Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Man's Opinon: Women's Top Stars

The all-star teams for women will also be released on Monday (NOTE: the top individual awards won't be revealed until ceremonies at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., on Thursday).

Here's how the coaches should be voting:


Rachele Fitz, 6-foot-0 senior forward, Marist (18.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, .568 field goal percentage)
What more can anyone say about one of the best players ever to grace the conference? Fitz is the conference's to scorer this year and needs just 82 more points to become the MAAC's all-time leading scorer for women. She also ranks in the top 20 nationally this season in field-goal and free-throw percentage and has scored in double figures for 20 straight games.

Miriam McKenzie, 5-10 sophomore guard, Loyola (16.6 points, 7.7 rebounds)
Possibly the MAAC's most-improved player, turning in gaudy sophomore-year numbers after a solid (5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds) freshman season. One of the league's rising stars of the future., and was the No. 2 scorer in the conference this year.

Thazina Cook, 5-9 senior guard, Iona (14.6 points, 7.0 rebounds)
An athletic player who is virtually unstoppable in one-on-one situations. She ranks 7th in rebounding from her guard position, and also averaged 1.8 steals and made 35 3-pointers this season.

Stephanie Geehan, 6-2 senior center, Fairfield (14.5 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.4 blocks)
Geehan's inside work transcends the MAAC. She ranks 4th nationally in rebounding and blocks. She is the first MAAC player to ever record 100 blocks in a season and her 269 career blocks is also a MAAC record. Primarily a role player in her first three seasons, she made a successful move to become a "featured" performer this year.

Brittane Russell, 5-5 senior guard, Canisius (12.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 3.1 steals)
Talk about a do-everything player ... she is one of just five players nationally over the past 20 years to record career totals of more than 1,200 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists and 300 steals. Her 3.1 steals per game is 15th-best nationally.


Serena Moore, 6-1 junior forward, Siena (13.7 points, 7.8 rebounds)
Vastly improved, particularly on the offensive end, over a year ago. Arguably the most-athletic post player in the conference. She had six double-doubles this season and ranked 9th in scoring and 6th in rebounding. Also blocked 1.3 shots per game.

Erica Allenspach, 5-8 junior guard, Marist (13.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists)
Primarily a shooting guard, but she also moves over to the point and led the Red Foxes in assists. Just a deadly outside shooter (43.9 percent on 3's), who has made 54 shots from beyond the bonus stripe.

Corielle Yard, 5-8 sophomore guard, Marist (13.5 points, 5.9 rebounds)
A perfect complement to Allenspach, Yard is a quick, athletic perimeter player who can connect from long range (50 3's this season) as well as run the court as well as any player in the conference.

Michelle Pacheco, 5-8 senior guard, Manhattan (15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists)
She lost her starting position midway through last season, but bounced back with a huge senior season to be No. 4 in scoring among MAAC players and the conference's assist leader.

Lindsey Loutsenhizer, 6-0 sophomore forward, Manhattan (15.6 points, 6.5 rebounds)
An emerging young standout who was an all-Rookie team selectee last season and has progressed into one of the conference's better front-court players. She is the conference's No. 3 scorer and ranks 10th in rebounding.


Liz Flooks, 6-1 senior forward, Niagara (12.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 52 3's)
One of the conference's best long-range threats, she was a key figure in a .500 finish for a Purple Eagles' team that only recorded a single conference victory the previous year. She is the MAAC's 11th-leading scorer.

Anna McLean, 6-2 senior center, Iona (11.6 points, 8.8 rebounds)
A tower of power for the conference's second-place finishing team. She ranks No. 3 in rebounding, has 1.4 blocks per game and her .523 field-goal percentage is second among MAAC players.

Amanda Sepulveda, 5-4 senior guard, Rider (11.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists)
Her team only won two conference games, and she was the focus of every opponent's defense yet still connected on a conference-best 73 3-pointers while also leading the Broncs in assists and scoring.

Natasha Morris, 5-8 senior guard, Saint Peter's (12.2 points, 3.6 rebounds)
One of the more athletic players in the confernece, Morris was a consistent threat both on the perimeter and in the paint. Her scoring average is 12th best in the conference. She also had 33 3-pointers this year.

Desiree Pina, 5-6 sophomore guard, Fairfield (12.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists)
Primarily a shooting guard as a freshmen, she made a successful move to the point this season while still finishing 13th in scoring among MAAC players.


Kayla Stroman, 5-5 freshman guard, Niagara (8..6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists)
Led all freshmen in minutes played (34.1 per contes) and assists. A key component in Niagara's resurgence this season and a vital cog for its future.

Caitlin Bopp, 6-2 center, Rider (8.5 points, 9.6 rebounds)
A still-developing offensive player, Bopp already knows how to control the paint. Her rebound average is second-best in the MAAC.

Katelyn Linney, 5-8 freshman guard, Fairfield (10.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists)
The league's leading scorer among freshmen. A marvelous long-range shooter whose 61 3's is the 3rd highest total in the league.

Allison Braun, 5-10 freshman guard, Canisius (4.5 points, 4.1 rebounds)
A versatile player who showed an ability to both score and get inside to rebound. She led the Golden Griffs in field goal percentage (.417) and made 20-of-22 foul shots on the season.

Diana Hubbard, 5-7 freshman guard, Iona (7.3 points, 2.6 rebounds)
The MAAC's third-leading scorer among freshmen. She did much of her damage from long range, connecting on 40 three-pointers with a respectable 35.7 percent accuracy from bonus range.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Rachele Fitz, 6-0 senior forward, Marist
Arguably the best player in conference history who is near the top of the MAAC career leaders in multiple categories. She needs just 82 points to become the league's all-time leading scorer.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Joe Frager, Fairfield
His team finished third in the MAAC in the 2008-09 season, but this year was supposed to be a rebuilding year after the loss of four of the team's five starters. Instead, Frager's team finished third again with an 11-7 conference record (16-12 overall) that included a win over MAAC powerhouse Marist for the second straight season. Frager got former role player Stephanie Geehan to become a dynamic go-to force on both ends, and supplemented that with an effective group of youthful teammates.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Kayla Stroman, 5-6 freshman guard, Niagara.
This was a three-person race between the conference's top scoring first-year player (Katelyn Linney), its top freshman rebounder (Caitlin Bopp) and Stroman.

The diminutive Stroman was the conference's top first-year point guard averaging 4.2 assists (third-best in the MAAC overall) and helped direct the Purple Eagles to a 9-9 conference record after the program won a single game in league play the year before her arrival. She was also an effective scorer (8.6 points) and a strong rebounder (3.9) for her size.

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