Feb. 28, 2012
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – The 2011-12 All-Patriot League Team and Major Awards were announced in women’s basketball during a media teleconference Tuesday morning, with regular-season champion American capturing three of the four individual honors.
Senior guard Lisa Strack, who was the only underclassman to garner All-League honors a year ago, was named Patriot League Player of the Year and garnered First-Team All-League laurels in 2011-12, while teammate and senior guard Ebony Edwards was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. The third award to go to the Eagles was the Coach of the Year trophy, as Matt Corkery was named to the honor for the second time in the last three seasons.
Rounding out the major awards Tuesday was Lafayette freshman forward Emily Homan, who was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year.
Voting for the major awards and the All-League team was conducted by the League’s eight head coaches who could not cast a ballot for their own student-athletes or themselves.
Strack is the second Player of the Year from American, as she joins Michelle Kirk who was named to the award in 2009-10. Two of the last three Players of the Year have been Eagles. A native of Langhorne, Pa., Strack was named Anaconda Player of the Week twice this season, once following the opening week of the regular season and again after the final week. In her team’s final two games of the regular season, she averaged 16.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.5 steals to lift American to a 14-0 slate in Patriot League play, the first such mark in League annals. She scored 19 points Wednesday, including the 1,000th of her career, in a 62-59 thriller at Bucknell, and added a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds in Saturday’s 58-54 victory at Lafayette. She sparked American’s game-ending 8-0 run with six straight points, turning a 54-50 deficit into a 56-54 lead in the final minutes. Strack leads American with 11.6 points per game this season, and her average increased to 12.9 per game during 14 League contests. She leads the League in steals both in all games (2.7) and during League competition (3.3).
Edwards is the first from American named Defensive Player of the Year since the award’s inception in 2004-05. Her efforts have gone almost unheralded during the season, with Strack, Alexis Dobbs and Jen Dumiak having garnered most of the individual recognition for American during its pursuit of League perfection. But Edwards has been a main contributor to the Eagles defense during the 2011-12 campaign. American ranks second in the League in scoring defense, allowing just 52.5 points per game, and that average improved to 49.2 points allowed during the League slate. Edwards has appeared in all 28 games this season with 24 starts and is averaging 4.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, while her 2.0 steals per game and her 55 total thefts are both third-best in the League.
Homan made immediate impacts in the Lafayette frontcourt this season, and her performances improved as the season went on. She has five double-doubles entering the Patriot League Tournament, and four of those came during League play. Homan leads all League freshman in scoring and rebounds, and sits seventh in the League in the former category (11.8 ppg) and sixth in the latter (7.1 rpg). Her 44.6 percent field goal shooting is fifth best in the League, while her 56 blocks and her 1.9 blocks-per-game average both rank second. Homan is just the second Leopard ever named Patriot League Rookie of the Year and the first since Christel Rocha in 1997-98. Homan was also one of the five members of the All-Rookie team.
Corkery collects his second Coach of the Year honor in the last three years, and becomes the second active coach to have multiple honors, joining Lehigh’s Sue Troyan and Holy Cross’ Bill Gibbons. American has had three straight seasons of at least 20 victories under Corkery’s guidance after achieving 19 victories in his first season in 2008-09. This year American is 22-6 overall, tying for the most victories in a season during Corkery’s tenure, which was first reached in 2009-10.
American, which is the top seed in the Patriot League Tournament that begins Thursday, placed two student-athletes on the All-League First Team and one on the All-Rookie Team. Joining Strack on the first team was sophomore co-captain Alexis Dobbs, who enters the tournament second on the Eagles and ninth in the League in scoring (11.1), fifth in steals (1.9), sixth in assists (3.0) and second in 3-pointers per game (2.3). Freshman Jen Dumiak, who was named Anaconda Rookie of the Week twice this season, earned All-Rookie laurels as she ranks third among freshman in scoring (7.1).
Army, Holy Cross and Navy each had two All-League selections, with the first two splitting theirs across the first and second teams. Army’s All-League selections were junior guard Anna Simmers on the first team and sophomore guard/forward Jen Hazlett on the second team. In addition, freshman Olivia Schretzman was named to the All-Rookie squad. Simmers is the League’s leading scorer at 14.9 points per game, and her production has increased to 18.9 across 14 League games. Hazlett owns the highest-scoring game for any League student-athlete this season with 30 points on Feb. 15 versus Colgate. Hazlett has posted six double-doubles this season and is averaging 13.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, ranking in the League’s top five in both categories. Schretzman, a forward, is averaging 7.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for the Black Knights.
