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My Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Superlatives

April Robinson was both Brent's choice and the A-10 Coaches choice for Player of the Year Photo by Stephen Pope

April Robinson was both Brent’s choice and the A-10 Coaches choice for Player of the Year
Photo by Stephen Pope

Once again, the Atlantic 10 league coaches huddled up and decided their end of season awards.  For those not familiar with the process, the Atlantic 10 is one of the only few conferences remaining in the country that doesn’t include media voting in their awards.  The results were announced yesterday and can be viewed on this PDF.  While I am not a coach in the league, I still will give my two cents on the awards.  Here are my personal selections:

Player of the year:  April Robinson, SR PG, Duquesne.  She’s the senior leader on a team that finished tied for first.  The do-everything guard for the Dukes (15.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 6.6 apg) shined for the vast majority of the year.  She was top 7 in the conference in points, assists, steals, threes, assists-turnover ratio, and minutes.  It’s not a clear cut #1 overall, but I still would take Robinson above anyone in the league.  The stats don’t even count in the leadership and high IQ that she has.

Note:  I put players where I thought they belonged regardless of position.  If that meant that four guards were on the first team and four forwards were on the second team, so be it.

First Team:

April Robinson, Duquesne

Jackie Kemph, SO PG, St Louis.  Kemph is a possible Player of the Year candidate for me, too.  While she was 4th in the A10 in points, she led the conference in assists and was second to Robinson in assist-turnover ratio.  She can play at any speed, makes sound decisions, and was the leader of a Billikens team that surprisingly tied for an A-10 title.

Katie Healy, SR F/C, St Bonaventure’s.  A strong 6’1” forward, Healy added more polish to an already solid game this year.  She’s so efficient, is an excellent defender, terrific rebounder, and all-around do it all player for the Bonnies.  She had excellent awareness when and where double teams were coming from, and was effective in operating underneath.  Her ability to avoid foul trouble for a big was also impressive.

DevaNyar Workman, SR guard, Duquesne.  Often overshadowed by April Robinson, Workman is among the seven best I’ve seen by the end of her career at DU since I’ve been following the Dukes women since 2003.  It’s been an honor to watch her competitiveness, drive, and grit.  It’s not often you see a player in the top dozen in the conference in points, boards, assists, steals, and three point percentage.  Her surname says it all about her.

Ciara Washington, JR F, GW.  While struggling as a forward to put up stats inside with Jonquel Jones for the first two-thirds of the year, Washington showed what she could do the last 10 games.  It was mighty impressive, as the 6’2” forward averaged a 12.9/8.4 line.  She’s a terrific athlete who runs the floor well and kept GW as the #1 seed despite the loss of Jonquel Jones.

Second Team:

Jonquel Jones, SR C, GW.  I downgraded her to the second team as she only played in 19 of the teams 29 games and only 6 of the 16 Atlantic 10 matchups.  However, she was a lock for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year until her injury, and was rightfully being looked at as a top 5 WNBA Draft prospect.  There wasn’t a single knock that I could find in her game, and she was simply a beast on the floor for GW.

Samantha Clark, SR F/C, Fordham.  Forced to take on a bigger role this year after deferring a lot last year, Clark stepped up in a big way.  She is a strong, very efficient big for the Rams who was forced to play virtually every minute.  She finished the conference second in rebounding behind only Jonquel Jones.  The only knock here was Fordham’s 8-8 record compared to the other contenders on the first team whose teams had better marks.

Charise Wilson, SO guard, URI.  Only standing 5’5” tall, Wilson is athletic and a lights out shooter as she led the conference in scoring, threes, and was second in steals.  The knock against Wilson as a first team player is probably that URI finished 5-11, but she’s still a borderline first team talent for me.  To me, Wilson didn’t look like a player just putting up stats on a bad team like Amy Griffin from La Salle, but rather like she actually belonged.

Samantha Tabakman, SR F, URI.  As some of you know, I’m a big believer in efficiency as well as simply putting up stats.  That’s where Tabakman shined.  She finished 13th in scoring while leading the conference in field goal percentage.  She was also the only player in the top 20 in points with less than 50 turnovers for the year.  A solid rim protector as well, once again the knock will be URI’s record.  However, they were virtually a two man show with Tabakman and Wilson.

Mackenzie Latt, SO F, Davidson.  One of Davidson’s big three was the reason Davidson surprised some folks and posted a six win improvement over last year.  She finished top 15 in points, steals, defensive boards, and blocks.

Third Team:

Taylor Brown, SR G, GMU.  The conference’s #5 leading scorer.  While I only saw GMU play once this year, in previous years Brown lit it up, was consistent, and hit some big shots such as the fadeaway jumper to send the St Bona game to OT last year.  I often think the conference teams overrate scoring, so Brown will probably be down on my list compared to others, but Brown is a flat out scorer.

Cierra Dillard, SO G, UMass.  Ask Duquesne, Dayton, and Bona fans about Dillard and the way she ended the year.  She could have helped put an end to Duquesne’s season, and was the key cog in upset wins over Dayton and St Bonaventure.  A quality shooter who was excellent at forcing turnovers, Dillard had 17 against DU, 20 against the Bonnies, and 25 against Dayton while averaging 19.3 ppg in her last 8 games.

Amy Griffin, SO Swing, La Salle.  The conference’s leading scorer deserves a spot somewhere in the top 3 teams.

Nyla Reuter, SR G, St Bona.  Another senior who stepped up for the Bonnies to get them a bye, she’s an excellent shooter who takes care of the ball well and in typical Bonnies style plays solid defense.

Jenna Burdette, SO G, Dayton.  It’s hard to make this list without a Dayton player, and I liked Burdette’s game.  She was everywhere on the floor for some games like the Duquesne game (7-14-10 line).

Honorable Mention:  Lauren Chase (GW), Janelle Hubbard (Richmond, 4th leading scorer who will probably make a team), Dakota Dukes (Davidson), Micaela Parson (Richmond), Adaeze Alaeze (VCU)

***

So the end result, I had the same 1st team as the coaches, three of the five 2nd team selections, and three of the five 3rd team selections.

Newcomer of the Year:

It’s relatively close to me, but I’m going with Kadri-Ann Lass.  A starter for the Dukes, a top 25 team, Lass was the Dukes best defender despite being a freshman for stretches.  She averaged 10.6 and 6.2 while playing the defense that she did I couldn’t go elsewhere.

Also considered:  Bria Stallworth (UMass), Lauren Cannatelli (Dayton)

The coaches selected Lauren Cannatelli in their voting.

Coach of the Year:

Crowley, St Bonaventure.  Yikes!  What a hard call.  Dan Burt’s squad finished with a top 25 RPI team by RPI, Tsipis won the conference without Jonquel Jones for over half of conference play, Lisa Stone earned a share of the title despite a preseason #5 and not having the natural talent that I thought Duquesne and GW had, and Jabir posting a winning record overall and had a top 75 RPI team despite the injuries.  Yet, the Bonnies improvement from last year (did they really lose in the play-in game?) to a top four bye in Richmond said enough for me.

The coaches selected Lisa Stone from St. Louis in their voting.

Most Improved:

Miranda Drummond, St Bona.  A player last year who in half of her games didn’t hit a shot, Drummond was a valuable starter on a team that earned a bye and is in my opinion one of the top 25 players in the league.

The coaches chose Samantha Tabakman from Rhode Island, whose praises I sung up in the Second Team section.