Big South Announces 2011 Hall of Fame Class
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - Former Coastal Carolina softball player Jessica Falca Flores, former Liberty women's basketball standout Elena Kisseleva Bengds and former UNC Asheville baseball player Ty Wigginton have been elected for enshrinement in the Big South Conference Hall of Fame, it was announced today by the League. The three individuals will be officially inducted on Thursday evening, June 2, 2011, during a special ceremony as part of the Conference's annual spring meetings in Hilton Head, S.C. The Hall of Fame was created in 2003 as part of the League's 20th Anniversary celebration, and now totals 44 former Big South Conference student-athletes, coaches, administrators and contributors. Below is a look at the 2011 class:
Jessica Falca Flores, Coastal Carolina, Softball Player, 1996-99
Falca finished her career in 1999 as the NCAA's career leader with 196 stolen bases, a mark that stood for five years and is now fourth all-time in Division I history. She also ended her career ranked nationally in hits (7th - 341), runs scored (12th - 193) and batting average (15th - .431). Falca is still the Big South's all-time record-holder in stolen bases and hits, and among the top five in batting. In fact, her 196 career steals are 98 more than the second-leading base stealer in Conference annals. The 1996 Big South Freshman of the Year, Falca earned First-Team All-Big South honors three times in her career - with all three awards at different positions (outfield in 1996, second base in 1998 and shortstop in 1999). She was a Second-Team All-Conference honoree in 1997 (second base) and was a two-time Big South All-Tournament Team member (1998 and 1999). An All-Region selection during her career at Coastal, Falca's .497 batting average in 1999 is still the second-highest single-season hitting mark in the Big South, as is her 99 hits that season. She appears on the single-season hits list a second time with 88 in 1998 (eighth). Falca owns three of the top four Big South single-season totals for stolen bases, including a Conference-record 56 in 1996 and 1999, as well as 51 in 1998. Those 56 steals currently rank 21st on the NCAA Division I single-season list. Falca, a 2004 inductee into Coastal Carolina's Athletics Hall of Fame, led Coastal Carolina to the 1998 Big South Tournament title and the school's second berth in the NCAA Tournament that season.
Elena Kisseleva Bengds, Liberty, Women's Basketball Player, 1996-00
Kisseleva is the Big South's all-time leading scorer in women's basketball history with 2,154 career points. She was one of three key players to help turn Liberty's women's basketball program into one of the Big South's most dominant dynasties. The Lady Flames were 5-22 the year prior to her arrival in Lynchburg in 1996-97, and Kisseleva led Liberty to four Big South Championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances in her four years, as well as a 94-25 overall record ( =.790 percent) and 42-8 mark in Big South games ( =.840 percent). Kisseleva was named First-Team All-Conference and All-Tournament all four years at Liberty, in addition to being voted Big South Player of the Year twice (1998, 1999) and Tournament MVP three times (1997, 1999, 2000). The 1996-97 Big South Rookie of the Year, Kisseleva was a three-time Big South All-Academic Team honoree and was the Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1998. She ended her career in 1999-00 as the Conference's all-time leader in scoring and free throws made (605), and still ranks among the League's career top 10 in field goal attempts (2nd - 1,842), free throw attempts (2nd - 799), field goals (4th - 723), minutes played (4th - 3,860), points per game (5th - 18.1) and rebounds (8th - 876). Kisseleva led the Big South in scoring three-straight seasons from 1996-99 - the only player in League history to accomplish this feat, and her 544 field goal attempts in 1996-97 remains the Big South single-season record. A member of Liberty Athletics' inaugural Hall of Fame Class in 2009, Kisseleva led the women's basketball program to the first of 10-straight Big South championships. The 1997-98 squad was 28-1, including 28-straight victories, an undefeated regular season and the only matchup in NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament history of undefeated programs when Liberty faced eventual national champion and national No. 1 seed Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. She averaged 15.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in her four career NCAA Tournament appearances.
Ty Wigginton, UNC Asheville, Baseball Player, 1996-98
Wigginton was a First-Team All-Conference selection in 1998, a season in which he tied the Big South single-season record at the time with 26 doubles. He also set single-season school records for total bases (149) and runs scored (67) that year. Wigginton became the second player in UNC Asheville history to hit three home runs in a game with three against East Tennessee State and set a school-record with 14 total bases in that game. The only player in Conference history to lead the League in doubles (20) and triples (5) in the same season in 1997, Wigginton also led the Big South in doubles and runs scored in 1998 - becoming just the second player at the time to achieve this feat. A national Player of the Week honoree during the 1998 campaign, Wigginton is the last Big South player to lead the League in doubles in back-to-back seasons (1997 and 1998). He ended his career in 1998 as one of 12 players in League history with 50 career doubles, in addition to 25 home runs, 102 RBI, a .310 batting average, and .564 slugging percentage in 153 career games with the Bulldogs. He was drafted in the 17th round and signed by the New York Mets following his junior season of 1998, and made his Major League Debut May 16, 2002 as a pinch-hitter for the Mets against his hometown San Diego Padres. Now in his 10th Major League season, Wigginton is currently a member of the Colorado Rockies and has played for the Mets (2002-04), Pittsburgh Pirates (2004-05), Tampa Bay Rays (2006-07), Houston Astros (2007-08) and Baltimore Orioles (2009-10) during his career. He finished eighth in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2003, was named National League Player of the Month in August 2008 when he led all of baseball with 12 home runs, and was selected to the American League All-Star Team in 2010 and played third base in the Midsummer Classic. Wigginton recently recorded his 1,000th career hit in the Major Leagues and has totaled 1,080 career games, 214 doubles, 145 home runs, 511 RBI and a .267 career batting average.