Women's Basketball Regular Season Awards Announced

HARTFORD, Conn. - The 11-member All-BIG EAST First Team has student-athletes from eight different schools, including four seniors, four juniors and three sophomores. Connecticut senior Maya Moore, DePaul junior Keisha Hampton, Notre Dame sophomore Skylar Diggins and Georgetown sophomore Sugar Rodgers highlight the First Team as unanimous selections.
DePaul junior Taylor Pikes earned the BIG EAST Sixth Man Award and Notre Dame junior Natalie Novosel was selected as the BIG EAST Most Improved Player. Cincinnati senior Shelly Bellman and DePaul senior Sam Quigley shared honors for the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award, while Notre Dame senior Devereaux Peters was chosen as the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year.
The awards were announced prior to the start of the 2011 BIG EAST Women's Basketball Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters to be held March 4-8 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. The awards for the BIG EAST Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year will be revealed at a press conference on March 4 at the XL Center at 5 p.m. ET.
Pikes earned the league's Sixth Man Award, the second player from DePaul to earn the honor and the fourth league selection overall. She is usually the first DePaul player off the bench and the only nonstarter to appear in all 30 of the team's games this year. Pikes leads the team with four double-doubles, including two in league play. She is averaging 6.2 rebounds per contest, 6.5 in conference action and has led the team in rebounding 11 times this season. Pikes also is one of the top shooters in the league holding a .561 field goal percentage connecting on 97-of-173 attempts to rank fifth in the league. The junior averaged 8.2 points per game in BIG EAST play.
As the league's Most Improved Player, Notre Dame's Novosel has stepped in to help fill the void created when All-BIG EAST selection Ashley Barlow left due to graduation. The junior leads the team scoring at 15.0 points per game and is shooting 47.7 percent from the field. Last year she averaged 5.0 ppg. Novosel has scored at least 20 points in a game five times this year (after coming into the campaign with a career single-game high of 19 points) and has scored in double figures a team-high 26 times after doing so a total of 14 times in her first two seasons combined at Notre Dame. In addition, Novosel won Most Valuable Player honors at the WBCA Classic, earned a spot on the State Farm Holiday Hoops Classic All-Tournament Team. She also was named to the league's all-conference team this season for the first time as an All-BIG EAST First Team pick.
Bellman is the first Cincinnati player to earn the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award. In her sixth year of eligibility, Bellman has played in 27 games for the Bearcats and made 23 starts. She has scored in double figures five times this year, including a season-best 22 points against Wright State on Dec. 18, 2010. The point total was the highest since Dec. 10, 2006. Bellman registered a season-high eight rebounds and a career-high eight assists in the regular-season finale, an upset over then-No. 20/22 Marquette. Bellman has made 100 career starts for Cincinnati and was a member of the 2005-06 All-BIG EAST Freshman Team. She is closing in on 1,000 career points (947) and has more than 500 rebounds in her career.
Quigley is the second DePaul player to earn the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award. A finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, Quigley is a two-time team captain and a Capital One Academic All-District selection. Having graduated last year with a bachelor's degree in physical education, she is currently pursuing her master's in educational leadership. Through her career goal of being a physical education teacher, Quigley has spent countless hours in the community promoting health and wellness. She has volunteered over 130 hours in the last four seasons for numerous local community outreach programs. On the court, Quigley is a finalist for the Liebermann Award given to the nation's top point guard. Having totaled more than 450 career assists, she ranks third on the school's all-time list. Earlier this season Quigley became DePaul's 24th 1,000 point scorer and has 1,224 career points. She has started her last 99 games in her career, the longest current streak on the team.
Peters is the first Notre Dame player to grab the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year award since 2000-01, with Notre Dame having four players earn the honor in the 14-year history of the award. Peters was also named to the All-BIG EAST First Team. Peters is averaging a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game to go along with 49 blocks this season. She has grabbed 56 steals and is averaging 11.5 points per game. She has started all 30 games this season, averaging 22.7 minutes per game. Peters has helped lead a defense that ranks 16th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 53.8 points per game. Notre Dame also has the seventh-highest rebound margin (+10.1). In league play, Peters is third with 1.9 blocks per game.
Notre Dame heads the All-BIG EAST First Team with three selections, sophomore Skylar Diggins, junior Natalie Novosel and senior Devereaux Peters. Diggins was named to the Second Team last year as a freshman, while Novosel and Peters were both named to the All-Freshman team, in 2008-09 and 2007-08, respectively. UConn landed two players on the list in junior Tiffany Hayes and senior Maya Moore. Hayes was honored on the Second Team last season, while Moore closes out her career with four First Team appearances. DePaul junior Keisha Hampton was a Second Team honoree last season, while both Georgetown sophomore Sugar Rodgers and Louisville junior Monique Reid garner their second-straight First Team awards. Marquette senior Angel Robinson moves into a First Team spot after two-straight years as Second Team all-conference. Syracuse sophomore Kayla Alexander was tabbed to the First Team after capping off her rookie campaign with an All-Freshman Team selection. West Virginia senior Liz Repella landed a spot on the First Team last season and Second Team the year before.
