Illinois State University’s women’s basketball team marked the end of its season with a private banquet on Sunday evening. The banquet was held to celebrate the end of the year and to honor individuals with year-end awards.
The Redbirds finished their season with a 10-20 record (8-10 in Valley play) and were able to advance to the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Championships for the second consecutive season.
This season, Chloe Nelson was also named an All-Valley First Team selection for her senior performance. This is the second consecutive season that Nelson has received this honor and the eighth straight season that a Redbird has been named to the All-Valley First Team.
“It’s always nice to celebrate the highs of a season,” head coach Barb Smith said. “We grew so much as a basketball team this year and continued to get better as the season progressed. I’m very excited to get back in the gym with this group of women.”
Six awards were handed out to players on the team during the banquet, including three to team captain Nelson.
Nelson was awarded the Jill Hutchison Leadership Award, which is given to the player that demonstrates all of the qualities of a Redbird women’s basketball player. Hutchison, the namesake of the award, is a former women’s basketball coach for ISU and a Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member. This is the second year in a row that Nelson has received this award.
Nelson was also given the Best Offensive Player Award. Nelson ranked first on the team in scoring with 13.8 points and a total of 414 points during the season. Nelson was the only member of the team to average double digits and tally 22 double digit scoring performances.
She made 40 percent of her field goal attempts and 78 percent of her free throw attempts. After the 2013-14 year, Nelson is fourth on the season throw-made record list with 129 and sixth on the season free throw attempts list with 172. Finally, Nelson was awarded the Best Teammate Award.
Another Redbird honored with an award was Kalyn Gebhardt, who was given the Most Improved Player Award. Gebhardt averaged 2.8 points per game and 2.0 rebounds per game. During Valley play, Gebhardt netted 3.5 points per game and 2.4 rebounds.
Gebhardt was able to connect on 44 percent of her shot attempts, the second best record on the team. She also scored her career-high of 11 points on two separate occasions during her freshman year. Her career-high of six rebounds occurred during a game against Loyola in late January, and she has been a perfect 3-for-3 at the free throw line twice.
Katy Winge was given the Best Defensive Player Award for her 15 steals and three blocks. During games, teammates often look to Winge to block the opposing team’s best scorers.
Alison Seberger was given the Coaches Award. This award is given to the player deemed most coachable, and who works hard on and off the court while also leading by example.
The Redbirds are looking forward to continuing their hard work on and off the court and are optimistic about the coming year.