Blockton is BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
Oct. 18, 2017
NEW YORK— Marquette University women’s basketball junior Allazia Blockton has been unanimously selected as the 2017 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year by the league’s coaches. Fellow classmates Erika Davenport and Natisha Hiedeman were selected to the preseason All-BIG EAST team.
Marquette was also selected as the unanimous favorite in the preseason coaches poll. The Golden Eagles are the reigning BIG EAST Tournament champions and return four starters and 10 letterwinners from that squad. Marquette earned all 81 available points to sit atop the poll, which was conducted by the league’s head coaches who were not permitted to vote for their own team.
Blockton is the reigning BIG EAST leading scorer, helped lead Marquette to its first conference tournament crown and earned All-America accolades in 2017. The junior guard led Marquette and the BIG EAST with 17.1 points per game and was a unanimous selection to the All-BIG EAST First Team. She became Marquette's youngest player to reach 1,000 career points and has already jumped to 21st on the program’s all-time list with 1,126 points after just two seasons. She garnered All-America Honorable Mention honors from the WBCA at season’s end.
DePaul rookie guard Dee Bekelja was tabbed BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year.
Davenport was one of four unanimous Preseason All-BIG EAST Team selections, along with Butler junior forward Tori Schickel, Georgetown junior guard Dionna White and Villanova junior guard Adrianna Hahn. Schickel finished her sophomore season as the nation’s fourth-best rebounder, averaging 11.7 boards per contest to go along with 14.6 points and earning All-BIG EAST Second Team honors. White was also named to the second team after leading the league in steals while being the conference’s No. 4 scorer, averaging 15.2 points per game. Also an All-BIG EAST Second Team selection, Hahn led the Wildcats in scoring in league play with a 13.5 average. Nearly 65 percent of Hahn’s points came from beyond the arc as the then-sophomore averaged a BIG EAST-best .452 clip from deep. Davenport averaged just shy of a double-double in conference play with 13.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, while her .582 shooting percentage was tops by anyone with over 100 attempts.
Blockton is one of two returning All-BIG EAST First Team members in 2017-18, along with Creighton junior forward Audrey Faber. Faber led the Bluejays with a 12.8 scoring average over 32 starts as Creighton earned a share of the BIG EAST regular-season title and an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.
DePaul, which has claimed at least a share of the BIG EAST regular-season title in each of the last four seasons, joins Marquette as the only teams with multiple preseason honorees. Junior guard Tanita Allen, who earned 2017 BIG EAST Sixth-Woman of the Year honors, and senior guard Amarah Coleman, who started 34 games for the Blue Demons last year, earn preseason accolades. Allen averaged 9.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 35 appearances off the bench, while Coleman finished fifth on the team with an 11.2 scoring clip, upping that to 12.1 in BIG EAST play.
Junior guard Yoyo Nogic is the first Providence player since 2015 to garner preseason honors after leading the Friars to their most successful season since 2011-12. Nogic was the league’s No. 5 scorer in conference play, averaging 15.1 points per game thanks to a BIG EAST-best 3.3 triples per contest. St. John’s junior wing Akina Wellere will look to lead the Red Storm to an 11th consecutive national postseason berth in 2017-18. Wellere earns a spot on the preseason all-conference squad as the top returning scorer for St. John’s, more than doubling her freshman scoring average with an 11.3 clip as a sophomore last season. JaQuan Jackson represents Seton Hall on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team after finishing third overall in scoring last year with a 15.3 average over 28 games. The redshirt-senior guard is one of two returning starters for The Hall, which eyes its fourth 20-win season in five years.
BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
Allazia Blockton, Marquette, Jr., G*
BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year
Dee Bekelja, DePaul, Fr., G
Preseason All-BIG EAST Team^
Tanita Allen, DePaul, Jr., G
Amarah Coleman, DePaul, Sr., G
Erika Davenport, Marquette, Jr., F*
Audrey Faber, Creighton, Jr., F
Adrianna Hahn, Villanova, Jr., G*
Natisha Hiedeman, Marquette, Jr., G
JaQuan Jackson, Seton Hall, R-Sr., G
Jovana Nogic, Providence, Jr., G
Tori Schickel, Butler, Jr., F*
Akina Wellere, St. John’s, Jr., G/F
Dionna White, Georgetown, Jr., G*
^extra player added due to a tie in voting
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