The BIG EAST is the largest and most diverse Division I conference in the country. It was formed in 1979 and represents the athletic interests of 16 member institutions including the University of Cincinnati, University of Connecticut, DePaul University, Georgetown University, University of Louisville, Marquette University, University of Notre Dame, University of Pittsburgh, Providence College, Rutgers University, St. John's University, Seton Hall University, University of South Florida, Syracuse University, Villanova University and West Virginia University. The BIG EAST Conference has captured 30 national championships in six different sports and is a founding member of the Bowl Championship Series. For more information on the Conference and its membership, please visit www.bigeast.org.
BIG EAST Sixth Man Award
Taylor Pikes, DePaul (Jr., G/F, Chicago, Ill.)
BIG EAST Most Improved Player
Natalie Novosel, Notre Dame (Jr., G, Lexington, Ky.)
BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award
Shelly Bellman, Cincinnati (Sr., G/F, Ottowa, Ohio)
Sam Quigley, DePaul (Sr., G, Joliet, Ill.)
BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year
Devereaux Peters, Notre Dame (Sr., F, Chicago, Ind.)
All-BIG EAST First Team
Tiffany Hayes, Connecticut (Jr., G, Lakeland, Fla.)
*Maya Moore, Connecticut (Sr., F, Lawrenceville, Ga.)
*Keisha Hampton, DePaul (Jr., F, Philadelphia, Pa.)
*Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown (So., G, Suffolk, Va.)
Monique Reid, Louisville (Jr., F, Louisville, Ky.)
Angel Robinson, Marquette (Sr., G, St. Paul, Minn.)
*Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame (So., G, South Bend, Ind.)
Natalie Novosel, Notre Dame (Jr., G, Lexington, Ky.)
Devereaux Peters, Notre Dame (Sr., F, Chicago, Ind.)
Kayla Alexander, Syracuse (So., C, Milton, Ontario)
Liz Repella, West Virginia (Sr., G, Steubenville, Ohio)
All-BIG EAST Second Team^
Bria Hartley, Connecticut (Fr., G, North Babylon, N.Y.)
Sam Quigley, DePaul (Sr., G, Joliet, Ill.)
Tatiyiana McMorris, Marquette (Sr., G, Bronx, N.Y.)
Taneisha Harrison, Pittsburgh (Sr., G, Bowie, Md.)
Monique Oliver, Rutgers (So., F/C, Long Beach, Calif.)
Khadijah Rushdan, Rutgers (R-Jr., G, Wilmington, Del.)
April Sykes, Rutgers (Jr., G/F, Starkville, Miss.)
Shenneika Smith, St. John's (So., G, Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Da'Shena Stevens, St. John's (Jr., F, Stamford, Conn.)
Andrea Smith, USF (Jr., G, Lakeland, Fl.)
Madina Ali, West Virginia (R-Sr., F, Williamsport, Pa.)
BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Kelly Faris, Connecticut (So., G, Plainfield, Ind.)
Felicia Chester, DePaul (Sr., F, St. Louis, Mo.)
Monica McNutt, Georgetown (Sr., G, Suitland, Md.)
Shoni Schimmel, Louisville (Fr., G, Hermiston, Ore.)
Chelsea Cole, Pittsburgh (Sr., F, Lumberton, N.J.)
Iasia Hemingway, Syracuse (Jr., G, Newark, N.J.)
BIG EAST All-Freshman Team
Kayla Cook, Cincinnati (Fr., G, South Webster, Ohio)
Jeanise Randolph, Cincinnati (Fr., F, Calumet City, Ill.)
*Stefanie Dolson, Connecticut (Fr., C, Port Jervis, N.Y.)
*Bria Hartley, Connecticut (Fr., G, North Babylon, N.Y.)
*Shoni Schimmel, Louisville (Fr., G, Hermiston, Ore.)
Sheronne Vails, Louisville (Fr., C, Odenton, Md.)
Katherine Plouffe, Marquette (Fr., F/G, Edmonton, Alberta)
*Natalie Achonwa, Notre Dame (Fr., F, Guelph, Ontario)
Lauren Okafor, Providence (Fr., F, New Haven, Conn.)
Ka-Deidre Simmons, Seton Hall (Fr., G, Newark, N.J.)
*Unanimous selection
^ Extra member added due to tie in voting