McPherson College’s Bailey Brown deserved better.
When the All-KCAC women’s basketball teams were announced on Tuesday, you had to go all the way down to the third team to find her name.
I’ve had the good fortune of watching Brown play all season while the voters who determine the teams see the players only twice. But even at that, I’m sure they’ve seen a lot of film on the 5-4 Bulldog guard who is about to complete her career as one of the all-time greats in Mac history.
If you go by sheer numbers, Brown compiled a first-team-worthy resume. She was third in the KCAC in scoring, first in free throws attempted and free throws made (and second in free throw percentage) and on the defensive end she was second in the KCAC in steals while always defending the opposing team’s best guard. There isn’t a KCAC category for minutes played, but she was an iron woman, playing 35 minutes or more in most games. She does all of this despite being small in stature and while I’m not going to guess her weight because that can get you in trouble, let’s just say she’d compete in the flyweight division as she’s slight of build.
If nothing else, Brown’s body of work in her career should have given her a higher standing. She has been one of the KCAC’s better players for the past three years and has everyone’s respect.
There’s no question Friends’ Shann Sellers was the KCAC’s best player, she easily could be playing at a level higher than the NAIA. As for the other first-team picks, Tabor had to be represented because of its 19-1 conference record and Tena Loewen was the choice. The Bluejays amazingly play about 15 players, so their stats are somewhat skewed. They have so many players similar in ability that it’s hard to differentiate.
Southwestern’s Jordyn Miller missed some games due to injury, ranked 10th in the KCAC in scoring and 10th in rebounding. And she’s only a sophomore. To me, she has plenty of time to earn first-team honors. Her numbers simply didn’t stack up to Brown’s.
Ottawa’s Ashley Romig was third in the KCAC in scoring and rebounding. She’s also the player you have to game plan for if you’re an opposing coach. No problem there.
Also no problems with Sterling’s Hailey Davis. Second in the KCAC in scoring and a member of the All-Defensive Team. She gets it done at both ends of the floor.
As for those on the second team ahead of Brown, her teammate Ashton Bruner was a no-brainer, in fact she had numbers better than Southwestern’s Miller. Bruner was a huge reason the Bulldogs have made a nine-game improvement as she was fifth in the KCAC in scoring, second in rebounding. She is probably the best athlete in the KCAC along with Sellers.
Oklahoma Wesleyan’s Kayla Morgan? From what I saw, she wasn’t even the best player on her own team as I’d pick Susan Ageson. She was 14th in the KCAC in scoring. She did lead the KCAC in 3-pointers, but remember the Eagles’ offense basically lives and dies from beyond the arc. They took more than 40 against the Bulldogs in the most recent game and the Eagles had three of the Top 10 players in that category.
Jordyn Alexander of Kansas Wesleyan was one of the best players I saw. I thought she might have a chance at first team, but the Coyotes’ free fall at the end of the season probably hurt her.
Jana Reichenberger of Southwestern has been a tremendous four-year player. But her numbers weren’t as good as in past years, though she was fourth in the KCAC in rebounding. But she was near the bottom of the Top 20 in scoring. Again, she’s been a great ambassador for the league, but her numbers didn’t match up with Brown’s.
Tabor’s Juhrnee Reid had nowhere near the numbers. But her talent was unquestionable and I have no problem with her because of the system Tabor employs. Sometimes you have to look past the numbers and just know she had the talent.
Brown just did her job night in and night out and was a model of consistency. It’s just a shame the KCAC coaches didn’t recognize her greatness. I really believe they got this one wrong.