April 23, 2007
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University women's basketball team celebrated the 2006-07 season Sunday at its annual banquet. Head coach Carol Owens and her staff reflected on the accomplishments of the past year and handed out several awards.
Tara Michels won the Academic Achievement Award. Since her arrival at NIU, the sophomore out of Dixon, Ill. has earned 24 A's and four B's. Michels, a finance major, has a 3.86 G.PA. She played in 28 games, averaging 6.9 minutes a game and 2.1 points a game. She was second on the team in three-point field goal percentage, hitting 40 percent of her threes.
Becky Smith was named Most Improved Player. Smith, who started the season as a reserve coming off the bench, made her first career start Jan. 27, 2007 at Buffalo and remained in the starting line up the rest of the season. She was averaging 2.7 points a game in 13.8 minutes a game coming off the bench. As a starter, she was averaging 24.8 minutes a game and was averaging 6.3 points a game. She set a Mid-American Conference Tournament record shooting 92 percent from the field in the tournament.
Kristin Wiener took home the Huskie Award for dedication and hard work on and off the court and also won the Windex Award as the team's top rebounder. Wiener grabbed 247 rebounds in 2006-07 and finished her four-year career with 629, 14th on the Huskies' all-time list. She is also 14th on the Huskies all-time scoring list with 1,218 and is the 16th Huskie to reach both 1,000-career points and 500-career rebounds milestones. She was named Second Team All-MAC and was named MAC Player of the Week after posting her fifth double-double and scoring a career-high 28 points in the Huskies win over IPFW and scoring 21 in the victory over Miami (OH).
Stephanie Raymond took home the Most Valuable Player Award after averaging 18.9 points and 6.5 assists a game this past season. Raymond is the school's fifth leading scorer with 1,719 points. She was the first player in NIU history to be drafted by the WNBA and is the highest draft selection in any sport in school history, going 20th overall to the Chicago Sky. Her 2006-07 season free throw percentage (90.1) and career free throw percentage (83.9) are school records.
Raymond earned First Team All-MAC honors and was named to the Kraft MAC All-Tournament Team at the 2007 Kraft MAC Women's Basketball Tournament Mar. 4-10 after averaging 20 points a game in the tournament. She also was named MAC Player of the Week three times and most valuable player at Northwestern's Mildred and Roger L. Invitational.
As a team, the Huskies (19-12, 8-8) posted its best record since the 1993-94 season (24-6) and its most wins since 2001-02 (17-12). It is the Huskies' first winning season since 2001-02 and the first time they have advanced to the semifinals of the MAC Tournament since 2002. The Huskies beat Akron, 69-56, in the first round game, defeated Kent State, 72-68, in the quarterfinals and fell to Ball State, 83-72 in the semifinals. The Huskies finished in the Top 10 nationally in free-throw shooting percentage (fourth) and three-point field goals per game (ninth). The Huskies set the school record for three-point field goals made (213) and attempted (578).