On Tuesday morning, the Big East announced the women's basketball postseason awards. Three Golden Eagles were included in the list, as Arlesia Morse was named to the All-Big East Second Team, while Kenisha Bell and Tia Elbert were included on the Big East's All-Freshman Team.
Morse finished the regular season ninth in the Big East in scoring at 14.6 points per game, including a career high of 30 points against Georgetown. Morse got to that 30 point mark by setting a Marquette record by going 17-17 on free throws in that game, and that's indicative of her reliability at the the charity stripe this season. Morse leads the Big East in free throw percentage at 93.1%, which also has her ranked 4th in the country.
Bell was a unanimous selection for the all-freshman team, and that's not surprising, given how she was one of three freshmen to dominated the Freshman of the Week awards. Bell was regularly Marquette's most dynamic player on the court, averaging 14 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. She was named Freshman of the Week four times, including the final week of the regular season when she led MU in scoring against DePaul with 19 points.
Elbert finished the season after appearing in all 29 of Marquette's games and starting in 22 of them. She averaged nine points, two rebounds, and three assists while playing 27 minutes a game. Bell was the more impressive freshman of the duo, but Elbert showed her value to head coach Carolyn Kieger's foundation repeatedly. Elbert had a career high in points of 21 points on the road against Wake Forest earlier this year, and she recorded nine assists on two different occasions.
Moving on to the rest of the league, DePaul's Brittany Hrynko was named the Big East's Player of the Year, as predicted on this very website. She was one of five unanimous choices for the all-conference First Team, so there may have been a very tight vote that ended in Hrynko's favor. She was the Big East's leading scorer this season on the Big East's best scoring team, and she finished second in steals and assists, too.
Seton Hall head coach Tony Bozzella was named Coach of the Year, which was also my pick. Just on the value of being picked to finish fifth and ending up as the #1 seed is generally impressive enough to pick up this trophy, but check out this laundry list of accomplishments by Bozzella's Pirates this season as laid out in the conference's press release:
Bozzella led a Seton Hall team which was picked fifth in the preseason coaches’ poll to its first BIG EAST regular-season title since sharing a division crown in a four-way tie in 1995-96. The Pirates enter the BIG EAST Tournament as the No. 1 seed for the first time and have their most wins in a season (26) since finishing 1993-94 with a 27-5 mark. The Hall returned to both national polls for the first time since 1995 and enters the postseason ranked 25th in both the Associated Press and USA Today Polls. SHU defeated its first ranked opponent (then-No. 14/16 Georgia) since 2007, matched a school-record 12-game winning streak and set a program standard for points in a game with 107 on Jan. 18 against DePaul, with which the Pirates share the 2014-15 BIG EAST regular-season title with after both finished 15-3.
I mean, wow, right?
Georgetown guard Dorothy Adomako was named the Freshman of the Year. My pick was Creighton's Sydney Lamberty, but I guess it's hard to go against the conference's best scoring and rebounding freshman, even though Creighton was a much better team than the Hoyas this season. Adomako is the third Hoya to win this award since 2009-10 and the second straight as well.
Onwards to the all-Big East teams...
All-BIG EAST First Team
Caroline Coyer, Villanova, Jr., G
Aliyyah Handford, St. John’s, Jr., G*
Brittany Hrynko, DePaul, Sr., G*
Marissa Janning, Creighton, Jr., G*
Daisha Simmons, Seton Hall, Grad., G*
Ka-Deidre Simmons, Seton Hall, Grad., G*
Ijeoma Uchendu, Butler, Sr., F
All-BIG EAST Second Team
Alexis Akin-Otiko, Creighton, Sr., F
Danaejah Grant, St. John’s, Jr., G
Chanise Jenkins, DePaul, Jr., G
Emily Leer, Villanova, Sr., F/C
Arlesia Morse, Marquette, Sr., G
Megan Podkowa, DePaul, Jr., F
Tabatha Richardson-Smith, Seton Hall, Jr., G
All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention^
Dorothy Adomako, Georgetown, Fr., G
Loryn Goodwin, Butler, So., G
Jessica January, DePaul, So., G
Amber Thompson, St. John’s, Sr., F
^due to a tie in voting, an extra player was added
The Big East went with a seven player First Team, while I only picked six players. Even with that bonus, I still only picked five players correctly: Handford, Hrynko, Janning, Ka-Deidre Simmons, and Uchendu. I had Second Teamer Richardson-Smith on my first team, but seeing as her teammate Daisha Simmons is there instead, I guess I can't really complain about the flip-flop. When you add in Daisha being named the Big East's Defensive Player of the Year, it all makes sense. Other than TRS on the Second Team, I don't really have any opinions on the rest of the league, because the six players I picked for my all-league team seemed like obvious choices.
You can check out the full list of awards, including the rest of the all-Freshman team, as well as Most Improved, Sixth Woman, Sportsmanship, and Scholar-Athlete, right here.