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Nielsen named 2013 Division III Player of the Year finalist

Nielsen named 2013 Division III Player of the Year finalist

INDIANOLA, Iowa – Simpson women's basketball player Kate Nielsen is a finalist for the 2013 State Farm®/WBCA NCAA Division III Player of the Year award, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced Thursday.

A senior forward from Urbandale, Iowa, Nielsen is one of three finalists for the award, which is presented annually by State Farm and the WBCA to the top player in Division III. Samantha Barber (Sr., UW-Stevens Point) and Carissa Verkaik (Sr., Calvin) join Nielsen as finalists.

The winner will be announced during the third annual WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 8, in New Orleans. This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women's Final Four®.

"The WBCA is pleased to name Kate, Samantha and Carissa as the finalists for the 2013 State Farm/WBCA Division III Player of the Year award," WBCA CEO Beth Bass said. "These players have had an exceptional year and have been role models for the other members on their teams, as well as in their conferences. I wish these young women good luck at the WBCA Awards Show in New Orleans." 

"State Farm is proud of the achievement of these amazing women," said Pam El, marketing vice president for State Farm. "We are happy to support this outstanding program that celebrates their hard work and dedication."

In addition to being named as a finalist for the Player of the Year award, Nielsen also landed a spot on the 10-member 2013 WBCA Division III Coaches' All-America Team. She is only the third player in Simpson history to earn a place on the WBCA All-America Team, joining Laurie Sankey (1983 and 1984) and Katelyn Whiton (2008).

Nielsen is in the running to become the second player in Iowa Conference history to win WBCA Player of the Year honors. Central's Emilie Hanson is the league's only winner to-date, receiving the award in 1995.

Nielsen led the Storm to a school-record tying 27 wins, an Iowa Conference Championship and a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2012-13.  She ranked among the nation's leaders in scoring and rebounding, averaging 22.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. She finished the season with 648 points, the second-highest single season total in school history.

Nielsen has already taken home numerous accolades this season, including: Iowa Conference MVP, Capital One First Team Academic All-American, West Region Player of the Year and Jostens Trophy Finalist.

The State Farm/WBCA Player of the Year is selected by the nine-member WBCA Player of the Year Committee, which consists of one WBCA-member coach from each of the eight WBCA NCAA Division III Regions and the committee chair.

2013 WBCA Division III Coaches' All-America Team
Name Institution Year Pos. Height
Claire Beacher Williams Sr. F 6-3
Samantha Barber* UW-Stevens Point Sr. G 5-9
Sarah Collins Babson Sr. C 6-2
Natosha Gottlieb Louisiana College Sr. F 5-9
Dori Gyori Messiah Sr. F/C 6-2
Cydni Matsuoka Vassar Jr. G 5-4
Kate Nielsen* Simpson Sr. F 5-11
Carissa Verkaik* Calvin Sr. C 6-2
Kristina Williams Lewis & Clark Sr. G 5-9
Jill Worner Catholic Sr. G 5-11

*Player of the Year Finalist

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