March is always right around the corner once the basketball season is under way. Take a look at area players (Lake Country/Now Newspapers coverage area) competing at the NCAA Division 1 level. Missing anyone? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Feb. 7 (Photo: Jeffrey Becker, USA TODAY Sports) Men's basketball Brady Ellingson, jr., Iowa (Sussex Hamilton). Playing time has been up for Ellingson, logging 24 or 25 minutes each of the past three games (all wins) after not hitting that mark once earlier in the year. Wochit
March is always right around the corner once the basketball season is under way. Take a look at area players (Lake Country/Now Newspapers coverage area) competing at the NCAA Division 1 level. Missing anyone? Email email@example.com.
With the Ides of March drawing near, expect more regular updates regarding the Sconnies of March.
In a game that most of the nation will remember for this incredible shot (in the wrong basket), Paul Miller, jr., North Dakota State (Kettle Moraine) reached 1,000 career points as North Dakota State topped Denver on Feb. 11, 81-63. He scored 13 points in a followup win over South Dakota State, but he wasn’t as productive in a key loss Feb. 15 against IPFW, where he scored 6 points on 2 of 11 shooting, and NDSU fell into a first-place tie with South Dakota atop the Summit League standings. Still, the 1,000-point mark is a huge milestone for the junior who leads the team with 15.4 points per game.
Brady Ellingson, jr., Iowa (Sussex Hamilton). Ellingson played a season-best 26 minutes in a double overtime loss against Minnesota on Feb. 8, finishing with 5 points, four rebounds and two assists. The Hawkeyes are not seen as an NCAA Tournament team at this point.
Duane Wilson, jr., Marquette (Dominican) played well, scoring 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting off the bench, but the Golden Eagles were saddled with a huge 80-62 loss against Georgetown on Feb. 11 that puts Marquette squarely on the bubble. “He should probably be starting for us right now,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said of Wilson, who played 23 minutes in the loss. Luke Fischer, sr, Marquette (Germantown) also had 10 points and five boards in the setback. Marquette’s battle with Xavier on Feb. 18 would be a chance to restore some faith from the perspective of the NCAA Tournament committee. He also had a huge game against Butler in another close loss Feb. 7, reeling in 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Zak Showalter, sr., Wisconsin (Germantown) had a typical day at the office against Nebraska in an overtime win Feb. 9 with 15 points, six rebounds, two steals and an assist. He had 10 points in the follow up against Northwestern on Feb. 12, the second loss in Big Ten play that has Wisconsin’s lead atop the standings whittled down to one game.
Tray Palmer, sr., Chicago State (Brown Deer). Palmer scored 23 points on Feb. 9 against Seattle and 15 against Utah Valley on Feb. 11, retrieving nine rebounds in both contests. Chicago State, however, has lost six straight games. He’s still flirting with a double-double average with 15.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
Reed Timmer, jr., Drake (New Berlin Eisenhower). Drake also lost both its recent games, but Timmer had 15 points against Indiana State on Feb. 11 and 20 against Evansville on Feb. 14. For the year, the guard is averaging 15.7 ppg, best on the team.
Jarvis Garrett, jr., Rhode Island (West Allis Central). Beleagured by injury and illness all year, Garrett missed eight straight games before returning to the court Feb. 15 against Fordham, where he played 17 minutes and scored 5 points.
Allazia Blockton, soph., Marquette (Dominican). In just her 56th career game, she became the youngest player in Marquette history to reach 1,000 career points when she scored 22 on Feb. 12 against Xavier, part of an 86-71 victory. She now has 1,015 for her career and became the 25th player in program history to reach the mark. She leads the Big East at 17.5 points per game and averaged 18 points per game in two games last week, including a win over Butler. Marquette is third in the Big East.
Renee Bennett, sr., Ball State (Muskego). Bennett hasn’t slowed down in the least, but despite 27 points, 12 rebounds two blocks and two assists on Feb. 11, Ball State couldn’t knock off MAC East leader Ohio and now stands one game back of Central Michigan and Northern Illinois in the West Division. Bennett added 20 points and 15 rebounds in a win over Bowling Green on Feb. 18, and she’s averaging 17.4 and 8.2 per game. Ball State will see Northern on Feb. 18 and Central on Feb. 25.
Kelly Smith, jr., Northern Illinois (Arrowhead). On the other side of that rivalry with Ball State is Smith, who’s playing more minutes (33 the last two games) than she has at any point this year. She posted a workmanlike line of 8 points and 12 rebounds against Miami on Feb. 15, part of her team’s 63-61 win. The Huskies have won 6 of 7.
Mehryn Kraker, sr., UW-Green Bay (West Allis Central). After stunning back-to-back losses for UWGB, the Phoenix were back on the winning track and moved to 20-4 overall. Kraker scored19 points on a 7 of 10 shooting night in a Feb. 9 win over Cleveland State, and she added 12 points against Youngstown State. Lexi Weitzer, sr., UW-Green Bay (Waukesha South) hit double figures in the latter game, with 10 points and five boards in just 19 minutes.
Steph Kostowicz, jr., UW-Milwaukee (Oak Creek). She was limited to 8 points but hauled in 11 rebounds in a close win over Cleveland State on Feb. 11 as the Panthers won a second straight game. She had 22 pointes Feb. 9 against Youngstown State and still leads the team with 15.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
Bre Cera, fr., Iowa (Mukwonago). Bre Cera is back. After a long stretch averaging single-digit minutes, Cera was back in the starting lineup the last two games. She scored 8 points in 22 minutes as part of a thrilling overtime win over Michigan State, and she played 29 minutes with three assists and five rebounds against Ohio State on Feb. 12.
