The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team was well represented on Tuesday as the Missouri Valley Conference began the unveiling of its postseason awards with the league’s Scholar-Athlete honors.
Senior Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) is part of an elite group of five individuals who comprise The Valley’s Scholar-Athlete First Team, while junior Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) received Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention.
Franklin owns a 3.57 grade point average in elementary education, and has spent this semester serving as a student teacher in a second-grade classroom at Heavilin Elementary School while also competing at a high level for the Crusaders.
Franklin is joined on the Scholar-Athlete First Team by Missouri State’s Liza Fruendt, Southern Illinois’ Kylie Giebelhausen, Drake’s Becca Hittner and Drake’s Sara Rhine.
Franklin finished the regular season third in the MVC in scoring at 15.6 points per game and fourth in rebounding at 7.0 per contest. She was the only player in the conference to finish in the top four in both scoring and rebounding. In last weekend’s regular season finale against Drake, Franklin became the first player in program history with both 1,500 career points and 700 career rebounds.
Franklin was named the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week on Feb. 21, an honor given to one male and one female athlete across all sports in the conference each week.
Hamlet ranks 10th in The Valley in scoring at 12.0 points per game. She was one of six players in the conference to receive scholar-athlete honorable mention. Hamlet owns a 3.50 GPA in public relations. She won the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week award on Dec. 20.
This marks the first time Valpo has had a player on an academic all-league team since Tabitha Gerardot received Horizon League All-Academic Team honors in both 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.
The criteria for the Missouri Valley Conference’s Scholar-Athlete Team voting parallels the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) standards for Academic All-America voting. Nominees must be starters or important reserves with at least a 3.20 cumulative grade-point average (4.0 scale). Student-athletes must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at their institution (true freshmen and redshirt freshmen were not eligible) and must have completed at least one full academic year at their institution. She must have played in 75 percent of her team’s games.
The 2018 All-Missouri Valley Conference teams will be announced on Wednesday, while the specialty awards will be presented and announced at the awards ceremony at the TaxSlayer Center on Thursday. That ceremony will follow Valpo’s opening-round game against Loyola, which will begin at 4 p.m. CT.
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