Women’s basketball brings in CCIW championship and accolades

Emily Thompson, Sports Editor

The Illinois Wesleyan women’s basketball team traveled to Decatur, Ill. on Saturday, February 26 for the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Championships and returned home with the title. A 12-point hot streak pushed the Titans past Millikin in the fourth quarter and led to IWU’s 10th championship win. 

“We’re feeling the effects of the season for sure, but the championship made all of our hard work so worth it,” said junior Kelly Carlson. 

By overthrowing Millikin in the CCIW Championship, IWU will move on directly to the NCAA Division III Tournament with a 14-2 CCIW record. 

Prior to their NCAA Tournament bid, the Titans have been no stranger to accolades from the CCIW and beyond.

Senior Brooke Lansford has set the pace for the Titans all season, scoring a cumulative 370 points in 27 games, including 65 successful three-pointers, that averages nearly 14 points per game. Lansford was awarded two CCIW Player of the Week awards this season, as well as being added unanimously to the First Pick All-CCIW 2022 team. 

Lansford was also recognized by D3hoops.com in February as an addition to their Team of the Week. 

D3hoops.com is an award-winning website that follows Division III basketball teams from the beginning of the non-conference season through the upcoming NCAA tournament. Lansford is the first Titan to be recognized on the website since 2021-graduate Kendall Sosa did so last season. 

Also racking up the points this season is first-year Lauren Huber, who followed just behind Lansford with 353 points over 27 games.

On top of out-scoring much of the women’s team her first year on the court, Huber also leads the Titans in field goals and free throws with an average of 5.3 and 2.4 per game, respectively.

Huber followed Lansford onto the First Pick All-CCIW team after out-shooting every other first-year in the league. 

Her three double-doubles this season also caught the attention of the CCIW back in December when she garnered a Player of the Week title. 

First-year Kate Palmer ranked third in points for the Titans with 251 points, including 90 field goals and 51 three-pointers, in 27 games. 

Back in December, Palmer chucked a half-court basket that garnered her No. 10 on the ESPN SportsCenter Top-10 Plays of the Week. 

Senior Kaia Bowen has been no stranger to the spotlight this season, either. Bowen dominated the candy-stripe, averaging the second-highest free throw percentage of 2.3 per game. Bowen also received the CCIW RESPECT Award for the 2022 season. 

According to the CCIW, the RESPECT Award recognizes student-athletes who “have distinguished themselves as an integral member of the team, their institution and community by upholding the values of Responsibility, Enthusiasm, Service, Pride, Excellence, Collaboration and Trust.” Bowen has exemplified Titan sportsmanship on and off the court, leading to her accolades. 

The Illinois Wesleyan women’s basketball team hopes to keep the wins coming in the NCAA Division III Tournament beginning Friday, March 4 in Indianapolis, Ind. against DePauw. Be sure to keep an eye on the NCAA and IWU Athletics websites for ticket information and the tipoff schedule.