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Unscientific Predictions: 2017-18 Big East Women’s Basketball Postseason Awards

The regular season wraps up on Sunday, so let’s make some picks.

Allazia Blockton
Allazia Blockton: Good at basketball
Facebook.com/MarquetteWBB

For most of the Big East, there’s just two games left in the women’s basketball schedule. Butler and Xavier are the only exceptions, as they only have one game left against each other as they’re the last travel partners to finish their season series.

With that being the case, and the women’s basketball tournament starting up on Saturday, March 3, we’re going to make some postseason award picks now instead of waiting for the season to wrap up. The league office occasionally gets a little sneaky with how fast that they release the awards after the season ends, so instead of getting caught with awards released first thing Monday morning, we’ll already have picks in place regardless of when the awards are announced.

We’ve got three individual awards — Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, and Coach of the Year — as well as an all-league team. The league is going to hand out more individual awards than that based on a vote of the coaches, but these are the easiest ones to pick, so we’ll stick to that.

Onwards!

Player of the Year: Allazia Blockton, Marquette

There are two players that rank in the top 20 in the Big East in points, rebounds, and assists per game. Only one of the two ranks in the top 15 in all three. That same player also leads the Big East in scoring. That’s Allazia Blockton. She’s first in points, eighth in rebounds, and 14th in assists. Creighton’s Audrey Faber is the other one, by the way, going sixth, twentieth, and ninth in points, rebounds, and assists.

Circling back to Blockton, she’s also the only player to be named Big East Player of the Week twice this season. No, seriously, she’s the only one. 15 weeks of awards, 14 different women honored, Blockton is the only repeat winner.

I suppose that if Marquette were to slip up over the weekend, leaving DePaul to win the regular season title, I could see the coaches going with a Blue Demon for POY. The problem then becomes identifying which DePaul player they would go with. Mart’e Grays leads the team in scoring, Amarah Coleman is a quality scorer and also dishes a little bit, Kelly Campbell is running the show at the point, leading the Big East in assists. Campbell and Grays both earned Player of the Week honors, while Grays and Ashton Millender were the only Blue Demons who earned multiple Big East Weekly Honor Roll spots at two each. Even if DePaul earns the regular season title all to themselves, their lack of a standout player might end up turning the trophy over to Blockton.

Freshman of the Year: Qadashah Hoppie, St. John’s

Hoppie won four Freshman of the Week awards this season, so that gives her the inside track over teammate Tiana England and her three FOW awards. Hoppie is the only freshman in the top 30 in the Big East in scoring, which is always helpful for this kind of thing. England ranks second in the league in assists, though.

Coach of the Year: Doug Bruno, DePaul

This is going to be a hard one to figure out. I’m going with Bruno, just because DePaul was picked to finish second and they just need to not lose to at least share the regular season title. DePaul is also winning without a notably dominant player, so bonus points for Bruno for managing his roster to max it out every single night. If Marquette wins the regular season title outright, then I would expect Carolyn Kieger to snag the trophy here, and heck, even if MU shares it with DePaul, Kieger could easily win. Sometimes you see the coaches vote for someone who greatly overachieved relative to the preseason poll, but the Big East standings are mostly lining up with how that poll went, so that’s off the board.

All-Big East Team

Allazia Blockton, Marquette
Kelly Campbell, DePaul
Audrey Faber, Creighton
Alex Louin, Villanova
Tori Schickel, Butler
Maya Singleton, St. John’s

Obviously Blockton makes the list as my Player of the Year. The rest of the list is pretty straight forward, as it turns out. That ended up throwing me off after how spread out the Player of the Week awards went, but this list ended up coming up together pretty quickly.

Faber was a no-brainer given her coverage across the stat sheet behind Blockton. Singleton picked up six Weekly Honor Roll appearances, more than anyone else in the league, and she leads the Big East in rebounding, too. Schickel is fifth in scoring and third in rebounding, so that’s hard to ignore. Campbell is just 27th in scoring in the league, but she’s fourth in rebounding and tops in assists at six per game, and her ability to distribute to a DePaul team that is multi-faceted this season can not be ignored. That leaves the final spot going to Louin, because it’s hard to leave the Wildcats off this list. Even with Villanova’s slowed down game plan, Louin is still sixth in rebounding and 16th in scoring in the league this season. She’s top 500 in defensive rebounding rate in the country according to Her Hoop Stats, and that’s good enough for me here.


