INDIANOLA, Iowa – Simpson women's basketball player Kate Nielsen earned Player of the Year honors and head coach Brian Niemuth took home Coach of the Year accolades to lead the D3hoops.com 2013 All-West Region team.
Nielsen was also named the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's Most Valuable Player and Niemuth was the league's Coach of the Year for the Storm, who finished the season 27-3 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship.
A senior from Urbandale, Iowa, Nielsen ranked fifth in the nation in scoring, averaging 22.3 points per game. She also brought down 8.8 rebounds per game to lead the Storm to a sixth straight Iowa Conference title and a school-record tying 27 wins.
Nielsen – a first-team Capital One Academic All-American® and finalist for the Jostens Trophy – scored 648 points during the 2012-13 season, the second-highest single-season total in program history. She set Simpson single-season records for rebounds (256), free throws made (176) and 3-point percentage (50.7). Her 83 steals rank third.
Nielsen joins Katelyn Whiton (2007-08) as the only Simpson players to earn West Region Player of the Year honors.
Despite returning only five players with significant varsity experience and being picked to finish second in the conference, Niemuth had one of the best seasons of his 26-year career in 2012-13.
Niemuth led the Storm to a ninth-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, where the Storm advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to Final Four qualifier UW-Whitewater. Simpson reached as high as No. 6 in the USA TODAY Sports Top 25 Coaches Poll, closed the season ranked No. 10 in the D3hoop.com Top 25 and finished No. 1 in the NCAA West Region rankings.
The seven-time IIAC Coach of the Year – who was named Simpson's interim director of athletics in late January – became the 20th coach in Division III women's basketball history to reach the 500-win milestone when Simpson beat Loras 75-62 on Feb. 9.