The American Rivers Conference has announced its major women's basketball awards and the 17-member all-conference team for the 2019-20 campaign as voted upon by the league's head coaches.
Luther College seniors Laura Hamilton (Minnetonka, Minn./Chanhassen), Sarah Holtz (Austin, Minn./Pacellie Catholic), Madilyn Heinke (Seymour, Wis.) and Madi Spence (Glenwood Springs, Colo.) were all recognized.
For the third year in a row, Hamilton was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year. Hamilton led the league with 65 steals for an average of 4.1 over 16 games, numbers that matched her junior season output. In this her final season for the Norse, she averaged 11.8 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game, and totaled 15 blocked shots. Hamilton also led the conference in total assists (83) and assists per game (5.2). On the national level, she ranked 9th in steals per game (3.68), 13th in total steals (92), 30th in assists per game (4.9), and 34th in total assists (123).
Since the league began honoring a Defensive Player of the Year in 2010-11, Hamilton becomes just the second player to garner the accolade three-straight seasons, joining Lori Obendorf of Loras College (2017, 2016, 2015). Additionally, Hamilton was selected first-team all-conference, as the defensive player of the year is not honored as all-conference unless selected to the first or second team by the coaches. This is the third-straight season she was selected first-team, adding to her freshman season honorable mention recognition.
Hamilton completed her career ranked in four categories on Luther's all-time top-10 lists. She scored 1,118 points that ranks 10th, 415 assists that ranks first, 300 steals that ranks second and 75 blocks that ranks ninth. She also collected 529 rebounds that ranks 11th.
Holtz was also named first-team all-conference. Holtz averaged 16.4 points per game in conference play. She led the Norse in free throw percentage (83.6%), points per game, and field goal percentage (42.8%). The marks were good for second, third, and sixth respectively in the conference. Holtz also ranked fourth in the league in rebounds per game (6.4). Holtz finished her career with 1,214 points that ranks eighth all-time and 582 rebounds that ranks sixth.
Heinke and Spence were both named honorable mention all-conference. Heinke finished second in the A-R-C in rebounds per game (6.8) and 32nd in points per game (8.7). Heinke, who was a fifth-year senior who only played four games before a season ending injury as a sophomore, tallied 528 points and 456 rebounds during her career.
Spence finished the conference schedule eighth in rebounding collecting 6.1 per game and 22nd in scoring producing 10.3 points per game. She scored 914 points during her career, grabbed 578 rebounds and blocked 119 shots. Her rebound total ranks 10th all-time, while her blocked shot total ranks third.
Luther finished third in the A-R-C with a record of 12-4 earning the No. 3 seed for the six-team conference tournament. The Norse advanced to the semifinal round for the sixth consecutive year. The Norse finished with an overall record of 15-10.