Lexington, Ky. – In leading the Transylvania women's basketball team to its first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season championship in four seasons, Transylvania women's basketball head coach Juli Fulks has been named the 2018-2019 Women's Basketball HCAC Coach of the Year.
Fulks, in her fifth year at the helm for the Pioneers program, earned her second HCAC Coach of the Year award after guiding the Pioneers to a 17-1 record in HCAC regular-season play. Fulks' incredible year crested last weekend as the Pioneers earned the HCAC Tournament Championship by defeating Rose-Hulman at home, 63-61 in the conference title game.
It is the third conference coach of the year award Fulks has earned in her career (Transylvania – 2015, Lewis & Clark – 2011).
Along with Fulks, senior guard Celia Kline and junior forwards Shelby Boyle and Ashton Woodard were each named to the All-HCAC First Team. It is the second time in Kline's career that the guard has been named to an All-HCAC First Team and the first time both Boyle and Woodard have earned All-HCAC First Team accolades.
Kline, a senior from Madeira, Ohio (Madeira HS), set the standard for three-point shooting excellence in both the HCAC as well as on a national stage this season, shooting 91-for-191 from behind the arc for a 47.6 percent figure. Kline's three-point shooting percentage ranks third in the country heading into the NCAA Tournament. Kline ranks second nationally in three-pointers made and fourth in the country in three-pointers per game, hitting more than 3.3 triples per contest.
Kline led the Pioneers in scoring at 14.7 points per game, which stands as fifth-best in the HCAC. The senior averaged 2.3 assists per game (15th in HCAC) and 1.4 steals per contest (14th in HCAC). Over the final six games of the season, Kline shot 63 percent from the three-point line (26-for-41). Kline posted double-digit scoring in 22 of 26 games this season.
Boyle, a junior from Morgantown, West Virginia, (Morgantown HS) elevated her game to a level worthy of All-HCAC First-Team recognition in 2018-19 after earning Second Team honors as a sophomore. Boyle led the Pioneers and ranked fifth in the HCAC in rebounding at 7.6 rebounds per game. The junior averaged 14.4 points per contest, second on the Pioneers, and finished second in the HCAC behind Kline in three-point percentage at 40.7 percent and in three-pointers made with 59 triples. She also ranked third in conference in overall field-goal percentage, shooting at a 50.3 percent clip in 2018-19.
As a junior, Boyle displayed her capabilities as an all-around force, not only posting top-level offensive numbers but leading the conference in blocks with a total of 50 rejections. Boyle also led the conference in assist to turnover ratio (2.2:1). In the season opener against Wittenberg, Boyle snagged a career-high 18 rebounds. For the season, Boyle tallied five double-doubles. On February 16 at Anderson, Boyle scored a career-high 33 points and knocked down a season-high 6 of 9 three-pointers to close out her regular season with a scoring punch.
Woodard, a junior from Mt. Sterling, Kentucky (Menifee County HS) was one of three Pioneers to average double-digit scoring this season, providing 12.8 points per game which ranked 11th in the HCAC. Woodard was sixth in the HCAC in field goal percentage at 47.6 percent and seventh in conference in three-point percentage at 37.2 percent.
The junior posted 20 double-digit scoring games this season, highlighted by a pair of clutch 23-point outings on November 24, 2018, against Emory in a 90-87 double-overtime thriller and on January 16 at Franklin in a one-point overtime win for the Pioneers. Woodard also added five rebounds per game and nearly three assists per contest, ranking top 10 in the HCAC in dimes.
The contributions of all four have heavily factored into Transylvania's current 20-game win streak, the program's longest in over five seasons and a national ranking of 18 according to the D3Hoops.com Top 25 poll, Transylvania's highest ranking since February 2015.
Walker, a sophomore guard from Danville, Kentucky (Danville HS), had a breakout year for the Pioneers, leading the team in assists with three assists per game. One of the conference's best on-ball defenders, Walker averaged 1.5 steals per game and helped the Pioneers hold opponents to 58.5 points per contest, the second-best figure in the HCAC not factoring total possessions per game into account.
Ford, a senior guard from Florence, Kentucky (Boone County HS) served as a key reserve for the Pioneers in 2018-19 and contributed to a winning culture over the past four years for the Pioneers women's basketball program. Ford shot 34 percent from three-point range, further solidifying her impact as a critical piece of the Pioneer rotation.
Together, the 2018-19 Pioneers have forged a 27-2 overall record, including a 17-1 regular-season showing for first place in the HCAC standings. Transylvania last weekend captured its first conference tournament championship since 2014 by defeating Rose-Hulman, 63-61 to advance into its first NCAA Tournament in four seasons.
The Pioneers will continue their postseason trek on Friday, March 1 as they open up the 2019 NCAA Tournament against Piedmont (Ga.) College at the Beck Center in Lexington in the second game of a first-round doubleheader hosted by Transylvania University. Transylvania tips off against Piedmont on Friday at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time at the Clive M. Beck Center.
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