POPLAR BLUFF -- Missy Whitney cemented her legacy at Three Rivers with another All-American selection.
Whitney was named a third-team All-American last week, joining Paul Corder as only the second player in Lady Raiders history to receive the honor twice. "She's been the centerpiece of our program the past two years," Three Rivers coach Jack Childress said of Whitney. "She's really come to the top and it would be a slam to our program and Region XVI if she wouldn't have gotten something.
"She's quite a talented young lady."
Whitney, who was an honorable mention selection last year, is only the ninth All-American in program history and only the fifth to be named to the first, second or third team. Corder was selected to the second team in 1997 and the first team the next year.
Jefferson sophomore guard Elzbieta Mukosiej also represented the region as an honorable mention selection.
A 6-foot-3 forward, Whitney will be remembered as the program's most athletic player ever and maybe one of its most versatile. She possessed the strength to score and rebound on the interior, and the guard-like skills to handle the ball and shoot from the perimeter.
There was little Whitney couldn't do, especially around the basket. She leaves as the program's second-leading rebounder, eighth-leading scorer and most likely all-time blocked shots leader. There isn't a record in that category but with 92 in 59 career games, Childress said the record is hers.
A series of season-long injuries from a sore thumb on her non-shooting left hand to a nagging groin strain slowed Whitney during her sophomore season, but they didn't stop her. She still averaged 14.3 points on 48 percent shooting, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots.
She led the Lady Raiders with a 76.5 free throw percentage and was fourth with 20 3-pointers on 60 attempts.
As a freshman, Whitney averaged 16.7 points (seventh-best in a single season), 8.5 rebounds (sixth-best) and 2.1 steals.
In her final game as a Lady Raider, Whitney had 26 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks in Three Rivers' 70-67 loss to State Fair in the region semifinals. It was the 21st double-double of her career.
"Her consistency was a trademark and her ability to play under pressure was one big thing she possessed," Childress said. "It didn't matter what the situation was, she wanted the ball."
Even though Whitney has already signed with Southeast Missouri State -- the program she initially signed with when she graduated from Charleston before failing to qualify academically ---- Childress said she's still a hot commodity. "I mean, every day coaches are e-mailing or calling," he said.
LADY RAIDER ALL-AMERICANS
Forward Missy Whitney is only the second Three Rivers women's basketball player to earn All-American honors twice. Here are the nine Lady Raiders who have been named All-Americans:
Laura Newcomb 1992 honorable mention
Amanda Heibert 1996 second team
Chiquita Pullen 1996 honorable mention
Paula Corder 1997 second team
Paula Corder 1998 first team
Tanisha Albert 1999 honorable mention
Michelle Gainey 2002 honorable mention
Bliss Roberson 2003 honorable mention
Jessica Wilson 2004 second team
Missy Whitney 2005 honorable mention