October 10, 2002
SPOTLIGHT AS MAC ANNOUNCES PRE-SEASON WOMENS BASKETBALL HONORS
hard work and determination can pay off. Just as Northern Illinois Universitys
Jennifer Youngblood (Rock Island), whose diligence and consistency were
rewarded Thursday (Oct. 10) when the Mid-American Conference announced
the junior forward as one of ten members of its preseason All-MAC womens
second in the MAC in rebounding (9.0 per game) and point-rebound double-doubles
(nine) plus third in field goal percentage (.547) last season. The 5-11
forward led the Huskies in scoring (13.2 points per game) and scored 15
or more points on 14 occasions. She is on pace to become only the fifth
player in school history to record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in
an NIU uniform.
The Rock Island native
garnered Second-Team All-MAC recognition as a sophomore and finished the
2001-02 campaign in impressive fashion. Five of her double-doubles
came in the final six games of the regular season, and she earned a spot
on the MAC All-Tournament team with 44 points plus 27 rebounds in three
contests at the league summit.
I believe this
is a well-deserved honor. For the past two years, Jennifer has exemplified
humility, leadership and consistency, Northern Illinois coach Carol
Hammerle said. In the last two seasons, she has truly been our most
consistent player and deserves to be recognized with an honor like this.
a spot on the leagues All-Freshman team in 2000-01 after averaging
11.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in her first collegiate season.
That effort enabled NIU to post a 16-16 ledger that year, the schools
best showing since 1994-95 and an eight-game improvement from the previous
campaign. With the latest honor, Youngblood becomes the first Huskie named
to a preseason All-MAC team.
helped our program reach another level, Hammerle added. Her
play has been a big part of what we have accomplished in the last two
to get better as the team gets better, Youngblood said. Were
starting to get more respect, but Im not thinking about honors like
this. Our primary goal is winning the MAC tournament, but now more teams
will be shooting for us.
Youngblood has started
all 62 games played by Northern Illinois over the last two years, and
already stands tenth in school history with 19 career double-doubles.
With two more seasons, she could join former NIU Athletics Hall of Famers
Carol Owens and Lisa Starosta plus previous Huskie standouts Tammy Hinchee
and Angela Lockett as the only players to reach the 1,000-rebound plateau.
on the West Division preseason honor roll were Tamara Bowie of Ball State
University, Tia Davis of the University of Toledo, Western Michigan Universitys
Kristin Koetsier and Francine Miller of Bowling Green St. University,
which moves to the west after residing in the East Division for the past
four seasons. The East Division squad includes Kent State University teammates
Andrea Csaszar and Valerie Zona, plus 2001-02 MAC Player of the Year Heather
Cusick of Miami University. Marshall Universitys Ida Dotson and
Jessica Kochendorfer of the University at Buffalo round out the list of
Bowie earned First-Team
All-MAC status in each of the last two seasons, ranking second in the
conference in scoring (16.6) and leading the league in field goal percentage
(.550) a year ago. Bowies presence helped the Cardinals win the
West Division title in 2001-02. Koetsier is also a defending First-Team
All-MAC choice after missing all of 1999-2000 with a knee injury. The
Bronco forward ranked in the top 10 in the league in five statistical
categories, including scoring (fifth at 15.0 ppg.), rebounding sixth at
(7.5 rpg.), field goal percentage (seventh at .459), free throw percentage
(fifth at .824) and blocked shots (eighth with 1.03 per contest).
Davis was third on
the UT charts at 11.2 ppg. last year, while her all-around talent also
produced rates of 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals per outing.
Miller missed most of 2001-02 due to injury, but averaged 17.5 ppg. in
four games last year before opting for a medical redshirt season. She
was a Second-Team All-MAC performer in 2000-01 after gaining First-Team
recognition the previous winter.
Csaszar was the Most
Valuable Player of the conference tournament last spring, leading the
Golden Flashes to the conference championship and an NCAA tournament appearance.
That capped a season which saw the 6-6 Csaszar gain Second-Team All-MAC
acclaim after ranking second in the league with 1.96 blocked shots per
game and sixth in scoring at 15.0 points per game. She set a league tournament
record with 18 blocks, including nine in one contest. Zona was an Honorable
Mention all-conference selection last winter, averaging 13.1 points and
4.35 assists per game as a junior.
Cusick led the conference
with her 17.5 points-per-game scoring pace in 2001-02, but also finished
second on the final MAC charts in three other categories: assists (5.60
per game), steals (2.87 per contest) and three-point field goals (2.43
per game). The RedHawk guard was an Honorable Mention all-conference selection
in each of her first two seasons before climbing to the top of the league
as a junior, the first MU player named First-Team All-MAC in seven years.
on the Honorable Mention All-MAC list as a sophomore after finishing fourth
in the conference in rebounding (7.6 caroms per contest), third in blocked
shots (1.36 per contest) and tenth in scoring (14.3 ppg.). Her seven double-doubles
were third in the conference.
Miller, Koetsier and
Bowie were all named to the preseason honor roll last year when only five
players gained that distinction. The conference expanded to separate squads
for each division for the first time this fall.
The awards follow
voting by the MAC News Media Association, a collection of reporters, columnists
and sports information directors throughout the conference. The MAC hosts
its annual Basketball Media Preview at Gund Arena beginning on Wednesday,
Oct. 23. The mens basketball preview comes the following day at
the arena, home to the NBAs Cleveland Cavaliers.