Taylor Higginbotham, soph., Western Illinois (Germantown). Winners of six straight, Western Illinois is tied atop the Summit League with a 10-3 league record, and Higginbotham is third on the team in scoring (14.4 points per game) with 5.5 rebounds per contest. This is a team loaded with Wisconsin talent, including Morgan Blumer of Milton, Olivia Braun of Racine St. Catherine’s and Michelle Farrow, jr., Western Illinois (Waukesha West), who averages 5.9 points per game.
Brady Ellingson, jr., Iowa (Sussex Hamilton). Playing time has been up for Ellingson, logging 24 or 25 minutes each of the past three games (all wins) after not hitting that mark once earlier in the year. He scored 17 thanks to 5 of 7 shooting from 3-point range against Ohio State on Jan. 27 to accompany a season-best four rebounds, and he had 11 against Nebraska on Feb. 5 with a season-high five assists. The Hawkeyes are 14-10 overall and 6-5 in the Big Ten.
Marquette wasn’t able to capitalize in the immediate aftermath of downing the No. 1 team in the country, Villanova, on Jan. 24, with losses to Providence and St. John’s. The Golden Eagles did bounce back Feb. 4 with a necessary win over DePaul, where Luke Fischer, sr, Marquette (Germantown) had 13 points and eight rebounds, and he also had a double-double in the close loss to Providence with 13 points and 10 boards, not to mention three assists and two blocks.
Paul Miller, jr., North Dakota State (Kettle Moraine). The Bison’s junior leader has had back to back 20-point performances and is back to averaging 16 points per game, his highest scoring average since Nov. 20. The bad news? North Dakota State lost both of those games, including an 86-81 setback against IUPUI in overtime, and though NDSU still leads the Summit League with a 7-3 record, there are many suitors chomping at its heels, including two teams a half-game back. A Feb. 11 battle at home against Denver will be big.
Joe Sherburne, soph., Maryland-Baltimore County (Whitefish Bay). Sherburne has fallen out of the running for top 3-point shooter in the nation with his makes drifting below the cutoff, but he has hit double figures in scoring the past three games, and his team has won all three. Now 16-7 overall and 7-3 in conference, UMBC is third in the America East, though Stony Brook (9-2) and Vermont (11-0) will be daunting challenges. Check out ESPN3 on Sunday, Feb. 12, to see UMBC battle Vermont in a noon contest.
Riley LaChance, jr., Vanderbilt (Brookfield Central). Vanderbilt remains an enigma. After a win over Iowa State – a team that went on to knock off national powerhouse Kansas – and a follow-up win over Texas A&M, the Commodores lost at home to Ole Miss. Vandy also has a win over Florida, which recently defeated Kentucky, in the recent past. LaChance has averaged 9.9 points per game and still hits his 3-pointers at a delightful .494 clip, with an .841 mark at the free-throw line. He also leads the team with 4.2 assists per game.
Zak Showalter, sr., Wisconsin (Germantown). Showalter is still the floor-burn leader of the Badgers, even if his average is down to 7.7 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. He continues to start each contest for a team that is creeping closer to consensus top-five status in the national rankings. He’s second on the team with 34 steals also averages 2.0 assists per game.
Darrell Bowie, sr., Iowa State (Wauwatosa East). Bowie did not play in his team’s win over Kansas because of “failure to meet program expectations” and was scheduled to be back Feb. 7 against Texas. He’s averaging 6.5 points per game this season and has seen his minutes decline dramatically, with zero points in the past three games he’s played.
Reed Timmer, jr., Drake (New Berlin Eisenhower). Timmer’s string of 14 straight games in double-figures scoring ended Feb. 1 when he dropped 7 against Wichita State, but he still leads the team at 16.0 points per game. The Bulldogs are 7-17 overall and 5-7 in conference, which as mentioned last week, is a huge improvement from last year.
Jaylen Key, soph., Northern Illinois (Homestead). The Huskies are still tied for first place in the MAC at 6-4 with Ball State – the two teams are scheduled to meet Feb. 14. Steady as always, Key is a regular starter with 8.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Tray Palmer, sr., Chicago State (Brown Deer). Palmer’s scoring average took a slight dip recently with some shooting struggles, down from 15.2 points per game to 14.8, but his rebounding average is at a season-high 9.7 per contest. He played 60 minutes (!) in a double-overtime loss to Grand Canyon on Jan. 28. The Cougars are 6-19 overall.
Juwan McCloud, fr., Northern Iowa (Germantown). McCloud delivered back-to-back games of double-figures scoring and continues to start ever game as a true freshman for the Panthers, who are 11-12 overall and 6-6 in the Missouri Valley.
Renee Bennett, sr., Ball State (Muskego). Ball State lost a close call to Northern Illinois on Jan. 28, 101-96, and for now the squad is a half-game back of NIU in the West Division standings of the MAC. But Ball State bounced back with two wins, and Bennett remains unstoppable, averaging 16.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. She scored 24 with 11 rebounds Jan. 25 against Buffalo.
Allazia Blockton, soph., Marquette (Dominican). Marquette has lost three of four games and sits tied for third in the conference at 8-5 in Big East play. Blockton remains the team leader in points (17.4) to accompany 5.9 rebounds per game.
