The Transylvania University women’s basketball team is vying for the national title Saturday in the NCAA Division III — which prioritizes hitting the books along with three-pointers.
Maddie Kellione, a senior guard for the 32-0 Pioneers, embodies this ideal at the topmost level both in the classroom and on the court. The physics major recently received an Elite 90 award for earning the highest GPA — 3.95 — among student-athletes in the title game. (There’s one of these recognitions for each of the NCAA’s 90 championships.)
For her basketball skills, Kellione was named a First-Team All-American. Her teammates and coaches also notched individual accolades along the road to the final game in Dallas, where the No. 2 Pioneers will take on the No. 1 Captains of Christopher Newport.
Kellione was First Team All-Region as well, and fellow Pioneers Kennedi Stacy and Dasia Thornton earned Third-Team All-Region. All three also took top Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference honors — and teammate Laken Ball was named to the All-Conference Second Team.
Additionally, Juli Fulks earned Coach of the Year for the Eighth Region along with D3hoops Co-Coach of the Year, and assistant Hannah Varel joined the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Thirty under 30 class, which spotlights up-and-coming coaches aged 30 and under for things like community service and mentorship.
Serving the Lexington community has been a focus of the entire team. Earlier this school year for instance, the Pioneers visited elementary students as part of their new Bat Buddy Tour of Lex program. Activities included reading books to the children, making crafts and sharing what it’s like to play college sports. This kind of engagement is part of the liberal arts learning experience.
As for classroom support, student-athletes on the team and at Transylvania in general get plenty of that, whether it be tutoring, studying with teammates on long bus trips or getting help on sticking to goals from accountability partners.
Find out more about the opportunities for student-athletes to excel academically at Transylvania in this recent 1780 blog article.