Junior Buford and freshman Kellogg earn All-Big Ten honors

Kiara Buford eclipsed 1,000 points this season and set career highs in scoring, field goal percentage and assists; Kionna Kellogg averaged more than 7 rebounds per game since joining the starting lineup in late January.

Only one loss away from its worst record in a decade, the Gophers womenâÄôs basketball team still received some recognition from the Big Ten when the regular season conference awards were announced Monday.

Junior Kiara Buford and freshman Kionna Kellogg were both named as All-Big Ten players for the 2010-11 season.

Buford, who finished the regular season as the conferenceâÄôs eighth highest scorer with 15.2 points per game, was selected for the honorable mention team for the second consecutive year. It is her third All-Big Ten selection after being named to the freshman team in 2009.

âÄúShe has been instrumental to our team this year, both on and off the court, and I am excited for her to have been honored as one of the top players in the Big Ten,âÄù head coach Pam Borton said. Buford enjoyed her best year with the program so far, setting career highs in scoring, field goal percentage and assists.

Kellogg capped off an impressive first year with a selection to the All-Big Ten freshman team, only the fifth Gopher to receive that distinction. Since permanently joining the starting lineup Jan. 27, Kellogg has averaged more than seven rebounds per game, and was the first Minnesota player to post back-to-back double-digit rebounding games since Ashley Ellis-Milan did so in 2009.

Kellogg has had a noticeable effect on the team this season. Minnesota began its conference schedule with a dismal 0-7 record, prompting Borton to shuffle her lineup. Kellogg was given a starting role, and after just three games she had pulled down 34 rebounds and helped the Gophers capture their first three Big Ten victories of the year over Northwestern, Michigan and Indiana.

Borton said that âÄúthe sky is the limitâÄù for Kellogg, who was the youngest player to appear as a starter for the Gophers this year.

Junior Jackie Voigt was awarded the Big TenâÄôs sportsmanship award, given to one player on each team who exemplified ethical behavior on and off the court and performed well academically. Roommate Katie Loberg said that she has looked up to Voigt throughout her career because of her work ethic with the team and discipline in the classroom.

In addition to her admirable behavior during the season, Voigt also started all 28 games she appeared in and led the team with 6.5 rebounds a game, the highest mark for the Gophers in two years.

The Gophers hope to take this encouraging news and turn it into some wins in the Big Ten
Tournament this weekend. The teamâÄôs first game is at approximately 5:45 p.m.  Thursday against Northwestern.