Mehryn Kraker, sr., UW-Green Bay (West Allis Central). Green Bay took its first Horizon loss of the year, falling to Oakland on Feb. 2 in a 74-71 outcome, then stunningly lost again to Detroit on Feb. 4, 76-72. Kraker did the best she could in the latter, scoring 35 points on 14 of 23 shooting (6 of 10 from three), with three assists and three steals. Against Oakland, she racked up 24 points, five boards and five assists. The Horizon League Player of the Year averages 19.1 points per game (but a league-leading 20.9 per game in conference play) and leads the team with 83 assists. Green Bay, at 10-2, is suddenly a game back of Wright State in the loss column in the Horizon standings.
Steph Kostowicz, jr., UW-Milwaukee (Oak Creek). After a scoring lull in mid-January, Kostowicz is back, reaching double figures in each of her last four games and now sitting at 15.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest. She had 22 and 12 against Youngstown State on 7 of 11 shooting on Jan. 28, but the Panthers have dropped thei last two games against Detroit and Oakland.
Taylor Higginbotham, soph., Western Illinois (Germantown). Now a consistent force in the Leathernecks starting lineup, she has scored double figures in eight of nine games and has upped her average to 15.0 points per game. Her team is 18-6 overall and 8-3 in the Summit League, tied for second and just a game out of first place.
Kelly Smith, jr., Northern Illinois (Arrowhead). Smith scored 9 points in her team’s key win over Ball State and still averages 10.0 points per game and 5.3 rebounds for the first-place Huskies. She scored 12 on 5 of 6 shooting against Kent State, and her team has won 10 of 11 contests heading into a meeting with Central Michigan on Feb. 8.
Chelsea Brackmann, fr., Bradley (New Berlin Eisenhower). She doesn’t often reach double figures in scoring, but she’s brought in seven rebounds or more in five straight games, including a 13-board performance off the bench against Evansville on Jan. 29. She’s worked her way into a mostly-regular starter’s role, and her team has won three straight games to improve to 9-13 overall.
It’s been an up and down few weeks for Duane Wilson, jr., Marquette (Dominican), but he played huge minutes in Marquette’s stunning 74-72 win over No. 1-ranked Villanova at the Bradley Center on Jan. 24, a win that may just be the greatest regular-season win in program history. Wilson scored 11 points off the bench, including a late 3-pointer and two free throws that helped the Golden Eagles overcome a 15-point deficit midway through the second half. Another key component was Luke Fischer, sr, Marquette (Germantown), who has been revitalized after a rough stretch of games. Fischer scored 15 points and collected four rebounds, including the final one that clinched the victory in the closing seconds. With back-to-back wins against top-10 teams, including downing Creighton on the road three days earlier, Marquette now looks like an NCAA Tournament team.
Paul Miller, jr., North Dakota State (Kettle Moraine). Miller was named Summit League Player of the Week for the second time this year, and the Bison opened up a two-game lead in the standings heading into a battle against Oral Roberts on Wednesday. Miller averages 16.0 points per game and 5.0 rebounds for a team that was picked to finish third in the league but is looking like a strong candidate to win the conference title.
Joe Sherburne, soph., Maryland-Baltimore County (Whitefish Bay). Sherburne is still second in the nation in 3-point shooting (52.7 percent), though his scoring has scaled back in recent weeks. He scored 18 or more points in five straight games but hasn’t scored more than 14 in the seven games since and hit double figures in five of those outings. UMBC has also fallen into a tie for third in the America East standings.
Riley LaChance, jr., Vanderbilt (Brookfield Central). Vandy lost a heartbreaker against Arkansas on Jan. 24, when the Razorbacks went on a 7-0 run to close the game and won, 71-70. LaChance led the Commodores with 16 points and six assists in the setback. Vandy is 3-5 in SEC play and 9-11 overall. LaChance also had 19 points in a close 87-81 loss to powerful Kentucky on Jan. 10. He averages 10.6 points per game and shoots 53.8 percent from 3 (he doesn’t have enough makes to qualify for national leaderboard, shooting 43 of 80).
Zak Showalter, sr., Wisconsin (Germantown). Steady as always, Showalter averages 8.0 points and 2.5 rebounds as a regular starter for the Badgers, who won consecutive close calls against Michigan and Minnesota before disposing of Penn State on Jan. 24. That leaves Bucky at 6-1 in league play, tied with Maryland for top honors. Those two teams won’t meet until Feb. 19.
Bryce Nze, fr., UW-Milwaukee (Arrowhead). The Freshman of the Week in the Horizon League has caught fire for the Panthers, including 22 points on 10 of 12 shooting in a loss to UIC and 13 points in a buzzer-beating win over Cleveland State. He averages 7.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game
Darrell Bowie, sr., Iowa State (Wauwatosa East). Bowie was still a regular starter for the Cyclones prior to a Jan. 24 battle against Kansas State, when he was held to 4 minutes and zero points. He has scored just 1 combined point in his last three games and is down to 7.0 points per game (and 4.9 rebounds). Iowa State is unranked but tied for third in the Big 12 at 5-3, right there with a West Virginia team that upset Kansas on Jan. 24. ISU picked up a huge win over Kansas State on Jan. 24. West Virginia and Iowa State meet Jan. 31. Bowie made some waves in December when he said Drake (a team ISU defeated, 97-80) didn’t deserve to be on the same court as the Cyclones. Speaking of Drake…
Reed Timmer, jr., Drake (New Berlin Eisenhower). Timmer scored 27 points and hit the big layup with 16 seconds left in overtime to give his Bulldogs a 72-71 win at Missouri State on Tuesday – the first true road win for the Drake program in two years. Timmer also played a role in an 88-84 win over SIU on Jan. 18, scoring 20 points with five boards. At 7-14 overall and 5-4 in the Missouri Valley, Drake still has a long way to go, but it’s miles ahead of where it was last year, when it finished 7-24 and 2-16 in MVC.
