Shann Sellers hit a three-pointer from the right corner and had a chance at another one as the seconds wound down in the third quarter of No. 14 Friends’ 81-57 win over Kansas Wesleyan. But the nation’s top scorer in NAIA Division II dribbled inside and passed outside to a wide-open Makenzie Vining, who caught the pass and hit a three from the top of the key as the buzzer sounded.
The two plays not only helped Friends complete a 25-win regular season and another KCAC championship, but also put a cap on an unprecedented career at Friends. Sellers walked off the court for her final regular-season game at Garvey Gym as the nation’s top scorer with a school-record 713 points on the season and a hug from coach RaeAnne Boothe.
“She’s the best player in the country, and the best leader we’ve ever had,” Boothe said. “She’s got a great supporting cast, too. And she makes me a pretty good coach.”
It was a fitting ending to a sensational career at Friends. The Falcons (25-4, 21-1 KCAC) trailed by as much as 11 points in the first quarter until Sellers took control, scoring back-to-back buckets to start the second quarter in a 13-2 run that erased the entire deficit and saw Friends take an 8-point lead at halftime.
Friends won the second quarter 20-4 and though Kansas Wesleyan (19-11, 14-8) pulled within five a couple of times in the third quarter, it was a blowout by the time Sellers finished with a double-double. The senior from Dallas totaled 24 points, 12 rebounds, 8 steals and 7 assists. She made two threes and went 2 for 3 from the free-throw line.
In addition to leading the NAIA Division II in scoring average, Sellers also leads the nation in steals and total scoring. Her 184 steals set an NAIA record.
Friends’ junior Yowana Posey also recorded a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Junior April Quiroz added 13 points on three threes.
Friends honored its senior athletes after the game and saved Sellers’ introduction for last. She embraced Boothe at midcourt and both fought off tears as they drew closer to the end of their four years together.
“She was raw – a raw player but athletic (when she first came to Friends),” Boothe said. “She’s gotten so much stronger and faster. She came in as a freshman with that athleticism, but she’s grown. She could do my job tomorrow. That’s how well she knows me.”
The win will send Friends to the KCAC Tournament with momentum from its fifth consecutive win and 13th in 14 games. The Falcons will open the tournament as the top seed and will face Southwestern or Oklahoma Wesleyan on Thursday at Friends.
KANSAS WESLEYAN: Knox 16, M. Miller 8, Mortensen 6, New 5, Steinle 10, Heller 2, G. Miller 10. Totals 19-54 15-22 57.
FRIENDS: Evans 9, Posey 23, Quiroz 13, Sellers 24, Vining 8, Bouvia 1, Seaton 3. Totals 31-74 8-10 81.
3s: KW 4-21 (Mortensen 2, New, Steinle), Friends 11-33 (Evans 3, Quiroz 3, Sellers 2, Vining 2, Seaton). Rebounds: KW 35 (Steinle 5), Friends 46 (Sellers 12). Assists: KW 7 (G. Miller 3), Friends 20 (Sellers 7).