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Area duo adds to award haul
Ellie Zeller and Katie McDaniels, members of the Wheaton College women’s basketball team, were honored earlier this year by the conference in which Wheaton plays. They added to their post-season honors haul last month with some All-Region recognition.
D3hoops.com named Zeller first-team All-Central Region while McDaniels earned third-team All-Region honors and was named Central Region and national rookie of the year.
Zeller, a 2012 St. Anthony Village High School graduate, started all 26 of Wheaton’s games. She averaged 14.8 points per game, which was second-highest on the team. She also grabbed 4.2 rebounds per contest and shot nearly 59.5 percent from the field to set a new school record. Zeller made 45 percent (18 of 40) of her three-point attempts and added 65 assists and 28 steals.
Those numbers made her a unanimous first-team all College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin selection.
Following a slow start to the season in which she averaged 6.4 points per game through the first five games, Zeller exploded with a 22-point performance against Wisconsin-Whitewater on Nov. 30. She added another 22-point game on Jan. 4 against Millikin and that started her on a streak of nine games in which she scored in double digits.
Zeller established a new career high with 27 points on Jan. 18 against Illinois Wesleyan and did it again two games later against North Central when she scored 32.
A year ago in her freshman season, Zeller scored 7.7 points per game. Wheaton’s 2012-13 season was its best in six years as the Thunder won 20 games and reached the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time since 2007.
McDaniels has already made a name for herself in just her first season at Wheaton. She earned second-team all-CCIW honors and was also named the conferenceís Newcomer of the Year.
McDaniels, who graduated from Mounds View High School in 2013, led Wheaton in scoring (16.5 points per game), assists (111), steals (39) and free throws attempted and made (141 of 199) and the made free throw number ties Wheatonís single-season record. She also averaged 4.7 rebounds per contest, which was third on the team.
Aside from her first game of the season, McDaniels reached double digits in points in all the rest of the games she played. She reached the 20-point plateau five times and had one stretch of three games where she averaged 26.7 points per game with point totals of 26, 26 and 28.
The first 26-point game, on Nov. 23 against St. Mary’s, turned out to be a double-double contest for McDaniels, who added 11 rebounds.
McDaniels is the second straight Mounds View grad to be named national rookie of the year. In 2013, Rachel Parupsky of Bethel earned the honor.
Wheaton (19-7 overall, 9-5 in the CCIW) finished third in the conference standings and lost in the first round of the conference tournament to Illinois Wesleyan.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.