SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- The GPAC has been the dominant conference in NAIA women's basketball for 20 years. The NAIA has gone from two divisions to one and Morningside is the only GPAC team in the national rankings, coming in at number-11 this week. A big reason for the Mustangs success is the play of Sophia Peppers. She's this week's SportsFource Champion.
The best basketball players do a lot of things well. Morningside's Sophia Pepper is averaging just over 16 points per game and leads the team in rebounding and steals. She is making 50 percent of her shots from the field.
Those numbers are all in the top five of the conference.
"In the past years we've always been relying on one to two players," said Peppers. "When we can do that defensive stop and we do get in the offensive transition we have five girls that are able to score, not just one, not just two."
In the conference, Morningside is first in scoring and shooting percentage and second in points allowed. The Mustangs lead the GPAC at 13-1, good enough for a two and a half game advantage in the standings.
"Our defense is unstoppable," said Peppers. "When we work together and we work hard all the time our defense is probably one of the top in the conference. I'm not trying to sound cocky and I'm not saying we're the best but our defense, we really work well and there's a lot of great players that hustle at them."
"They try to get better every game and we just play one at a time," said Morningside Head Coach Jamie Sale. "I think that's one thing that COVID has taught our team to really not take it for granted because in past years you just always assume the next game and this year you can't. They have literally just looked forward tp every day and take advantage of it."
Peppers is a junior from Exira, Iowa. She was a second-team all-conference pick as a sophomore. She's a lock to be on the first team this season.
"In my past years as a freshman and a sophomore, I can easily say that my junior year has been by far the best," said Peppers.
Peppers had 11 points and 9 rebounds Wednesday as Morningside beat Dordt, 82-73, for their tenth win in a row.