Jaylen Key, soph., Northern Illinois (Homestead). Key has reached double figures in six straight games, now up to 9.3 points per game, and also brings in 5.2 rebounds per game for the Huskies, who find themselves in a four-way tie for first place in the West Division at 4-3.
Tray Palmer, sr., Chicago State (Brown Deer). One of the scoring leaders in the WAC at 15.2 points per game, Palmer also brings in 9.6 rebounds per game after seven consecutive games of double-figure boards. He dropped 27 in a Jan. 18 win over Roosevelt. He’s second in the conference in rebounding, though CSU sits last in the standings at 1-4 (6-16 overall).
Renee Bennett, sr., Ball State (Muskego). Bennett scored another 22 points with 12 rebounds, scoring her 1,000th career point in the process, and Ball State handled Bowling Green on Jan. 21, 75-53. The basket that got her the 1,000-point plateau came with 36 seconds left, and she finished with her fifth double-double of the season. She scored 19 in a win over Eastern Michigan and averages 16.6 for the year to go with her 7.8 rebounds per game. She’s one of the best players in the MAC, helping her team to 13-6 overall and 6-1 in West Division play (tied with Northern Illinois and Central Michigan for first place). Ball State meets Northern Illinois on Jan. 28.
Allazia Blockton, soph., Marquette (Dominican). After a 70-64 loss to St. John’s on Jan. 7, Marquette has won four straight games, including a thrilling 102-101 win over DePaul on Jan. 21. Blockton scored 24 points in the win with four rebounds and four steals, but nothing was bigger than her jumper as time expired in regulation to tie the game at 81 and force overtime. For the year, Blockton brings in 17.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Mehryn Kraker, sr., UW-Green Bay (West Allis Central). The Horizon League Player of the Year candidate just keeps doing what she does, and she hasn’t even been needed in recent lopsided wins. She posted 11 points, six rebounds and four assists in a dominant win over UW-Milwaukee on Jan. 21, helping the Phoenix to 8-0 in the Horizon League and 17-2 overall. She only scored 7 points against Valparaiso, another easy victory, though she shot 12 of 15 from the field for 29 points in a win over Oakland on Jan. 13.
Steph Kostowicz, jr., UW-Milwaukee (Oak Creek). It wasn’t going to be easy for Kostowicz to maintain her near double-double volume of production, and she’s hit a rough patch lately. Kotowicz was limited to three points and three rebounds with four turnovers in a setback against UW-Green Bay on Jan. 21, though Jordyn Swan, sr., UW-Milwaukee (Pewaukee) came off the bench to score 10 points on 4 of 7 shooting in just 9 minutes. Kostowicz scored 29 points with eight rebounds against Valparaiso on Jan. 7 but has since scored 28 points in the next four games, and her rebound average has dipped from 8.9 to 7.8. She still scores 15.5 points per game and is one of the most important players in the league.
Taylor Higginbotham, soph., Western Illinois (Germantown). After a career-best 28 points on Jan. 5, Higginbotham has scored 20 points in a game twice more, most recently with another 28-point showing in a battle with North Dakota State on Jan. 14. She averages 14.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, though her team’s four-game winning streak was snapped Jan. 21 against South Dakota State. At 15-5 overeall and 5-2 in the conference, Western sits in third in the Summit League standings.
Mackenzie Latt, jr., Davidson (Sussex Hamilton). She continues to be a beast statistically with 16.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. She scored 1,000 points for her career earlier this season, but Davidson continues to struggle as a team, sporting a 3-16 overall record and 1-6 mark in the Atlantic 10.
Katie Salmon, jr., Loyola of Chicago (Wauwatosa East). Loyola is also struggling at 2-16 overall and 1-6 in conference. Salmon does lead the team in scoring at 9.1 points per game and also brings in a team-best 6.4 rebounds.
Taylor Gradinjan, jr., Florida Gulf Coast (Cudahy). On the other side of the coin, Florida Gulf Coast is 5-0 in the Atlantic Sun and 16-6 overall, with Gradinjan scoring 8.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Jessica Cattani, jr., Florida Gulf Coast (Muskego) frequently comes off the bench and brings in 7.2 points per game.
Kelly Smith, jr., Northern Illinois (Arrowhead) is a regular starter and brings in 10.0 points per game for a team tied for first in the West Division at 6-1 with Ball State and Central Michigan. Ball State, a squad with Renee Bennett, sr., Ball State (Muskego) and Morgan Glatczak, fr., Ball State (Mukwonago) on the roster, will host NIU on Jan. 28.
Chelsea Brackmann, fr., Bradley (New Berlin Eisenhower). Now a regular in the starting lineup, Brackmann averages 9.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Bradley just snapped a three-game losing streak in a tense 75-73 win over Missouri State on Jan. 22.
Joe Sherburne, soph., Maryland-Baltimore County (Whitefish Bay). He officially leads the nation in 3-point percentage with qualified metrics, shooting 55.1 percent from distance. The 6-6 sophomore, a member of the America East All-Rookie Team last year, is second on the team at 14.1 points per game and has made 43 of 78 takes from beyond the arc. At 11-4 overall and 2-0 in conference, UMBC is a team to keep an eye on as we move toward March, even though it was picked to finish sixth in the league’s preseason poll.
