Francesca Buchanan’s performance for and impact on the Hope College women’s basketball team continues to grow.
Her efforts in practice propelled the sophomore center from Grant, Michigan (Sparta HS) to All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association First Team honors for the 2016-17 season.
Buchanan is one of six first-team selections and 12 players honored overall by the league’s coaches.
Buchanan is joined by fellow first-team picks: MVP Brandi Dawson of Trine, Defensive Player of the Year Hayley Martin of Trine, Oreyana Curry of Albion, Ali Spayde of Calvin, and Anna Timmer of Calvin.
Buchanan helped the Flying Dutch posted a 22-3 overall record this season, including a MIAA runner-up record of 14-2. Hope coach Brian Morehouse said Buchanan’s improvement from last season to this season is evident, as well as her in-season improvement.
“She has worked very hard to hone her skills with the coaches and it shows on the court,” Morehouse said. “I’m also impressed with her growing role in leadership with the team as she learns from the upperclassmen.”
Buchanan is tied for third in the MIAA in scoring at 15.4 points per conference game. She was second in field-goal shooting at 57.6 percent per MIAA contest.
Buchanan also ranked 11th at 5.6 rebounds per conference game.
Two Flying Dutch players were among six All-MIAA Second Team honorees: senior guard Angelique Gaddy of Caledonia, Michigan (Grand Rapids South Christian) and senior forward Mandy Traversa of Winfield, Illinois (Wheaton North).
Other second-team selections were: Albion’s Emily Bernas, Adrian’s Sadia Johnson, Calvin’s Bre Luurtsema and Alma’s Kelsey Wolffis.
Morehouse said Traversa was probably Hope’s most improved player this season.
“Her defense and rebounding played a huge role in our success,” Traversa said. “Everyone looks at her ability to shoot the basketball — which is outstanding — but I feel her overall game improvement is what has set her apart and allowed her to receive this recognition!”
Gaddy has put together an outstanding season in many ways, Morehouse said.
“In particular, her assist to turnover ratio has been outstanding,” Morehouse said. “Couple that with her improvement from the 3-point line while working with the coaching staff, and you have a senior that continued to improve throughout her four years at Hope College.”