Every great team has prolific scorers and the Goshen College women’s basketball team is no exception. Senior guards Sophia Sears and Lynnia Noel recently became the 15th and 16th Maple Leafs to reach 1,000 career points and were honored on the evening of Jan. 11 in Gunden Gymnasium. The ceremony took place at halftime of Goshen’s 57-37 win against Mount Vernon Nazarene University.A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Noel is touted as the team’s sharpshooter. She currently leads the Leafs in three-point scoring by converting on 27 of her 77 attempted shots from beyond the arc. Noel currently stands at 1,031 career points and is leading the Leafs scoring attack this season with 14.9 points per contest.
Her career highlights include knocking down a three pointer in the final seconds of the first round of the NAIA National Championship tournament last season to secure an 85-82 victory over No. 16 ranked Concordia University. She also scored a career best 25 points this season against Brescia University and ranks eighth all-time in the assists category with 244. Noel scored her 1,000th point on Jan. 7 at Grace College.
Noel addressed her career milestone saying, “Reaching 1,000 points at the collegiate level feels great, and it felt even better because my family was there to see it and congratulate me. That was the most important thing to me: hitting my 1,000th point with my biggest supporters there to share that moment with me.”
The Leafs’ point guard Sophie Sears hails from Paoli, Indiana and has continued to make her mark as a mainstay for the Leafs. Sears joined the 1,000-point club on Dec. 1 of 2016 against Indiana Wesleyan University and currently ranks 11th all-time in GC women’s basketball scoring with 1,130 points.
At this point in the season, Sears is averaging 13.7 points per game and does a large amount of her damage from the free throw line. She is currently ranked 1st all-time in the GC women’s basketball record books for free throw percentage at 84 percent. In addition to impressive scoring numbers, Sears has also made her mark in the record books as a facilitator with 417 career assists, the third highest in the program’s history.
As if that weren’t enough, she’s been one of the program’s best defenders as well, placing fourth all-time in career steals with 245.
Sears displayed nothing but gratitude when talking about her achievement. “Hitting 1,000 points was a nice reminder and milestone for all the hard work put in by myself, as well as my team, over the past few years,” Sears said. “I’ve been blessed to play with some great teammates in my time here, and I know this accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
Coach Stephanie Miller praised the duo, saying, “Their value to this team has been rooted in something deeper than the scoring column. This year they’ve both been asked to move into more of a scoring role and have transitioned seamlessly. I’m truly proud of both of these young ladies for finding their way to the 1000-point club.”
Sears and Noel are the fourth and fifth Maple Leafs to reach 1,000 points under Miller, joining former teammates Jo’Mani Thomas, Liz Tecca and Tyra Carver.
Miller discussed the recent run of excellence saying, “This honor is a true testament to the selfless play of all of their teammates over the last four years. If these girls don’t share the basketball, then there’s no way that five players can reach 1000 points within two classes. It’s truly unbelievable to even think about.”