SPRINGFIELD, Mass.-- Vermont sophomore guard Courtnay Pilypaitis (Ottawa, Ontario/St. Peter) highlighted the 2008 America East Women’s Basketball Brunch at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts when the conference named her the 2008 America East Women’s Basketball Player of the Year. Pilypaitis became the 23rd annual award winner, and just the fifth sophomore to win the top honor in America East women’s basketball. The 2007-08 All-Conference and All-Academic Teams were also announced at the brunch. Click here for PDF of release and full list of award recipients.
University at Albany head coach Trina Patterson was recognized for her first Coach of the Year honor, while Catamount sophomore guard May Kotsopoulos (Waterloo, Ontario/Waterloo Collegiate Institute) took home the Defensive Player of the Year in addition to being a unanimous pick for the All-Defensive Team. Also garnering major hardware at the brunch was New Hampshire’s Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) receiving the Rookie of the Year award.
Pilypaitis is the first Catamount to capture Player of the Year honors since Karalyn Church did so in 2000, and is the first sophomore to receive the award since Church in 1998. Pilypaitis led the league in scoring during the regular season with 17.1 points per game, including 20.3 ppg during conference action. Also a unanimous choice for first-team all-conference, the sophomore was the only player to score 40 points this season, matching the Vermont school record. She was also one of only a handful of women’s basketball players in Division I to record a triple-double when she posted 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead Vermont to a win over Hartford on February 13. Pilypaitis, the 2007 Rookie of the Year, is among the America East top-ten leaders in 11 of 13 statistical categories. She earned the America East Player of the Week a conference-high six times this year, including three consecutive weeks spanning February 11-March 2. The guard was also a WBCA Honorable Mention National Player of the Month for January and February.
Patterson is receiving the Coach of the Year honor for the first time in her career. She has led the Great Danes from the No. 8 seed in the America East Championship last year to the No. 4 seed this year after being picked to finish eighth in the preseason coaches’ poll. The fourth seed matches the highest seeding in program history, matching the 2003-04 squad. Patterson’s team finished 10-6 in conference play to represent the most league wins in the history of the program. She called her team one of the most athletic teams in the conference prior to the season, and it lived up to the hype, leading the conference in steals with over 10 per game.
Kotsopoulos is the sixth recipient of the Defensive Player of the Year since the conference began awarding it during the 2002-03 season. The sophomore, a unanimous all-rookie choice a year ago and an all-defensive team pick, led both Vermont and America East in steals with 2.5 per game this season. Kotsopoulos was voted unanimously to the all-defensive team this year and was selected to the second-team as well. This Catamount, the first from the program to receive this award, was seventh in the conference scoring 12.6 points per game.
Beliveau led all America East rookies in scoring (10.1 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) and is the third freshman in New Hampshire women’s basketball history to receive the honor. She finished the regular season third in the conference with two steals per game, and recorded two double-doubles and four 10+ rebounding performances. Beliveau was a five-time America East Rookie of the Week, a conference-high.
Joining Pilypaitis on the first-team is Binghamton senior forward Laine Kurpniece (Riga, Latvia), Hartford’s senior forward Danielle Hood (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y./Walter Panas), sophomore forward Erica Beverly (Bridgeport, Conn./Kolbe Cathedral), and UMBC sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy (Syracuse, N.Y./Westhill). Hood was also unanimously voted onto the first-team.
Alongside Kotsopoulos on the second-team is Albany senior forward Gia Sanders (Bowie, Md./The Bullis School), Boston University junior forward Jesyka Burks-Wiley (Kansas City, Mo./Lincoln College Prep), Hartford sophomore forward Diana Delva (Stamford, Conn./Westhill) and Vermont junior guard Amy Rosenkrantz (Tempe, Ariz./Corona del Sol).
Receiving third-team recognition is Albany senior forward Kristin Higy (Akron, Ohio/George Mason), Binghamton senior guard Laura Sario (Espoo, Finland/Etela-Tapiolanlukio), Boston U. junior guard Christine Kinneary (Plainedge, N.Y./Holy Trinity), UMBC senior guard Kristin Drabyn (Avon, Ind./Avon) and Stony Brook senior forward Dana Ferraro (Middlesex, N.J./Middlesex).
Also on the All-Defensive Team with Kotsopoulos is Sanders, Boston U. junior guard Amarachi Umez-Eronini (Washington, D.C./Woodrow Wilson), Beverly and Ferraro.
The All-Rookie team, including Beliveau, is made up of Albany guard Janea Aiken (St. Albans, N.Y./St. Dominic’s), Maine forward Tanna Ross (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy), UMBC forward Meghan Colabella (Montclair, N.J./Montclair), and Stony Brook forward Kirsten Jeter (Elmont, N.Y./Elmont Memorial).