Washburn All-Decade Team: Women’s Basketball

Corkey Stiger was one of five Lady Blues to make the women’s basketball Washburn Review All-Decade Team.

Chris Marshall

Under the leadership of coach Ron McHenry, the Lady Blues transformed from a team that had a losing record to a consistent MIAA contender with a national championship on its resume.

After going 13-14 in 2000-01, Washburn finished first or second in the conference standings each of the last nine seasons, including four consecutive MIAA titles from 2003-06 and a win against Seattle Pacific in the 2005 national championship game.

McHenry was recognized by “D2 Bulletin” as national Coach of the Year and MIAA Coach of the Year, while guard Jennifer Harris was named national Player of the Year following the Lady Blues’ first national championship.

Led by Harris in the backcourt, Washburn set an NCAA Division II record with 51 consecutive wins from 2004-06, and overall, the Lady Blues posted a 241-49 record in the 2000s.

Jennifer Harris, G — Harris’ time at Washburn was filled with firsts, both individually and for the team. The guard from New Jersey was the heart and soul of the Lady Blues’ championship squad and was recognized by multiple publications as the best player in the nation. She only played two years at Washburn, but that was enough to put her name among the all-time greats that have worn the Lady Blues uniform. Following a collegiate career that included 67 wins and just three losses, Harris was selected 20th overall in the WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky.

Other honors — 2004-05: Honorable mention all-MIAA, South Central region 1st team, South Central region Most Outstanding Player, 2005-06: Kodak national Player of the Year, CoSIDA/Daktronics national Player of the Year, “D2 Bulletin” national Player of the Year, 1st team All-American, 1st team All-District, MIAA MVP, team MVP, South Central region 1st team. All-time at WU: 9th in scoring with 1,314 points, most points in a season with 797, most points in a single game with 39 against Northwest Missouri State on Jan. 4, 2006, 6th in assists with 308, most assists per game with 4.5.

Crystal Walker, F — If one player symbolizes the rise of Washburn’s women’s basketball program in the early 2000s, it’s Walker. The forward was named team MVP in 2001, when the Blues finished seventh in the conference, then played an even greater role as the team improved its record by 10 wins the following year. Walker was named MIAA MVP in her junior and senior seasons, and led the squad to its second conference title and a trip to the Elite Eight in her final year at Washburn.

Other honors – 2001-02: All South Central region 1st team, honorable mention All-American, 2002-03: MIAA Defensive Player of the Year, South Central region 1st team, 3rd team All-American, MIAA academic honor roll, team MVP. All-time at WU: 8th in scoring with 1,344 points, 10th in rebounding with 650.

Carla Sintra, F — In the closing seconds of the Lady Blues’ national championship win in 2005, Washburn wasn’t the only one waving its flag proudly. Students at the game held up a Brazilian flag as a tribute Sintra, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and a native of Goiania, Brazil. As one of just five players on the team who didn’t grow up in Kansas, Sintra came a long way while playing for the Blues, not just geographically, but on the court, as well. She was a 2nd team all-MIAA selection as a junior, then helped carry the team as a senior, winning MIAA MVP and earning 1st team All-American honors.

Other honors – 2004-05: 1st team All-District, South Central region 1st team, Daktronics/CoSIDA 2nd team All-Region, one of 10 team members on the MIAA Commissioner’s academic honor roll, team MVP. All-time at WU: 9th for rebounds in a season with 251.

Brooke Ubelaker, F — Ubelaker lined up alongside Sintra in the post during the Lady Blues’ championship run and did more than fill the void after her frontcourt teammate graduated. Washburn didn’t repeat as national champions, but the Lady Blues had just as much success throughout the season. The team went 16-0 in the MIAA and 32-1 overall while reaching the Sweet 16 in Ubelaker’s senior campaign. The forward from Osborne was an honorable mention All-American and finished third all-time at WU with 1,848 points.

Other honors — 2004-05: 1st team all-MIAA, South Central region 1st team, Daktronics/CoSIDA 2nd team All-Region, MIAA Commissioner’s academic honor roll, 2005-06: 1st team all-MIAA, MIAA Commissioner’s academic honor roll. All-time at WU: 11th for points in a season with 547, 5th in rebounds all-time with 739.

Corkey Stiger, G — In a lot of ways, Stiger was similar to Harris, her predecessor at the guard position: she joined the team as a junior, took over the role as a scoring threat in the backcourt and even had the same jersey number and hairstyle as Harris. Most important, however, are the numbers Stiger put up while after Harris left. As a junior who already had experience playing at the college level, Stiger immediately made an impact at WU, helping the Lady Blues go 29-4 with a trip to the Sweet 16. Things only got better in her senior season. Stiger was a first team all-MIAA selection on a squad that finished first in the conference and reached the Elite Eight for the third time in six years.

Other honors — 2007-08: CoSIDA/Daktronics 2nd team All-Region, Kodak honorable mention All-American, South Central region MVP. All-time at WU: 16th in scoring with 1,047 points, fifth for points in a season with 605.

Check back next week for the men’s all-decade team.