Posted 12 months ago
By Robert Lovell
ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced the women’s basketball All-Conference teams and individual award winners on Monday. Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper was named Big Ten Player of the Year by the conference coaches, while Penn State’s Maggie Lucas earned the honor from the media. Lady Lions’ teammate Dara Taylor collected Defensive Player of the Year recognition and Purdue’s Whitney Bays was tabbed Sixth Player of the Year. Minnesota’s Amanda Zahui B. was honored with the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award by the coaches and media. Penn State head coach Coquese Washington received the nod from media as conference Coach of the Year, while Nebraska’s Connie Yori was chosen by her peers.
Hooper’s award marks the first time a Husker has been tabbed Player of the Year since Nebraska joined the conference for the 2011-12 season, as she became the fifth player in Big Ten history with 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. She averaged 20.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game this season, which both rank third in the conference. She tallied 12 double-doubles this season and was named Big Ten Player of the Week three times. Hooper garners first-team All-Big Ten status for the third time, and was a unanimous selection by the coaches and media this year.
Lucas was tabbed Big Ten Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, just the seventh player in Big Ten history to earn the accolade multiple times. Lucas ranks second in the conference in scoring this season, averaging 21.5 points per game. She is currently fourth on the Big Ten’s all-time scoring list, having tallied 2,439 points in her career. Lucas leads the nation in free-throw percentage (.959) and needs one three-point field goal to tie the Big Ten career record. Lucas was named first-team All-Big Ten for the third time, and was a unanimous selection by the coaches and media this year. The honor marks the fifth time a Lady Lion has been tabbed Player of the Year, joining Kelly Mazzante who won back-to-back honors in 2003 and 2004 and Helen Darling in 2000.
Washington earns top billing among media for the third consecutive season. She is just the second coach to win the honor three straight years, joining Ohio State’s Jim Foster, who earned the honors from 2005-07. She guided Penn State to the Big Ten Championship for the third straight year, finishing the season 22-6 overall with a 13-3 conference ledger. The award is the seventh in Penn State history.
Yori was named Big Ten Coach of the Year by her peers for the second year in a row after guiding Nebraska to a 22-6 overall record and 12-4 mark in conference action. The award marks the fourth conference coach of the year honor for Yori. It marks the second year in a row Yori and Washington shared Coach of the Year honors.
Zahui collected Freshman of the Year honors after averaging a double-double this season. The Minnesota newcomer averaged 15.1 points and a conference-best 11.3 rebounds per game. She was also second in the Big Ten in blocked shots, tallying 2.9 blocks per contest. Zahui was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week seven times this season and garners first-team All-Big Ten status. She is the third player in Gopher history to win Freshman of the Year honors and second in the last three years, following Rachel Banham in 2012.
Taylor picks up Defensive Player of the Year laurels after leading the conference in steals this season, averaging 2.9 per game. She was part of a Lady Lion defense that limited opponents to 37 percent shooting, good for second in the Big Ten. Taylor’s award is the fourth in Penn State history and first since Tanisha Wright won three straight from 2003-05.
Bays becomes the third Boilermaker to earn Sixth Player of the Year honors, following Cherelle George in 2006 and Brittany Rayburn in 2009. The junior leads Purdue in rebounding, tallying 7.5 boards per contest, and is the team’s third-leading scorer at 11.4 points per game. In conference games only, Bays upped her rebounding average to 9.2 per game, which ranks fourth among all Big Ten players.
Hooper and Lucas were joined by Banham as unanimous first-team selections by both the coaches and media, while Iowa’s Samantha Logic and Purdue’s Courtney Moses were each unanimous picks by the coaches. This year, the conference’s All-Big Ten teams consists of 10 first-team honorees and 10 second-team selections.
The Big Ten also recognized 12 Sportsmanship Award honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.