March 11, 1999
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's women's basketball team had a Cinderella season that was made even better by tremendous fan support and the return of four of its top six players next season. The future looks very good, indeed, with a strong incoming class of rookies joining the veterans.
WMU was 19-10 overall and finished third in the MAC with an 11-5 conference record. The Broncos had only seven wins the previous season. The season-to-season improvement was one of the two best ever in WMU and Mid-American Conference women's basketball. It was the best improvement in the nation in 1999.
Among those returning next year are the team's leading scorer, Shelsea Irving, the team's leading bench scorer, Danielle Meuller, and both starting guards, the freshmen twins Brooke and Brianne Gallert. Irving was an all-conference first team selection and Brooke Gallert was picked for MAC all-freshman team honors.
Three Broncos selected to All-MAC teams
Junior Shelsea Erving was named to the All-MAC first team, WMU's first such selection in three years. Senior Kelly DeLong earned all-conference honorable mention accolades, and rookie Brooke Gallert picked up MAC all-freshman team honors.
WMU hosts its first WNIT contest
WMU lost, 73-64, to the University of Michigan in the first round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament. A record crowd of more than 2,500 attended the first-ever WNIT contest hosted by WMU, at University Arena, March 11.
Michigan led, 41-25, at the half and by as many as 19 points in the second half. The Broncos were able to close the lead to three points late in the second half before Michigan pulled ahead for a nine-point victory.
The crowd of 2,572 fans was the most for a WMU women's basketball game, eclipsing a record of 2,200 set 10 years ago.
Shelsea Erving led the Broncos with 20 points. Senior Kelly DeLong added 13 points, including three of five from three-point range. Senior Star Harris led all players with 13 rebounds and contributed seven points. Brooke Gallert had nine points, and twin sister Brianne had seven.
For the game, Michigan out-shot WMU .484 (30-62) to .313 (21-67) from the field. The Wolverines also held a slight advantage in rebounds, 43-42.
MAC Semifinals: Kent State 60 Western Michigan 50
Kent State University outscored the Broncos, 17-8, in the final six minutes of the MAC women's basketball semifinals to break open a close game and post a 60-50 win. The Mid-American Conference semifinals were played Feb. 28 at the SeaGate Centre in Toledo, Ohio.
WMU shot just 26 percent from the field in the first half, but trailed by only two points, 25-23, at the intermission. Kent State was held to only 31 percent shooting in the first half, but improved to 56 percent from the field in the second half. The Broncos were able to keep the game close by hitting 15 of 17 free throw attempts. WMU also led the taller Kent team in rebounds, 36-35, for the contest.
WMU senior Kelly DeLong opened the scoring in the second half to tie the contest at 25. Neither team was able to gain a significant advantage through the first 14 minutes of the second half. The Broncos took the lead, 41-40, with 6:45 remaining to play before Kent pulled away on a 17-6 run.
WMU junior Shelsea Erving, who was named to the All-MAC first team, led all scorers with 24 points. She also had a game-high 11 rebounds. Senior Star Harris scored 10 points and had seven rebounds for WMU.
MAC Quarterfinals: Western Michigan 95 Eastern Michigan 68
The Broncos led by as many as 33 points en route to a 95-68 victory over Eastern Michigan in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-American Conference tournament.
The game was played Feb. 26 in Kalamazoo in front of 1,249 fans. WMU scored the first seven points in the contest and led the entire game.
Senior Kelly DeLong led the Broncos with 26 points, one shy of her career high. Shelsea Erving added 20 points and 12 rebounds. Brooke Gallert had 15 points, and Star Harris had 11 rebounds. Brianne Gallert had 12 assists, and Danielle Meuller came off the bench to score eight points.
Media contact: Geoff Brown; 616 387-4138; email@example.com
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