Cornell women's basketball has a Diamond in Boyd

Women's basketball: Three-sport athlete leads Rams (7-4, 4-1 MWC) into home games against Lawrence on Friday, Ripon Saturday

Cornell College Rams forward Diamond Boyd (11) tries to shoot around Illinois College Lady Blues guard/forward Mickalah York (3) during the first quarter of their women’s basketball game at the Small Multi-Sport Center in Mount Vernon on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Cornell College Rams forward Diamond Boyd (11) tries to shoot around Illinois College Lady Blues guard/forward Mickalah York (3) during the first quarter of their women’s basketball game at the Small Multi-Sport Center in Mount Vernon on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

MOUNT VERNON — No matter the season, Diamond Boyd is out to make a significant impact at Cornell College.

The fifth-year senior has not only competed for the Rams in track and field, volleyball and basketball, she has done so at an elite-enough level to be named Midwest Conference Player of the Year in volleyball and basketball during the 2016-17 school year.

“It keeps me in shape, so that is always a plus,” said Boyd, who will help Cornell (7-4, 4-1 MWC) take on Lawrence in a women’s basketball game Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Small Multi-Sport Center. “Also, I think it is really good for athletes to get a different perspective from how different teams work and how different sports work to make you a better overall athlete.”

The 5-foot-10 forward — a native of Elk Grove Village, Ill. — leads the Rams in scoring (14.2 points per game), rebounds (9.9 per game), steals (39) and blocks (9). Boyd has twice been named MWC Player of the Week this season, is sixth in school history with 1,048 career points and is seven steals shy of tying a school record (237).

“She’s highly competitive,” Cornell Coach Brent Brase said. “She’s very explosive and very, very athletic. She can score from 15 feet, she gets a number of steals, she hits the offensive glass. She’s just really tough to stop when she gets the ball inside. She helps raise everyone’s level around her.”

The supporting cast around Boyd is experienced and effective. Senior guard Haley Grana is second in Cornell history with 147 3-pointers and third with 245 assists. The Rams feature a pair of former Cedar Rapids Washington preps in sophomore guard Anne Visser (2016-17 MWC Newcomer of the Year) and junior post Kandis O’Donnell, who was a rebound shy of her first double-double in a Saturday win over Knox.

“My teammates have been the best part of any of this, on and off the court,” O’Donnell said. “Off the court, especially, our chemistry is so good that it brings it to the game on the court. They have definitely helped me along this way and I wouldn’t be able to do that because of them.”

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Cornell — winner of five of its last six games — has an opportunity to claim sole possession of first place in the conference with home wins Friday over Lawrence (3-10, 1-4) and Saturday against league-leader Ripon (7-5, 5-1). The Rams have won three MWC titles in five years.

“Every day we see something new from us,” Boyd said. “Every day we see something that we weren’t doing yesterday and things that we have been talking about doing since the beginning. This team just has so much potential to keep climbing.”

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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