Ok, those are my picks, so now I’m going to turn the floor over to Besay, who has been our loyal and diligent women’s basketball previewer/recapper all season long. He’s arguably been paying closer attention to the league than I have because of all of those previews, so here we go!


First, I want to give you an insight into my soul of how I made these picks. I wanted to be as unbiased as possible while at the same time picking players and coaches that are at the top of the league and are projected to make the tournament. Could I have picked an all Golden Eagle team? Of course I could have. But I would probably be fired from this (unpaid) job because that’s unrealistic. [Editor’s note: I would have allowed it.] Though I do want to take this moment to commend the job that MU head coach Carolyn Kieger has done with this team this season. Being picked as the preseason favorites to win the Big East brings a lot of added pressure. Coach Kieger has done an exceptional job of keeping her team focused throughout the season and they have a chance to accomplish their overall goal of winning the Big East regular season title this weekend.

Onwards to my postseason awards picks…

Player of the Year: Allazia Blockton, Marquette

She was the preseason favorite. After watching her play all season this one’s a no-brainer. We are blessed to have her running the show for Marquette. Blockton is one of the few players in the nation that can literally do it all. Whether its scoring, dishing assists, or grabbing rebounds she is the ultimate complete player. She leads the Big East in points per game with 18.8. She is also top 5 in field goal percentage at 52.3% and free throw percentage, hitting 86.1% of those. She is in top 10 in rebounding averaging 6.4 per game. But those are just the numbers. She dominates the floor every game and is a force to be reckoned with. Her ability to drive to the basket, or pull-up from mid-range, or find the open teammate makes her nearly impossible to defend. She is the unquestioned leader of the Golden Eagles and will hopefully lead them deep into the Tournament.

Freshman of the Year: Qadashah Hoppie, St. John’s

Not only does she have a really dope name, but the New York native is leading her team in scoring. Rarely do you see a freshman lead a team in scoring, but Qadashah Hoppie is doing just that. Hoppie (say it with me: HOPPIE…fun to say right?) is averaging 11.2 points per game going 38% from the field (aight) but combining that with shooting nearly 40% from 3-point land. She only just edges out teammate Maya Singleton with .1 more points than her but it’s still a very impressive feat. Hoppie has four Big East Freshmen of the week honors spaced out throughout the regular season. Her 41 made three pointers this season is tied for first on the team with Tiana England who ironically has the exact same attempts as Hoppie with 103. Her breakout freshman year has helped St. John’s reach a 9-7 Big East record which is good enough for 5th in the conference and on the edge of an NCAA tournament berth. Hoppie’s breakout season and her legendary name is the reason she’s my Big East Freshmen of the Year.

Coach of the Year: Jim Flanery, Creighton

I could have gone with our supreme leader Carolyn Kieger, but that would have been too biased of me. [Editor’s note: Nah.] I also could have gone with the legendary DePaul coach Doug Bruno but everyone knows he’s as good as they come. I chose Jim Flanery who’s also a legend in his own right because of how he’s driven the Bluejay program to new heights. He’s not only the only coach in school history to lead Creighton to three NCAA Tournaments but is also the all-time leader in wins. As decorated as this man’s been in his 16 year tenure, he experienced a serious setback two years ago when the Blue Jays finished in 8th in the Big East and missed the Tournament entirely. However, he found a way to get Creighton back on track with a Tournament bid last year and a likely one this year. Flanery has done a great job of turning things around after starting Big East play 3-3. Since then they have won eight of ten games, and are on the verge of locking up an NCAA tournament spot.

All-Big East Team

Allazia Blockton, Marquette
Erika Davenport, Marquette
Audrey Faber, Creighton
Ashton Millender, DePaul
Maya Singleton, St. John’s
Dionna White, Georgetown

Yes, I know, I picked two Marquette players here, but I truly believe these are the top six players in the Big East regardless of team. I did only take players whose teams are in the top five in the Big East though, because you kinda have to be successful to deserve recognition. And what’s the best measure for success? Winning.

With that said, I did make an teensy exception with Georgetown because Dionna White is a great player, and they are the only team to beat both Marquette and DePaul this season. Sorry, Villanova, I can’t justify giving you any players on the all-big east squad just because of how slow you play. Congrats with boring us to death. I must say good for Mary Gedaka for leading the Big East in field goal percentage with 60%. That is slightly ridiculous.