Repeat Winners Alford & Henry Earn Top Women's Hoops Awards
The conference office also awarded the 2012 America East Coach of the Year honor to Albany’s Katie Abrahamson-Henderson and the Rookie of the Year trophy to UMBC’s Lauren Chase, along with the all-conference and all-academic teams.
Alford, a guard from West Haven, Conn., is just the sixth repeat winner of the conference’s top honor after also taking the Player of the Year award as a sophomore a year ago. She leads first-place Boston U. with 12.4 points and 2.2 steals per game while also averaging 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists per game and shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc. A three-time Player of the Week award recipient this season and a former Rookie of the Year, Alford has paced the Terriers to the top seed in this year’s tournament. Over her three-year career thus far, she has recorded over 1,200 points, 400 rebounds and 200 assists.
In her second year at the helm of the Great Danes, Abrahamson-Henderson led Albany to its most successful regular season at the Division I level. The Great Danes went 20-9, including 14-2 in conference play, and finished second after being picked fifth in the preseason coaches’ poll. Albany enters the America East Championship as the No. 2 seed, the highest-ever seeding in program history.
Henry, a junior guard/forward from San Diego, Calif., is a defensive presence, leading the Great Danes to a league-low 52.4 points allowed per game. Henry leads all active America East players in career steals with 215 and leads the conference this season with 2.7 thefts per game. Additionally, she ranks third in the league with 14.2 points per game and eighth with 7.2 boards per game.
Chase is an impressive component to the Retrievers’ offense which ranks second in the league. The rookie is the top-scoring freshman in the conference with 8.6 points per game, but also leads America East with 4.6 assists per game. She is among league leaders averaging 33.0 minutes per games as well as 1.6 steals per game. Chase earned America East Rookie of the Week four times this year and dished out a league-high 11 assists on two occasions.
Alford, Henry and UMBC senior Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) each also have a spot on the all-conference first team for the second consecutive season. Boston U. junior guard Mo Moran (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./White Plains) and New Hampshire senior forward Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) join that trio after being recognized on the second team in 2011.
The second-team selections are Albany junior forward Julie Forster (Huntington, N.Y./Huntington), Binghamton University senior guard Andrea Holmes (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell), University of Hartford junior forward Ruthanne Doherty (Richmond, Va./L.C. Bird), UMBC senior guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) and New Hampshire junior forward Morgan Frame (Waterville, Maine/Waterville/St. Anselm).
Senior forwards Viive Rebane (Talinn, Estonia/Audentes School) of Binghamton and Samantha Baranowski (Stanhope, N.J./Lenape Valley Regional) from the University of Maine head up the all-conference third team. Joining them are Boston U. sophomore forward Rashidat Agboola (Methuen, Mass./Methuen) and Hartford juniors Daphne Elliott (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Warde), a guard, and Nikkia Smith (Montville, Conn./Montville), a forward.
Henry and Forster are both two-time all-defensive team honorees after this season. Agboola, Beliveau and University of Vermont junior guard Shanai Heber (Patterson, N.J./Patterson Kennedy/Seton Hall) each earn the nod for the first time in their careers.
Chase is a unanimous selection to the all-rookie team. Joining her is Hartford guard Amber Bepko, (Guilford, Conn./Mercy), Maine forward Danielle Walczak (Lee, N.H./Oyster River), and Vermont guard Tierra Shumpert (Lone Tree, Colo./Highlands Ranch) and forward Niki Taylor (York, Maine/York).
Six student-athletes, including two Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award top-10 finalists and a pair of CoSIDA Academic All-District selections, were voted to the all-academic team by conference sports information directors, faculty athletic representatives and academic counselors. Forster, Rebane, Brown, Kurowski and Beliveau are honorees, along with Hartford junior Alex Hall (Pembroke, N.H./Pembroke Academy).
All of the award winners will compete at the 2012 America East Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship presented by Newman’s Own beginning with tonight’s first-round game. All first, quarterfinal and semifinal games will be held at University of Hartford’s Chase Family Arena in West Hartford, with the championship game being held on Saturday, March 10 and hosted by the highest remaining seed.