April 11, 2012
CHICAGO - The DePaul women's basketball team celebrated its 2011-12 season on Wednesday at Erie Café in Chicago's River North neighborhood. Anna Martin was named the team's most valuable player while nine other awards were handed out in an evening in which the Blue Demons celebrated their tenth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and their 23-11 record.
The Blue Demon quartet of seniors - Keisha Hampton, Maureen Mulchrone, Deanna Ortiz and Taylor Pikes shared the Maggie Dixon Captain's Award. The award is named after the former DePaul assistant coach who passed away tragically in April 2006. The award honors Dixon's commitment to the game and passion for excelling both on and off the court.
The individual statistical awards were given out to the top free throw and 3-point shooters along with the team's top rebounders and top assist distributor.
Martin and Hampton collected the free throw award. In Hampton's 12 games, she shot over 88 percent from the charity stripe. The senior finished her career 358-for-473 from the free throw line which ranks in the top 10 all-time in free throws and free attempts. Martin finished the season ranked fifth in the BIG EAST with her .814 free throw percentage. The junior made 64 of her final 72 free throw shots in DePaul's final 14 games and had a team-high 114 made free throws on the season.
Martin also took home the 3-point field goal award after leading the Blue Demons from behind the arc. Her .403 percentage ranked fourth in the BIG EAST while she averaged 1.9 triples per game and hit three or more trifectas in 12 games.
Katherine Harry earned her third consecutive rebounding award after leading DePaul and the BIG EAST Conference with 9.5 rebounds per game. The junior set a new standard at McGrath-Phillips Arena when she grabbed 20 rebounds against Louisville on Jan. 31. She finished the season with 322 rebounds which ranks eighth in DePaul's single-season record book and is the most by a Blue Demon since Khara Smith grabbed 385 in 2005-06.
Freshman Brittany Hrynko led the Blue Demons in assists to earn the team's annual assist award. Hrynko is the first freshman to lead DePaul in assists since the 1997-98 season and just the seventh freshman to do so since 1978-79. Hrynko ranked eighth in the BIG EAST with 3.9 assists per game and tallied 133 assists on the season.
Jasmine Penny earned DePaul's Most Improved Award after appearing in each of DePaul's 34 games. The sophomore, who had played in just 17 games as a freshman, ranked second in the BIG EAST in field goal percentage with .560 (155-for-277) while she averaged 11.4 points per game which ranked 29th in the league. Penny, who did not reach double-digits as a freshman, reached double-figures in 22 games and scored a career-high 24 points at then-No. 2/2 Notre Dame.
Ortiz earned the Pat Ewers Unsung Hero Award because of her ability to lead a depleted roster due to injuries. The senior, who was invited to tryout for the Puerto Rican National Team, averaged 14.8 minutes per game while 38 of her 51 field goals were 3-pointers. Ortiz's encouraging cheers and ability to understand head coach Doug Bruno's system made her part of the glue that held the "Magnificent Seven" together.
Coach Bruno handed out the Cookie Gavin Courage Award to his "Magnificent Seven" - Megan Rogowski, Kelsey Reynolds, Harry, Hrynko, Martin, Ortiz and Penny. Bruno tabbed his group of healthy players the Magnificent Seven after DePaul defeated Pittsburgh on Jan. 14 and his rotation was down to seven due to five season-ending injuries. The "Magnificent Seven" were known around the country as television personalities and media members picked up on Bruno's nickname for his team while the Screamin' Demon band played the theme song from the 1960's Charles Bronson movie at the NCAA Tournament.
The Shirley Becker Academic Award, named for the former Director of Athletics Academic Advising, was handed out to Taylor Pikes, Alexa Gallagher, Chanise Jenkins, Karima Gabriel, Kelsey Smith, Martin, Hrynko, Reynolds, Rogowski, Hampton, Mulchrone and Ortiz who all have cumulative GPAs above 3.5. Becker was DePaul's first academic advisor before she lost her battle to colon cancer in 1995.
The 2011-12 edition won 23 games, which is the fifth most in school history while setting records for 3-pointers (156) and 3-point field goal attempts (753).