WALLA WALLA — Awards are piling up almost as quickly as victories for the greatest women’s basketball team in Whitman College history.
Less than 48 hours after the seventh-ranked Missionaries (30-1) clinched the program’s first trip to the NCAA Division III national semifinals, Whitman head coach Michelle Ferenz was named the West Region Coach of the Year, junior point guard Heather Johns was named West Region Player of the Year, and senior forward Sarah Anderegg was named to the first team of the D3hoops.com 2014 women’s All-West Region team.
“It’s nice to be acknowledged by d3hoops.com,” Ferenz said. “They’re just...in the know. They are passionate about basketball at this level, and they know this level in a way that no one else knows.
“I always tease them about not coming out to Walla Walla,” she said. “I’m sure I’ll see them this weekend.”
Whitman faces 13th-ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (26-4) in the national semifinals at 8 p.m. Central Time on Friday in Stevens Point, Wis.
Ferenz became the winningest coach in program history in December, passing John Wilcox with victory No. 179, then picked up career win No. 200 on March 8 when her Missionaries beat rival Whitworth in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
Ferenz was named Northwest Conference Coach of the Year after Whitman went undefeated in the regular season and won its first conference title since 2003-04.
Johns was MVP of the Northwest Conference after leading the nine-team field in scoring (19.1 points per game).
She also was 14th in the conference in rebounding (6.2 per game), fifth in assists and eighth in steals. She scored a career-high 30 points in the conference tournament semifinals against Puget Sound, and matched that tally last Friday as the Missionaries routed Christopher Newport in a sectional semifinal, making her first eight shots of the game.
Anderegg was first-team all-conference after finishing third in scoring (16.8), fourth in rebounding (7.9) and eighth in blocked shots.
In Whitman’s six postseason victories, Anderegg had two of her three highest-scoring performances of the year. She is shooting 59 percent from the field during the playoffs and 81 percent at the free-throw line.
Anderegg had 20 points, 11 rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals in Whitman’s sectional final victory over top-ranked, previously unbeaten Thomas More College on Saturday, which punched its Final Four dance card.
Ferenz noted that Anderegg and Johns are team leaders who show rather than tell.
“They lead in how they play,” she said. “They have different roles, but one thing about both of them is that they play hard. They let their games do the talking.
“They’ve both had great seasons. Obviously, it has been a great season as a team. They’ve been stellar. What else can you say?”