Whalen, Clarke, Horak, Busse Honored

Numerous Gophers athletes were honored again by the Big Ten office, and volleyball player Cassie Busse was honored for academics as well. Read more to find out just what they did, and what's on tap for the Gophers men's hockey team.

The Big Ten Conference's Co-Preseason Players of the Year, Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen and Penn State's Kelly Mazzante, were named the Co-Big Ten Players of the Week after leading their respective teams to victories last week.

Whalen led the No. 9/7 Golden Gophers (7-0) to wins over Creighton and UMKC. She averaged 24.5 points, 7.0 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in the wins. Against Creighton, Whalen tied a school record going 14-for-14 from the free throw line and scoring 30 points. It was her ninth game with 30 or more points in her career. She also moved up to third on the Gophers' all-time scoring list past Linda Roberts (1978-81, 1856 points) and currently has 1,877 career points.

The honor is Whalen's eighth career Big Ten Player of the Week award, the most by any Minnesota player and second only to Mazzante's nine Big Ten weekly honors in Conference history.

Clarke, Horak Honored

La Toya Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) and Jody Horak (Blaine, Minn.) have both earned WCHA weekly awards for their outstanding performances in last weekend's series sweep over Bemidji State. They are the seventh and eighth weekly honors for the Golden Gophers this season.

Clarke, the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week, led the No. 1 Gopher women's hockey team to 7-0 and 6-1 wins over the Beavers. In her first game of the series, Clarke netted two goals, including a game-winning and power-play goal. She also tallied two assists for four points in the 7-0 victory. She followed her Friday performance with another two-goal night and added an assist, which also came on the power play. Clarke posted 13 shots for a .308 shooting percentage and had a plus/minus rating of +4.

Horak, the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week, kept the Beavers scoreless for 119 minutes and 38 seconds until the Beavers scored in the third period of the second game. Horak stopped 41 shots on goal during the two-game series and stopped all nine Beaver power-play opportunities. Horak had a 0.50 goals against average, and a .976 percent save percentage. Her Friday shutout was her third of the season and the 12th of her career.

The Gophers are idle until the month of January. Minnesota's next competition is Jan. 9-10 against No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

Busse Named Academic All-American Cassie Busse was named a 2003 first team Academic All-American according to an announcement by CoSIDA. It marked the second straight year she was named an Academic All-American, as she received third team honors in 2002.

Busse is the first player in school history to be named a first team Academic All-American, and only the third player to claim Academic All-American honors in two different seasons. She joins Sharon Oesterling who was named to the second team in 1987 and 88. Martie Larsen was named a second team Academic All-American in 1982 and was named to the third team in 1983. Chris Donnell also won third team Academic All-American honors in 1983.

Last week Busse became the third player in school history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year, joining Nicole Branagh (Co-Big Ten Player of the Year in 2000) and Martie Larsen in 1983. She was also named first team All-Big Ten for the second season in a row.

Men's Hockey Exhibition Game This Week Set For Thursday

The University of Minnesota men's hockey exhibition game this week is set for Thursday, Dec. 11, at 7:05 p.m., at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers will host one of the top hockey clubs in Latvia – HC Riga 2000 – in Minnesota's lone exhibition game of the season.

The exhibition game is Minnesota's only contest this week. The Gophers resume regular season play next weekend with the Dodge Holiday Classic at Mariucci Arena. Minnesota faces Princeton on Saturday, Dec. 20, at 7:05 p.m. Earlier that day, New Hampshire and Miami (Ohio) face off in the first semifinal. On Sunday, Dec. 21, Minnesota will play at 7:05 p.m., regardless of the outcome on Saturday.

Gopher Illustrated Top Stories