The Mount Vernon Nazarene College women's basketball team wrapped up another successful year as the Lady Cougars closed out the 1999-2000 season with a 20-16 overall record. This marked the third straight winning season for MVNC and only the second 20-win campaign in the program's 23-year history.
The Lady Cougars started the season with three straight wins as MVNC won its own Lady Cougar Tip-off Tournament with victories over Ohio State University-Newark and Bethel (IN) College, the eventual National Christian College Athletic Association national champions. Against Bethel, MVNC set a new school record by nailing 18 three-pointers in the 93-75 victory.
After losing two close games at the Olivet Nazarene (IL) University Tournament, the Lady Cougars caught fire and won five of their next seven games to improve to 8-4 as the team took a week off for Christmas. One of the victories was a 69-58 win over Tiffin University, which was ranked #23 in NAIA Division II at the time.
When MVNC returned from its holiday break, the Lady Cougars jumped right in the thick of its rugged American Mideast Conference schedule. The team posted a 5-8 record over its next 13 games as nine of the games came against teams ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA national polls. MVNC also was forced to change its lineups as several players missed games with injuries.
With their lineup healthy and intact, the Lady Cougars closed out the regular season by winning three of their final four games as MVNC earned the fourth seed in the AMC Division II Tournament with a 10-10 conference record after being picked to finish seventh by the coaches in the preseason poll.
The Lady Cougars defeated Tiffin 79-69 in the first round of the conference tournament before losing 84-67 in the semifinals to defending NAIA Division II national champion, Shawnee State University.
At this point, MVNC turned its attention to defending its NCCAA East Region crown. The third-seeded Lady Cougars routed Roberts Wesleyan (NY) College 80-50 in the semifinals of the region tournament to advance to the title game.
In the championship game, MVNC upset top-seeded Malone College 64-62 in overtime to claim its third straight NCCAA East Region title and advance to the NCCAA National Tournament. The victory also avenged two regular-season losses to the Lady Pioneers, who were ranked #23 in the final NAIA Division II national poll.
MVNC dropped its first two games at the national tournament to Spring Arbor (MI) College and Northwest (WA) College, but the Lady Cougars closed out their season with an 85-69 victory over host Oakland City (IN) University to notch their 20th win. In that game, senior guard Anne Nussbaum broke the school single-game scoring record by tossing in 40 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field and an 11-for-11 performance at the free throw line.
Individually, several players had outstanding seasons. Nussbaum led the team in scoring (13.4 points per game), assists (129), and steals (90) as she was named to the AMC Second Team and the NCCAA East Region First Team. She became the eleventh player in school history to score 1,000 career points, and she also finished her career as MVNC's all-time leader in three-pointers made (168) and games played (129).
Senior guard Shelly Aldrich averaged 11.7 points per game and led the Lady Cougars with 66 three-pointers as she was named to the NCCAA East Region Second Team. She also shot 82 percent from the free throw line and recorded 100 assists and 84 steals. She became the ninth player in school history to top the 1,000-point mark, and she finished third in career scoring with 1,179 points.
Senior forward Amie Bibby received Honorable Mention in the NCCAA East Region after averaging 9.0 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game. She set new school records for career steals (267) and career starts (110), while she also became the tenth MVNC player to top the 1,000-point mark.
Senior guard Holly Riggle averaged 4.3 points per game in her final season as the fourth member of the winningest class in the program's history with 67 victories. She also moved into tenth place in career three-pointers made (66) and career assists (219). The four Lady Cougar seniors combined for nearly 4,000 career points.
Junior forward Deanna Kilpatrick averaged 10.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and received Honorable Mention in the AMC, while classmate Kelly Walters averaged 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest.
Sophomore forward Angie Trainer contributed 11.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as she was named to the AMC Honorable Mention list. Freshman guard Jenni Davis scored 3.7 points per game and led the team in free throw shooting at 85 percent. She also set a school record by making 27 straight free throw attempts.
As a team, MVNC set new single-season records for most points (2,469), most free throws made (525), best free throw percentage (74.5 percent), most steals (394), most field goals attempted (2,149), and most three-pointers attempted (856).
The Lady Cougars must now replace Nussbaum, Aldrich, Bibby, and Riggle, but with a solid recruiting class coming in to join the returning players, the foundation has been set to continue the team's winning ways.