April 13, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's basketball team handed out its annual awards Sunday night at the Kellogg Center on the campus of Michigan State University.
Sophomore center Allyssa DeHaan and freshman forward Kalisha Keane were named co-players of the year. DeHaan, who had another record-breaking season as a sophomore, broke her own Big Ten single-season blocks record with 150, which tied for fifth most in NCAA history. A first-team All-Big Ten selection by the media and second-team pick by the coaches, DeHaan led MSU with 531 points (14.4 avg.), ranking fourth best in an MSU season. DeHaan became the program's all-timer leader in blocks in the Oklahoma game on Dec. 16, and is the first player in Big Ten history to record 100 blocks in two different seasons. The Grandville, Mich., native also led the team in rebounding (7.3 avg.) while ranking second in free-throw percentage (.838) and field-goal percentage (.483). After just two seasons, DeHaan is one of only 17 players in MSU history to collect at least 900 points and 500 rebounds.
Keane is just the second Spartan to be named player of the year as a freshman. The Ajax, Ontario, product set an MSU freshman scoring record with 460 points (12.4 avg.), and led the team in free-throw percentage (.841) and steals (68). Keane, who was also second on the team in rebounding (5.9 avg.), scored in double figures 24 times and had five double-doubles. For her efforts, she was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors from the coaches.
Freshman point guard Brittney Thomas, a lock-down defender who most often had the task of stopping the other team's top scoring perimeter threat, was named the team's defensive player of the year. She finished 10th in the Big Ten in steals with 65, which tied for third most in the Spartan freshman record books. One of the team's top rebounders as a point guard, Thomas had the most rebounds of any Spartan freshman guard in program history with 202 (5.5 avg.). Thomas led the team in assists (133, 3.6 avg.) and was third in scoring (7.4 avg.) and field-goal percentage (.474). Along with Keane, Thomas was also named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team, in addition to earning honorable mention all-conference honors from the media.
Sophomore guard Mandy Piechowski earned the Most Improved Player Award. Piechowski, who saw limited action in 12 games as a freshman, played in 32 games her second season wearing the Green and White, including 16 starts. She was fourth on the team with 21 3-pointers and scored 81 points (2.5 avg.). Piechowski had three double-digit scoring efforts, including a career-high 14 points at Minnesota on Jan. 27. She hit four 3-pointers and had 12 points in the WNIT Second Round victory over Bowling Green.
Senior guard Alisa Wulff garnered the Spartan Character Award for her leadership on and off the court. Named a captain prior to the 2007-08 season, Wulff responded by having her best season at MSU, notching career highs in every statistical category. One of the team's top shooters, Wulff scored 103 points and hit 25 3-pointers, third most on the team. Perhaps the biggest shot of Wulff's career was when she hit a 3-pointer with just one minute remaining against Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. The shot, Wulff's only of the game, gave MSU a four-point lead and helped the Spartans earn the victory. Not only a leader on the court, Wulff volunteered at numerous community events and also shined in the classroom, earning Academic All-Big Ten accolades this spring. She will graduate in May with a degree in Kinesiology.
Red-shirt sophomore center Lauren Aitch took home the Sixth Player Award. A consistent threat off the bench, Aitch led the team in field-goal percentage (.487) and was fourth on the team in scoring (7.4 avg.) and rebounding (4.3 avg.). Aitch scored in double figures 12 times, including a career-high 16 points against Clemson on Nov. 29.
The Spartan Hustle Award went to freshman forward Taja Wilson. Wilson battled through a foot injury in the preseason and came back to earn playing time in the Spartan rotation. In the last 13 games of the season, when MSU went 10-3, Wilson's production off the bench increased as she averaged 3.0 rebounds and 3.2 points down the stretch. She played in 35 games overall, scoring 92 points (2.6 avg.) and grabbing 60 rebounds (1.7 avg.).
Sophomore walk-on Jasmine Holmes earned the inaugural Pat Canning Coaches Award.
2007-08 MICHIGAN STATE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL AWARDS
Co-Players of the Year: Allyssa DeHaan and Kalisha Keane
Defensive Player of the Year: Brittney Thomas
Most Improved Player: Mandy Piechowski
Spartan Character Award: Alisa Wulff
Sixth Player Award: Lauren Aitch
Spartan Hustle Award: Taja Wilson
Pat Canning Coaches Award: Jasmine Holmes