Brown, Haywood earn Academic All-MAC nods

Bianca Brown and Shaakira Haywood
Bianca Brown and Shaakira Haywood

NIU women’s basketball guard Bianca Brown and forward Shaakira Haywood were named 2010-11 Academic All-Mid-American Conference honorable mention selections, the league announced Tuesday. 

Both Huskies received the accolade for the first time as NIU netted a pair of Academic All-MAC choices for the first time since 2009.

The duo makes up two of the 22 honorable mentions and 33 overall selections, and the teammates are just the eighth and ninth players in program history to garner such attention from the conference.

Bianca Brown
Bianca Brown

The Academic All-MAC honor is for a student-athlete who has excelled in athletics and academics. To qualify, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.20 cumulative GPA and have participated in at least 50 percent of the contests for that particular sport.

First-year students and junior college transfers in their first year of residence are not eligible for the award.

“I am thrilled for and very proud of both Bianca and Shaakira,” said first-year NIU head coach Kathi Bennett. “They both work really hard on and off the court and are true student-athletes. These honors are just a culmination of the effort they put forth. It’s really great for these types of accolades to be bestowed upon the Northern Illinois women’s basketball program.”

Shaakira Haywood
Shaakira Haywood

In her first year of eligibility for the award, Haywood played in all 30 games for NIU and nearly bettered all her numbers from her freshman campaign.

The psychology major with a 3.604 GPA set career highs in minutes (15.2/game), free-throws made (11), rebounds (2.3/game), assists (6), steals (0.5/game) and points (2.2/game). The Canton, Mich., native totaled a career-high three steals on November 13 at Minnesota and twice tallied season-highs of seven points and six rebounds.

A communication and journalism major with a 3.667 grade point average (GPA), Brown made five starts in 27 games for the Huskies and established career highs in minutes (13.8), rebounds (1.8), steals (0.41) and points (2.0) per game.

The senior from Detroit grabbed a career-best seven rebounds on February 19 at Eastern Michigan and scored a season-high seven points on November 16 at Western Illinois.

For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

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