Fulton, Mo. - Westminster women's basketball finished the 2016-2017 season in second place on the Women Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll.
The Blue Jays compiled a team GPA average of 3.669, just .004 points away from top-ranked Emerson College.
"I am so proud of this team," said former Head Coach Tracey Braden. "They continued the Westminster women's basketball tradition of putting in tremendous work in the classroom as well as on the court. The dedication they had to doing their best academically shows their commitment to being a true Division III student-athlete team."
This year marks the sixth consecutive year that the team has ranked in the top 20, and the second straight year of finishing in second place. During the 2013-14 season, Westminster placed No. 1 on the list.
The participating members of the team GPA are the members who were on the roster at the conclusion of the season, including Payton Beeler (Marshall, Mo.), Danielle Brooks (Martinsburg, Mo.), Mikalyn Callahan (Lebanon, Mo.), Megan Clapp (Potosi, Mo.), Lydia Hale (Martinsburg, Mo.), Savannah Hanning (Salem, Mo.), Juli Hix (Mack's Creek, Mo.), Mirrakohl Johnson (Memphis, Tenn.), Bailey Mitchell (Fulton, Mo.), Ali Perry (Willard, Mo.), Kelsey Ray (Dixon, Mo.), and Andrea Zalis (Rolla, Mo.).
"We all chose to play Division III because we wanted to be true student-athletes," said 2016-2017 captain Bailey Mitchell. "This honor is exciting because it shows our commitment to our studies has really paid off. Academic success is a staple in our program and something we are proud of."
Senior captain for 2016-2017 Andrea Zalis added, "The way our program buys into athletics is such a special thing. Team GPA is a goal we've had for as long as I have been part of the program. Giving up countless Sunday nights to spend in study hall wasn't always easy, but it was one of the many sacrifices that put us in this position. I'm proud and grateful to have been part of a program that values academic success as much as success on the court."
Greenville College, a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) member, placed fourth on the list with a GPA of 3.641. The SLIAC is just one of two conferences to place a pair of teams in the top five of their respective division. The other conference is the Northeast Conference in Division I.
Every year WBCA recognizes the academic top 25 women's basketball teams across the nation in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Divisions I, II and III, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and junior/community colleges.
"The WBCA family is committed to the student-athlete experience and celebrates these teams that have demonstrated excellence in the classroom," said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. "This year's WBCA Academic Top 25 is a powerful list of teams and their head coaches who have winning cultures that prepare their student-athletes for success in life."
Founded in 1981, the WBCA promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls. More information on the WBCA can be found at WBCA.org.
View the full WBCA Honor Roll here.