Peterkin blocks her way to CC Defensive Player of the Year

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Even as a freshman, the leading shot blocker in all of NCAA Division II women’s basketball couldn’t be overlooked.

Thus, when it came time to hand out yearly awards in Conference Carolinas, Barton College freshman Shanika Peterkin emerged as the choice to secure the honor as the league’s top defensive player, as announced by the conference Thursday afternoon.

Peterkin has 124 total blocks thus far in 2017-18 and averages 4.28 rejections per contest. Both figures are tops in the nation among Division II players. She leads the Lady Bulldogs with 9.1 rebounds and contributes 5.7 points per game, 1.7 steals and just over one assist per game at 1.2.

On Jan. 10, the 6-foot-2 Peterkin recorded a triple-double in a 90-79 win over archrival University of Mount Olive, getting 14 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocks.

Because of her status as the nation’s leading shot-blocker, the conference accolade did not surprise Peterkin.

“If I didn’t get it,” she said, “I figured there’s something else I need to do next year to get it.”

Barton head coach Wendee Saintsing hailed Peterkin as “deserving.”

“If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t be where we are,” Saintsing declared. “She helped us out tremendously defensively.”

Peterkin, who hails from Virginia Beach, Virginia, expressed her appreciation for the recognition, noting: “Defense is my main thing to do. If the offense comes, it just comes. I just try to play defense all the time.”

In addition, Barton also picked up first- and second-team all-conference selections in redshirt senior guard Alex Kimble and junior forward Kianna Wynn.

Kimble, receiving all-conference recgonition for the first time, dropped in a career-high 37 points at home against Southern Wesleyan on Senior Day on Feb. 3. She is sixth in the league in scoring at 17.2 points per game.

Wynn was named to the second team following a pair of first-team selections in her first two seasons in Wilson. She stands fourth in the conference in scoring at 17.6 points per game and is sixth in rebounding at 9.1. Coming off a 35-point, 15-point performance against Lees-McRae in the Conference Carolinas quarterfinals, Wynn has six games of at least 20 or more points this season.

The remainder of the Conference Carolinas First Team are Mount Olive’s Felecity Havens, Jasmine Richardson and Keidra Smith of Limeston as well as North Greenville’s Karen Donehew. Havens was named the league’s Player of the Year.

Wynn was joined on the Second Team by Mount Olive’s Ni’Ya Styles, a Nash Central High product, King’s Kori West, Brianna James of Converse and Emry Tsitouris of Belmont Abbey.

Third-team honors went to Belmont Abbey’s Maria Kuhlman, Markia Stacey of Lees-McRae, Abbey’s Allie Downing, North Greenville’s Cameron Carter and Erskine’s Alexis Scott.

Kuhlman doubled as the league’s Freshman of the Year, while Belmont Abbey head coach Jason Williams is the conference’s Coach of the Year.