For the actual Atlantic 10 superlatives, the 13 league coaches get together and vote on player awards for both the men and women. It’s one of the few conferences in the country left where the media and sports information directors are left out of the voting. That’s not going to stop me, however, from picking my Atlantic 10 Conference Teams. I’ve watched at least three games from every team in the conference either online or live (at the Palumbo Center) outside of St. Louis. As such, I have a relative grasp on the conference after watching all but one team play three or more games.
Feel free to discuss in the comments here or on our message board.
Player of the Year:
Combo-Guard Andrea Hoover, Dayton. Hoover is probably not only the best player on the best team, but she is in my opinion the best player in the conference. Hoover seemed to seamlessly step up her game for big time opponents, and was the go-to player down the stretch many games for the Flyers.
Center Ally Malott, Dayton. The 6’4” monster inside was an integral part of Dayton’s return to the top. A center with a very smooth outside jumper to drag defenders out, Malott can do practically anything and there isn’t much of a weak spot in her game. Malott was top 10 in the Atlantic 10 in points, boards, FG%, FT%, 3 point %, and blocks. Yikes!
Swing Robyn Parks, VCU. The conference’s leading scorer and third leading rebounder could simply light it up at any point. Parks had 18 games of 20 or more points and had 12 double doubles. Parks really never had an off night, and could give Richmond and then Dayton some fits in the A-10 tourney. Every time she had the ball in her hands it seemed like she could score.
PG Erin Rooney, Fordham. One of the best PGs in the country, Rooney finished a great career at Fordham. She averaged 18.2 ppg on a team that desperately needed scoring, but that doesn’t tell half of it. Rooney was second in the conference in defensive rebounding – from the PG position! Her defense was superb also.
PG Natasha Cloud, St. Joe’s. While it pains me to leave Wumi Agunbiade off the list, I can’t leave Cloud off either. Cloud is second in the country in assists (leads the A-10) and is third in the conference in steals. She’s had a great junior season (which is why Wumi will probably get the slot above her in the coaches poll, leaving it to cloud next year), and St. Joe’s tied for 2nd in the conference while DU finished 6th…the tiebreaker in my book. Cloud only gets 11.7 points per game, good for third on her team, but the true pass-first point guard is an elite player that deserves first team recognition.
C Wumi Agunbiade, Duquesne. Someone had to be left off the first team, and because of Duquesne’s struggles I left off Agunbiade. On talent and work on the floor, Agunbiade would be first team…but the Dukes finishing 6th in the conference dropped her out for me. Agunbiade was Duquesne’s lifeblood in a lot of games this year and will go down as a top 5 player ever at DU.
SG Erin Shields, St. Joe’s. What an improvement Shields has made the last two seasons! Turning from a jumpshooter only to one of the best all-around players in the A-10, Shields is certainly all-conference worthy (leads the A-10 in FT% and threes, 5th in assist to turnover ratio, 7th in scoring, 11th in assists, 15th in FG%). Did I mention she is now all-around good?
F Katie Healy, St. Bona. The first sophomore on the list, Healy didn’t make one of the preseason all A-10 teams. However, Healy became the go-to player on the second best team in the conference and rightfully so. She’s a high-IQ player that recognized double-teams well, and did everything for the Bonnies…lead the team in points, rebounds, blocks, and was two assists away from leading the team there too. No that’s not Megan Van Tatenhove, her game just resembles Megan’s game when the Bonnies were a Sweet 16 team not too long ago.
G Abagail Corning, Fordham. Perhaps this is being somewhat swayed by one game against St. Joe’s to end the year, but Corning had a great season that was overlooked by Rooney. Corning is a good shooter who takes excellent care of the ball and rebounds well.
G Amber Deane, Dayton. A solid all-around player gets Dayton their third all-conference member. Deane is quick and can shoot and fits Dayton’s system perfectly.
G Raegan Moore, DU. Also in my opinion the Most Improved Player, Moore developed quite nicely under new head coach Dan Burt.
C Jonquel Jones, GW. While it was the Megan Nipe show early for GW, Jones took control the second half of the year in conference play. A+ performance in their home upset over Dayton to end the year.
F Sarah Fairbanks, SJU. Efficient player and second leading scorer on bubble team St. Joe’s.
G Nyla Reuter, St. Bona. Another efficient scorer, this time from beyond the arc. Showed good hustle on D for Coach Crowley when I watched the six games of Bona that I saw.
G Kristina King, Richmond.
Honorable mention (not on the freshman list)
Genevieve Okoro, Richmond
April Robinson, Duquesne
Danni Jackson, GW
Samantha Clark, Fordham
Hannah Little, St. Bona
Freshman of the Year:
Ciara Washington, George Washington. Those that saw her performance at the Palumbo Center understand. Actually has a shot at 3rd team all-conference.
Honorable mention: Keira Robinson, VCU guard. VCU looks to be good for a while with her at the point…
Coach of the Year:
Jim Jabir, Dayton. Finished three games above everyone else in the conference.
Most Improved Player:
Raegan Moore, Duquesne
Defensive Player of the Year:
Natasha Cloud, St. Joe’s.