basketball

College reloaded: Jo Leedham – Franklin Pierce (2006-10)

When in lockdown, raid the archives. We will be looking back on some memorable college careers by British players across the Hoopsfix websites.

Jo Leedham-Warner has become one of the GB greats and it is now a decade ago since cementing her name in the NCAA Division II record books at Franklin Pierce.

3,050 points. That’s three thousand, and fifty. And, that’s still comfortably enough for top spot on the all-time scoring charts in DII.

Here’s a brief recap of the first three years in Rindge, New Hampshire:

  • As a freshman, Leedham earned the NE-10 Player of the Week award on six occasions, averaging 23.1 points per game with a best of 39 points against Stonehill in December, 2006 – a couple of days shy of her 19th birthday.
  • Leedham reached double figures in scoring in all 25 appearances, recording four double-doubles and also made the All-NE-10 first team in addition to claiming the Freshman of the Year award.
  • The double-figure streak continued throughout her sophomore year with Leedham averaging 23.0 points per game in becoming the NE-10 Player of the Year. A run to the Elite Eight stage of the DII National Championship ended in defeat, despite 31 points and a career-high 18 rebounds from Leedham.
  • The Ravens went even further in the 2008-09 season with Leedham averaging 23.5 points per game over the course of her junior year, including 26 points and 10 rebounds in the Championship decider in a final game alongside sister Jen.
  • Another NE-10 Player of the Year award beckoned with Leedham’s 149 points in the DII tournament setting a new record having been MVP in leading FPU to the conference title beforehand.

Image credit: Richard Orr/Franklin Pierce Athletics

And then, a closer look at Leedham’s senior year in 2009-10:

Opening night

33 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals in 29 minutes. As dominant as it gets as Leedham set the tone for another strong season to lead Franklin Pierce past Nyack in a 51-86 victory. In the next game, Leedham followed up with a 34-point haul against with her side starting 4-0 through November.

Season-high December

The wins kept coming and the points kept building as the Ravens closed out 2009 with 10 wins from 10 on the season. But it wasn’t just the scoring that made Leedham so valuable, it was the all-round contributions, particularly in December. Leedham started the month with eight steals (collecting nine a month later) before registering a career-high nine assists against Stonehill and then 16 rebounds to close out the year.

Scintillating scoring streak

FPU continued their unbeaten run with nine more victories at the start of 2010 with the end of January coinciding with an incredible scoring streak from Leedham; starting with 31 points at Le Moyne. That started a stretch of four consecutive 30+ point games with a best of 35 as Leedham averaged 31.0 points per game in a seven-game span through February.

Champions (again!)

After a staggering 25-1 record to take the regular season title by storm, the Ravens advanced through the post-season tournament to be crowned champions for the second year running with Leedham firing in 31 points in the final against Stonehill. More success followed as Leedham netted 34 points to guide Franklin Pierce to another regional title as they battled past Holy Family in an 82-79 overtime triumph.

Image credit: FPU

The greatest

Leedham’s college career concluded one game too early with a defeat to Fort Lewis in the Final Four of the DII National Championship after being held to 13 points on 5 of 22 shooting. That still took the grand total of points to 3,050 to sit at the top of the pile in the history books as THE greatest scorer of all time in NCAA DII history.

In 2015, Leedham was inducted into the Northeast-10 Hall of Fame with deserved recognition of an illustrious career as a three-time Player of the Year, being named to the All-first team in each of the four seasons as well as earning National awards.

You can listen to Episode 23 of the Hoopsfix Podcast with Jo Leedham recalling her college career, below:

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