News release date:
Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Women's Basketball Team Again Makes
WBCA's Top 25 Academic Honor Roll

WALLA WALLA, Wash. For the second time in as many years, the Whitman College women's basketball squad has made the Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll, as announced by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).

Coached by Michelle Ferenz, the Missionary women concluded their 2005-06 academic year with a combined grade point average (gpa) of 3.460 on a 4.0 scale. Whitman ranks No. 11 among all NCAA Div. III schools in the nation. Colorado College was the top-ranking DIII school with a team gpa of 3.577.

"Led by a terrific group of seniors, our team exemplified Division III athletics," Ferenz says. "Basketball is a long and demanding season, and our players have to work hard and stay focused to balance excellence on the court and in the classroom. Once again they have done an admirable job representing Whitman and its athletics program."

Lizzy Washburn, who graduated magna cum laude from Whitman in May with a degree in mathematics, paced her team's academic exploits last year. She had a perfect 4.0 gpa for the fall semester, followed by a 3.85 gpa in the spring.

Washburn, a 5-foot-9 forward from Mundelein, Ill., was named to the All-NWC First Team following her senior season. She led Whitman for a second straight season in scoring, shooting percentage, rebounding and blocked shots. She also was named to ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-District Team.

Other graduating seniors on the team were Megan Higgins, a 5-foot-6 senior point guard from Colorado Springs, Colo.; Laura Vertatschitsch, a 5-foot-7 shooting guard from Issaquah, Wash.; Laura Sprague, a 5-foot-9 guard/forward from Soda Springs, Idaho; and Leyla Khastou, a 6-foot post player from Seattle, Wash.

Higgins, a psychology major, finished with gpa marks of 3.692 and 3.700 for her final two semesters. She ended her playing career as Whitman's all-time career assist leader.

Emily Shubin, a 5-foot-10 sophomore forward from Bellevue, Wash., also registered high academic marks last year. Shubin, also a psychology major, posted a 3.753 gpa for the fall semester and a 3.869 gpa in the spring.

Other student-athletes on the women's roster last year were juniors Katie Patneaude (Seattle, Wash.), Sarah Laird (Los Altos, Calif.) and Sarah Nicholes (Portland, Ore.), sophomores Kelsey Krumdieck (San Diego, Calif.) and Kristina Francis (Blaine, Wash.), and first-year players Kalla Vavra (Bellevue, Wash.) and Kathryn DeVleming (Clarkston, Wash.).

The University of Puget Sound is the only other school in the Northwest Conference to make the top 25 academic list. The Loggers placed 21st with a team gpa of 3.361.


Dave Holden, Whitman Sports Information,
(509) 527-5902;