On Wednesday, the Big East announced the postseason awards for women’s basketball, and three Marquette Golden Eagles were honored by the league. Sophomore Allazia Blockton was a unanimous choice for All-Big East First Team, while sophomore Erika Davenport made the All-Big East Second Team and sophomore Natisha Hiedeman was included in the All-Big East Honorable Mention category.
Blockton is the first Golden Eagle to earn First Team Honors since Katherine Plouffe in 2013-14. She led the Big East in scoring this season at 17.2 points per game, ranked 12th in rebounding at 5.9 per contest, and also found time to finish the regular season rank ninth in assists. She was just one of two Big East players to be a unanimous choice for the First Team.
Davenport earned her first ever all-conference honors by posting a Big East best 14 double-doubles this season. She averaged 13.4 points (13th in the league) and 9.6 rebounds, the second best mark in the conference. Hiedeman ranked 11th in the Big East in scoring this season at 13.6 points per game and her 2.3 made three-point baskets per game was the third best mark in the league. In December, Hiedeman became just the second Marquette player to ever record a triple-double, posting 12 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists as a perfect snapshot of the kind of game that the Green Bay native can assemble seemingly out of thin air.
Let’s turn our attention to the individual awards.
Player of the Year: Brooke Schulte, DePaul
Here’s the league office’s write up on Schulte, which is a pretty perfect explanation as to why she won Player of the Year.
Schulte becomes the third consecutive BIG EAST Player of the Year from DePaul, following Chanise Jenkins in 2016 and Brittany Hrynko in 2015. The senior made a remarkable rise beginning in late December when teammate and Preseason Player of the Year Jessica January went down with an injury, which kept her sidelined for all but two-and-a-half BIG EAST games. Schulte bumped her scoring average from 11.2 points per game prior to January’s injury, to 21.6 without the fellow senior in the lineup, and claimed the league’s scoring title, averaging 20.8 points per game over 18 conference contests. The senior guard also ranked in the top five in rebounding and field goal percentage among all BIG EAST players, guiding the nationally ranked Blue Demons to a fourth consecutive regular-season crown.
I can’t help but wonder if the POY voting was closer than I expected it to be. Schulte and Blockton were the only two unanimous choices for the All-Big East First Team, and it’s possible that the voting for the individual award was similar. I presume at least DePaul’s Doug Bruno voted for Blockton, since coaches can’t vote for their own players.
Speaking of Bruno......
Coach of the Year: Doug Bruno, DePaul
When you lose three of your expected starters by the time the second conference game tips off and you still go 16-2, you get to be Coach of the Year. Here’s how the league office explained it:
Bruno claims top coaching honors for the third time in four years after guiding DePaul to a 16-2 BIG EAST record and a 24-6 overall mark. The Blue Demons claimed a share of their fourth consecutive regular-season title, as the graduating seniors of DePaul become the first senior class since Connecticut’s Class of 2011 to win a crown every year. The Blue Demons overcame many obstacles this season, with projected starter Mart’e Grays sustaining an injury in preseason which kept her out the whole year, starter Ashton Millender has been sidelined since early December and the previously mentioned January absence. Despite the hardships, DePaul clinched the BIG EAST Tournament’s No. 1 seed for a third time in four years, remained in the top 25 every week this season and boasted one of the most potent offenses in the nation, averaging a BIG EAST-best 81.2 points per game.
Freshman of the Year: Jaylyn Agnew, Creighton
Ok, here I’m going to need the league office to explain this one to me.
Agnew provided quality depth for Creighton, coming off the bench in all 18 BIG EAST games to average 8.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals, to go along with a .430 shooting clip. The redshirt-freshman led the Bluejays in scoring twice this season and racked up double-digits in scoring in eight contests, highlighted by a 21-point outing at nationally ranked DePaul in January. Creighton boasted the most experienced roster in the league this season, with Agnew bolstering the lineup to lead the Bluejays to a share of their first BIG EAST regular-season title, their highest seed in BIG EAST Tournament history at No. 2, and their first national ranking since 1992. Agnew is the first BIG EAST Freshman of the Year out of Creighton.
Okay, I guess. My pick was Kaela Hilaire from Seton Hall because she’s the league’s leader in scoring and assists amongst freshmen. The Pirates went 4-14 in league play though, so womp womp. Fun Fact: Jaylyn Agnew won a grand total of ZERO Freshman of the Week awards and had ZERO Weekly Honor Roll appearances. Sure, makes perfect sense, Big East coaches.
Co-Defensive Players of the Year: Jacqui Grant, DePaul & Aaliyah Lewis, St. John’s
Co-Most Improved Players Of The Year: Brooke Schulte, DePaul & Brianna Rollerson, Creighton
Sixth Woman Of The Year: Tanita Allen, DePaul
Sportsmanship Award: Lauren Works, Creighton
I didn’t make make picks for any of these awards, so I’ll just nod my head and give a thumbs up.
All-Big East First Team
Allazia Blockton, Marquette, So., G*
Audrey Faber, Creighton, So., F
Jacqui Grant, DePaul, Sr., F
Brooke Schulte, DePaul, Sr., G*
Jade Walker, St. John’s, Sr., F
I went 3-for-5, getting Schulte, Blockton, and Walker correct. The coaches went with Audrey Faber, who is leading Creighton in scoring, to represent the Bluejays, so I can’t knock that. Grant averaged a double-double in league play, so that makes sense, I suppose. I had picked Butler’s Tori Schickel because she averaged a double-double across every game of the season, which seems like a more impressive accomplishment.
Here’s the rest of the All-League teams:
All-BIG EAST Second Team
Erika Davenport, Marquette, So., F
Adrianna Hahn, Villanova, So., G
Marissa Janning, Creighton, Sr., G
Tori Schickel, Butler, So., F
Dionna White, Georgetown, So., G
All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Dorothy Adomako, Georgetown, Jr., G
Raeshaun Gaffney, Xavier, R-Sr., G
Natisha Hiedeman, Marquette, So., G
Aaliyah Lewis, St. John’s, Sr., G
Alex Louin, Villanova, Jr., G
Yoyo Nogic, Providence, So., G
BIG EAST All-Freshman Team
Jaylyn Agnew, Creighton, R-Fr., F
Kelly Campbell, DePaul, Fr., G*
Kaela Hilaire, Seton Hall, Fr., G*
Alisha Kebbe, St. John’s, Fr., G
Sydney Shelton, Butler, Fr., G