Koupal among NCC female honor athletes

Koupal among NCC female honor athletes South Dakota's Mandy Koupal is one of eight female student-athletes that have been honored by the North Central Conference as the league's honor athletes for 2003-04.

Each of the conference's member institutions selected its outstanding student-athletes based on academic performance, athletic ability and performance and leadership in campus and community activities. Each nominated student-athlete must have graduated this spring or be within 12 credit hours of graduation.

This group of eight now becomes the finalists for the Stan Marshall Award, which will be announced later this spring by the league office.

The honor athletes also include: Kinsey Coles, North Dakota State; Amber Dusosky, Minnesota State-Mankato; Brooke Gentzler, St. Cloud State; Jackie Hingst, Augustana; Stephanie Kirby, Nebraska-Omaha; Jessica Schill, North Dakota; and Cori Vining, South Dakota State.

A native of Wagner, Koupal was named The University of South Dakota's Female Scholar Athlete of the Year at the USD Student Athlete Awards Banquet in early May.

Koupal became the first USD women's basketball player to earn a total of three national player of the year honors, including two this past season (State Farm/Women's Basketball Coaches Association, Division II Bulletin). She was also recognized for her success in the classroom.

An elementary education major with a 3.823 grade point average, Koupal was selected CoSIDA's (Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-American of the Year and named First Team All-American. Koupal was selected one of 13 women in consideration for Honda Woman of the Year Award in Division II.

Arguably the best women's basketball player ever in the North Central Conference, Koupal was named NCC MVP for the third straight year, which is a mark never before accomplished in women's basketball in the NCC.

She also was named All-NCC four straight years, which has been accomplished by just five players in league history. Koupal owns NCC marks in points (1,352) and rebounds (606).

In 2003-04, Koupal averaged 24.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game as a senior, which was second in NCAA Division II in scoring and ninth in rebounding. She was one of two players nationally to rank in the top 10 of both categories.

During her stellar career, Koupal set 18 school records, finishing career with 2,496 career collegiate points, which ranks sixth all-time in NCAA Division II history. She had a school-record 806 single season points in 2003-04.

Remarkably, she is the only student athlete in school history to join the 2,000 point and 1,000 rebound club. She broke USD's school record for points in 73 games (two and one-half seasons).

She owns the top three single season point totals in school history. In 2003-04, she set a school record with 381 rebounds.

Koupal compiled a school-record 2,142 points and 1,027 rebounds in 93 career games, scoring more than 30 points 19 times in her career, including 11 times this season. By being named the State Farm/WBCA D-II Player of the Year,�she was invited to participate in the WBCA/USA�National Team All-Star Game at Final Four in New Orleans in early April.

An Academic All-NCC selection for three straight years, she also received the Carl B "Rube" Hoy Award for outstanding achievement in athletics and academics at USD. Koupal understands the importance of community service. She has volunteered to serve meals for the needy at the Congregational Church in Vermillion, and along with fellow teammates at USD, she participated in the Meals on Wheels program.

Koupal now plans to learn the game of basketball from a different perspective. Turning down an offer to participate in WNBA camps, Koupal has taken a position as a basketball coach for the sophomore girls' team and as a teacher in the Watertown school system.

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