3/2/2010 - WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
Postseason Women’s Basketball Awards Announced
MACON, Ga. – The Atlantic Sun Conference announced its 2009-10 women’s basketball awards and All-Conference teams Tuesday. ETSU ended the campaign with the regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the A-Sun Championship and two players earning first-team all-conference honors headlined by Player of the Year Siarre Evans.
Evans earned Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season, as the league’s top-scorer ranks fifth all-time on the ETSU scoring list (1,747) and third all-time on the ETSU rebounding charts (1059) and ranks nationally in rebounds per game (17th) and double doubles (sixth). The Griffin, Ga. native stands with USC Upstate’s McMillan as the only two players in the A-Sun averaging a double-double, as the senior tallied 15.6 points and 11.0 rebounds per game, while earning three Atlantic Sun Player of the Week awards (Dec. 28, Jan. 18 and March 1). Evans stands as the first player in A-Sun history to receive four first-team all-conference honors and the sixth player to earn two player of the year selections.
TaRonda Wiles joined Evans with All-Atlantic First-Team accolades after helping guide the Lady Bucs to the top seed, as the senior started all 25 games. Wiles paced the league with 18.0 points per game, she ranks fifth in free-throw percentage with an 81.9 mark from the line and seventh overall in field goal percentage with a 45.0 rate from the floor. The Danville, Va. native also leads the conference with a 44.4 tally from behind the arc. Wiles ranks 39th nationally in points per game and 14th in 3-point field goal shooting percentage. The criminal justice and criminology major scored in double figures 26 times and has scored 20 or more points on eleven occasions. For ETSU, Wiles ranks second in assists (3.0 per game) and third in steals (1.7 per game), in addition to ranking sixth all-time in scoring with 1,448 points.
Defensive Player of the Year Courtney Ford started in all 28 contests for the Bears this season and stands as one of just three Division-I players to have multiple triple-doubles this season. The Orange, Calif. native earned her third consecutive Player of the Week award Dec. 7, after notching the award Nov. 23 and sharing the honor with Belmont’s Haley Nelson the week prior (Nov. 23). The communication major leads the A-Sun with 3.2 steals per game, and ranks as one of the top-five players in scoring (16.8 points per game) and rebounds (8.0 per game).
USC Upstate Head Coach Tammy George earned Coach of the Year with two all-conference performers. George led the squad to a 20-win season, including posting at least one win against every team in the A-Sun, one of the best turnarounds in all of Division I in 2009-10. The Spartans Chelsea McMillan earned First-Team All-Atlantic honors after pacing the A-Sun in rebounding (10.8) and ranking among the top-five in scoring (14.2 points per game), free throw percentage (82.0) and blocked shots (1.8 per game). The junior forward also ranks second in the conference in double-doubles with 15, sixth in field goal percentage (45.0) and tied for fifth in A-Sun play in steals (2.0 per game). During the season, McMillan totaled five 20-point games and 19 10-rebound games.
FGCU’s representation on the First-Team All-Atlantic squad comes courtesy of senior forward Chelsea Lyles, who leads the Eagles in scoring (12.8 points per game) and blocked shots (0.8 per game). Lyles ranks second on the team in rebounding (5.3 per game) and third in assists (2.7 per game) and steals (1.1 per game). In conference games, the Colorado Springs, Colo. native averaged 13.4 points per game, ranking her seventh, in addition to ranking in the top-15 in rebounding, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, 3-point field goals made and blocked shots. Lyles scored in double figures 19 times and led FGCU in scoring nine times.
The Bears, Ospreys, Eagles and Bruins all packed the second-team all-conference, with FGCU placing two players on the squad. Senior forward Adrianne McNally joined junior guard Shannon Murphy with Second-Team All-Atlantic honors. FGCU stands tied for fourth with Green Bay in home court winning streaks in the nation in part to a 22-6 overall record and a mark of 17-3 in conference play. McNally earned Second-Team All-Atlantic accolades as she ranks second on the team in assists (4.2 per game) and in field goal percentage at a 49.0 rate from the floor. The Howell, Mich. native also averages 12.8 points per game, good for 12th in the league. McNally scored in double figures in 18 games, while her game-high 21 points at No. 21/24 Michigan State stands as the most points by any FGCU player versus a ranked opponent.
Teammate Shannon Murphy joined McNally with Second-Team All-Atlantic honors as the junior guard leads the Eagles in assists, steals and 3-point field goals made. Murphy also ranks third on the team in scoring, first in assists-to-turnover ratio, first in 3-point field goals made, third in assists and fourth in steals and 3-point field goal percentage. In the nation, the Brighton, Mich. native stands at 25th with a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio and first among her class in the assist-to-turnover ratio. Murphy scored in double figures in 13 games and led the Eagles in assists 14 times and scoring on eight occasions. Mercer’s representation on the team comes courtesy of LaToya Jackson. Jackson scored double-digits in 20 of 29 games and became the 21st member of the Orange and Black to reach 1,000 points in her career, despite only playing three years at Mercer. The senior guard also ranks 12th all-time in scoring for the Bears with 1,195 and led the team in scoring on eight different occasions and ranks second in the conference in made 3-pointers.
UNF sophomore guard Brittany Kirkland picked up second-team honors for the Ospreys after starting in all 27 games for the Ospreys. The sophomore guard leads UNF and ranks fifth in the A-Sun in scoring with 14.2 points per game. In league games, Kirkland upped her average to 14.8 points per game, scoring in double digits 21 times this season, including tallying 20 or more points on seven occasions. The Monroe, Ga. native also ranks seventh in the A-Sun in assists per game with 3.56 and 10th on UNF’s single season scoring list with 368 in regular-season play.
The Bruins’ Haley Nelson earned Second-Team All-Atlantic honors after leading Belmont in all but three games with 22 starts. In the nation, Nelson ranks 30th in blocks, 33rd in rebounds and 42nd in field goal percentage. An A-Sun Player of the Week on Nov. 23, the sophomore post paces Belmont in scoring, rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage and field goals made and ranks second in points and steals. The Scottsboro, Ala. native holds the league game-high in rebounds in a single game (20) and led the Bruins in scoring on 11 occasions and ranked as the top rebounder 20 times. Nelson paces the league in field goal percentage with a 50.2 mark from the floor and averages 2.1 blocked shots per game, in addition to ranking third in rebounding with 9.8 per game and seventh in scoring with 13.0 points per game.
Campbell guard Tonisha Baker, Kennesaw State forward Sametria Gideon and guard Brandi Jones, Jacksonville guard Drameka Griggs and UNF guard Jadhken Kerr join Freshman of the Year Tee’Ara Copney of USC Upstate on the Freshman All-Conference Team. Copney leads the Spartans with seven 20-point games and stands as the top-scorer of her class with 11.6 points per game, good for 12th in the league. The Asheville, N.C. native also ranks second in the A-Sun in steals (2.3 per game) and ranks 11th in field goal percentage with a 41.8 mark from the floor and ninth in 3-pointers made (1.6 per game).
The 2010 General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Women’s Basketball Championship tips off on Wednesday with the duo of Evans and Wiles and ETSU taking on Stetson at noon. Tickets to all Championship games are available at MercerBears.com. The only place to watch the Wednesday and Thursday quarterfinal action comes courtesy A-Sun.TV. All eight quarterfinal games, scheduled for noon, 2:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. will be offered for free.
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The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.