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Thursday, March 12, 2009 | Women's Basketball
Illinois State's Kristi Cirone Named Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year for a Third Time; Bradley?s Buscher is Rawlings Coach of the Year
ST. LOUIS Illinois State’s Kristi Cirone has been voted the 2009 Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the year for a third-straight season, joining the award’s namesake as the only three-time players of the year in conference history. Cirone is the league leader in scoring (18.7), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.6) and three-point shooting (43.8). She is also third in assists (6.1), fourth in steals (2.2) and fifth in field goal percentage (49.4),
Cirone led Illinois State to its first outright regular-season title in 20 years and its second-straight No. 1 seed in the State Farm MVC Tournament. She is currently fourth all-time on the Valley scoring chart (2,044 points) and is the fourth player in league history with more than 2,000 career points (Gateway/MVC seasons only). Additionally, her 660 assists are the second-best mark in league history.
Cirone is one of three Illinois State players to have been named MVC Player of the Year Susan Wellman (1988) and Pam Tanner (1989) and is one of four players to win the honor in consecutive seasons (Wanda Ford, DU; Jackie Stiles, MSU; Christy Neneman, CU).
Missouri State’s Casey Garrison is this year’s Freshman of the Year after she burst onto the Valley scene, ranking in the league’s top 10 in scoring (2nd), free throw percentage (1st), assists (7th), steals (6th), assist-to-turnover ratio (5th) and offensive rebounding (6th). She was Missouri State’s leading scorer in 20 of its 29 games and led the team in rebounding 12 times.
Kim Wypiszynski of UNI is the league’s Newcomer of the Year after averaging nearly 15 points on 51.5 percent shooting and 4.7 rebounds per game in conference play. The junior was the third-leading scorer in league games and was second in field goal percentage (51.5).
This year’s Defensive Player of the Year is Creighton’s Megan Neuvirth. The junior is the league’s leader in rebounds (9.7) offensive (3.3) and defensive (6.4) -- and steals (2.5). She also ranks among the Valley’s top 10 in scoring, 3-point shooting, blocks and minutes played. Neuvirth equaled the MVC single-game high in steals (7) and rebounds (16) this season.
This year’s Rawlings Coach of the Year is Paula Buscher of Bradley. Buscher has guided the Braves to their best season in school history and to their top conference finish since the 1991-92 season. The Braves reached the 20-win mark for just the second time in school history (1979-80) and Buscher is the second MVC Coach of the Year from Bradley (Lisa Boyer, 1990).
Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year: Kristi Cirone, Illinois State
Freshman of the Year: Casey Garrison, Missouri State
Newcomer of the Year: Kim Wypiszynski, UNI
Defensive Player of the Year: Megan Neuvirth, Creighton
Rawlings MVC Coach of the Year: Paula Buscher, Bradley
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