Transylvania women’s basketball sets new program standards for excellence in 2019

End of season stats

Lexington, Ky. – After completing a historic season, the Transylvania women's basketball team finished the year ranked 16th in the final Top 25 poll and 17th in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Top 25 poll.

The pair of top 25 rankings for the Pioneers by the authoritative polls in Division III women's basketball completed a watershed year for Transylvania women's basketball in which the program advanced further than ever before in NCAA postseason play and produced an overall record of 27 wins and three losses.

Along with finishing the year in the Top 25, Transylvania women's basketball finished atop the nation in multiple categories, headlined by its finish as the statistical champion in three-pointers made.

The Pioneers sank 332 total three-pointers, which stood atop the country this season. A record 18 made three-pointers flew through the net on February 13 in a 90-52 win over Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Franklin College at home as the Pioneers set a new single-game standard for three-pointers.

Other components of Transylvania's modern offense shone as the Pioneers ranked second nationally in three-pointers per game with 11.1 triples and fourth in the country in three-point field goal percentage at a 39 percent clip. The Pioneers ranked 15th in the country in total assists, finishing with a clean 500 while ranking second in the country in assist to turnover ratio at 1.31 to 1.

Transylvania's three-point attack was led by senior guard Celia Kline, who set the pace for long-range shooting in the NCAA this season. Kline led the country in three-pointers made, hitting 101 total, breaking her program and conference record from her sophomore season in which she hit 100. Kline hit 48.1 percent of her three-point attempts which ranked second in the country.

Offensively the Pioneers were meticulous in other areas, ranking ninth in the country in free-throw percentage at 75.9 percent and 11th in field-goal percentage at 45.1 percent.

The Pioneers also displayed their defensive strength along with their offensive firepower in 2018-19. With junior Shelby Boyle leading the HCAC in blocks at 1.7 rejections per game, the Pioneers finished 17th in the country in blocks. The Pioneers also finished 13th in fewest fouls committed per game.   

The Pioneers made their first appearance in the Top 25 poll in the Week 7 poll following the week of games ending on January 20, 2019 as the No. 25-ranked team. The Pioneers remained in the top 25 poll for the rest of the season, rising all the way to 16th in the final poll which came out this week.

Transylvania also entered the WBCA Top 25 poll in the final week before NCAA postseason play; following their memorable run to the Sweet 16, the Pioneers ended the year with a final ranking of 17th in that poll.

The Pioneers went 17-1 in HCAC regular-season play to win the conference championship and followed up their regular-season crown with their first conference tournament championship in five years, defeating Rose-Hulman 63-61 on a last-second runner from Kristen Hayes to clinch an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Transylvania appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in four seasons and made the most of its ticket to the big dance, winning first and second-round games for the first time since moving to the NCAA at the turn of the millennium. Though the Pioneers bowed out in the Sweet 16 to eventual national champion Thomas More, Transylvania had reeled off a 22-game win streak, its longest in over 15 years.

The Pioneers' production was recognized in conference play as well; the Pioneers fielded more members to the All-HCAC First Team than any other team in the conference as Kline, Boyle, and junior guard Ashton Woodard were selected to the First Team while head coach Juli Fulks was named conference coach of the year for the second time in her five-year tenure at Transylvania.

The Pioneers finished the season with their best overall program record since moving to the NCAA and highest ranking in the Top 25 final poll.

For more on Transylvania women's basketball, follow @TUWBX on Twitter