Bowling Green, Ky. — The Western Kentucky University women’s basketball team brought an official close to the 2006-07 season Thursday night with the annual awards banquet at E.A. Diddle Arena.
For the third straight year, junior forward Crystal Kelly earned the teams Most Valuable Player Award. Sophomore Brianne Brown was named the Defensive Player of the Year, while Kenzie Rich took home Rookie-of-the-Year honors.
Kelly, who recently was named an Associated Press, and a WBCA/Kodak honorable mention All-American, finished second in the nation in scoring at 24.1 points per game, and posted the country’s second-best field-goal percentage (.611). The 6-foot-3 junior became the fastest player in school history to reach 2,000 career points, and broke the WKU single-season scoring mark with 770 point last season. A first-team all-Sun Belt Conference selection for the third straight year, Kelly nearly averaged a double-double as she pulled down 9.4 rebounds per contest. She also broke the WKU single-season free throws record as she went 257-for-332 at the stripe, while also finishing with 41 assists, 21 blocked shots and 40 steals.
Brown played in all 32 games, starting eight games early in the season. She recorded 29 steals and pulled down 99 rebounds from the guard position, while averaging 4.8 points per game. She was a spark for WKU during its run to the semifinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament as she averaged 12 points and 6.3 rebounds per game during the event.
Rich became WKU’s main outside threat immediately as a freshman as she ranked among the Sun Belt leaders with a .357 three-point percentage and averaged 1.75 treys per game. She started 20 games in her rookie season, ranking third on the team in scoring at 8.6 points per game. She also finished the year with 65 assists and 35 steals.
For their efforts in the classroom, Brown, Cammie Campbell, Brooke Faulkner and Nadege Muna all received the Academic Awards, with Muna being honored for having the team’s highest grade point average. It marked the third time in as many years that Campbell was honored with the Academic Award, and the second straight year Brown has taken the honor.
The Lady Toppers posted their fifth straight 20-win season under head coach Mary Taylor Cowles in 2006-07, finishing with a 23-9 record. They also finished with a 14-4 mark in Sun Belt Conference play, earning a first-round bye in the league tournament. WKU also made its 23rd postseason appearance in the last 24 years as it advanced to the WNIT semifinals for the second consecutive season.