Three Jeffs Named to Academic All-District Team

AMHERST, MA – Three Amherst College women’s basketball standouts have been named to the 2010-11 Capital One Academic All-District Women’s Basketball Team, an honor that recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performance on the floor and in the classroom.

Jaci Daigneault '11
Sarah Leyman '11
Caroline Stedman '12

Amherst’s Jaci Daigneault ’11 (Guilford, CT) earned a spot on the Academic All-District First Team in the College Division, while Sarah Leyman ’11 (Cincinnati, OH) and Caroline Stedman ’12 (Walpole, MA) landed on the Third Team. Amherst is the only school with multiple winners from District I, which features 16 honorees in all. Colby College’s Jules Kowalski ’11 (Third Team) is the only other representative from the NESCAC.

Any sophomore, junior or senior with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30 and with significant athletic credentials is eligible to be nominated by her college’s sports information director. Last year Daigneault became the first player in program history to earn Academic All-District recognition (Second Team), but this year her First Team honor makes her eligible for the Academic All-America Team, which will be announced Thursday, Feb. 24.

Daigneault majors in psychology and is a NESCAC All-Academic selection. She is a two-year captain and three-year starter for the Lord Jeffs, and in 2009 she became the program’s first-ever All-America honoree. She ranks sixth on Amherst’s all-time scoring list (1,101) and is ninth in rebounds (585), and her outstanding senior season has her moving up both lists rapidly. The four-time NESCAC Player of the Week is currently the Jeffs’ leading scorer (14.5 ppg) and boasts the highest field goal percentage (.634) in all of Division III.

This marks the first Academic All-District selection for  Leyman, a biology major and president of the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Earlier this year she was named one of five finalists for the Wooden Citizenship Cup, which is awarded to the nation’s best role model among all college athletes. Leyman is a two-time All-Conference Second Team selection (2009, 2010) and is a NESCAC All-Academic honoree, ranking third on the school’s all-time rebounding list (738) and following close behind Daigneault on the scoring chart (1,051, 10th).

Rounding out Amherst’s honorees is Stedman, the 2010 NESCAC Player of the Year. Majoring in Spanish and economics, Stedman is a two-year starter and has established herself as one of the most athletic players in the conference. As a sophomore she had at least 10 points in 15 of the team’s final 17 games en route to All-America honors, starting in all 33 games and leading the Jeffs in scoring (12.3 ppg). This year Stedman has battled through injury to return to the starting lineup, currently ranking second on the team in points per game (8.5).

Daigneault, Leyman and Stedman have helped lead Amherst to a 19-1 record and a No. 2 national ranking this season. The Lord Jeffs will return to action tomorrow when they host Tufts University at 8 p.m.

The Academic All-District teams are divided into eight geographic districts across the United States and Canada. The University Division team includes NCAA Division I participants, while the College Division team combines NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, Canadian and two-year schools. For more information, visit the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) website.