Fontaine and Jackson Earn MAC Specialty Awards
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Freshman Nathalie Fontaine has been named the Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year, while senior guard Shanee' Jackson earned the MAC Sixth Player of the Year as voted on by the league's 12 head coaches and announced today by the league office.
An All-MAC Second Team and MAC All-Freshman Team selection this season, Fontaine is just the second player in program history to earn the league's top honor for a first-year player, joining 2001 recipient Johna Goff.
Entering the 2013 MAC Tournament, Fontaine leads the Cardinals in scoring (13.3 ppg) and in rebounds (6.4). Both her overall and MAC-only (13.9 ppg) scoring averages are the best for a freshman in the conference this season. She has led the Cardinals in scoring 20 times this season and is 55 points shy of Ball State's all-time leading scorer Tamara Bowie's freshman scoring mark. Fontaine currently has 373 points, including her career-high 23-point total versus Central Michigan while Bowie tallied 432 points as a freshman.
"Nathalie, no doubt, had a special year," said Ball State women's basketball coach Brady Sallee. "To be recognized as one of the top 10 players in the league and as the top Freshman in the league this season is exciting, not only for her but for our entire program. She is definitely a big reason we are where we are this season and we are excited for what's to come."
Jackson also becomes the second player in program history to earn the MAC Sixth Player of the Year, joining 2008 selection Emilly Maggert. Jackson recently had a 17- point showing after going 3-for-4 from the three point line against Toledo (2/10). She tallied her first double-double of the season after scoring 14 points, while adding a career-high 12 rebounds in a win over Northern Illinois (2/23).
"I am thrilled that the MAC has recognized Shanee as the Sixth Player of the Year," said Sallee. "Clearly Shanee accepted, embraced and excelled in her role and is a huge part of why we sit as the second seed in the MAC Tournament. I've said this for weeks, but there is nothing better than to see a senior go out the way Shanee is!"
The Ball State women's basketball team advanced straight to the semifinals as the No. 2 seed in this week's 2013 Mid-American Conference Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cardinals will play their first tournament game Friday at 2:30 p.m. after finishing the regular season with a 12-4 MAC record (15-14 overall).
Ball State has not received a bye in the MAC Tournament since 2009, when the Cardinals won the event as the No. 2 seed. This season will mark the Cardinals' 21st appearance in the history of the MAC Tournament. The Cardinals are 16-20 all-time in MAC Tournament play and have advanced to the finals on four occasions.