Rio puts trio on All-RSC Women’s Basketball Teams

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — University of Rio Grande senior forward Alexis Payne and sophomore guard Sydney Holden were among those named to the 2017-18 All-River States Conference Women’s Basketball First Team, while junior forward Jasmine Smith earned a Second Team selection.

The all-conference team and individual award winners were announced Tuesday night by league officials.

Payne, a native of Deep Water, W.Va., led the RedStorm to the RSC regular-season championship. She is averaging a team-high 14.5 points per game to go along with 6.1 rebounds per game for No. 22-ranked Rio Grande (27-3, 15-2 RSC).

Holden, a native of Wheelersburg, Ohio, made Rio one of two schools with two players on the first team. She averages 12.0 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the RedStorm.

Indiana University East was the other school with two first-team honorees, with RSC Player of the Year Tia King and junior guard Mackenzie Campbell. King’s award was her second consecutive such honor.

King, a 5-9 senior from Indianapolis, Ind., leads the RSC in scoring and ranks seventh in NAIA Division II at 20.5 ppg. Her 615 total points this year rank fourth in the country.

King’s season also includes 7.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, 43-percent shooting from the field and 70 made 3-pointers.

Campbell ranking third in the conference at 16.8 points per game.

The All-RSC teams were voted on and nominated by the 13 head coaches in the conference and include a 10-player first team and a 10-player second team.

The remainder of the first team included IU Kokomo senior guard Deja Felder; Alice Lloyd College guard Kayla Wilson; Emma Stille (13.9 ppg, 14.8 rpg) from Carlow University; forward Sam Weir (12.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg) from Point Park University; guard Savannah Shamblin (12.1 ppg) from WVU Tech; and guard Annie Thomas (14.5 ppg) from IU Southeast.

The All-RSC Second Team had 10 players from nine different schools, with Point Park earning a league-best two honorees.

Smith, a junior from Canal Winchester, Ohio, reached the list as Rio Grande’s second-leading scorer (13.5 ppg) and its third-leading rebounder (5.6 rpg).

Alice Lloyd College head coach John Mills was picked as the RSC Coach of the Year. The Eagles were picked in the preseason to finish fifth in their division and 10th overall in the conference, but they take a record of 22-4 overall, 15-3 RSC into the playoffs as one of the No. 1 seeds and RSC West Division champions.

Asbury University freshman guard Autumn Herriford was named the RSC Newcomer of the Year. The 5-foot-10 native of Lexington, Ky., who averaged 13.4 points per game overall and 15.1 points per game in conference play, earned a spot on the All-RSC Second Team and was the top vote-getter who was a freshman or transfer this year.

Also named was an RSC Women’s Basketball Champions of Character Team, which has one player chosen from each school who best represents the NAIA Champions of Character core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship.

Sophomore guard Abby Wendel (Portland, IN) was the RedStorm’s representative on the list.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.