MOLINE — Illinois State women's basketball coach Kristen Gillespie set lofty goals for junior college standout Simone Goods while trying to convince her to join the Redbirds.
"The whole recruiting process Coach G and I talked about what I wanted to do and what she wanted from me," Goods said Thursday after being named Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year. "And it just happened."
Goods averaged 13.7 points and 6.0 rebounds to become ISU's third Newcomer of the Year honoree, joining Jamie Russell in 2012 and Janae Smith in 2013.
"That was our recruiting pitch to her," said Gillespie. "We knew we would get her enough touches that if she produced she could realistically get this award.
"We had our two-year plan for her. We were hoping first-team all-conference and Newcomer of the Year. We'll take one of the two and honorable mention. That's still pretty good."
A 6-foot-2 junior, Goods may have been a first-team all-conference player if not for missing eight games with a foot injury.
"It was kind of a surprise. I thought I had a chance, but I was just hoping to see what would happen," Goods said. "I really wasn't sure because of the injury and some setbacks. I'm just glad it did end up happening."
Drake sophomore Becca Hittner was named the Jackie Stiles Player of the Year. Hittner, who was the league's Freshman of the Year last season, averaged 15.7 points, led the MVC in 3-point percentage (.440) and was second in free throw percentage (.881).
Regular season champion Drake picked up three other awards as Jennie Baranczyk was selected Coach of the Year, junior guard Sammie Bachrodt was tabbed Defensive Player of the Year and sophomore forward Sara Rhine was picked as Sixth Player of the Year.
Freshman of the Year honors went to Southern Illinois' Abby Brockmeyer.
Valparaiso 63, Loyola 46: No. 8 seed Valpo cruised into the quarterfinals by ousting No. 9 Loyola.
Senior Dani Franklin paced the Crusaders (13-17) with 24 points and Meredith Hamlet added 12. Valpo meets top-seeded Drake in Friday's opening quarterfinal at noon.
Loyola (7-23) shot 26 percent from the floor while being eliminated. Jessica Cerda led the Ramblers with 11 points.
Bradley 77, Evansville 49: No. 7 seed Bradley blitzed No. 10 Evansville with a 29-4 first-half run after the Purple Aces had taken a 9-4 lead.
The Braves (13-17) received 20 points from Gabi Haack and will play No. 2 Missouri State in a 6:02 p.m. quarterfinal Friday.
Hannah Noe topped Evansville (3-27) with 23 points.