The Shawnee State Bears’ women’s basketball program parlayed a strong 31-2 mark in the 2016-17 campaign to a litany of Mid-South Conference awards, as Shawnee State took home the MSC’s Freshman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year honors in addition to the esteemed Champions of Character award at the Mid-South Conference banquet.
Four Bears earned individual awards on the evening, starting with Brandie Snow (FR/Hartville, Ohio), who won Freshman of the Year honors. The guard from Hartville, Ohio averaged 12.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game while playing in all 30 contests during the season. Snow started in 29 of those 30 affairs.
Madison Ridout (JR/Jackson, Ohio) earned Randy Vernon Defensive Player of the Year honors for her gritty play throughout the year. Ridout, a Jackson High School graduate, averaged 1.2 steals per game and was widely considered the best defender in the conference.
For the second consecutive season, Jeff Nickel was named as the MSC’s Coach of the Year. Nickel led the Bears to a 28-2 record, including a 13-1 Mid-South Conference mark that was good enough for a share of the conference championship. Nickel earned his 100th career victory on Jan. 26th against Cumberlands (Ky.).
In addition to the accolades on the floor, Jenna Brown (SO/Trenton, Ohio) was presented with the Mid-South Conference Champions of Character award based on her academic and athletic success, as well as her leadership on campus and exhibition of the five core values of the NAIA’s Champions of Character program, which are Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Sportsmanship, and Servant Leadership.
As a result of the 31-2 season, several members of the Shawnee State squad were named to the All-Mid-South Conference teams. Both Ridout and Snow were named as First-Team All-MSC recipients and were joined on the unit by Jonessa Moore (SR/Cincinnati, Ohio). Meanwhile, Bailey Cummins (FR/Brooksville, Kentucky) was named to the second team All-MSC after a stellar freshman campaign.
Five Bears were also named to the Mid-South Conference All-Academic team. Brown and Ridout, along with Jen Arnzen (SR/Portsmouth, Ohio), Hannah Miller (SO/Coal Grove, Ohio), and Shania Massie (SO/Greenfield, Ohio) all earned the award for having a GPA of 3.25 or better.
Shawnee State’s 31-2 record includes 10 victories where the Bears defeated an opponent that was either ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA’s National Top 25 Poll. SSU notched three wins over Pikeville, two wins each over Lindsey Wilson, Campbellsville and Cumberland, and a victory over Martin Methodist (Tenn.). The Bears have won 11 games in a row entering the NAIA National Tournament.