CBT's D3 Women's Teams To Watch
Although COVID-19 cancelled the Division III Women’s basketball tournament the last two seasons, we can safely say that in just a few weeks tournament competition will finally recommence.
Thomas More University and Amherst College are always a threat to win it all, as the two schools have combined to take home the last five national championships. But a number of other emerging contenders, including the below three teams, are on the rise as the regular season concludes.
In 2020, four wins away from an undefeated season and national championship when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Hope College returned to prominence in the 2021-22 season. Now, entering February 2022, Hope holds a 17-1 record and is trying to return to the NCAA Tournament with the opportunity for its first championship victory since 2006.
Hope is led by the upperclassmen trio of Olivia Voskuil, Savannah Feenstra and Kenedy Schoonveld, with all three players averaging at least 10 points per game so far this season. Voskuil, Hope’s starting center, has shot 50.6% from the field as the team's leading scorer, while Feenstra is Hope’s top player off the bench, averaging 38.8% from three-point range.
Hope’s one loss this season came to D3Hoops.com No. 4 Trine University. After Hope went to Angola, Indiana and beat Trine on the road, the Trine Thunder came to Hope and secured a win for the season split.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
The Warhawks had a great start to the season, winning their first 11 games. But, a recent slipup at University-Wisconsin-EAU Claire saw them fall in the rankings from No. 6 to No. 9.
UW-Whitewater has been unbelievable offensively, scoring 75 points per game and winning by an average margin of 20 points per game. The team has shot well from three-point range, knocking down 31.2% of its threes; Rebekah Schumacher leads the team shooting at a 32.5% clip from beyond the arc.
Aleah Grundahl has been one of the best players in the nation for the Warhawks, as she has shot 53.7% from the field and 40.7% from three-point range and is averaging 16.9 points per game.
In the 2013-14 season, UW-Whitewater finished third in the NCAA Tournament. In the six tournaments since, the team won just two games. Coach Keri Carollo and the Warhawks will be looking to break through and secure multiple wins this upcoming tournament. They will be a sneaky team to watch out for in early March.
Through their first 18 games of the season, the Simpson College Storm has quietly been one of the best teams in Division III hoops.
Kicking off conference play with nine consecutive wins, the Storm can be incredibly efficient scoring the ball. Overall, Simpson shoots 48.7% from the field and 38.2% from deep. Its impressive 85.5 points per game is fifth best in the country. Outside of a two-point loss on a neutral floor against Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Simpson has dominated Division III opponents throughout the entire season.
Simpson is known for its balanced scoring, as the team has five players who average double digit points: Jenna Taylor, Cassie Nash, Cameron Kincaid, Anna Wanek and Regan Freland. Most impressively, four of the five shoot better than 51% from the field. Taylor, who leads the team with 16.2 points per game, is shooting 57.6% from the field and 45.6% from three.
These three teams could make noise at the end of February when the NCAA Tournament begins. That each of the last two tournaments went unfinished due to COVID-19, will only make them hungrier for a championship.