Riley LaChance, jr., Vanderbilt (Brookfield Central). It should be noted that LaChance actually shoots better from 3-point range but doesn’t have enough makes to qualify for the NCAA leaderboard. He’s made 32 of 55 for 58 percent and has started all 15 games for the Commodores, but a 3-point loss to Alabama on Jan. 7 interrupted the team’s 2-0 start in SEC play.
Paul Miller, jr., North Dakota State (Kettle Moraine). After getting shut out of the scoring column in 21 minutes against North Dakota on Dec. 7, Miller has hit double figures in six straight games and leads the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game. The Bison are 3-0 in Summit League play heading into a big clash Jan. 11 against South Dakota, which stands at 3-1 while NDSU is the only undefeated team left in league play. Miller is shooting 44 percent from the field and has hit 19 of 39 (49 percent) in league play. He had a double-double (21 and 10) in a win over reigning league champion South Dakota State on Dec. 28, a game in which NDSU trailed by 16 with 15 minutes left to play. For his role, Miller was named Summit League Player of the Week. He had eight rebounds, 16 points and four assists in the second half alone against SDSU.
Zak Showalter, sr., Wisconsin (Germantown). After a career-high 18 points against Rutgers, Showalter added another 14 in a big win over Indiana on the road Jan. 3, including a crucial 3-pointer in a late-game run that put a close game away. He averages 8.4 points per game for the Badgers, who fell to 13-3 with a loss to Purdue on Jan. 8 but still find themselves ranked in the nation.
Darrell Bowie, sr., Iowa State (Wauwatosa East). Bowie has started the last five games for the Cyclones, during which ISU has gone 4-1, with the lone loss an impressive 65-63 near-miss on the road against Baylor, which was ranked No 1 at the time but is now the No. 1 team in the country. Bowie played 26 minutes in that game, with 5 points and five rebounds, and he’s one of three Wisconsin players in the starting lineup (Deonte Burton of Milwaukee, Matt Thomas of Onalaska). Bowie averages 7.9 points and 5.9 boards per contest.
Tray Palmer, sr., Chicago State (Brown Deer).After scoring 19 against New Mexico State on Jan. 7, Palmer’s streak of games in double figures has reached 12, and he’s had double-figure rebounds each of the last three games (and eight double-doubles overall this season). However, Chicago State is 4-14 overall and 0-2 in the Western Athletic Conference.
Jaylen Key, soph., Northern Illinois (Homestead). With 16 points and 6 of 12 shooting, Key helped the Huskies take down Central Michigan on Jan. 7, 87-83, moving to 9-6 overall and 1-1 in MAC play. Key has started every game this season and averages 8.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest.
Reed Timmer, jr., Drake (New Berlin Eisenhower). A season-best 28 points on Jan. 8 helped Drake take down Evansville and move to 2-2 in Missouri Valley Conference play. That matches the number of league wins Drake had last year, when it went 2-16. Timmer’s 16.6 points per game easily lead the team.
Mehryn Kraker, sr., UW-Green Bay (West Allis Central). At 13-2 and 4-0, UW-Green Bay is once again the cream of the crop in the Horizon League, and Kraker is putting up numbers that could merit a league Player of the Year honor. She leads the team with 18.8 points per game, with a 58 percent field-goal percentage and an 86-percent mark at the free throw line. She also leads the team with 26 steals and is second in assists.
Steph Kostowicz, jr., UW-Milwaukee (Oak Creek). Averaging 17.7 points per game and 8.9 rebounds, Kostowicz continues to lead the way for a Panthers team that is 11-4 overall and 3-1 in Horizon League play. The Panthers have won three straight after a blip in the league opener against Wright State, a 69-51 loss.
Allazia Blockton, soph., Marquette (Dominican). At 17.3 points per game, she leads a Marquette team that is 12-4 and 3-2 in conference, and she's led the team in scoring four of the last five times out. She's been named to the Big East Honor Roll twice so far this season.
Katie Salmon, jr., Loyola of Chicago (Wauwatosa East). She leads her team at 9.3 points per game, but the Ramblers have struggled to 2-13 overall this year. She’s also tops on the team with 6.6 rebounds.
Taylor Gradinjan, jr., Florida Gulf Coast (Cudahy) and Jessica Cattani, jr., Florida Gulf Coast (Muskego). Florida Gulf Coast sits at 12-6 overall and 1-0 in league play. Gradinjan is second on the team at 9.2 points per game, and she leads the squad with 30 steals, not to mention 3.5 rebounds per game. Cattani is fourth on the team at 7.8 points per contest.
Renee Bennett, sr., Ball State (Muskego). Bennett recorded her fourth double-double of the year Jan. 7 against Western Michigan and now averages 15.9 points and 8.0 boards per game, part of a massive breakout season that has helped Ball State start the year 10-5 and 3-0 in the MAC, tied with Northern Illinois for best record in the league. Ball State has a battle looming Jan. 11 against preseason division favorite Central Michigan.
Kelly Smith, jr., Northern Illinois (Arrowhead). Northern Illinois is 3-0 in MAC play and has won four straight overall, with Smith in the starting lineup and averaging 11.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. The Huskies are 10-4 overall. Northern Illinois was picked to finish fifth in the MAC West preseason poll, and Ball State was picked to finish tied for second.
