IRVING, Texas - Some of the most decorated seniors in Conference USA women's basketball history have earned one more round of accolades with the unveiling of the 2014 All-Conference teams, the league announced today. The awards were voted on by the league's coaches, media relations directors and a select media panel. The First Team All-Conference selections are a mixture of explosive scoring, outstanding passing and record setting rebounding.
The First Team All-Conference selections are a mixture of explosive scoring, outstanding passing and record setting rebounding.
Southern Miss' point guard Jamierra Faulkner (West Palm Beach, Fla.) was the only senior on Lady Eagles' squad this year. She finished the regular season ranked eighth in scoring (17.4) with a .473 field-goal percentage. Faulkner already holds the C-USA record for career steals (349) and she is 17 shy of breaking the league's all-time assists mark. Faulkner leads the nation with 8.4 assists per game. She recently was awarded the C Spire Gollom Trophy for the top women's collegiate player in Mississippi.
FIU senior Jerica Coley (St. Petersburg, Fla.) went back and forth between the top two spots on the NCAA scoring list all season long. Coley finished the regular season ranked second, averaging 29.6 points per game, to earn a selection to the all-conference first team as the Panthers went through their inaugural season in C-USA play.
There's little else for Rice senior Jessica Kuster (San Antonio, Texas) to accomplish. The 6-foot-2 forward is a First Team All-Conference pick again this season, making it a four-year sweep for her career. Kuster owns the league record for most double-doubles with 66. She's is five rebounds shy from tying the C-USA career rebounding record (1,370) and she's currently ranks sixth on the all-time scoring list (2,055) . She's one of only two players in league history to score more than 2,000 points and grab more than 1,000 rebounds.
Senior forward Ebony Rowe (Lexington, Ky.) led Middle Tennessee to its first C-USA regular season title in its first season in league play. She finished second in both scoring (21.3) and rebounding (11.6) and produced 23 double-doubles on the season. Rowe also earned All-C-USA All-Academic honors and Capital One Academic All-America honors with a 3.74 GPA in physics.
Coley, Faulkner, Kuster and Rowe were unanimous first team selections. Kuster also becomes the first player in league history to earn first team honors and all-defensive team accolades each year of her collegiate career.
After appearing on the last two All-C-USA second teams, senior Karisma Chapman (Calumet City, Ill.) earned First Team accolades this year. The 5-foot-11 forward has led the Blazers all season with a 20.6 points per game average, fourth-best in the league. Chapman also accounts for the sixth-most rebounds in the league at 9.5 per game.
Senior forward Kayla Thornton (El Paso, Texas) led UTEP as she averaged 19.7 points and 10.6 rebounds, both rank among the top five in the conference. She will finish her UTEP career as the school-record holder in double-doubles, rebounds and made field goals and currently ranks second in points.
Faulkner, Kuster, Rowe and Thornton were also named to C-USA's All-Defensive Team along with junior center ONDREA SHAW (Los Angeles, Calif.) of East Carolina. Shaw posted a school record 98 blocks and led the league with a 3.38 blocks per game average, eighth most in the nation.
Old Dominion junior Shae Kelley (Denver) racked up 18.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game to win first-team honors. Those averages were big increases from her sophomore season in which Kelley had only seven double-doubles all season compared to 16 this year.
East Carolina sophomore Jada Payne (Hickory, N.C.) is the only underclassman to win first-team accolades. The 6-foot-2 guard/forward averaged 18.8 points, good enough for sixth in the league, and 7.4 rebounds per game. Payne was a major reason the Pirates lead the league in field goal percentage defense (.360), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.266), rebounding margin (+7), ranked second in offensive rebounds (43.7) and first in defensive boards (36.7).
Two Tulane players were named to the All-C-USA Second Team. Juniors Danielle Blagg (San Antonio, Texas) and Jamie Kaplan (Sebastian, Fla.) helped the Green Wave finish fourth in the league standings. The duo ranked among the league's top 20 in scoring. Kaplan ranked second in C-USA with 6.9 assists per game and a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Blagg was second in 3-point field goal percentage (.401) and 3-pointers per game (2.4).
Florida Atlantic's Kimberly Smith (Minneola, Fla.) finished the regular season as the conference record holder for most made 3-pointers in league play with 58. The senior averaged 3.6 per game against C-USA foes. Tulsa sophomore Ashley Clark (Midwest City, Okla.) picks up her first all-conference second-team honor after averaging 14.5 points and 3.5 assists per game, both figures were among C-USA's top 12. Redshirt junior Abria Trice (Hampton, Ga.) is the second East Carolina player honored. Trice followed Payne in the scoring column with 15.2 points per game, ranking 12th in the league. The duo were two of the top four free throws shooters in the league, hitting better than 80.0 percent for the season.
Louisiana Tech's Whitney Frazier (El Dorado, Ark.) averaged 16.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game to rank among C-USA's top 10 in both categories. UAB's Ashley Grimes (Selma, Ala.) and Charlotte's Ny Hammonds (Concord, N.C.) were also voted onto the second team. Grimes complemented Chapman as she ranked ninth in the league in assists (3.3), sixth in steals (1.9), 11th in free throw percentage (.767) and 13th in scoring (14.1). Hammonds capped off the 2013-14 regular season with a pair of triple-doubles. She became the first player in C-USA history and sixth in NCAA history to do so.
The Lady Eagles' Brittanny Dinkins earned All-Freshman accolades after ranking second among all C-USA freshmen in scoring. She is fourth on the Southern Miss team in scoring (9.0 ppg) and second in steals with 55.
Conference USA will announce its specialty award winners on Monday, March 10, prior to the start of the 2014 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship, March 11-15 in El Paso, Texas.
|2013-14 Conference USA Women's Basketball All-Conference Teams|
|Jada Payne||So.||G||East Carolina|
|+Ebony Rowe||Sr.||F||Middle Tennessee|
|Shae Kelley||Jr.||F||Old Dominion|
|+Jamierra Faulkner||Sr.||PG||Southern Miss***|
|Abria Trice||Jr.||G/F||East Carolina|
|Kimberly Smith||Sr.||G||Florida Atlantic|
|Whitney Frazier||Jr.||F||Louisiana Tech|
|JaQuan Jackson||G||Louisiana Tech|
|Olivia Jones||F||Middle Tennessee|
|Brittanny Dinkins||G||Southern Miss|
|Ondrea Shaw||Jr.||P||East Carolina|
|Ebony Rowe||Sr.||F||Middle Tennessee|
|Jamierra Faulkner||Sr.||PG||Southern Miss**|
+ Unanimous First Team Selection (coaches/SIDs cannot vote for own players, unanimous denotes voted first team by other voters)
*-indicates repeat honors
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