EMPORIA, Kan. - Immortalized as the Most Valuable Player of the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Elite Eight, Alli Volkens will forever be recognized as one of the greatest players in Emporia State University history after her jersey was retired to the rafters of White Auditorium on Feb. 23.
Volkens, a 2007 graduate of Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School, was honored in a ceremony during the Lady Hornets' game against Northeastern State on Alumnae Weekend at ESU.
She was joined by her former coach Brandon Schneier, who now heads Stephen F. Austin, her family and former teammates as her No. 50 jersey was hung next to the team's national championship banner from 2010.
"Hard to believe #50 will forever hang from the rafters next to the greatest Lady Hornets of all time come this afternoon," Volkens wrote on her Facebook wall. "(hash)blessed."
Volkens was a four-year letterwinner for the Lady Hornets, earning honorable mention all-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association honors in 2010 prior to being the key cog in Emporia State's run to its only national title. The 6-foot-2 center from Reinbeck averaged 21.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and shot .759 from the field during three games in the Elite Eight in St. Joseph, Mo., including team-highs of 16 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots during a 65-53 national championship victory over Fort Lewis College.
In her senior season, Volkens earned all-MIAA first-team and defensive team honors after leading ESU in scoring (17.6) and rebounding (12.2). She shattered the MIAA tournament record with 47 rebounds and added 73 points - third most in tourney history - as the Lady Hornets fell in the title game.
Volkens was named MIAA all-tournament, Daktronics South Central Region Player of the Year and Daktronics second-team All-American.
She finished her collegiate career with 1,360 points, 894 rebounds and 216 blocked shots, becoming the seventh player to have her number enshrined in the Emporia State rafters.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck's all-time leading scorer and rebounder was a two-time all-state selection, a four-time all-NICL West first-team pick, twice the conference's Player of the Year and the Times-Republican's All-Area Player of the Year twice as well.