April 15, 2014
Seventy percent of BIG EAST teams finished the regular season with .500 or better records. This is the highest percentage since 2011-12 when 75 percent of league teams were .500 or better entering the postseason. At season’s end, 60 percent of BIG EAST teams won 20 or more games for the highest percentage since 2010-11 (62.5 percent). Overall, league teams averaged 17.8 wins.
Seventy percent of BIG EAST teams played in national postseason tournaments compared to 60 percent last season and 75 percent in 2011-12. Multiple teams earned NCAA Tournament bids for the 23rd consecutive season as DePaul collected the conference’s automatic bid and St. John’s earned an at-large nod. Multiple teams advanced to the NCAA Second Round for the 22nd consecutive year, while at least one BIG EAST team played in the Sweet 16 for the 25th straight year. The BIG EAST’s five WNIT invites were the most since 2009-10 (also five), with Seton Hall leading the pack by advancing to the Third Round where it fell to the eventual champion.
High Scoring Affair
BIG EAST teams averaged 68.6 points per game this season, the highest average since the 1998-99 season when the 13 conference teams averaged 69.2 points per contest. DePaul led the effort by having the nation’s fifth-ranked scoring offense at 83.5 points per game, setting a program record for total points (3,006). The Blue Demons had a pair of historical scoring performances – combining with Marquette for the second-highest scoring game (100-90) in BIG EAST Tournament history and tangling with Oklahoma for the highest scoring game (104-100) played in regulation in NCAA Tournament history. Seven BIG EAST players scored more than 500 points, including five who will return to the court in 2014-15.
All-America Honorable Mention
Five BIG EAST players earned WBCA All-America Honorable Mention plaudits. Fourteen different leagues were represented on the 42-member list, with nine boasting multiple selections. The Big 12 and Southeastern Conference tied for the lead with six honorees apiece, followed by the BIG EAST’s five nods. The Atlantic Coast, American Athletic and Big 10 all collected four certificates, followed by the Pac-12 (three), Mid-American (three) and Conference USA (two). Creighton's Marissa Janning, DePaul's Brittany Hrynko and Jasmine Penny, Marquette's Katherine Plouffe and St. John's Aliyyah Handford were the BIG EAST players recognized by the WBCA, while Hrynko also earned the same distinction by the Associated Press.
Nine of the 10 league teams finished in the top 50 of all Division I teams in an NCAA statistical category. Villanova had the distinction of leading all 343 teams in a pair of categories: turnovers per game (8.8) and assist-turnover ratio (1.89). Three BIG EAST players ranked in the top 10 nationally in five categories, with Georgetown’s Natalie Butler and DePaul’s Megan Rogowski among the NCAA leaders in a pair of disciplines. Butler had Division I’s fifth-best rebounding average (13.3) and had the ninth-most double-doubles (24), while Rogowski was among the best three-point shooters in the country, ranked third in three-point shooting percentage (45.2) and fourth in triples per game (3.26). Villanova’s Caroline Coyer rounded out the list with the NCAA’s second-best assist-turnover ratio (3.83).
Seven BIG EAST players joined a distinct club this season, as DePaul’s Brittany Hrynko, Seton Hall’s Ka-Deidre Simmons, Marquette’s Arlesia Morse, St. John’s Eugeneia McPherson, Butler’s Daress McClung, Villanova’s Devon Kane and Creighton’s Marissa Janning all reached the 1,000 career points mark. In total, 11 conference players on 2013-14 rosters boasted resumes with 1,000+ career points. In addition to that milestone, head coaches Beth Couture of Butler (450), Doug Bruno of DePaul (600) and Harry Perretta of Villanova (650) all reached significant career win marks this season.
Lots To Look Forward To
Two of the top-three scorers in the league were sophomores, including the BIG EAST Player of the Year Marissa Janning. The league’s leading rebounder, who broke the conference record for single-season boards (total and average) was a rookie in Georgetown’s Natalie Butler, the league’s unanimous Freshman of the Year. Of the seven major awards the BIG EAST gives players, four are returning next season: Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player. Five teams will welcome back their leading scorers, while Seton Hall returns its top four scorers from 2013-14.
Quick Hits From Across The League
- Butler: The Bulldogs went 10-8 in their first season of BIG EAST play, marking 12-year head coach Beth Couture’s ninth season of a .500 or better record in conference action.th
- Creighton: McKenzie Fujan and Marissa Janning turned in a pair of 38-point performances this season, both coming at CU’s D.J. Sokol Arena where the Bluejays went 13-2 this season. Fujan reached the mark first (Jan. 4 against DePaul) to set the facility record before Janning matched it on Feb. 5 against Georgetown.
- DePaul: The Blue Demons tied the school record for most wins in a season (29) and set program records for games played (36), points (3,006), three-point baskets (314) and assists (705). The Blue Demons advanced to their third NCAA Sweet 16 after claiming their first BIG EAST regular-season and tournament titles.
- Georgetown: Rookie Natalie Butler highlighted the Hoyas’ season, setting BIG EAST and Georgetown records for rebounding average and total boards en route to being the unanimous Freshman of the Year and an All-BIG EAST Second Team selection. GU announced the hiring of Natasha Adair on April 14 as the Hoyas’ new head coach.
- Marquette: Senior Katherine Plouffe, who was the BIG EAST’s active career leader in points (1,551) and rebounds (973), finished her career among the leaders in program history. She will graduate as the Golden Eagles’ No. 9 scorer and No. 4 rebounder.
- Providence: Alexis Harris finished the year with 259 rebounds, the most by a Friar since Stefanie Goettsche hauled in 290 during the 1993-94 season. Her 259 boards are the third-most all-time by a junior and her rebounding average (8.9) is the second-highest average all-time at Providence by a junior.
- St. John’s: The Red Storm advanced to the program's fourth BIG EAST Tournament Final and claimed a program-best 11-straight conference wins, going undefeated in league play from Jan. 8 through Feb. 15. St. John's secured the program's 14th 20-win campaign, its fourth in the past five seasons and first under head coach Joe Tartamella, as the Red Storm advanced the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.
- Seton Hall: In his first season at the helm, head coach Tony Bozzella led the Pirates to their first appearance in the Third Round of the WNIT in program history and first 20-win season in 19 years. SHU’s WNIT bid was its first postseason berth since 2007.
- Villanova: The Wildcats led the nation in turnovers per game (8.8) for the second consecutive season. Devon Kane finished the season scoring double figures in 24 of the 32 games, including in 15 of the final 16 games. She finished her career with 1,030 points and 362 assists which ranks 12th all-time in school history.
- Xavier: Ashley Wanninger finished the season by leading the Musketeers in scoring in four of the final seven games to conclude her four-year career with 753 points over 112 games. She was the lone XU player to start all 31 games this season, making a team-best 62 three-pointers to rank sixth in the BIG EAST this season.