At a gathering last night before the Heartland Conference Championship tournament is set to begin, the league named Addy Clift – the top scorer in NCAA Division II – as its women’s basketball player of the year. Clift is the first Oklahoma Christian University player to receive that award.
Clift made the All-Heartland first-team list for the second straight season while teammate Katie Mayo – the Heartland’s second-leading scorer behind Clift – received honorable mention, also for a second straight season.
“She definitely deserves whatever she gets,” Head Coach Stephanie Findley said of Clift. “No one goes as hard as she does or practices as much as she does. It’s been really fun to coach her and watch her on those nights when she’s just out of this world. It’s been great to be a part of it and watch somebody have that kind of year. It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime deal for me.”
Clift, a 5-foot-7 senior guard from Kiowa, OK, set the conference’s career, season and single-game scoring records while averaging 26.9 points per game – nearly 11 points per game higher than any other Heartland player.
She is Division II’s active career leader in made 3-pointers with 303 and is No. 4 among active career scorers with 2,092 points. That’s also the Heartland career scoring record, by more than 300 points. She smashed the Heartland’s former single-season scoring record of 656 points and has 727 points entering the league tournament.
Clift has posted 11 30-point games this season and two 40-point games. She set the Heartland and Oklahoma Christian single-game records with 44 points in a win over Eastern New Mexico University on Dec. 17, then broke that with a 45-point outing in a win over St. Mary’s University on Jan. 19. Of the six 40-point games in Heartland history, Clift has produced four of them.
When her season ends, she will officially have broken both the Heartland’s single-season and career scoring average records. She already has set Heartland single-season records for free throws made (217) and attempted (248) and the career record for 3-pointers.
According to Findley, Clift isn’t just a shooting threat. She ranks second in the Heartland with 2.1 steals per game and eighth in assists at 2.8 per game.
The player-of-the-year honor means she received some sort of league honor during each season of her career. She was the Heartland’s freshman of the year in 2015-16 and received honorable mention on the All-Heartland list in 2016-17. She received honorable mention on the Division II Conference Commissioners Association’s All-America list last season.
“Seeing her kind of do it mainly in just two years, where she’s been the main guy – she wasn’t the main guy her first two years – it’s been pretty amazing to watch,” Findley said. “I probably won’t ever sit on the sidelines and watch this kind of performance again.”
Mayo, a 6-foot sophomore forward from Newcastle, OK, averages 16.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, the latter ranking ninth in the Heartland. She is second in the league in field-goal percentage (51.8) and blocked shots (47, 1.7 per game) and has five double-doubles this season.
“Katie is developing into one of the league’s best inside players,” Findley said. “She uses her speed to beat defenders down the court and her inside game has provided a good balance for us, with Addy and her outside shooting. It will be fun to see what Katie can do next season when we move into the Lone Star Conference.”
The information above comes from an Oklahoma Christian Sports Information Office press release.