Rio’s Skeens named 3rd Team All-American


By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing



KANSAS CITY, Mo. — University of Rio Grande junior Ella Skeens has been selected to the NAIA All-America Third Team by the NAIA All-America Committee.

The committee’s 12-player First, Second and Third teams — along with honorable mention selections — were announced Friday morning by the national office.

Skeens, a 5-foot-11 guard from Chillicothe, Ohio, led Rio Grande to both the River States Conference regular season and tournament championships.

The RedStorm picked up its first-ever national tournament win with an opening round victory over Columbia (Mo.) College before finishing its season with a 32-3 record after a loss to No. 4-ranked Marian (Ind.) University.

Skeens averaged a team-best 18.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, while shooting just under 51 percent overall, just under 43 percent from 3-point range and just under 77 percent at the foul line.

She became just the third player in program history to score 40 or more points in a game, netting a career-best 40 points in a win over Indiana University Southeast on Feb. 1.

Skeens, who scored 30 points or more three other times, was named to the All-RSC First Team, in addition to being named both the RSC Player of the Year and the RSC Newcomer of the Year.

There were four teams which boasted two players on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd teams — Westmont (Calif.), Providence (Mont.), Wayland Baptist (Texas), Central Methodist (Mo.) and Morningside (Iowa). Westmont (Calif.) was the only team to have two first-team players.

Stephanie Soares of The Master’s (Calif.) was named the 2022 NAIA National Player of the Year and Jeff Hans of Thomas More (Ky.) was named the 2022 NAIA National Coach of the Year.

Soares led the nation in blocks with 126 and ranked second nationally in total rebounds after pulling down 415 on the season. She was named the Co-Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Player of the Year.

Hans, in his 11th season, led Thomas More to 32-4 finish and the Saints first NAIA title.

Two other players from the River States Conference — WVU-Tech’s Brittney Justice and Midway’s Dezeree White — made the honorable mention list.

Skeens was also named to the honorable mention NAIA All-American list by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).

The WBCA All-America First Team was comprised of 10 players, including Stephanie Shares of The Master’s University, who was named the WBCA NAIA Player of the Year.

Rocky Mountain College head coach Wes Keller was named the WBCA NAIA National Coach of the Year.

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.