INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – Matthew Leritz of Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, Ill.) and Hannah Geistfeld of Bethany Lutheran University (Mankato, Minn.) were named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Division III National Players of the Week for the week ending February 13.
Leritz, a 6-7 senior forward from St. Louis, Mo., helped lead Illinois Wesleyan (No. 6, D3hoops.com) to three conference victories last week. On Monday, he scored 19 points (7-of-11 FG, 4-of-4 FT, 1-of-3 3FG), grabbed four rebounds, added an assist, steal and two blocks in the Titans' (19-4, 12-2) 73-49 victory over North Park. On Wednesday, Leritz blocked a game-winning shot attempt and knocked down a buzzer-beater in a 51-49 win at Millikin. He finished the contest with 21 points (9-of-16 FG, 3-of-5 3FG), nine rebounds, an assist, steal and three blocks. Then, in a 79-71 victory over No. 11 Wheaton on Saturday, Leritz scored a career-high 31 points (12-of-20 FG, 5-of-6 FT, 2-of-3 3FG), 25 in the second half, to help Illinois Wesleyan overcome a three-point halftime deficit. He added eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block in the contest. For the week, Leritz averaged 23.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.0 blocks while shooting 59.6 percent (28-47) from the field, 90.0 percent (9-of-10) from the foul line and 54.5 percent (6-of-11) from three-point range. For his efforts, Leritz was also named the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) Player of the Week.
Geistfeld, a 6-0 senior forward from Truman, Minn., receives the honor for the third time this season after posting a pair of double-doubles. The NCAA Division III leader in points (620), scoring average (27.0), field goals made (230), and free throws made (152), and Bethany Lutheran's career leader in points (2,197) and rebounds (1,044), Geistfeld helped lead the Vikings (17-6, 12-0) to a pair of conference victories last week. She finished with 36 points (16-of-23 FG, 4-of-6 FT), 13 rebounds, five assists, and two steals in a 95-78 win over Crown on Friday. The next day, Geistfeld totaled 33 points (13-of-17 FG, 7-of-9 FT), 21 rebounds and four assists in a 75-63 victory over Minnesota-Morris. For the week, she averaged 34.5 points, 17.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.0 steals while shooting 72.5 percent (29-of-40) from the field and 73.3 percent (11-of-15) from the foul line. For her efforts, Geistfeld, who ranks second in Division III in total rebounds (309) and double-doubles (17), was also named the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Player of the Week.
Each Tuesday, the USBWA is selecting men's and women's Division III National Players of the Week. The program has resumed after a one-season hiatus and this is the seventh season that the USBWA will recognize national players of the week from Division III.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.