Kelsey Florian – December Female Student-Athlete of the Month – Junior, Basketball
The Gustavus women’s basketball team started the month of December with a tough road loss to the University of St. Thomas but bounced back to win three consecutive MIAC match-ups to round out the 2011 calendar year. Each of the three victories truly embodied a “team victory” as the Gusties benefitted from both their starters and reserves. Junior forward Kelsey Florian was one of the biggest contributors off the bench and for her efforts, the Office of Sports Information has named Florian December Female Student-Athlete of the Month.
The Roseville, Minn. native started the month by leading the team with 14 points off the bench in a losing effort at St. Thomas. Florian shot 3-of-9 from the field, 7-of-8 from the free throw line and hauled in four rebounds with an assist. In the ensuing game against Carleton, the 5-10 forward was second on the team with six rebounds and contributed five points, including a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe in a convincing 73-31 victory.
Florian continued to lead the Gusties off the bench in their 58-48 win over Augsburg on Dec. 7 in Minneapolis. She was one of two Gusties in double-digit scoring (11 points) and dished out a team-high four assists. Florian capped off the month with a seven-point performance against Saint Benedict in just 13 minutes of work. In their three December victories, the Gusties outscored their opponents in bench scoring 90-to-49, thanks in large part to Florian.
“Kelsey could easily start for us,” Head Coach Mickey Haller said. “Her value coming off the bench is quite simply, her smarts. She knows she is going in at the seventeen-minute mark and I could put her in the number four or five spot. She can play multiple positions and she’s basketball smart. She’s the kid out there doing the little things like letting everyone else on the court know that there’s only four seconds left on the clock.”
In four games during December, Florian averaged 9.25 points per game, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.75 assists in an average of 21.5 minutes. On the season, she is leading the team at the free throw line, converting 81.0-percent (34-for-42) – which also ranks fourth in the MIAC – and is tied for the lead with 17 assists. The Roseville Area product is averaging 9.7 points per game, 4.1 rebounds, shooting .364 (24-for-66) from the field, .250 (5-for-20) from behind the arc and has 15 steals.
“She’s been a good rebounder for us, she’s able to score against players that are bigger than her and I think any coach would tell you that the sixth person off the bench is probably one of the most important players you can have on the court because she has to make an impact both offensively and defensively. Kelsey has done that for us all year,” Haller acknowledged. “As coaches, we tend to think its great and important if you are a starter, but it’s really who’s on the court at the end of the game and I think you’ll find Kelsey on the court nine-and-a-half times out of ten at the end.”
The Gustie women return to MIAC action Wednesday night at Saint Mary’s University. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.