Women’s Basketball Celebrates Season at Banquet
Courtesy: Western Illinois Athletics  
Release: Saturday 04/20/2013
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MACOMB, Ill. – Western Illinois head women’s basketball coach JD Gravina, his staff and players celebrated the accomplishments of the 2012-13 season at the program’s end of year banquet.

Gravina honored the five graduating seniors: Michele Salvatori, Jackie Rieger, Christina Jones, Saule Kontautaite and Karis Phillips.

Western finished the year 14-16 overall, losing in double-overtime in the Summit League Tournament quarterfinals. The program increased its win total by two from last year, and in the regular season finale win over Oakland saw 1,156 fans in attendance – the second-largest crowd ever in Western Hall. Overall Western averaged 644 fans at home, the largest season average in six years.

The Leathernecks finished fifth in the Summit League standings at 7-9, the highest conference tournament seed in five years. During the non-conference season Western went 4-2 against other Division I programs from Illinois. Two of those wins included home victories over Bradley and Eastern Illinois (both 30-plus point losses last year on the road), and the first-ever victory over Loyola. Western also swept North Dakota State for the first time in program history, and won both meetings against Oakland for just the second time ever.

As he finished his second year in charge, Gravina has recorded 26 victories with the Leathernecks. No other coach in the program’s Division I history won more games in their first two years of coaching at Western than Gravina. He joined Bea Yeager as the only coaches to win 10 or more games in each of their first two years, and Gravina is also the only coach to win at least 12 games during the first two seasons.

Redshirt-freshman Ashley Luke was named Summit League ‘Newcomer of the Year’, the third straight year a Leatherneck received that award, and she also named Second Team All-Summit League.

Salvatori set a program record playing in 121 career games. Rieger played in 118 games all-time, putting her third on the all-time list. Kontautaite broke her own season record (by one) hitting 68 3-point field goals. Her 135 career 3-pointers rank her second all-time in Leatherneck history. Freshman Michelle Maher ranked fourth among the season ‘Top 10’ leaders with 60 3-pointers.

The team shattered its previous 3-point shooting record from last year, hitting 235 shots from beyond the arc. Among the national leaders, Western ranked 15th in 3s made per game (7.8), 36th in assists (15.4), 51st in fewest fouls (14.4), 53rd in assist to turnover ratio (0.95) and 63rd in 3-point FG percentage (.331).

Junior point guard Rebecca Henricson stood 15th nationally in assist to turnover ratio (2.2) and she just missed on the ‘Top 100’ in assists, averaging 4.1 per game good for 104th.

Kontautaite was 70th in 3s made per game (2.27) and 98th in 3-point shooting percentage (.327). Maher was also just out of the ‘Top 100’ in 3s made, finishing 107th averaging 2.07 per game.

“The banquet was a great way to celebrate the successes of the 2012-13 season and reflect on the challenges,” said Gravina. “Our five seniors leave a legacy overcoming adversity and made our program stronger thanks to their dedication and hard work.”

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