Nwagbaraocha Named First-Team All-American, Ylitalo Picks Up Honorable-Mention

Vashti Nwagbaraocha had 23 points on Saturday to lead the Statesmen.

Vashti Nwagbaraocha (file photos)

by Wade Steinlage

Oskaloosa–For the first time in nearly four decades, the William Penn women’s basketball program claimed both a top-team honoree as well as multiple recipients as the NAIA Division I All-America teams were released Thursday.

Vashti Nwagbaraocha (Sr., Milwaukee, Wis., Exercise Science) was named to the 10-person first team, while Kate Ylitalo (Jr., Maple Plain, Minn., Biology) was one of 47 individuals to earn honorable-mention status. The second and third squads both consisted of 10 players each as well.

The award is the second for Nwagbaraocha, while Ylitalo is a first-time winner; they become the 21st and 22nd All-Americans in program history. It is the third time WPU has had multiple All-Americans and the first time since 1981-1982.

Nwagbaraocha, who is the sixth player in school history to collect multiple accolades, averaged 18.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. The senior also notched 58 assists, 57 steals, and 47 blocks, while shooting 59.1% from the field and 82.4% from the line.

The Heart of America Athletic Conference Player of the Year ranked high in NAIA Division I in numerous categories this season, headlined by being third in field-goal percentage. She was also 10th in both offensive rebounds per game (4.1) and total points (609), 13th in points per game, 14th in total rebounds (295), 15th in total blocks, and 16th in blocks per game (1.4).

Nwagbaraocha’s campaign was one of the best in William Penn history. Her 155 made free throws ranked second all-time in a single season, while she was also fifth in both field-goal percentage and free-throw attempts (188). The senior finished seventh in points per game, eighth in total rebounds, ninth in made field goals, and 10th in both total points and free-throw percentage.

Not only was her 2018-2019 year a tremendous one, Nwagbaraocha’s career will go down in the record books as well. She broke the all-time mark for free-throw attempts at 728 and was second in made free throws (488). Nwagbaraocha was also third in total rebounds (1,071), fourth in field-goal attempts (1,304), fifth in both total points (1,774) and total steals (255), sixth in made field goals (636), and eighth in total assists (252), total blocks (92), and points per game (13.9).

Ylitalo experienced great success as well in helping William Penn to a 30-2 record, which included Heart regular-season and tournament titles. She averaged 16.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per outing in addition to 36 assists, 43 steals, and four blocks, while shooting 42.8% from the field, 41.4% from behind the arc, and 72.5% at the stripe.

The junior was one of the most prolific perimeter shooters in the nation this year, ranking sixth in made three-pointers (98), eighth in made three-pointers per game (2.3), 13th in three-point percentage, and 15th in total points (541).

Ylitalo’s 2018-2019 campaign was also one of best all-time at WPU as she ranked second in both made three-pointers and three-point attempts in a single season. Her 41.4% clip also ranked sixth in the Statesmen annals.

Bri King of Montana Western was named NAIA Division I Player of the Year, while her head coach Lindsay Woolley claimed Coach of the Year laurels.

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Posted by on Mar 22 2019. Filed under College Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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