WMU News

Broncos picked to win division, league titles

Oct. 23, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- The WMU women's basketball team's success in recent seasons has raised the level of expectations for the Broncos.

At the Mid-American Conference Women's Basketball Media Day held Oct. 18 in Cleveland, WMU was predicted to win not only the 2001 MAC West Division title but the MAC Tournament championship during the upcoming season.

"I'm not sure we're worthy of the No. 1 pick," WMU head coach Ron Stewart said. "But I'll take the No. 1 pick and wear it proudly. Each year these are close votes. I'm awfully proud of the group we have."

Western Michigan received 21 of 37 votes in balloting for the MAC West Division finish. WMU captured the 2000 MAC West Division title with a 14-2 conference record. Eastern Michigan (12) and Toledo (4) also received votes in voting for the division finish. WMU racked up a total of 202 points in that poll. EMU was second (163) followed by Ball State (144), Toledo (143), Northern Illinois (69), and Central Michigan (56).

In voting for the MAC Tournament, the Broncos received 16 first-place votes. Kent State's 13 votes placed it second. Eastern Michigan earned four while Toledo picked up two. Miami and Akron received one vote apiece.

Kent State was the favorite in the MAC's East Division, garnering 33 first-place votes and a total of 254 points. Miami and Akron both received two votes. Miami was picked second with 178 points while Akron was third with 166. Buffalo (159), Bowling Green (133), Ohio (109), and Marshall (37) round out the rest of the MAC East Division voting.

The Broncos return sophomore Preseason All-MAC pick Kristin Koetsier, the 2000 MAC Freshman of the Year and a first team all-conference choice. Last year Koetsier became the first MAC Freshman of the Year since 1988 to be named to the all-conference first team. She is the lone underclassman on the 2000 Preseason All-MAC roster. Koetsier is working her way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. The injury occurred during a pickup game in July.

"Kristin is very deserving of Preseason All-MAC and or postseason conference awards because of her play and potential for this year," Stewart said. "Beyond that she is a person that is working extremely hard to maintain that position. She is battling an injury right now and preparing to stay in that position and lead the team."

Also returning is guard Brooke Gallert, who ranked among NCAA and MAC assist leaders last season. Shooting guard Sarah Hurrle is eligible to play after sitting out the 1999-2000 season as a transfer from Butler University, where she was a second team All-Midwestern Collegiate Conference player in 1998-99 and ranked among national 3-point and free throw shooting leaders. Hurrle has been elected captain for the upcoming season.

Three-point specialist Lisa Bruwer returns for her sophomore season. Bruwer had some big games for WMU off the bench last season and is expected to carry some of the offensive load in her second year. Junior Casey Stevenson, a 6-3 center, 6-0 forward Shelly Jackovich, and shooting guard Curleta Harris give Stewart and his staff added depth and options.

WMU added two promising freshmen to the 2000-01 roster, 6-2 center Lori Crisman and 5-9 point guard Emily Samuelson. Both players are expected to make contributions during their rookie campaigns.

WMU was 18-12 overall and lost 69-64 to DePaul in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament in Kalamazoo.

The Broncos host exhibition games versus the Chicago Challengers (Nov. 2) and Illirija-Slovenia (Nov. 7) at University Arena before opening the 2000-01 season at Detroit Nov. 22.

Western Michigan hosts Kansas State Dec. 5 in its home opener.

For more information, visit the Broncos on the Web <www.wmubroncos.com>.

Media contact: Geoff Brown; 616 387-4138; geoffrey.brown@wmich.edu

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