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Iowa’s Megan Gustafson named Player of the Year by conference coaches and media

by | Mar 4, 2019 | Basketball Blogs, Headlines, RRSN News | 0 comments

ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Big Ten Conference announced its 2018-19 women’s basketball all-conference teams and individual award recipients on Monday during BTN’s Women’s Sports Report.

Iowa’s Megan Gustafson was chosen as Big Ten Player of the Year by both the conference coaches and a select panel of Big Ten media members, receiving the honor from the media for the second year in a row. She is the first Hawkeye student chosen as the coaches’ Player of the Year since 1998, when Tangela Smith was recognized. Gustafson also is the ninth two-time Big Ten Player of the Year in conference history, joining a trio of three-time honorees in Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender (four times), Jessica Davenport and Kelsey Mitchell, and two-time recipients Anucha Browne (Northwestern), Tracey Hall (Ohio State), Maggie Lucas (Penn State), Kelly Mazzante (Penn State) and Katie Douglas (Purdue).

Maryland’s Taylor Mikesell was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year by the conference coaches, while Michigan’s Naz Hillmon was chosen for the honor by the Big Ten media. Hillmon was also voted the Big Ten’s Sixth Player of the Year by the coaches, while Maryland’s Brenda Frese took home Coach of the Year accolades from her colleagues as well as the media. In addition, the Big Ten coaches selected Purdue’s Ae’Rianna Harris as Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

Mikesell and Hillmon are the third duo to share Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors and the first since 2004, when Davenport was the media choice while Purdue’s Katie Gearlds was the coaches’ selection. Both Mikesell and Hillmon were also unanimously chosen to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team by the conference coaches.

Hillmon is the second Wolverine student chosen for the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year award and the first since 2015, when Katelynn Flaherty earned that honor.

Frese is now a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year selection, have also received the accolade in 2002 (while at Minnesota) and 2015 (at Maryland). She is the fifth three-time honoree, joining a select group that includes Ohio State’s Jim Foster and Penn State’s Rene Portland (four awards), as well as two other current Big Ten coaches in Iowa’s Lisa Bluder and Penn State’s Coquese Washington (three awards).

Harris, who was also a unanimous selection to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team by the coaches, is the fourth two-time recipient of the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award since its debut in 2000. The other multiple award honorees include Penn State’s Tanisha Wright (three times), Ohio State’s Shavelle Little and most recently, Northwestern’s Ashley Deary (in 2016 and 2017).

Gustafson joined Maryland’s Kaila Charles as a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media. In addition, Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell was a unanimous first-team choice by the coaches. The conference’s All-Big Ten teams consist of 10 first-team honorees, 10 second-team selections and honorable mention choices.

The Big Ten also recognized 14 Sportsmanship Award recipients. The students chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These students must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.

The complete All-Big Ten teams, as well as a list of other honorees can be found on the attached PDF.

All 13 games of this year’s Big Ten Tournament will be televised live to a national audience, with the first round through semifinal games from Wednesday through Saturday broadcast on BTN, as well as on the FOX Sports app and through BTN’s digital extension, BTN2Go. The Big Ten Tournament championship game on March 10 will be televised live on ESPN2, as well as the WatchESPN platform and the ESPN app.