Saturday, January 2, 2010

WBB Top Moments of the 2000s - Part 1

The reason I chose to do these top 10 moments in no specific order was that the timing of this first one just seemed perfect. We are in Youngstown, Ohio, to take on YSU Saturday and it was on this road trip last year that Traci Edwards became the first player in school (man or woman), league or state history with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career. She did in the same game, no less.

When you have a player break the all-time school scoring record, for men or women, then follow that up with cracking the 2,000-point plateau, followed by the league scoring record and then, in the waning days of her collegiate career, the Division I state scoring record (men or women), it seems as though one season could make up four to five moments in its own.

With that in mind, the 2008-09 season of Traci Edwards milestones is wrapped up all into one.

To be honest, I started counting down to the 2,000 and 1,000 milestones since Traci was a freshman. It’s not every day that a freshman scores 500 points and pulls down 311 rebounds in a season. In fact, it was just the second 500-point or 300-rebound season in the program’s Division I history. She was a strong league player of the year candidate, finishing second (I think after four years I can publicly confirm that) and snared newcomer of the year honors.

Her next two years were nothing short of spectacular. Sure, the rebounds weren’t there in nearly as high of quantities, but she averaged better than 20 points per game over a two-year stretch. First as 20.5 as a sophomore, she broke the school’s single-season scoring record, then 20.6 as a junior, she broke her junior season record.

The rebounds did come, as she averaged nearly a double-double in each of those seasons and led the league both years—well, her all four years, to be exact, but more on that later.

So, as I mentioned, I anticipated the 2,000/1,000 club for a while. I wasn’t alone. I mean, she was dominant at times and the numbers kept piling up.

Obviously the school scoring record was the first to fall. Jaci Clark had held the school scoring record since 1983 before Maria Viall broke it in 2004. The next dominant post player in school history, Edwards was poised to break it and did in a memorable game at Wisconsin Dec. 2, 2008.

The game itself saw Milwaukee overcome a 16-point deficit in the second half to take the lead in regulation. The Badgers came away the victors in double overtime, but Traci had 30 points and 10 rebounds to surpass Viall (1,867).

That set the stage for Jan. 8, 2009, when Edwards had 21 points and eight rebounds to push her up to 2,000 points and 1,003 rebounds. To get the both milestones is an impressive feat in and of itself. But, she reached both in the same game, making the accomplishment all the more rare.

Milwaukee led wire-to-wire in the game, so there was little drama in that category. Her 2000th point came on the second of two free throws to make it 70-56 with 1:12 remaining in the game. Rebound No. 1,000 came with 16:53 to play in the second half.

Traci was the only woman in state history to 2,000/1,000 for all of a month and four days. Interestingly, Megan Scheele of Division III Edgewood College joined the club on Feb. 12… also in one night. Just the eighth Division III player to the milestone, their SID was able to track down that she was the first player at that level to reach both milestones on the same night. Which, given its rarity, should lock the two in history for some time to come.

Now, as to whether Traci was the first Division I player to do so, it gets a bit dicey as she was the 116th Division I player to 2,000/1,000.

The story does not end here… well, with the 2,000/1,000 it does, but she was not done. On the second leg of this road trip at Cleveland State, Traci had 23 more points to break Julie VonDielingen’s (Butler) league record of 2,018 career points.

Lastly, to make her scoring record list complete, she surpassed Jolene Anderson’s (Wisconsin) Division I state scoring record for men and women (2,312) on March 13 in the league semifinals against Cleveland State. While Anderson’s mark covered all men and women at the Division I level, it was also an all-divisions mark for women (including NAIA). Traci finished her career with 2,340 points.

There you have it, the first of the top 10 moments of the 2000s for Milwaukee Women’s Basketball. The next moment will be posted here at the Verizon Wireless Panther Blogzone next week, probably on Thursday before UWM hosts Detroit.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to vote for the Milwaukee Panthers All-Decade Team at The early voting numbers are good, but we’d like to get as many to vote as possible. You will also have the opportunity to do so in person at the Klotsche Center on game days throughout the month of January.