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Natisha Hiedeman Named 2019 Big East Player of the Year!

PLUS: Two more Golden Eagles earn all-conference honors and Allazia Blockton was named the best bench player in the league.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Marquette vs Creighton
POY!
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the Big East announced the postseason awards for women’s basketball, and YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles are all over the awards list. Most notably, senior guard Natisha Hiedeman was named 2018-19 Big East Player of the Year. It’s the second straight year that a Golden Eagle earned that honor.

Let’s go to the official league rundown as to why Hiedeman was the unanimous choice by the Big East coaches:

Hiedeman posted a BIG EAST-leading 13 20-point games this season, finishing second in conference play with an 18.9 scoring average. She entered league play averaging 15.4 points per game, but when Preseason Player of the Year Allazia Blockton went down in the BIG EAST opener, Hiedeman stepped up in a major way, averaging 24.2 points in her absence. She reached the 20-point mark 11 times in BIG EAST play and the 30-point mark twice, including the highest scoring performance in BIG EAST action since 2017 when she dropped 34 at Seton Hall on Feb. 17. She is the second straight Golden Eagle to be selected BIG EAST Player of the Year following Blockton in 2017-18. Hiedeman was the lone unanimous selection to the All-BIG EAST First Team.

Shoutout to the league office for doing the math on Hiedeman’s scoring average while Blockton was out.

Hiedeman is averaging 17.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2.2 steals this season overall. She raised her game in league action, averaging 18.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 2.4 steals. Given the fact that she had to do a little bit more scoring with Blockton missing time, we’ll forgive the slight dip in assists and give a thumbs up for raising everything else. As you can see from the rundown there, Hiedeman was the only player in the entire Big East to earn a vote from every single coach in the league for the all-conference team. That’s kind of bananas if you think about it and makes me retrospectively glad that I totally spaced on making an awards picks article before the regular season ended.

While Allazia Blockton was the well-justified preseason Player of the Year in the Big East, the fact that she missed all of five games in league play, most of a sixth, and was largely a non-factor in her first game back from injury pretty much ended all shot that she had at repeating as postseason POY. However, because head coach Carolyn Kieger made a lineup decision regarding Blockton when she did return from her ankle injury, things ended up going in an interesting direction. The Big East coaches voted Blockton as Sixth Woman of the Year, aka “Best bench player in the league.” Lemme tell you what: It is super ridiculous to think of Blockton in that manner, but the fact of the whole deal is that she did come off the bench for the majority of league play. Here’s what the league said about her:

After averaging 17.4 points per game over 12 non-conference games, Blockton was injured in the BIG EAST opener on Dec. 29 and missed the following five games. She returned on Jan. 20, coming off the bench for the next eight games before returning to the starting lineup over the final four league contests. In BIG EAST play, the senior averaged 11.0 points and 4.6 rebounds, starting just five of 13 appearances. On the year, Blockton enters the postseason averaging 14.1 points to rank second on the Marquette squad and ninth among all BIG EAST players. She was named BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Tuesday, becoming just the third player in Conference history to repeat the recognition.

Blockton is already Marquette’s all-time leading scorer, and she’s the only woman currently ranked in MU’s top 10 in career points, rebounds, and assists. Pretty solid career for the best bench player in the Big East this year, if you think about it.

There are two more women that we have to acknowledge. Erika Davenport was named to the All-Big East Second Team, while Amani Wilborn earned all-conference honorable mention attention.

Here’s what the MU press release said about those two:

Davenport earns the third All-BIG EAST honor in her career after averaging a double-double with 12.5 points and 11.4 boards in BIG EAST play. She took down double digit rebounds in nine conference games this season, including a career-best 23 boards against Georgetown. She suffered a season-ending knee injury on Feb. 22 and finishes fourth all-time in the BIG EAST in rebounding (625) and 13th in conference field goal percentage (57.2) and is just the fourth Marquette player to have over 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.

For the second year in-a-row, Wilborn was named to the All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention team. She is the BIG EAST leader among active players with 455 total career assists and averaged 13.0 points per game in conference action, while shooting at a 47.1 percent clip. Wilborn recorded 20+ points in four league games this year and notched double figures in 12 of the 18 BIG EAST games.

It really is a terrible shame that Davenport’s career is now over. Not just for how it affects Marquette’s postseason prospects and thus the bow that she could put on her career, but also the impact that she could have made on the MU record book by the time that the season wraps up as well. Wilborn is pretty much locked into fifth place all time in MU history in assists at this point because she’s over 100 away from fourth place. She needs just two points to pass Clare Barnard for 14th place all time on Marquette’s career scoring list.

Here’s the full rundown on all of the Big East awards and all-league teams.

BIG EAST Player of the Year

Natisha Hiedeman, Marquette, Sr., G*

BIG EAST Coach of the Year

Kurt Godlevske, Butler

BIG EAST Freshman of the Year

Mary Baskerville, Providence, Fr., F

BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year

Michelle Weaver, Butler, Sr., G

BIG EAST Most Improved Player

Shadeen Samuels, Seton Hall, Jr., F

BIG EAST Sixth-Woman Award

Allazia Blockton, Marquette, Sr., G

BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award

Jannah Tucker, Villanova, Sr., F
Ashton Millender, DePaul, Sr., G

All-BIG EAST First Team

Audrey Faber, Creighton, Sr., F
Mart’e Grays, DePaul, Sr., F
Natisha Hiedeman, Marquette, Sr., G
Shadeen Samuels, Seton Hall, Jr., F
Dionna White, Georgetown, Sr., G

All-BIG EAST Second Team

Dorothy Adomako, Georgetown, Grad., G
Erika Davenport, Marquette, Sr., F
Mary Gedaka, Villanova, Jr., F
Tori Schickel, Butler, Sr., F/C
Chante Stonewall, DePaul, Jr., F

All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention

Tiana England, St. John’s, R-So., G
A’riana Gray, Xavier, So., F
Whitney Jennings, Butler, Sr., G
Jovana Nogic, Providence, Sr., G
Amani Wilborn, Marquette, Sr., G

BIG EAST All-Freshman Team

Kadaja Bailey, St. John’s, Fr., G
Mary Baskerville, Providence, Fr., F
Emily Esposito, Villanova, R-Fr., G
Lexi Held, DePaul, Fr., G
Kaela Webb, Providence, Fr., G