Holy Cross placed sophomore guard Alex Smith on the first team, while junior guard/forward Amy Lepley was a second-team selection. Smith enters the tournament with a League-best 5.7 assists per game, over two dishes per game ahead of the second-place student-athlete. Her 2.0 steals per game rank second in the League, while she also sits second on her team and fifth in the League averaging 12.6 points per game. Lepley is the Crusaders’ leading scorer at 13.2 points per game, placing her third in the League entering the tournament. She is Holy Cross’ leading rebounder and ninth in the League with 6.3 boards per game. Emily Parker garnered All-Rookie honors for Holy Cross after averaging 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest.
Navy also boasted a pair of All-League honorees, with both being named to the second team. Sophomore Jade Geif, last year’s Rookie of the Year and this season’s Preseason Player of the Year, was named to the second team after leading the Mids in scoring (10.5 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg), the latter stat placing her fourth in the League entering the tournament. Joining her on the second team is classmate Alix Membreno, who sits third on the team with 9.1 points per game while dishing out 56 assists, the third-highest on the club, along with a team-high 32 steals. Both Geif and Membreno have started all 28 games for the Mids.
Senior forward Alexa Williams of Lehigh was the Mountain Hawks’ sole All-League selection. She earned first-team laurels after finishing the regular season sixth in the League with 12.5 points per game and leading all players with 8.9 rebounds per game. She has shined defensively for Lehigh as well with 41 blocks in 28 games, with her 1.5 average ranking fourth in the League. She is averaging a League-high 6.4 defensive rebounds per game, nearly a full board per contest ahead of the rest of the field. Williams was the League’s second-highest leading scorer in League play averaging 14.3 points per game.
Rounding out the All-League team is senior center Tricia Oakes of Colgate. An All-Rookie honoree in 2008-09, Oakes captured her first spot on the All-League team with second-team placement after finishing the regular season 12th in the League with 10.4 points per game, while her 6.4 boards per contest are ranked eighth heading into Thursday. Oakes has five double-doubles on the season, including four during League play. Freshman guard Missy Repoli represented Colgate on the All-Rookie team. She has played in all 29 games this season, starting six, and is averaging 6.4 points per game entering the tournament.
A year ago the All-League team was dominated by seniors, with soon-to-graduate players accounting for 10 of the 11 slots. This season five of the 10 players honored on the All-League team are sophomores, three are juniors and there are two seniors.
The 2012 Patriot League Women’s Basketball Tournament begins with four quarterfinal contests Thursday, with all tipping at 7 p.m. Top-seeded American hosts No. 8 Lafayette, No. 2 Lehigh welcomes seventh-seeded Bucknell, third-seeded Navy entertains No. 6 Colgate and No. 4 Army entertains five seed Holy Cross. All four contests will be streamed via Patriot League All-Access.
The bracket does not reseed, so the American-Lafayette winner takes on the Army-Holy Cross winner, while the Navy-Colgate winner battles the Lehigh-Bucknell winner in the semifinals. The two semifinal contests are slated for Monday.
The Patriot League Championship will take place Saturday, March 10 at 6 p.m. and will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. The winner of that game earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
2012 Patriot League Women’s Basketball Major Awards
Player of the Year – Lisa Strack, American, Sr., G
Defensive Player of the Year – Ebony Edwards, American, Sr., G
Rookie of the Year – Emily Homan, Lafayette, Fr., F
Coach of the Year – Matt Corkery, American
2012 Women’s Basketball All-Patriot League Team
Alexis Dobbs, American, So., G
Anna Simmers, Army, Jr., G
Alex Smith, Holy Cross, So., G
Lisa Strack, American, Sr., G
Alexa Williams, Lehigh, Sr., F
Jade Geif, Navy, So., F
Jen Hazlett, Army, So., G/F
Amy Lepley, Holy Cross, Jr., G/F
Alix Membreno, Navy, So., G
Tricia Oakes, Colgate, Sr., C
Jen Dumiak, American, Fr., G
Emily Homan, Lafayette, Fr., F
Emily Parker, Holy Cross, Fr., F
Missy Repoli, Colgate, Fr., G
Olivia Schretzman, Army, Fr., F