Bruno, Schulte, Grant, Allen Earn Major BIG EAST Awards
March 1, 2017

NEW YORK – BIG EAST women’s basketball co-regular season champions DePaul and Creighton took home the lion’s share of major awards unveiled by the conference on Wednesday. Blue Demon senior guard Brooke Schulte was unanimously selected as BIG EAST Player of the Year, DePaul’s Doug Bruno was voted Coach of the Year and the Bluejays’ Jaylyn Agnew was tabbed Freshman of the Year by a vote of the league’s 10 head coaches.

Additionally, Schulte shared BIG EAST Most Improved Player honors with Creighton senior Brianna Rollerson; DePaul sophomore guard Tanita Allen earned the Sixth-Woman Award; Creighton senior guard Lauren Works earned the Sportsmanship Award while DePaul senior forward Jacqui Grant and St. John’s senior guard Aaliyah Lewis shared Defensive Player of the Year plaudits.

Schulte becomes the third consecutive BIG EAST Player of the Year from DePaul, following Chanise Jenkins in 2016 and Brittany Hrynko in 2015. The senior made a remarkable rise beginning in late December when teammate and Preseason Player of the Year Jessica January went down with an injury, which kept her sidelined for all but two-and-a-half BIG EAST games.

Schulte increased her scoring average from 11.2 points per game prior to January’s injury to 21.6 without her fellow senior in the lineup---winning the league’s scoring title by averaging 20.8 points per game in BIG EAST play. The senior guard also ranked in the top five in rebounding and field goal percentage, guiding the No. 18/17 Blue Demons to a fourth consecutive regular-season crown. The five-time BIG EAST Player of the Week was also honored as the BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Tuesday and was one of just two unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team selections.

Bruno claims top coaching honors for the third time in four years after guiding DePaul to a 16-2 BIG EAST record and a 24-6 overall mark. The graduating Blue Demon seniors became the first senior class since Connecticut’s Class of 2011 to win a crown every year. The Blue Demons overcame significant adversity with projected starter Mart’e Grays sustaining a season-ending injury, starter Ashton Millender sidelined since early December and the previously mentioned January’s absence. January and Millender were the top two scorers on the team at the time of their injuries.

Despite the hardships, DePaul clinched the BIG EAST Tournament’s No. 1 seed for a third time in four years, remained in the Top 25 every week this season and boasted one of the most potent offenses in the nation, averaging a BIG EAST-best 81.2 points per game.

Grant and Allen were also instrumental in DePaul’s success this season as Grant anchored the defensive effort with a league-best 1.7 blocks per game, first in defensive rebounds and the second-highest in overall rebounds (10.3 boards per game). The senior totaled a league-high 11 double-doubles in conference play including a 27-point, 17-rebound outing against Marquette.

Allen came off the bench in all 18 league games but still ranked fifth on the squad in scoring at 10.3 points per game to go along with 5.9 rebounds and .455 shooting. Allen scored in double figures nine times in conference play, including a career-high 30-point outing at Seton Hall in January. Grant is the first Defensive Player of the Year for DePaul, while Allen is the Blue Demons’ second recipient of the Sixth Woman Award (Taylor Pikes, 2011).

Also making quite an impact in her first season was guard Kelly Campbell, who was named to the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team. The ability to play both guard positions while leading the BIG EAST (conference and nonconference games) in assist-turnover ratio helped compensate for the absence of January and Millender

Agnew provided quality depth for No. 23 Creighton, coming off the bench to average 8.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals to go along with a .430 shooting clip. The redshirt freshman led the Bluejays in scoring twice this season and racked up double-digits in scoring in eight contests, highlighted by a 21-point outing at nationally ranked DePaul in January. Agnew helped lead Creighton to a share of their its BIG EAST regular-season title, highest seed in BIG EAST Tournament history at No. 2 and the first national ranking since 1992. Agnew is Creighton’s first BIG EAST Freshman of the Year.

Rollerson made a notable improvement from an injury-riddled junior year which included a Jones fracture which limited her to just 2.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 2015-16 compared to this season’s showing of 10.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. The senior racked up five double-doubles in BIG EAST play, fifth most among league players, and provided a commanding defensive presence in the paint as the Bluejays were outrebounded just five times in conference play. Rollerson is the second Creighton player to be tabbed Most Improved (Alexis Akin-Otiko, 2015).

Works provides the energetic spark for Creighton on and off the court as the senior guard is rarely seen without a smile and is always known to help a fallen opponent up off the floor. She averaged 8.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in league play. Off the court, Works is a leader in the community, volunteering at the Abide Center, an inner city, non-profit organization designed to improve local neighborhoods of Omaha. Works is the second Bluejay in three years to earn the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award (Marissa Janning, 2015).

Defense has been the calling card of St. John’s this season with Lewis leading the charge. The senior guard is consistently tasked with the opponents’ top perimeter player and has posted 1.2 steals per game while playing a BIG EAST-high 38.5 minutes per contest. The Red Storm has the league’s stingiest defense overall, limiting opponents to just 56.0 points per game while holding nine teams to 50 points or fewer this year. Lewis becomes the second-straight St. John’s player to garner the league’s top defensive award following Aliyyah Handford in 2016.

BIG EAST Player of the Year
Brooke Schulte, DePaul, Sr., G*

BIG EAST Coach of the Year
Doug Bruno, DePaul

BIG EAST Co-Defensive Players of the Year
Jacqui Grant, DePaul, Sr., F
Aaliyah Lewis, St. John’s, Sr., G

BIG EAST Co-Most Improved Players
Brooke Schulte, DePaul, Sr., G
Brianna Rollerson, Creighton, Sr., F

BIG EAST Sixth-Woman Award
Tanita Allen, DePaul, So., G

BIG EAST Freshman of the Year
Jaylyn Agnew, Creighton, R-Fr., F

BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award
Lauren Works, Creighton, Sr., G

All-BIG EAST First Team
Allazia Blockton, Marquette, So., G*
Audrey Faber, Creighton, So., F
Jacqui Grant, DePaul, Sr., F
Brooke Schulte, DePaul, Sr., G*
Jade Walker, St. John’s, Sr., F

All-BIG EAST Second Team
Erika Davenport, Marquette, So., F
Adrianna Hahn, Villanova, So., G
Marissa Janning, Creighton, Sr., G
Tori Schickel, Butler, So., F
Dionna White, Georgetown, So., G

All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention^
Dorothy Adomako, Georgetown, Jr., G
Raeshaun Gaffney, Xavier, R-Sr., G
Natisha Hiedeman, Marquette, So., G
Aaliyah Lewis, St. John’s, Sr., G
Alex Louin, Villanova, Jr., G
Yoyo Nogic, Providence, So., G

BIG EAST All-Freshman Team
Jaylyn Agnew, Creighton, R-Fr., F
Kelly Campbell, DePaul, Fr., G*
Kaela Hilaire, Seton Hall, Fr., G*
Alisha Kebbe, St. John’s, Fr., G
Sydney Shelton, Butler, Fr., G

*unanimous selection
^extra player added due to a tie in voting

 

 

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