Plewes named All-American
After leading the Golden Eagles to a 27-8 record and the NAIA Sweet Sixteen, Jenna Plewes was named First Team All-American.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of Jenna, and I’m just so pleased that she is getting recognized in this way,” head coach Carla Fles said.
Plewes willed Cornerstone to win several games late in the season, hitting go-ahead baskets with the game on the line against Davenport in the WHAC Tournament Championship and against Aquinas during the final game of the regular season.
“She plays so hard,” Davenport coach Mark Young said. “I probably don’t have any more respect for any player that I’ve ever coached against than her. She brings it every single night.”
“She’s not a great shooter, and she’s not the fastest, but she plays so hard,” he added. “For someone to be as successful as she’s been it all comes down to her work ethic.”
Plewes averaged 17.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game during the conference season, but Fles said it was her hustle plays that made the difference for the team.
“She’s a gamer,” Fles said, comparing her to North Carolina star Tyler Hansbrough. “Sometimes we called her the one-man-full-court-press because she’d just stay back there all by herself, she’d pick someone off and score a layup.”
“She’s probably the hardest worker that I’ve coached here,” Fles added. “She just really loves to run and she works on her game all the time. She always puts her whole heart into every game and she hustles, and it’s great to see someone who works so hard get that recognition.”
Fles said she saw the All-American list when it was released on Tuesday night, and she was hoping Plewes, who received an honorable mention the previous two seasons, would make the second or third team. So she was “overjoyed” to learn Plewes was named to the first team.
“I just couldn’t wait to tell her,” Fles said. “When I told her she was really surprised.”
But Plewes, being the team player that she is, said she would trade her All-American status for a national championship in a split-second.
“For sure. Without a doubt. I just wish we could have went further,” Plewes said. “That would have been way more important than individual honors. I would’ve rather made a bigger run at the tournament.”
No one understands her devotion more than her teammates, who saw her hustle day-in-and-day-out.
“Jenna is a one-of-a-kind player,” teammate Krista Vink said. “She is constantly pushing and encouraging you. She led by example. I think she is a great player and person. She deserves the All-American nomination because she gives 110 percent all the time, and you can always count on her.”
Plewes praised her team, saying she wouldn’t have done it any other way.
“I can’t describe how much this team has meant to me,” Plewes said. “Everyone knows I love Cornerstone so much. The biggest thing is playing for God, and playing with teammates and coaches who just care about you, love you and represent God. That’s about the best feeling ever. I’ve absolutely loved it.”
Plewes was named to the All-American Team along with nine other NAIA Division II athletes around the nation, including Davenport’s Kallie Benike, who was the WHAC Player of the Year. Benike averaged 14.85 points and 7.38 rebounds per game.
The other All-Americans include Morningside’s Dani Gass, who was the NAIA Player of the Year, and Autumn Bartel, Ozarks’ Kayli Combs, Northwestern’s Becca Hurley, Concordia’s Whitney Stichka, Hastings’ Lindsay Ducey, Shawnee State’s Becky Babione and Dickinson State’s Kia Herbel.
Madonna’s Kim Olech and Aquinas’ Josyln Narber were named Third Team All-Americans. Davenport’s Kristi Boehm, Indiana Tech’s Hannah Thieke and Aquinas’ Carrie Abdo were named honorable mention.
Young hopes having two All-Americans in the conference will start to turn eyes toward the WHAC.
“It’s great for the present of our conference, and it’s great for the future,” he said. “People are starting to understand. We’ve got a legitimate claim…We’re becoming a legitimate No. 2 conference. It was great to see.”