March 4, 2014
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Just as three-time defending Patriot League Tournament champion Navy was a major presence at the top of the 2014 Patriot League women's basketball race, on Tuesday the Mids came away with two major award winners and three student-athletes on the All-Patriot League Teams.
Senior guard Alix Membreno became the second player in program history to be named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, while Stefanie Pemper earned her second Patriot League Coach of the Year honor in six seasons at the helm. Membreno was also a second-team All-Patriot League selection, while classmates Jade Geif and Kara Pollinger were first team selections.
Army sophomore guard Kelsey Minato won her second straight Patriot League Player of the Year for helping the Black Knights close out the regular season with four consecutive wins and a No. 2 seed in the Patriot League Tournament. Bucknell freshman forward Claire DeBoer claimed the Patriot League Rookie of the Year award.
The top five teams in the Patriot League standings each had a representative on the first-team All-League squad, with Minato, Geif and Pollinger joined by American senior guard Alexis Dobbs, Bucknell senior guard Shelby Romine and Holy Cross senior guard Alex Smith. The 2014 first team has six players due to a tie in the voting. The second-team All-Patriot League squad included Membreno, Bucknell junior forward Audrey Dotson, Army senior guard/forward Jen Hazlett, Lafayette junior forward Emily Homan and Holy Cross sophomore forward Raquel Scott. The inaugural third-team All-League group has Boston University senior forward Rashidat Agboola, Loyola junior guard Nai Brown, American junior guard Jen Dumiak, Lehigh sophomore forward Kerry Kinek and American junior forward Arron Zimmerman.
DeBoer headlined an All-Rookie squad that included teammate Megan McGurk as well as Lehigh guard Kayla Burton, Army forward/center Danielle Failor, Boston University guard Sarah Hope and Loyola guard Lisa Mirarchi. Only freshmen in their first academic year are eligible for the Patriot League All-Rookie Team, and there are six student-athletes due to a tie in the voting.
Patriot League women's basketball head coaches voted on the All-League Team and major awards, and could not vote for their own student-athletes or themselves.
Minato followed up her 2012-13 Player of the Year campaign with an even better season as a sophomore. She had one of the most impressive seasons in Academy history setting single-season records for points (627), free throws (182) and three-point field goals (71). Minato's scoring average of 21.6 points per game and 91.9 free throw percentage also rank as the best in Army women's basketball history. The Huntington Beach, Calif. native is in the midst of a 45-game double-digit scoring streak dating to Jan. 12, 2013. Gained national attention on Feb. 12 when she scored a Patriot League record 49 points in a loss to Holy Cross. In the game, Minato set multiple NCAA single-game records when she went 26-for-26 from the free-throw line. Became the quickest Army player (58 games) to 1,000 points during the Black Knights win over Boston University on Feb. 26. Minato's ball-handling and scoring helped Army to a 20-win season and a 14-4 mark in the Patriot League. The Black Knights enter the Patriot League Tournament as the No. 2 seed.
Recruited to throw javelin for the Mids Track & Field squad, Membreno has excelled as a two-sport athlete and integral four-year player for a Navy basketball team that has won three consecutive Patriot League titles. Membreno was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2013 Patriot League Tournament after averaging 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists during the Mids title run. Usually called upon to shut down the opponent's best offensive player, the Loxahatchee, Fla. native is a tireless worker on the floor and provides strong rebounding from her guard position.
In her sixth season at the helm of the Navy program, Pemper has coached the Mids to three consecutive Patriot League Tournament titles and NCAA berths. With a 23-6 regular season and 15-3 mark in the Patriot League, Navy won the outright league title in 2014 after sharing it in 2011 and 2013 and will attempt to be only the second program (Holy Cross) to win four consecutive league tournament titles. Has a career mark of 115-73 at Navy and 350-121 overall in her coaching career. Pemper was also recognized as the Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2011.
DeBoer tied a Patriot League record with eight Rookie of the Week awards while playing nearly 30 minutes per game for Bucknell. Led all Patriot League freshman by averaging 9.8 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game. Led the Bison in scoring three times and led or tied for the lead in rebounding on ten occasions. Shot 40-percent from the field and 70-percent from the free-throw line on the season. Had a breakout game in Bucknell's 83-79 overtime road win over Holy Cross with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Hit an improbable three-point field goal at the end of regulation that forced the overtime with the Crusaders. The Grosse Pointe, Mich. native was a unanimous choice for Patriot League All-Rookie team.
The 2014 Patriot League Women's Basketball Tournament features an expanded field and an extra round with 10 teams this season. The tournament tips off on Tuesday when No. 10 Loyala Maryland heads to No. 7 Boston University and No. 9 Colgate goes to No. 8 Lehigh for first-round games. The bracket does not re-seed for Thursday's quarterfinals, which will feature the No. 9/8 winner at No. 1 Navy and No. 5 Holy Cross at No. 4 Bucknell in the top half of the bracket and the No. 10/7 winner at No. 2 Army and No. 6 Lafayette at No. 3 American in the bottom half. The semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament will be played on Monday, March 10, with the higher seed of the 9/8/1 vs. 5/4 and 10/7/2 vs. 6/3 games hosting each contest. The Patriot League Women's Basketball Championship will be played at the higher seed on Saturday, March 15 at 6 p.m. The first round, quarterfinals and semifinal round of the League Tournament will be shown on Patriot League Network, with the championship on CBS Sports Network.
2013-14 Women's Basketball All-Patriot League Team and Major Awards
Player of the Year: Kelsey Minato, Army (So., G)
Defensive Player of the Year: Alix Membreno, Navy (Sr., G)
Rookie of the Year: Claire DeBoer, Bucknell (Fr., F)
Coach of the Year: Stefanie Pemper, Navy
First-Team All-Patriot League*
Alexis Dobbs, American (Sr., G)
Jade Geif, Navy (Sr., F)
Kelsey Minato, Army (So., G)#
Kara Pollinger, Navy (Sr., G)
Shelby Romine, Bucknell (Sr., G)
Alex Smith, Holy Cross (Sr., G)
*Six players due to tie in voting
#Unanimous first team choice
Second-Team All-Patriot League
Audrey Dotson, Bucknell (Jr., F)
Jen Hazlett, Army (Sr., G/F)
Emily Homan, Lafayette (Jr., F)
Alix Membreno, Navy (Sr., G)
Raquel Scott, Holy Cross (So., F)
Third-Team All-Patriot League
Rashidat Agboola, Boston University (Sr., F)
Nai Brown, Loyola (Jr., G)
Jen Dumiak, American (Jr., G)
Kerry Kinek, Lehigh (So., F)
Arron Zimmerman, American (Jr., F)
Kayla Burton, Lehigh (Fr., G)
Claire DeBoer, Bucknell (Fr., F)
Danielle Failor, Army (Fr., F/C)
Sarah Hope, Boston University (Fr., G)
Megan McGurk, Bucknell (Fr., F)
Lisa Mirarchi, Loyola (Fr., G)
*Six players due to tie in voting