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Top CCIW honor 'pretty cool' for IWU's Harnisch

Top CCIW honor 'pretty cool' for IWU's Harnisch

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BLOOMINGTON — Illinois Wesleyan senior Heidi Harnisch had set a goal of being a first-team all-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin basketball player.

The league's coaches did Harnisch one better by naming her the league's Player of the Year.

"My first thought was holy cow. It definitely caught me by surprise," Harnisch said. "Player of the Year was a high goal. I never did think I would actually get it. It's pretty cool."

Harnisch averaged 14.5 points and 4.7 rebounds for the Titans. In CCIW games only, the Urbana native averaged 15.6 points and led the league in 3-point percentage at 50.6.

"I was thrilled for Heidi, but I don't think I was surprised," Wesleyan coach Mia Smith said. "Several compliments from coaches in the CCIW were about her character and sportsmanship and how her pleasant personality mixed with her competitiveness."

Harnisch transferred from Illinois State to IWU during the 2003-04 season. She earned third-team all-CCIW accolades as a junior.

"Coach Smith gave me an awesome opportunity to continue playing," Harnisch said. "I'm so thankful I was able to play and meet so many people."

Smith said Harnisch had an extremely positive influence on her team.

"I knew she was a great kid, but she's done so much for our program," said the IWU coach. "Just getting to know her has been a blessing. She's a quality person, and that rubbed off on her teammates. She served us well as a captain."

Harnisch is the second IWU women's player to be named Player of the Year since the CCIW began play for women in 1987. Katie Cantrell earned the honor in 2003.

IWU freshman Mallory Heydorn was part of the all-CCIW second team, while senior Val Fleishman was on the third team.

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