 points and 11.1 rebounds while becoming the first player in the storied history of the Blue Raiders to amass 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. 

Third team

Keena Mays, SMU, 5-7 junior guard, Arlington, Texas

Kansas transfer earned Conference USA Player and Newcomer of the Year honors after averaging 18.5 points and leading the Mustangs to the league's regular season title and a spot in the WNIT.

Rachel Tecca, Akron, 6-4 senior forward, Tallmadge, Ohio

MAC Player of the Year -- the first Akron player ever to earn league POY honors -- despite playing two-thirds of the season with a broken nose. Is also a second-team Academic All-American.

Jerica Coley, Florida International, 5-8 junior guard, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year scored a program-record 840 points and has 12 games of at least 30 points en route to a Division I-leading 26.3 points per game average.

Chatilla van Grinsven, St. Joseph's, 6-3 senior forward, Helmond, Netherlands

Colorado State transfer made the most of her lone season on Hawk Hill as she led St. Joe's in scoring and rebounding while becoming the program's first All-Atlantic 10 first teamer since 2001-02.

Sam McKay, Dayton, 5-8 senior guard, Dublin, Ohio

It's hard to pick one player from arguably the nation's most balanced team, but it's hard to imagine the potent Flyers' attack operating nearly as efficiently without Mackay, an occasionally error-prone reserve her first three seasons who blossomed into one of the nation's most reliable floor generals in 2012-13.

Honorable Mention

Sophia Aleksandrivicius, Davidson,6-4 senior forward, Pound Ridge, N.Y.

Chantell Alford, Boston University, 5-8 senior guard, West Haven, Conn.

Katie Baker, Montana, 6-0 senior forward, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Alyssa Bennett, Hampton, 6-2 junior wing, Hampton, Va.

Brandi Brown, Youngstown State, 5-11 senior forward, Pomona, Calif.

Shareta Brown, Detroit, 6-1 sophomore forward, Pontiac, Mich.

Heather Butler, UT-Martin, 5-5 junior guard, Medina, Tenn.

Courtney Clements, San Diego State, 6-0 senior guard, Long Beach, Calif.

Saadia Doyle, Howard, 5-10 senior wing, Atlanta, Ga.

Chastity Gooch, Western Kentucky, 6-0 sophomore forward, Franklin, Kent.

Sarah Hansen, Florida Gulf Coast, 5-10 junior guard, McKean, Pa.

Megan Hebert, Central Arkansas, 5-11 senior forward, Rogers, Ark.

Ebone Henry, Albany, 5-10 senior wing, San Diego, Calif.

Tarik Hislop, James Madison, 5-7 senior guard, Silver Spring, Md.

Andrea Hoover, Dayton, 5-9 sophomore guard, Bellbrook, Ohio

Amanda Hyde, IPFW, 5-10 junior wing, Findlay, Ohio

Kortni Jones, MTSU, 5-9 senior guard, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Taelor Karr, Gonzaga, 5-8 senior guard, Paola, Kan.

Jessica Kuster, Rice, 6-2 junior forward, San Antonio, Texas

Kalis Loyd, Lamar, 6-2 senior guard, Malmoe, Sweden

Britni Martin, Sam Houston State, 6-0 senior forward, Conroe, Texas

Damika Martinez, Iona, 5-7 sophomore guard, Meriden, Conn.

Dequesha McClanahan, Winthrop, 5-8 junior guard, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Victoria McGowan, Stetson, 5-4 senior guard, Inkster, Mich

Hollie Mershon, Drexel, 5-10 senior guard, Malvern, Pa.

Kelsey Minato, Army, 5-8 freshman guard, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Mo Moran, Boston University, 5-7 senior guard, Hopewell Junction, N.Y.

Cheyenne Parker, High Point, 6-4 junior center, Queens, N.Y.

Lauren Polansky, Princeton, 5-8 senior guard, Mill Valley, Calif.

Adrian Ritchie, Green Bay, 5-11 senior guard, De Pere, Wisc.

Molly Schlemer, Cal Poly,6-5 junior center, Santa Maria, Calif.

D’shara Strange, Northern Colorado, 5-10 junior guard, Fountain, Colo.

Kacie Sowell, Seattle, 6-2 junior forward, Ventura, Calif.

Latia Williams, Prairie View A&M, 5-10 senior forward, Riverdale, Ga.