Ward Named d3hoops.com First-Team All-American

Ward Named d3hoops.com First-Team All-American

YORK, PA - The Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford) post-season award caravan made another stop this weekend as she was named to the d3hoops.com All-American first team as announced by the site at the NCAA Division III Final Four in Hope, Mich.

Ward, who earned WBCA/State Farm First-Team All-American status on Friday morning, became the first women's basketball player to earn All-American honors from two different organizations.

Ward, along with the Spartans had an incredible 2008-09 season. York went 27-3 as they won the Capital Athletic Conference regular season with a perfect 16-0 mark. Ward had an outstanding season as she averaged 16.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 2.8 steals per game. She shot 51.3% from the floor, 39.8% from three, and 83.8% from the charity stripe.

Ward, the Capital Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year, led the conference in scoring, assists, steals, and assist-to-turnover ratio. She also ranked second in three point field goal percentage, third in free throw percentage, fifth in field goal percentage, eighth in rebounding, ninth in three point field goals made and 14th in blocked shots.

Spartan head coach Betsy Witman is excited to see Ward continue to get recognized for her outstanding work.

“It is great to see that others have recognized what we have known for four years, that Keli is one of the top players in the country,” says Witman. “She has been a joy to coach over the last four years and I will always remember the mark she has left on the program.”

With Ward directing the Spartans, the Spartans accumulated a four-year mark of 79-32, good for a winning percentage of 71.2%. Those 79 wins are 18 more than any four-year class in Spartan history.

Earlier last week, Ward was named to the d3hoops.com All-Atlantic region honors. She was a first team member while sophomore April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) earned third-team accolades.

It is the fourth time in her career that Ward was named to the d3hoops.com all-region squad while Sparkman's appearance is the first in her career.

Sparkman was outstanding as a Spartan sophomore this year. She finished the year averaging 15.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 blocked shots per game. She shot 51.6% from the floor, 42.2% from three, and 84.2% from the charity stripe.

Sparkman, who was named to the All-CAC first team earlier in the month, finished first in the CAC in three-point field goal percentage, second in the CAC in scoring and free throw percentage, fourth in field goal percentage, tied for fifth in three-point field goals, seventh in blocked shots and 16th in rebounding.

Witman believes she has something special in Sparkman.

“I though April really stepped up this season,” says Witman. “We lost Kristen Daly to graduation and I thought we would miss her scoring but April elevated her game. She became not only a great offensive player but her defensive abilities were a big key to our success this year.”

While the Spartans lose Ward and five other seniors to graduation, Sparkman headlines a returning group of players that should have the opportunity to step up and provide the Spartans with quality play in 2009-2010.



Keli Ward photo courtesy of Mike Zortman