For the third time under fifth-year head coach Mitch Rolls, the Labette Cardinals women’s basketball team saw one of its players earn NJCAA First Team All-America honors.
Sophomore guard Denijsha Wilson, who was also the Kansas Jayhawk Conference Player of the Year, was selected as one of 10 NJCAA Division II First Team All-Americans.
“It’s very deserving and I’m very happy for her,” Rolls said. “I was refreshing the NJCAA page about a hundred times the last two days to see if she got it. She definitely deserves to be in that conversation.”
It's the 2020 NJCAA DII Women's Basketball All-America teams presented by @eTeamSponsor ⤵️North Iowa Area and Highland both have two players collect honors. 🏅https://t.co/c3VhJePhxg pic.twitter.com/KgR29cj8HI— NJCAA Basketball (@NJCAABasketball) April 7, 2020
Wilson was a scoring machine for the Cardinals, pacing Labette with an 11.8 points-per-game average. Despite only starting seven games out of Labette’s 27 contests, Wilson has shined when the lights were brightest.
In a three-game stretch from Feb. 8-15 against ranked opponents Kansas City Kansas, Highland and Johnson County, Wilson tallied 20, 23 and 21 points respectively. Labette won those three games to help seal the outright conference title, while that effort helped Wilson garner the NJCAA Player of the Week honor.
“If you go back and look at all the big games, she always scores big,” Rolls said. “She has a knack for the moment and knowing when her team needs her the most. She just dominates. In those three games, it was much, much needed. We were playing three top-10 teams and she helped us get those wins.”
Wilson, a Philadelphia native, shot 44.7% from the field this season, including 35.2% from 3-point range. She’s added 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game to her season’s tally.
“She’s obviously in the conversation of the best point guard I’ve ever had,” Rolls said. “She’s easily the best scoring point guard I’ve ever had. I’ve never seen a kid at her size be able to score like she can. She doesn’t shoot a lot of threes. She drives and gets her stuff mid-range.”
Wilson, along with the rest of the Labette team, lost her opportunity to compete at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament as it was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She’ll continue her basketball career at the NCAA Division I level as she’s committed to USC-Upstate.
“Her coaches think she can contribute right away,” Rolls said. “With her scoring and ballhandling, she can play multiple positions. She’s not stuck at point guard. Her versatility allows her to play multiple positions and find playing time.”
Wilson is the only KJCCC player to earn First Team honors by the NJCAA. Krystal Rice of Johnson County was a Second Team All-American while Tiana Gipson and Armani Turner of Highland were Third Team selections.
Wilson is also the third First Team All-American from Labette since Rolls took over as head coach in 2015-16, joining Tyra Jones and Upe Atosu.
“She’s easily one of the most selfless players we’ve ever had,” Rolls said of Wilson. “I don’t know of any First Team All-Americans to come off the bench, and that’s what she’s done. She stayed with me all summer last year to improve her game that took her to the next level. She proved that if you’re not happy, you can earn what you want.”
2019-20 NJCAA DIVISION II ALL-AMERICA TEAMS
Hallie Lawson, Pima, So.
Alyssa Iverson, McHenry County, So.
Kirsten Kamholz, Moraine Valley, Fr.
Denijsha Wilson, Labette, So.
Alliyah Chaplin, Catawba Valley, So.
Iyana Brown, Muskegon, So.
Armani Jackson, Lakeland, So.
Mya Moye, CCBC Essex, So.
Carsyn Fearday, Lake Land, Fr.
Autam Mendez, North Iowa, So.
Zyan Smith, Mesa, Fr.
Paige Emborsky, Niagara County, So.
La’Janique Perry-Ellis, Bryant & Stratton, Fr.
Krystal Rice, Johnson County, So.
Paige Bradford, Kirkwood, So.
Sierra Morrow, North Iowa Area, Fr.
Sammiyah Hoskin, Wayne County, Fr.
Infinity Hammonds, Sullivan County, Fr.
Ciaira Loyd, Lackawanna, So.
Summer Stoewer, Illinois Central, So.
Prima Chellis, South Mountain, So.
Imani Honey, National Park, So.
Kylah Collins, Lake County, So.
Tiana Gipson, Highland, So.
Armani Turner, Highland, So.
Monica Brooks, Central, So.
Sasha Penn, Mott, So.
Kortlyn Rounkles, North Central Missouri, Fr.
Brooke Worrell, Chesapeake, So.
Katryel Clark, Lincoln Land, So.