Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In the history of Michigan State womenâ€™s basketball, only five others had accomplished the feat. Add a sixth to the list as Kalisha Keane received another award in a growing collection from her Spartan career as the Associated Press recently named her an All-American.
â€I remember sitting in Coach Merchantâ€™s office at the beginning of the season in October and reading out my goals to her,â€ said MSU senior Kalisha Keane. â€œI had that (All-American) on there and it feels so awesome to accomplish something like that.â€
Even though the season ended sooner than hoped for, it was a senior campaign for the Ajax, Ontario native that will forever be etched into Spartan history. MSU finished the year with its first ever-outright Big Ten regular season championship, finishing with a 13-3 conference record. Coming off a 2009-2010 season in which Keane was the first Spartan ever to be named Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year, she one upped herself in 2010-2011 by being the first Spartan to receive the Big Ten Conference Player of the Year honor. In Spartan womenâ€™s basketball history, she is the only player to record at least 1,500 points, 600 rebounds, 300 assists and 250 steals in a career.
On the MSU all-time lists, Keane finished her career tied for the most games played (136), second in steals (259), third in 3-point field goals made (183), seventh in points (1,553) and minutes played (3,654), ninth in field goals made (560) and free throw percentage (79.1%), 11th in games started (95), 13th in assists (300) and free throws made (250), 14th in 3-point field goal percentage (32.7%), and 17th in rebounds (624) and blocks (46).
â€œPicking captains is an inexact science, yet I knew what I was doing when I selected four captains this last season,â€ noted Big Ten Womenâ€™s Basketball Coach of the Year Suzy Merchant. â€œI also knew that one of them would probably carry the torch. Thatâ€™s exactly what Kal did for us. She was sort of the King of the Captains and wasnâ€™t afraid to show her emotions.â€
In a season where a MSU womenâ€™s basketball game was sold out for the first time ever in The Breslin Center, donâ€™t underestimate the significance of Keaneâ€™s award on incoming recruiting classes. In order to become good programs, schools must own the recruiting battles within their own state and region. To become an elite program recruits from all over the county must be willing to come. Having an All-American can only help.
â€œI'm so honored to have been able to represent Michigan State for the past four years as an athlete and I hope I made this institution and the fans proud. I'll forever bleed green.â€
A banner has been added to the rafters in The Breslin Center commemorating the MSU womenâ€™s basketball 2010-2011 Big Ten Championship. Keaneâ€™s favorite player has always been Magic Johnson, who has along with championship banners, his number retired and hanging atop The Breslin Center. It only makes sense that one day Kalisha Keaneâ€™s #32 joins him.