The Big East announced their postseason women's basketball awards on Wednesday, and Marquette's name was featured heavily in the press releases. The biggest headline for MU fans was the least surprising item that the league announced, and that's Allazia Blockton being named Freshman of the Year.
The Milwaukee native was named Freshman of the Week on a national level twice this season, and earned the same honor from the Big East on seven different occasions, more than any other rookie. She leads all Big East freshmen in scoring and rebounding, and on top of all of that, Blockton broke the Big East's 21 year old freshman scoring record with 337 points in Marquette's 18 league games this season.
It's a well deserved honor for Blockton, and she's the first Golden Eagle to ever be named Freshman of the Year since Marquette joined the Big East. It also wasn't the only honor that she deserved this season. While I had Blockton as my choice for Player of the Year, I can't fault the Big East coaches for not voting for her in that regard. Ultimately, she's a freshman on a team that went .500 in league play and is currently under .500 for the season. I get it. That's fine.
What's NOT fine is Blockton being left off of the All-Big East First Team. From the league office's writeup on Blockton winning FOY:
The Marquette guard has scored in double figures in every game but her collegiate debut, totaling 13 20-point games, a BIG EAST-best 11 double-digit rebounding performances, along with a league-high 11 double-doubles. She enters the postseason as the sixth-highest scoring freshman in Division I, averaging 18.7 points per game to rank third in the BIG EAST overall, while her 8.1 rebounding average lists second in the conference. She is also among the league leaders in steals and assists.
And yet, somehow, she's not one of the five best players in the Big East this season. Blockton was beaten out by Villanova's Caroline Coyer, DePaul's Chanise Jenkins, who also won Player of the Year, Seton Hall's Tabatha Richardson-Smith, and St. John's Danaejah Grant and Aliyyah Handford. I think it's the last two that annoy me the most. St. John's went 11-7 in league play and they deserve TWO players on the all league team? You kidding me here? I'm not saying that Grant and Handford aren't very good, but c'mon, man. What are we even doing out here?
Blockton was named to the All-Big East Second Team, however, so at least people haven't totally lost their minds. She was also one of four unanimous choices for the All-Freshman team, where she was joined by teammate Natisha Hiedeman. Hiedeman finished second on the team in scoring to Blockton, and led her own charge on the Marquette record books, breaking the freshman marks for both three pointers made and three pointers attempted.
The freshmen on the team weren't the only Golden Eagles to draw attention from the league's coaches. Junior guard McKayla Yentz was named the Big East's Most Improved Player for the 2015-16 season. Yentz entered her junior year with just 286 minutes played for Marquette and was a career 21% three point shooter on 58 attempts in 37 appearances. This year, Yentz has started every game for Marquette, playing 871 minutes and sinking 36% of her 195 three point attempts. She led MU and finished third in the Big East with 70 made triples, the third highest total in program history. I can't speak to the improvement of the other players in the Big East that well, but I can't possibly believe that Yentz had very strong competition for this award. Like Blockton as FOY, Yentz is the first Marquette player to earn this award from the Big East.