EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State women’s basketball honored the 2016-17 season at its annual banquet on Tuesday night, March 7, at the Breslin Center. Eight different MSU players were recognized, while senior guard Tori Jankoska was named the Player of the Year.
MSU is currently 21-11 after finishing sixth in the Big Ten Conference during the regular-season with a 9-7 conference mark. The Spartans were the sixth-seed in the B1G Tournament battling to the quarterfinals game before falling to No. 4 Maryland on Saturday, March 4. Michigan State now awaits the NCAA Tournament field announcement next week.
Jankoska, a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection, was honored with the Player of the Year Award and also collected the Best Rebounder Award. Along the way the lone senior has surpassed career and single-season records marking her name at the top of the MSU record books in multiple categories. Jankoska became the career leading points scorer and the only Spartan in women’s basketball history to reach the 2,000-point threshold, with 2,186 points and counting. Jankoska is first in the career books with 317 three-point field goals, first in free throws with 469, second in field goals with 700, second in assists with 486, and 10th in rebounds with 757. She is now the only MSU player to be in the all-time career top-10 in points, assists, and rebounds.
Not only has her career as a Spartan been outstanding, but she has also had a record setting season this 2016-17 campaign. Three consecutive years in a row the single-season points record has changed, this year Jankoska became the single-season points leader with 720, passing former teammate Aerial Powers (2015-16) who set the previous record with 697 points. Jankoska is currently averaging 22.5 points per game, a single-season record. She broke the three-point field goals single-season record, currently with 119, which slates her No. 1 in the nation in three-point field goals as well as No. 1 in the nation in three-point field goals per game averaging 3.69. Also this season, Jankoska recorded only the third triple-double in MSU women’s basketball history scoring 24 points, the most points scored in a Spartan triple-double, adding 10 assists and 10 rebounds against Minnesota on Feb. 16. Lastly, Jankoska broke the single-game scoring record netting 42 points against Ohio State, shooting 14-of-25 from the field including eight three-pointers.
Freshman guard Taryn McCutcheon, a Big Ten honorable mention player, was the recipient of the Playmaker Award and the Defensive Player of the Year. McCutcheon has played and started in all 32 games this season. She currently has 167 assist this season, and she broke the freshman assists record, which was previously set by Vnemina Reese who had 143 during her freshman campaign (1999-00). She is also third in the freshman records with 46 three-point field goals made.
Redshirt senior guard Branndais Agee received the Spartan Hustle Award. Agee was Big Ten honorable mention and has played in all 32 games, starting 28. Agee is the only other Spartan to tally double-digit scoring figures with 10.1 per game, she brings in 6.7 rebounds per game, has 16 blocks on the year, and has recorded second highest on the team 42 steals.
Forward Victoria Gaines received the Most Improved Player Award. After a redshirt freshman season last year, Gaines formed into a key player for the Spartans including a spot in the starting lineup having started in 21 of the 32 contests. Gaines has scored in double-figures on four separate occasions, including her first double-double of her career against Illinois with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Gaines was also a power force in the B1G Tournament leading the team with a career-high 18 points against Michigan.
The Sixth Player Award was given to Jenna Allen, who returned from an early season injury and has contributed on the court for MSU in 29 games this season. Coming off the bench, Allen averages 18.3 minutes of playing time, 7.0 points per game for a field goal average 49.4 percent.
Graduate student forward Taya Reimer a Big Ten honorable mention player received the Pat Canning Coaches Award. Reimer has played and started in all 32 contests this season, only one of three players to do so. She is third in scoring (9.6 ppg) and rebounds (5.7 rpg), and is 14th in the Big Ten in field goal percent (.487). Reimer has recorded team-high 32 blocks this season.
The Kim Archer Character Award was presented to freshman forward Mardrekia Cook. Cook has been a contributor in 31 games this season averaging 2.8 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. Junior guard Lexi Gussert, a three-year player for the Spartans, received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. This season Gussert has played in all 32 games, starting four and has averaged 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
Other awards presented Tuesday night included Taylor Martin collecting the MVP Ball Club Most Spectacular Member Award. Representing the Spartans tremendous support system, Executive Associate Athletic Director and Senior Women’s Administrator Shelley Appelbaum received the Most Valuable Supporter Award.
2017 Michigan State Women’s Basketball Banquet Award Winners:
Player of the Year Award: Tori Jankoska
Big Ten Sportsmanship Award: Lexi Gussert
Most Improved Player Award: Victoria Gaines
Spartan Hustle Award: Branndais Agee
Sixth Player Award: Jenna Allen
Best Rebounder Award: Tori Jankoska
Playmaker Award: Taryn McCutcheon
Defensive Player of the Year Award: Taryn McCutcheon
Pat Canning Coaches Award: Taya Reimer
Kim Archer Character Award: Mardrekia Cook
Most Valuable Supporter: Shelley Appelbaum