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Cassell sets Akron assists mark

Call her Kacie Cassell, the passing machine.

Akron’s junior point guard, a Vandalia Butler graduate, broke the school record for assists in a season on Feb. 2 in a 75-57 win over Buffalo. She now has 167, eclipsing the mark (which had stood since 1999) with eight games to go in the regular season.

“My teammates have been making the plays,” Cassell said. “I give them the ball in the right position and they make the shots. I give them all the credit.”

Akron is 16-7 overall, 6-3 in the MAC. Cassell credits team chemistry and familiarity.

“We have a good core group of six players who returned and play a lot together,” Cassell said. “We know what the other person is going to do. It’s nice when you have been with a group of people for a long period of time. You know their strengths and weaknesses.”

Cassell played immediately at Akron, starting 18 games as a freshman. She was bumped from the regular starting lineup her sophomore year after an older teammate returned from injury and only started six games, but she used the experience as an opportunity to learn.

“I knew my role,” Cassell said. “I knew what the team needed of me. I think when you are out there, you get game experience, but you can learn a lot from just watching. You can see things on the bench you don’t necessarily see on the court.”

The time on the bench helped her improve.

“I came in as a freshman and the fast pace is the biggest transition — the speed. As a junior it’s really slowed down. I can see and read players. I know where people are going to be since I’ve been playing with them for three years.”

Cassell is majoring in bio-chemistry and plans on working as a pharmacist after her college career. Her goal is to be the first person in her immediate family with a doctorate.

That family is a familiar sight on the road with Akron. Her parents have made every one of her games since her freshman year.

“They’ve been to Seattle, Dallas, everywhere. They bring little goodies like cookies once in a while.”

Cleland makes All-Academic: Stephanie Cleland (Northwestern), a cross country runner at Shawnee State, was named to the Mid-South Conference all-academic team for 2012.

Candella hits landmark: Brandon Candella (Lakota West), a senior on the Wilmington College men’s basketball team, scored his 1,000th career point on Feb. 2 in a 70-62 loss to Baldwin-Wallace. He scored 12 points and had four rebounds. Candella is Wilmington’s second- leading scorer, averaging 15.1 points per game.

Jones goes out a winner: Jeremy Jones (Beavercreek), a senior on the Ohio Northern wrestling team, won his last home match against Jacob Flanders of Baldwin-Wallace. Landers is a Lakota East graduate. Jones won the match 26-12.

Vaughn doubling-up: Cameron Vaughn (Xenia) is averaging 13.9 points and 13.8 rebounds for the Cincinnati State women’s basketball team. She leads the country with 304 total rebounds and 147 offensive rebounds.

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