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Published: Wednesday, 3/9/2005

Falcons' Miller is MAC's top coach

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Miller Miller
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CLEVELAND - Bowling Green women's basketball coach Curt Miller was named Mid-American Conference coach of the year by the MAC News Media Association in a vote announced last night.

But no Falcon players were honored, leading to mixed feelings for BG's fourth-year coach.

Miller, who led the Falcons to their first MAC regular-season title since 1994, received 39 of the 61 votes cast, while Royce Chadwick of Marshall was second with 14 votes and Eastern Michigan's Suzy Merchant was third with four.

"On a personal level, I am very honored because I have great respect for the coaches in this league," Miller said. "Many of these coaches are friends and many of them were mentors to me when I was a young coach, so winning this honor means a lot to me.

"But I also know this award is a product of our team's success. I couldn't have won it without the consistently outstanding play of the team."

This season the Falcons posted a 20-7 overall record and were 13-3 in league play.

But despite being flattered to win the award, Miller said he was disappointed none of his players claimed any of the awards handed out yesterday. Ball State's Kate Endress was named MAC player of the year and Buffalo's Heather Turner was the freshman of the year in a vote.

Ohio's Simone Redd was named man of the year in a vote of the league's coaches, while the coaches selected Kent State's Malika Willoughby defensive player of the year.

The MAC coaches also did not select a BG player for the All-MAC first team, which was announced Monday.

"I was disappointed we didn't have anyone make the first team," Miller said. "I think both Ali Mann and Liz Honegger deserved consideration for that, as well as for player of the year.

"[Not winning the award] speaks to the balance of our team. We don't rely on one superstar; we've had players who sacrificed some personal glory for the good of the team."

Mann and Honegger were named to the second team, while teammate Carin Horne received honorable mention.

Endress, the league's leading scorer with 18.4 points per game, received 25 votes for player of the year. Eastern Michigan's Ryan Coleman was second with 20 and Marshall's Sikeetha Shepard-Hall finished third with five.

In the freshman of the year race, Turner received 26 of the 61 votes to edge BG's Kate Achter, a Clay High School grad who received 20 votes. Redd and Julie DeMuth of Ball State tied for third with seven votes.

Turner led all MAC freshmen in scoring with 11.1 points per game, 19th-best in the league, while Achter ranked 23rd at 10.3. The 6-0 Turner also led all MAC players with a field goal percentage of 57.1 percent and stood sixth in rebounding at 7.7 per contest.

Achter's credentials included ranking third in the MAC in assists at 3.89 per game, a sixth-place finish in assist/turnover ratio at 1.21, and a 75.0 percent mark at the free throw line, good for 14th.

The biggest difference between the two was in their respective team's finishes: BG led the MAC, while Buffalo was last in the 13-team league with a 4-24 overall record and a 2-14 mark in MAC play.

"I don't think any freshman was asked to do more for their team [than Kate]," Miller said. "Instead of winning the league, we may have been half as good if she wasn't with us.

"I don't know where we would have been without her."

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.



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