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Throughout the season, freshmen around the country have made solid impacts on their respective teams. State’s Kaayla Chones to Western Michigan’s Kristin Koetsier .

If you haven’t heard and you probably haven’t Koetsier ranks 13th in the nation in scoring, averaging 21.1 points through 14 games and posting seven double doubles along the way. She is the country’s third highest scoring and rebounding freshman.

Against Campbell on Dec. 30, Koetsier scored 31 points to notch a new Mid American Conference freshman record and the conference’s top individual scoring performance of the season. Through Tuesday, she led the MAC in scoring and field goal percentage (112 of 197, 56.9 percent), ranked second in rebounding (9.7) and was fourth in free throw percentage (69 of 85, 81.2 percent) and blocked shots (1.21).

Still not impressed? In her first collegiate game, the 18 year old was guarded by Illinois’ Susan Blauser, a preseason “best of the rest” Naismith Award candidate. Despite a 112 73 loss, Koetsier poured in 29 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

Said Illinois coach Theresa Grentz: “(Koetsier) was very impressive. We kept switching people on her, but we could never contain her. She is going to have a great collegiate career.”

A month later at Stanford, Koetsier led all scorers including Stanford’s Jamie Carey, a preseason first team All Freshman selection by Women’s Basketball News Service with 24 points and added eight rebounds in an 80 66 loss. After the game, Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer called Koetsier “an excellent player” and “a legitimate big time player.”

Now that we’ve got your attention, consider that just six months ago, on July 23, doctors removed Koetsier’s spleen after discovering she suffers from Immune (Idiopathic) Thrombocytopenia Purpura, an auto immune disorder caused by a low blood platelet count. The disease occurs when a patient forms antibodies which destroy his or her own platelets because the body considers them foreign, attacking them as it would bacteria.

Koetsier originally began showing symptoms of ITP around July 4. Within hours, the stomach pain was so intense she could hardly stand up. After tests, doctors discovered her blood count at 13,000 (Koetsier says an average count is between 200,000 and 300,000), and the spleen was removed three weeks later.

After surgery, Koetsier remained hospitalized for a week and over the next few weeks, lost 10 pounds. Typical recovery time is 2 months, and Koetsier missed most of the off season training and a majority of the preseason before returning in late September. Although out of shape, she scored nine points and grabbed eight boards Nov. 4 against the Chicago Challengers in the Broncos’ first exhibition game of the season. In another exhibition five days later, Koetsier had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and has been on a tear ever since.

Tennessee and Arizona State have never played before. But when they meet on the court for the first time, they’re hoping to set a new record.

In hopes of breaking the NCAA women’s basketball single game attendance record, ASU will play Tennessee at Bank One Ballpark, which seats more than 48,000, next season.

The ballpark,
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home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has a retractable roof similar to the Seattle Mariners’ new home, Safeco Field.

“This will be a historic event,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “This game has the ability to be one of the greatest events in women’s basketball history.”

The current attendance record was set by Tennessee when 24,597 fans watched the Lady Vols beat Connecticut at Thompson Boling Arena on Jan. 3, 1998 in Knoxville, Tenn.

The Tennessee ASU game is scheduled for Dec. 28, 2000, and will be televised nationally. Proceeds from tickets sales will benefit breast cancer research.

Speaking of homecourt victories, Grambling still has the nation’s longest home winning streak.

Entering the season with 55 consecutive home wins, the five time defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champions are undefeated at home so far this season, running the streak to 61 games.

Assistant coach Fredrick Bivens admits the streak is important to he and the Tigers.

“It matters because . it’s the one thing we can hold as ours and ours only,” he said. “And each time we step on the floor, we keep it in mind and have a lot of pride sustaining that.”

A lot of pride, especially since the Tigers have been able to stay consistent despite losing seven players to graduation.

“That’s been very uplifting,” Bivens said. “The expectations were high because of what the seniors had left behind, but our players have met every challenge so far this season.”

Of note, junior center Nakesha Jewell is averaging 18 points a game, and freshman Shrieka Evans leads the nation in 3 point field goals made per game. Evans went 7 for 12 from beyond the arc in her last game, bringing her season total to 64. Through 16 games, she’s sinking 4.0 3 pointers per game.

The Lady Tigers, 12 0 at home last season, are 13 3 overall this season and 7 0 in the SWAC. Grambling hasn’t lost a conference game since 1997.

East Coasters might not have heard about Sheila Lambert, but it’s clear that folks in Louisiana Leon Barmore, at least know about her.

Lambert, a graduate of Seattle’s Chief Sealth High School who is a sophomore at Grayson County College in Denison, Texas, said Louisiana Tech is winning the recruiting war with her.

“I haven’t made up my mind, but it would be my top pick right now,” Lambert, who visited the Ruston, La., campus in December, told The Seattle Times last week.

Lambert could take four more official recruiting visits, but says she’s not sure she needs to see any other campuses, adding, “I really enjoyed myself (at Louisiana Tech). It would be kind of hard to beat.”
ralph lauren swim Another fab freshman