Sept. 28, 1999
KALAMAZOO -- The Mid-American Conference named Western Michigan University sophomore Zakiya Pope (East Lansing, Mich.) MAC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday (Sept. 27).
Pope hit a team-best .533 (27-3-45) with 27 kills (3.86 kpg.) and nine blocks (1.29 bpg.) as WMU started the 1999 MAC season with wins over Ball State and Bowling Green last weekend. She posted career highs in kills (17) and attack percentage (.593) in WMU's 3-1 triumph over Bowling Green on Saturday. Pope came through with 10 kills and a .444 attack percentage in the Broncos' 3-0 win over Ball State Friday, helping Western Michigan snap a 14-match losing skid against the Cardinals. Ball State was the preseason pick to win the MAC's West Division.
"Zakiya has really stepped up big," WMU head coach Cathy George said. "People are starting to take notice of her now, but I think she's played well all year. She's been very steady for us and has been hitting a variety of sets."
The sophomore saw action in 14 matches as a rookie, totaling 10 kills. Pope needs just six more kills to reach 100 for the season. Her .378 hitting percentage currently ranks fourth in the MAC. She is second on the team in blocks with 38 (.97 bpg.).
"It's very rewarding and exciting to see how Zakiya has absorbed all the info from her freshman year," George said. "It's become natural for her this year."
Pope's selection as MAC Offensive Player of the Week marks the second consecutive week that a Bronco received the award. Senior outside hitter Mandy Whitfield (Comstock, Mich.) was named offensive player of the week Sept. 20.
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