Updated: March 07, 2013 9:03 pm (ET)
by America East Communications
ALBANY, N.Y. - University at Albany senior Ebone Henry and Boston University senior Chantell Alford became the first Co-America East Players of the Year since 1994, highlighting the annual awards reception held on the University at Albany campus on Thursday, March 7, the eve of the 2013 America East Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship presented by SEFCU.
Repeat performers were the theme of the evening, as Henry also earned her third-straight Defensive Player of the Year honor, while Albany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson was recognized with her second consecutive Coach of the Year award. Maine freshman Liz Wood and Albany freshman Shereesha Richards were both honored as Co-Rookies of the Year. The all-conference and all-academic teams were also announced.
Alford, a guard from West Haven, Conn., is the first ever three-time winner of the conference’s top honor after also taking the Player of the Year award her sophomore and junior seasons. She leads the conference in scoring, averaging 16.6 points per game, while ranking fifth in steals at 2.3 per game and eighth in assists at 3.1 per game. A six-time Player of the Week award recipient, Alford has hit 76 3-pointers this season, which ranks sixth all-time in conference history and has paced the Terriers to a 23-5 overall record. For her career, Alford is 15th on the America East career scoring list with 1,773 points and fourth in career 3-pointers made with 239.
Henry, a guard from San Diego, Calif., is the second player in conference history to earn both the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season. The first player to ever win Defensive Player of the Year three times in a career, Henry is second in the conference in steals with 78, averaging 2.9 per game. She has been the anchor of a defense that allows only 48.6 points per game, which ranks third in the nation and is the lowest opponent points per game average in conference history. The senior is the one of only two players in the conference to rank in the top five of scoring, assists and steals.
After leading the Great Danes to their best season in conference history in 2011-12 and earning Coach of the Year, Abrahamson-Henderson has followed that with an even better year in 2012-13, becoming the fifth coach to earn the award in back-to-back seasons. She has guided Albany to a program record 25 wins and the first America East regular-season title in the school’s history. The Great Danes lead the conference in scoring offense, scoring defense, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, assists and steals.
Richards, a freshman forward from Oceanview, N.J., is the first Great Dane to be honored as America East Rookie of the Year. Richards is second among freshmen and 17th in the conference, averaging 10.1 points per game. A seven-time Rookie of the Week honoree, she is on pace to become the first freshman since Drexel’s Katrina Martin to lead the conference in field goal percentage, connecting on 60.6 percent of her attempts this season.
Wood, a forward from Catletta, Va., leads all freshmen in scoring at 10.2 points per game, rebounding at 6.7 rebounds per game and assists at 2.4 assists per game. She ranks fourth in the league in scoring during league contests averaging 12.9 points per game. Wood earned Rookie of the Week honors five times this season and is the sixth Black Bear to earn the conference’s Rookie of the Year award and the first since Monica Peterson in 2001-02. Wood and Richards are the first set of Co-Rookies of the Year in conference history.
The all-conference first team was filled with players from the top two seeds, including Alford who is a four-time first team selection and Henry, who is a three-time honoree. Boston U. guard Mo Moran earned her second-straight first team nod, while Albany forward Julie Forster and Terrier forward Rashidat Agboola also earned first team honors after being named to the second and third teams respectively last season.
The second team features Hartford forward Nikkia Smith, a third-team selection last season, and guard Amber Bepko. New Hampshire also had a pair of players on the second team in forward Morgan Frame and guard Cari Reed. UMBC guard Raven Harris rounded out the second team after leading the conference in steals this season.
The third-team selections are all first-time all-conference honorees, including Albany forward Megan Craig and guard Lindsey Lowrie, Binghamton guard Sherae Swinson, Stony Brook forward Sabre Proctor and Vermont forward Lauren Buschmann.
All-conference selections Henry, Agboola, Harris and Forster were joined on the all-defensive team by Binghamton guard Jasbriell Swain. Henry, Agboola and Forster are all repeat selections from last season.
Six freshmen landed on the America East All-Rookie team, including Co-Rookies of the Year Richards and Wood. Joining the pair were Binghamton guard Morgan Murphy, Hartford forward Katie Roth, New Hampshire guard Elizabeth Belanger and Stony Brook forward Brittany Snow.
Five student-athletes were voted to the all-academic team by conference sports information directors, faculty athletic representatives and academic counselors. Forster, Agboola, and Buschmann are honorees, along with Hartford junior Alex Hall and Stony Brook senior Dani Klupenger.
Many of the award winners will compete at the 2013 America East Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship presented by SEFCU beginning with quarterfinal games on March 8. All quarterfinal and semifinal games will be held at University at Albany’s SEFCU Arena, with the championship game being held on Saturday, March 16 and hosted by the highest remaining seed.
For more information on America East women’s basketball, including video highlights, photos and championship central, visit www.AmericaEast.com.