Lydia Rohde, jr., Northwestern (Brookfield Central). Rohde has started every game for the Wildcats (13-4), scoring 6.0 points per game and shooting 45 percent from the field.
Chelsea Brackmann, fr., Bradley (New Berlin Eisenhower). Brackmann set a number of career highs against Indiana State on Jan. 6, including points (23) and rebounds (19), but Bradley lost the contest and now sits at 5-9 overall and 1-2 in the Missouri Valley. Brackmann averages 9.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest, with back-to-back double-digit efforts in the latter category.
Taylor Higginbotham, soph., Western Illinois (Germantown). She exploded for a career-high 28 points against Denver on Jan. 5 and followed that up with a 20-point performance against Oral Roberts in a game where she played a season-high 38 minutes. At 14.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, she’s become a key part of the Leathernecks lineup, third on the team in scoring, second in assists and second in rebounds.
Mackenzie Latt, jr., Davidson (Sussex Hamilton). She leads the team with 15.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, but Davidson has struggled to 2-13 thus far.
Riley LaChance, jr., Vanderbilt (Brookfield Central). He's made 24 of 36 shots from 3-point range, a crazy percentage of .667 that would rank No. 1 in the country, but he's just shy of the standard of minimum 2.5 makes per game (Vandy has played 11 games). LaChance was officially the leader in 3-point percentage in the nation two weeks ago, and he could return to that standing depending on how many made threes he compiles. Vandy is 6-5 overall.
Joe Sherburne, soph., Maryland-Baltimore County (Whitefish Bay). Meanwhile, Sherburne is on the list of the nation's best 3-point shooters, ranking fifth. He's made 32 of 59 for 54.2 percent. He recently played 45 minutes in a 120-111 double-overtime marathon win over Citadel, scoring 18 points, snapping a two-game losing streak for the 8-3 Retrievers. At 14.9 points per game, he is second on the team in scoring.
Darrell Bowie, sr., Iowa State (Wauwatosa East). Iowa State is 8-3, and Bowie is fifth on the team in scoring at just more than 8 points per game, but he has also started his first two games of the year in the past two outings.
Tray Palmer, sr., Chicago State (Brown Deer). After seven straight games reaching double figures, Palmer is up to 14.5 points per game, good for second on the team. The team is 4-9 overall.
Luke Fischer, sr, Marquette (Germantown). Fischer most recently scored 15 points in a win over SIU-Edwardsville, and he continues to lead the Golden Eagles in scoring at 13.5 points per game. Duane Wilson, jr., Marquette (Dominican) had 11 points in the most recent game off the bench.
Zak Showalter, sr., Wisconsin (Germantown). He scored a season-best 16 points in Wisconsin's most recent win, a victory over UW-Green Bay. The Badgers remain one of the favorites in the Big Ten as we head toward conference play.
Reed Timmer, jr., Drake (New Berlin Eisenhower). Drake has struggled at 2-10, but Timmer again leads the squad in scoring at 15.6 points.
Bryce Nze, fr., UW-Milwaukee (Arrowhead). The freshman scored 5.8 points per game and has worked his way into the starting lineup for the Panthers the past two contests.
Paul Miller, jr., North Dakota State (Kettle Moraine). Miller still leads the team in scoring (12.9 ppg) but his scoring load has fallen off in recent games for the Bison. Still, the team stands at 8-5 with league play kicking into gear on Dec. 28 in a big battle with South Dakota State.
Steph Kostowicz, jr., UW-Milwaukee (Oak Creek). The Horizon League Player of the Week for Dec. 5 continues to be a force at 17.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. We're talking about a bona fide league Player of the Year candidate, and the 8-3 Panthers will try to upset the apple cart and powerhouse Green Bay as league battles get under way.
Mehryn Kraker, sr., UW-Green Bay (West Allis Central). And Mehryn Kraker, herself scoring 17.2 points per game and leading her team in scoring, will try to ensure that doesn't happen. Kraker leads the 9-2 Phoenix in assists, as well, and she has scored at least 17 points in five straight games.
Renee Bennett, sr., Ball State (Muskego). Her 28 points against Lipscomb on Dec. 18 matched a career high that she had set just days earlier Dec. 11 against Oakland, and she now averages 17 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. She was named the MAC West Division Player of the Week on Dec. 13. She has reached double figures in 10 of 11 games this season. The Cardinals are 6-5.
Allazia Blockton, soph., Marquette (Dominican). She had 24 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Wisconsin and 13 points and seven assists in a win over UW-Milwaukee, and 9-2 Marquette has won three straight. Her 17.4 points per contest easily lead the team.
Mackenzie Latt, jr., Davidson (Sussex Hamilton). It's been a monster run of scoring success for Latt, with 28 points and 14 rebounds most recently against Charlotte on Dec. 21. She scored 25 and 19 in the previous two games, contests that marked Davidson's first two wins of the year. She was the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week on Dec. 20 before that huge game against Charlotte.
Jessica Cattani, jr., Florida Gulf Coast (Muskego) and Taylor Gradinjan, jr., Florida Gulf Coast (Cudahy). Florida Gulf Coast has won six of seven games, with the lone loss against a Big Ten program in Illinois, with Gradinjan scoring 9.0 points and Cattani is scoring 8.8 points per game. Gradinjan also has 26 steals.
Chelsea Brackmann, fr., Bradley (New Berlin Eisenhower). She still comes off the bench but is her team's third-leading scorer at 9.0 points per game.
Kelly Smith, jr., Northern Illinois (Arrowhead). After missing three weeks with injury, Smith is back and averaging close to 20 minutes per game, with a 10.5 ppg scoring average for the 7-4 Huskies.
