CLEVELAND -- Three members who were either first, second or honorable mention all-conference choices this year have been named to the Pepsi Mid-American Conference All-Freshman Team, which was announced Wednesday evening at the league's tournament Tip-Off Banquet at the Marriott Key Center in Cleveland. Voting on the team was conducted by the league's head coaches.
The five-member all-freshman team includes Western Michigan's Kristin Koetsier, Ball State's Tamara Bowie, Miami's Heather Cusick, Buffalo's Kim Kilpela and Northern Illinois' Kristan Knake.
For the fourth time in five years, a Western Michigan player has been chosen to the squad, while it marks the first time ever for a player from Buffalo and Northern Illinois. Miami has a representative on the team for the first time since 1994, and it has been four years since a Ball State player has garnered the honor.
WMU's Koetsier (pronounced COAT-see-air) finished the regular season second in the MAC in overall scoring (19.3), rebounding (9.7) and blocked shots (1.37), and has been ranked as high as the second-highest scoring freshman in the nation. The freshman also tops the league charts in double-doubles (13), and is one of the league's more accurate shooters. The Grandville, Mich., native, who is fourth in free throw percentage (.804) and fifth in field goal percentage (.529), helped guide the Broncos to a West Division title.
Bowie, who also copped second team all-MAC accolades, has been an integral part of a Cardinal team that finished third in the West Division after being picked to finish sixth. The Lansing, Mich., native paced the team in scoring (14.4), which also ranked her eighth in the MAC following the conclusion of the regular season. Bowie is shooting better than 50 percent from the field -- seventh in the league -- and is also averaging better than seven caroms per contest (7.3).
Cusick is one of three rookies to lead their teams in scoring (12.1) -- the others are Koetsier and Bowie -- and the Kokomo, Ind., product also ranks in the top ten in assists (4.85, 8th) and steals per contest (2.54, 5th). The guard paced the team in scoring six times during the regular season and is also third on the RedHawk squad in treys made and rebounds.
Buffalo's second-leading scorer (10.2) and rebounder (7.2) during the regular season, Kilpela (pronounced Kill-pell-uh) helped the Bulls to a school-record 12-game winning streak and a tie for fourth in the East Division. A native of West Bloomfield, Mich., Kilpela scored a career-high 33 points versus Marshall during the regular season, which tied for the second-highest output in the league this season.
Knake (pronounced Kuh-nah-kee), who is from Marengo, Ill., was second on the Huskies in rebounding (4.2) and third in scoring (8.8). A part-time starter during the season, Knake averaged nearly 10 points a game in MAC games and notched a season-high 21 points in a home win over Buffalo.