WMU sweeps basketball Player of the Year honors
March 10, 2004
CLEVELAND--Junior guard Casey Rost of the Western Michigan University women's basketball team and senior forward Mike Williams of the men's team have been named the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year in their respective sports.
Detroit native Williams is the first Bronco since Booker James in 1987 to be named men's player of the year. Rost, of St. Johns, Mich., is the first player ever at WMU to garner the top women's award. The Bronco sweep of both the men's and women's top honors is the first by any MAC school in more than 20 years. Rost and Williams also were named to All-MAC First Teams.
Along with Williams, junior Ben Reed of Battle Creek, Mich., was named to the All-MAC First Team, marking the first time since 1975-76 the Bronco men placed more than one player on the league's top squad. Senior center Anthony Kann was named All-MAC Honorable Mention for the second-straight campaign. Senior guard Reggie Berry, who has played in more career games than any other Bronco in school history, was named the MAC Sixth Man of the Year earlier this week.
Other women's team members receiving honors were junior guard Maria Jilian of Dearborn, Mich., honorable mention for the second year in a row, and freshman guard Carrie Moore of Lathrup Village, Mich., All-MAC Freshman Team.
Rost sustained a season ending injury due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament to her left knee, Feb. 18 in a game at Toledo. At the time of the injury she led the Mid-American Conference in scoring and 3-point field goals made. She was averaging 20.1 points a game and 4.3 rebounds and still ranks in the top-15 in the league in five different categories.
This season, she scored in double digits in every game but one. She scored 20 points or more on 12 occasions. She chipped in a career-best 40 points in a 117-90 win over University of Missouri- Kansas City and went 16-for-16 from the free throw line to set the program's single-game scoring record. The 40-point performance was only the ninth in MAC women's history.
Rost has started for the Broncos since her freshman year. She became the fastest player at WMU to reach 1,000 points in a career (59 games). She was voted pre-season All-MAC earlier this season. In 2003, she was named MVP of the MAC Tournament along with being a First Team All-MAC selection.
Williams, who wasn't even a preseason all-league selection, more than doubled the votes (37-18) of second-place finisher, Keith Triplett of Toledo. Williams is ranked among the league's top 10 players in eight different statistical categories, the lone player to accomplish that feat this season. He averages 18.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game and has led the team in scoring on 12 occasions.
Reed is currently ranked fifth in the nation in 3-point shooting (46.6 percent) and ranks seventh in the league in scoring at 16.4 points per game.
Kann became the 31st player in school history to score 1,000 career points and a month later reached the 800-rebound mark. He is just the seventh player in school history to reach both career marks.
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