Taylor Higginbotham, soph., Western Illinois (Germantown). Higginbotham has scored in double figures in five straight games and also averages 5.7 rebounds per contest, and the Leathernecks are 10-3 overall with wins in all five of those games. WIU's three losses have been to UW-Milwaukee, Marquette and Missouri.
Riley LaChance, jr., Vanderbilt (Brookfield Central). Has started all 9 games with a team-best 4.7 assists per contest and 10.6 points per game. Had 14 points and seven assists in a win over High Point on Dec. 6. More impressively, he's hit 23 of 32 shots form 3-point range (72 percent), a mark that leads the nation among qualified shooters.
Joe Sherburne, soph., Maryland-Baltimore County (Whitefish Bay). UMBC has won three straight games, and Sherburne has been a huge reason why. He hit all six of his 3-point shots and finished 9 of 12 overall in scoring 28 points Dec. 7 in a win over Mount St. Mary's, coming off a 14-point performance against Messiah and 16-point showing against Duquesne. He's second on the team in scoring and shooting 58 percent for a squad that has started the year 7-1.
Darrell Bowie, sr., Iowa State (Wauwatosa East). Bowie missed last season with injury at Northern Illinois and then transferred to Iowa State. He's averaging 20 minutes per game off the bench, averaging 8.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest.
Tray Palmer, sr., Chicago State (Brown Deer). He may have missed the final shot in regulation, but he still scored 16 points and helped Chicago State down Western Illinois in overtime on Dec. 3, 83-76. He also had a team-best seven rebounds in the win.
Luke Fischer, sr, Marquette (Germantown). His 13.9 points per game are second on the team, and his 6.2 rebounds are tops for a tea now 7-2. He scored 18 points in his team's 3-point win over Fresno State on Dec. 6.
T.J. Schlundt, soph., Wisconsin (Oconomowoc). In his lone minute of play against Prairie View A&M on Nov. 27, Schlundt scored 3 points.
Steph Kostowicz, jr., UW-Milwaukee (Oak Creek). She's scored in double figures in every game and is nearly averaging a double-double at 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds with her team at 7-1. She had 26-8 and four blocks in a 79-74 win over North Dakota State on Dec. 3.
Mehryn Kraker, sr., UW-Green Bay (West Allis Central). She posted 19 points and four assists in a win over Marquette on Dec. 6. The Phoenix are 7-1 and she's leading the way with 17.0 points per game along with a team-best 35 assists. There was some thought that Kraker was short changed a bit last season when she was named to just the second-team All Conference list for a second straight year, but she's going to make a Conference Player of the Year push at this rate (perhaps competing directly with Kostowicz for the award).
Katie Salmon, jr., Loyola of Chicago (Wauwatosa East). Her 8.9 points per game are second on the team and 4.9 rebounds are first, but the Ramblers are still looking for their first win this season.
Jessica Cattani, jr., Florida Gulf Coast (Muskego). Has enjoyed back-to-back strong games, with 15 points in a loss to Kent State and 16 points and four assists in a win over Ave Maria. FGCU is 3-5 thus far.
Chelsea Brackmann, fr., Bradley (New Berlin Eisenhower). Recorded a career-high 19 points Dec. 5 in a loss to Western Illinois. Hasn't started a game yet but is third on the team in scoring (9.1) and also brings in 4 rebounds per contest.
Renee Bennett, sr., Ball State (Muskego). Continuing to rack up big scoring performances, averaging 15 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for a team that's 5-3 thus far.
Kianna Keller, sr., New Mexico (Waukesha West). At 8.6 rebounds per game, she's fourth in the Mountain West -- and somehow third on her own team. New Mexico is 3-5 thus far.
Zak Showalter, sr., Wisconsin (Germantown). Has started all six games for Badgers, averaging 6.0 points, 2.0 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Luke Fischer, sr, Marquette (Germantown). Leading Marquette with 5.8 rebounds per game and also scored 12.4 per contest in the first five contests of the season.
Duane Wilson, jr., Marquette (Dominican). Comes of the bench to average 8.6 points per game for Marquette through the first five games.
Bryce Nze, fr., UW-Milwaukee (Arrowhead). After missing his senior season at Arrowhead with injury, averaging 7.0 points through the first three Panthers games this season.
Brady Ellingson, jr., Iowa (Sussex Hamilton). Has seen 14 minutes per game in four contests, coming off the bench but third on the team in scoring at 9.3 points per game. Has hit 12 of 17 shots (71 percent).
Riley LaChance, jr., Vanderbilt (Brookfield Central). Has started strong after a sophomore slump, scoring 9.5 points per game and handing out 3.3 assists as a regular starter for the Commodores.
Paul Miller, jr., North Dakota State (Kettle Moraine). Junior who led the Bison in scoring last season is back on top again with 15.3 points and 4.0 rebounds through the first six games of the season. He had a double-double in a win over High Point. NDSU was slotted third in the Summit League preseason poll.
Jaylen Key, soph., Northern Illinois (Homestead). After starting most of his freshman year, Key has been even better in the early going this year with 11.4 points per game (third on the team) and a team-best 7.0 rebounds per game.
Jarvis Garrett, jr., Rhode Island (West Allis Central). After overcoming a serious injury scare when he was transported off the court on a stretcher with a potential neck injury, Garrett was cleared to play one game later against Duke. The Rams lost that game to the No. 1 team in the country, 75-65, but have won the rest, including a game over nationally ranked Cincinnati. Garrett was one of the team's top scorers last year and has only racked up 5.4 points per game this season, but he starts every contest.
