ATLANTA - Saint Xavier University women's basketball coach Bob Hallberg and his 2011-12 team proved that they do not just have one of the best NAIA teams on the court, but also in the classroom, when the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced its Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll earlier this week. The Cougars finished tied for No. 8 out of the 25 teams highlighted in the NAIA category with a team grade point average of 3.489. It is the program's highest finish to date. The WBCA Academic Top 25 annually recognizes NCAA Divisions I, II and III; NAIA and Junior College/Community College teams across the nation that carry the highest combined grade point average (GPA) inclusive of all student-athletes on their rosters for the entire season. Teams must have a collective 3.000 or better GPA to be nominated.
"I look forward to the release of the Academic Top 25 each summer," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. "Because our society places so much emphasis on winning games and championships, it is a refreshing change of pace when we recognize those teams that excel in the classroom. Like winning on the court, academic success on a team level does not happen by accident. It requires a group of student-athletes who realize the importance of education and earning degrees, coaches who expect and encourage their players to attend class and study, and administrators who provide strong academic support programs for their athletes."
Saint Xavier was the only NAIA team in Illinois to earn a spot on the WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll this year. Last season, the Cougars finished No. 20 out of the 25 teams highlighted in the NAIA category with a team grade point average of 3.333. In 2010, Saint Xavier finished No. 17 out of 25 with a cumulative team GPA of 3.397. Northwestern College (Iowa) earned the top spot in the NAIA category with a team grade point average of 3.657. The Red Raiders, under the direction of head coach Chris Yaw, finished the season with a 28-7 overall record and won their fourth NAIA Division II national championship in the past five years.
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game in all of its aspects as a sport for women and girls. For more information about the WBCA, visit wbca.org.