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Women's Basketball Posts Terrific Season

Published: 6-7-2012 8:25 am

The Wayne State College women's basketball team ended the 2012 basketball season ranked fourth in the final USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll released March 27 by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.  It's the highest ever ranking to end the season for the Wildcats, who were 32-3 this season, surpassing the previous best season-ending ranking of 14th set last season.

The season also was marked by several individual honors as Ashley Arlen was named the Women's Division II Bulletin Player of the Year and Chris Kielsmeier of Wayne State College was named the Russell Athletic/Women's Basketball Coaches Association Region 7 Coach of the Year.

Wayne State captured a second straight Northern Sun Conference regular season title this season while also winning the NSIC/Sanford Health Women's Basketball Tournament along with the school's first-ever Central Region title, resulting in the Wildcats' first-ever trip to the Elite Eight.  WSC was ranked #1 in the final regular season coaches' poll, the first-ever top national ranking for the program.

WSC finished the season with a school record 32 wins before falling to Bentley (Mass.) 72-67 in the first round of the Elite Eight in March 20 in San Antonio, Texas.

Ashley Arlen was named the Women's Division II Bulletin Player of the Year.  The publication has named a Player of the Year every season since 1994 and it's the first time a player from Wayne State College has received the honor.

Arlen, a 6-2 senior forward from Cascade, Iowa, led the Wildcats to a second straight Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) regular season title, Sanford Health/NSIC Women's Basketball Tournament title and the school's first-ever Central Region championship this season, averaging an NSIC-best 18.1 points per game to go along with 9.4 rebounds a contest (2nd-NSIC).  She made 48.1 percent of her shots from the field (6th-NSIC) and 79.8 percent at the charity stripe (10th-NSIC) while also ranking fifth in the league in blocked shots per game (1.66).  Arlen had 15 double-doubles on the season and finished her Wildcat career ranking third all-time in scoring (1,724 points), fourth in blocked shots (124) and sixth in rebounds (821). 

Other post season honors this season for Arlen include NSIC Player of the Year for a second straight season; Most Valuable Player of the NSIC/Sanford Health Women's Basketball Tournament, Daktronics Central Region Player of the Year for a second straight season, WBCA/State Farm and Daktronics First Team All-American and WBCA/State Farm National Player of the Year finalist. 

“Ashley had a tremendous year on the court and led her team to the Elite Eight,” said Women's Division II Bulletin editor Gary Rubin.  “There was stiff competition for this award but she proved she is the most deserving for her performance all year.”

Coach Chris Kielsmeier of Wayne State College was named the Russell Athletic/WBCA (Women's Basketball Coaches Association) Region 7 Coach of the Year at the Elite Eight Banquet in San Antonio, Texas.

Under Kielsmeier, the Wildcats have won 46 straight games at Rice Auditorium, going unbeaten at home the last three seasons, and earned the school's first-ever #1 national ranking this season. 

In his fourth season at Wayne State, Kielsmeier has guided the Wildcats to three straight NCAA Division II national tournament appearances while setting a school record this season with 32 wins.  He was named the NSIC Coach of the Year this season for the second time in three seasons and has a record of 99-24 with the Wildcats.

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