Reed Timmer, jr., Drake (New Berlin Eisenhower). Timmer was third in the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring last year, though the Bulldogs struggled all year. Through three games, his 17.7 points per game are again best on the team.
Juwan McCloud, fr., Northern Iowa (Germantown). Has started all four games thus far as a true freshman for the Panthers, helping facilitate with 2.3 assists per game. Averages 3 points and two rebounds per contest.
Tray Palmer, sr., Chicago State (Brown Deer). Averages 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds while starting every game for the Cougars. Against East-West on Nov. 22, he had a huge day with a career-best 34 points and a season-best 15 rebounds, shooting 16 for 20 and also handing out three assists.
Joe Sherburne, soph., Maryland-Baltimore County (Whitefish Bay). Recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds in a Nov. 19 win over Kennesaw State, starting and averaging 10.4 points per game for the 4-1 Retrievers.
Garrison Goode, soph., UC-Davis (Dominican). Has started all four games in which he's appeared.
Steph Kostowicz, jr., UW-Milwaukee (Oak Creek). The driving force for the Panthers has been a monster thus far, with three double-doubles in four games and averages of 19.8 points and 10.0 rebounds (she had 17 points and nine boards in the fourth game). She had 30 points in an overtime loss to Northern Illinois and is purely one of the best players in the Horizon League.
Allazia Blockton, soph., Marquette (Dominican). The Big East Freshman of the Year last year isn't slowing down, having scored 19.5 points per game with 6 rebounds through the Golden Eagles' first four games, all victories. She will be the focal point as the team aims to reach the NCAA Tournament this season.
Mehryn Kraker, sr., UW-Green Bay (West Allis Central). After playing a huge role in getting the Phoenix back to the NCAA Tournament yet again in 2015-16, she's the leading scorer (16.0 points per game) through the team's 3-1 start, and the one loss came in a close call against No. 1-ranked Notre Dame. She also has a team best 20 assists.
Lexi Weitzer, sr., UW-Green Bay (Waukesha South). Weitzer has started two games for UWGB and has 2.3 points and 3.5 boards in four games overall.
Bre Cera, fr., Iowa (Mukwonago). Has started all five games thus far as a true freshman, struggling a bit in scoring (1.2 points per game) but also averaging 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per contest.
Lydia Rohde, jr., Northwestern (Brookfield Central). Starts and has hit 12 of 19 shots from distance thus far, helping her average 10.5 points per game for the 3-1 Wildcats.
Mackenzie Latt, jr., Davidson (Sussex Hamilton). She averaged more than 14 points per game last year and was named Team MVP. This year, she has brought in 9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game through four contests, though her team is still looking for its first win. Latt spent three seasons at Hamilton before moving to Michigan for her senior year.
Katie Salmon, jr., Loyola of Chicago (Wauwatosa East). Has started all four games for a Ramblers team still looking for its first win. Has averaged more than 7 points and four rebounds per game.
Taylor Gradinjan, jr., Florida Gulf Coast (Cudahy). Averaging 8.8 points and 4.3 rebounds for Gulf Coast, which went undefeated in conference play last year and fell just short of the NCAA Tournament with a loss in the conference-tourney final to Jacksonville.
Jessica Cattani, jr., Florida Gulf Coast (Muskego). Has seen an uptick in floor time and coming off the bench to average 7.0 points per game thus far.
Kelly Smith, jr., Northern Illinois (Arrowhead). Smith averaged 11.5 points through the first two games but hasn't played in the two since. Had some big baskets in a 114-104 win over Milwaukee in double overtime.
Chelsea Brackmann, fr., Bradley (New Berlin Eisenhower). Averaging 8.8 points and bringing in 5.5 rebounds per game while coming off the bench as a true freshman for the Braves.
Renee Bennett, sr., Ball State (Muskego). Has seen an uptick in floor time, starting all four games as a senior and sitting second on the team in scoring at 14.0 ppg for a 3-1 team. The 6-5 center is also hauling in 7.8 rebounds per contest.
Kianna Keller, sr., New Mexico (Waukesha West). Coming off the bench but soaking up big minutes and bringing in 8.3 rebounds per game. The 6-4 post also scores 4.3 points per contest for the Lobos.
Taylor Higginbotham, soph., Western Illinois (Germantown). After getting named to the All-Newcomer Team in the Summit League last year, she has started the year third on the team in scoring (11.8 points per game) and also brings in greater than five boards per contest.
Michelle Farrow, jr., Western Illinois (Waukesha West). Has started a pair of games and averages 7 points per game thus far.
Others:Abby Gerrits, fr., Northern Iowa (Pewaukee) | Morgan Glatczak, fr., Ball State (Mukwonago) | Briana Gray, jr., Bradley (Nicolet) | Amber Gray, sr., Northern Illinois (Mukwonago) | Jazmine Harris, jr., Northern Illinois (Heritage Christian -- West Allis native) | Maya Jonas, soph., Northwestern (Whitefish Bay) | Ally May, soph., Northern Illinois (Arrowhead) | Mariah Miller, fr., Cleveland State (Brookfield East)
Lamonte Bearden (Germantown) was one of Buffalo's key players last season but has transferred to Western Kentucky and will play again in 2017-18.
Tamya Sims (Oak Creek) has transferred from Bradley to IUPUI, eligible in 2017-18.