Northern Illinois University freshman Claire Jakubicek, the 2010-11 honorary co-captain of the Daily Herald's all-area girls basketball team from Cary-Grove, has been named the Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year for women's basketball.
Noted on by the league's coaches and media, Jakubicek is just the second Huskie to earn the award from the MAC, following Joi Scott in 2002-03. She is the fourth NIU women's player to earn the award from a conference. She is also the first NIU freshman to be named to the MAC all-freshman team since Stephanie Raymond in 2003-04.
"This is a testament to how consistent Claire was throughout the year," said NIU coach Kati Bennett in a statement. "She worked really hard this summer. I felt her improvement came after we stopped moving her around. She played nearly every position for us and then settled in at the four, and that's when she took off. From a program standpoint it's neat because we can build around this."
Making the award more unique is the fact that Jakubicek's season ended Feb. 16 when she broke her right foot against Ball State. Prior to the injury, Jakubicek had scored double figures in 9 of the Huskies' previous 10 games and had brought her scoring average to 11 points per game. She had also made 37 straight free throws. She also shot 46.3 percent from the field and her 95.9 free throw percentage would have been best in the MAC but she fell short of the minimum number of attempts.
For the season, she scored in double figures in 13 of the 24 games she played, including a season-high 21 points against Chicago State on Dec. 11. She also had a season-best 8 rebounds and 5 assists that day. She averaged 5.1 rebounds per game as well.
At Cary-Grove, Jakubicek scored 1,700 career points and had 795 rebounds, leading the Trojans to a Fox Valley Conference Valley Division title and a sectional final her senior season.
NIU takes on Akron Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the second round of the MAC Tournament in Cleveland. The Huskies are 13-16 on the season.
Cary-Grove High School
Conference: Fox Valley Valley
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