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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

UConn's Gabby Williams earns AAC Defensive Player of Year honor

UConn junior forward Gabby  Williams was named the American Athletic Conference's Defensive Player of the Year.

Williams had seven games with at least four steals with three coming in league play. She also had 10 games with at least two steals and two blocked shots including six against AAC teams.
Williams was also selected to the first team All-AAC team. UConn sophomores Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson were unanimous selections, Kia Nurse and Saniya Chong earned second team and third team honors.

The other first-team selections were USF's Kitija Laksa (the other unanimous selection),

Collier scored in double figures in every conference game this season with nine 20-point games and 10 double-doubles in 16 conference games. She edged out Samuelson to post the highest scoring average in league play as Collier averaged 21.6 points and Samuelson's 21.5. She also led the league in rebounding (9.8 per game), field-goal percentage (75.0) and blocked shots (2.2). She was fifth in free-throw percentage (83.3).

Samuelson finished with a conference leading scoring average of 20.7 in all games and also led the AAC with 93 3-pointers.

Williams led the 29-0 Huskies with 152 assists and 79 steals, she also averaged 13 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Collier, Samuelson and Williams were also among the 10 players announced as semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy. 

Nurse, who was named a third-team Academic All-American by CoSIDA earlier on Thursday, is UConn's fourth-leading scorer (128 points per game), leads the team with a free-throw percentage of 85.7, is second with 49 3-pointers and third with 104 assists despite missing the last four games with a stress reaction in her right ankle.

Chong leads the conference and the nation in assist/turnover ratio (106 assists versus 29 turnovers). She is also averaging 8.1 points per game.

Also, Crystal Dangerfield was named to the All-Freshman team with USF's Tamara Henshaw the only unanimous All-Freshman team selection.

The conference's player of the year, coach of the year, scholar-athlete of the year and freshman of the year will be announced at a press conference on Friday.

Also, New Haven native Tanaya Atkinson was named the AAC's Sixth Player of the Year/

Atkinson, who did not start a conference game as a junior at Temple, finished tied for 17th in scoring in conference games with an average of 12.6 points per game. She led the conference in offensive rebounds and was eighth in rebounding and was also sixth with a 48.8 field-goal percentage.

Here are the award winners
American Defensive Player of the Year
Gabby Williams, Jr., F, UConn

American Most Improved Player of the Year
Maria Jespersen, Jr., F, USF

American Sixth Player of the Year
Tanaya Atkinson, Jr., G, Temple

American Sportsmanship AwardLeslie Vorpahl, Sr., G, Tulane

American Newcomer of the YearShanice Johnson, Jr., F, Cincinnati *

All-Conference First Team
Aliyah Gregory, Jr., G, UCF
Napheesa Collier, So., F, UConn *
Katie Lou Samuelson, So., G/F, UConn *
Gabby Williams, Jr., F, UConn

Maria Jespersen, Jr., F, USF
Kitija Laksa, So., G/F, USF *
Feyonda Fitzgerald, Sr., G, Temple

All-Conference Second Team
Kia Nurse, Jr., G, UConn
Alicia Froling, Jr., F, SMU
Alliya Butts, Jr., G, Temple
Donnaizha Fountain, Jr., G, Temple
Kolby Morgan, Jr., G, Tulane

All-Conference Third Team
Zykira Lewis, Sr., G, UCF
Shanice Johnson, Jr., F, Cincinnati
Saniya Chong, Sr., G, UConn
Cheyenne Creighton, Jr., F, Memphis
Brea Elmore, Jr., G, Memphis
Leslie Vorpahl, Sr., G, Tulane

All-Freshman Team
Crystal Dangerfield, Fr., G, UConn

Angela Harris, Fr., G, Houston
Jasmyne Harris, Fr., G, Houston
Tamara Henshaw, Fr., F, USF *
Shug Dickson, Fr., G, Tulsa
Kendrian Elliott, Fr., F, Tulsa

*-unanimous selection


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