CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois University women’s basketball team (3.716) boasts the eighth-best combined grade point average among NCAA Division I schools, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced Wednesday.

SIU’s No. 8 ranking in the WBCA Academic Top-25 Honor Roll is a new program record and it marked the fourth time in the last five seasons that the Salukis have cracked the Top-25. Southern’s best finish prior to this season came in 2019 when SIU recorded a 3.62 GPA to finish 11th. SIU’s 3.716 GPA, meanwhile, is the highest it has been of the now seven times that the Salukis have earned a spot on the list.

The Salukis are joined by the UNI Panthers (No. 15, 3.663 GPA) as the only Missouri Valley Conference programs to earn inclusion on the list.

“Congratulations to each of the teams recognized in the 2020-21 WBCA Academic Top 25,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. “Their head coaches are to be commended for fostering an environment of excellence for their student-athletes both on the court and, more importantly, in the classroom; particularly with the additional stress this season caused by the uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The WBCA Academic Top 25 recognizes NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA and two-year GPAs inclusive of all student-athletes on their rosters for the entire season. The 2020-21 season is the 26th in which the WBCA has compiled the honor rolls.

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