Wright, Whalen join Mazzante on first team
For the second straight year, Penn State senior Kelly Mazzante has been named the Big Ten Player of the Year.
The award, as well as the All-Big Ten teams and other postseason honors, were announced Tuesday after voting by league coaches and a panel of selected media members.
Mazzante led Penn State to its second consecutive Big Ten title on Sunday, scoring a game-high 24 points in the season finale against Purdue. The senior guard is the Big Ten's all-time leading scorer with 2,795 career points, and ranks 12th all-time in NCAA history. Mazzante is just one point shy of moving into 11th place on the NCAA list and 65 points away from breaking into the top 10.
Mazzante is the first player in school history, and the fourth in Big Ten annals, to repeat as Big Ten Player of the Year. She completed the 2004 conference slate with the league's third-best scoring mark (19.7 ppg) and led the Big Ten with 2.8 3-point field goals made per game.
Mazzante, Purdue's Shereka Wright and Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen were unanimous all-league first-team selections.
Lady Lion junior guard Tanisha Wright repeated as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first student-athlete in the award's five-year history to win the honor twice. Wright also finished among the Big Ten leaders in scoring (10th, 14.6 ppg), assists (7th, 3.9 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (5th, 1.82). The junior guard is now a two-time All-Big Ten First Team honoree.
Ohio State's Jessica Davenport was recognized by the media as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Ohio State won nine of its final 10 regular-season games to clinch third place in the conference standings. The 6-foot-5 center averaged 13.1 points per game and led the Big Ten with 47 blocked shots in league play, an average of 2.94 blocks per game. She was also the conference's field-goal percentage leader, shooting 61.9 percent from the floor in Big Ten action.
Purdue's Katie Gearlds captured Freshman of the Year accolades from the coaches. She averaged 10.8 points in league play. The Boilermakers' second-leading scorer turned heads with a career-best 32-point outing against Iowa on Feb. 10, which combined with senior Shereka Wright's 34 points to mark the first time in school history that two players had scored at least 30 points in the same contest.
Penn State's Rene Portland earned her second consecutive Big Ten Coach of the Year honor, and her fourth overall, after guiding the Lady Lions to a league-best 15-1 record. It marks the first time that an honoree has won back-to-back coach of the year laurels since Illinois' Theresa Grentz was selected by the media in 1997-98. A look at all the Big Ten honorees:
First Team: Janel McCarville, Minnesota, Lindsay Whalen, Minnesota*; Kelly Mazzante, Penn State*; Tanisha Wright, Penn State, Shereka Wright, Purdue*. Second Team: Jennie Lillis, Iowa; Jennifer Smith, Michigan; Lindsay Bowen, Michigan State; Caity Matter, Ohio State; Erika Valek, Purdue. Third Team: Jenny DeMuth, Indiana; Jamie Cavey, Iowa; Kristi Faulkner, Iowa; Liz Shimek, Michigan State; Jess Strom, Penn State. Honorable Mention: Cindy Dallas, Angelina Williams, ILLINOIS; Kristin Haynie, MICHIGAN STATE; Jessica Davenport, LaToya Turner, OHIO STATE; Jessica Brungo, PENN STATE; Katie Gearlds, PURDUE. All-Freshman team^: Rene Haynes, MICHIGAN STATE; Brandie Hoskins, Jessica Davenport, OHIO STATE; Reicina Russell, PENN STATE; Katie Gearlds, Erin Lawless, PURDUE. Player of the Year: Kelly Mazzante, Penn State
Defensive Player of the Year: Tanisha Wright, Penn State
Freshman of the Year: Katie Gearlds, Purdue
Coach of the Year: Rene Portland, Penn State
First Team: Jennifer Smith, Michigan; Lindsay Whalen, Minnesota*; Kelly Mazzante, Penn State*; Tanisha Wright, Penn State; Shereka Wright, Purdue*. Second Team: Cindy Dallas, Illinois; Jenny DeMuth, Indiana; Jennie Lillis, Iowa; Janel McCarville, Minnesota; Caity Matter, Ohio State. Third Team: Angelina Williams, Illinois; Jamie Cavey, Iowa; Kristi Faulkner, Iowa; LaToya Turner, Ohio State; Jess Strom, Penn State. Honorable Mention: Tiffanie Guthrie, ILLINOIS; Cyndi Valentin, INDIANA; Tabitha Pool, MICHIGAN; Lindsay Bowen, Kristin Haynie, Liz Shimek, MICHIGAN STATE; Jessica Davenport, OHIO STATE; Jessica Brungo, PENN STATE; Katie Gearlds, Erika Valek, PURDUE; Stephanie Rich, WISCONSIN. Player of the Year: Kelly Mazzante, Penn State
Freshman of the Year: Jessica Davenport, Ohio State
Coach of the Year: Rene Portland, Penn State * Unanimous selection; ^ Six honorees due to tie
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