March 2, 2007
HARTFORD, Conn. – The Notre Dame women’s basketball team was well represented when the awards were handed out at Friday night’s BIG EAST Conference Women’s Basketball Awards Banquet, held in the Hartford Hilton Ballroom. Junior guard Charel Allen (Monessen, Pa./Monessen) was a first-team all-conference selection, while a trio of Irish freshmen — guard Ashley Barlow (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike), guard Melissa Lechlitner (Mishawaka, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph’s) and center Erica Williamson (Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenburg) — all were chosen for the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team, setting a conference record for rookie team selections in one year.
Allen gives Notre Dame a first-team all-BIG EAST selection for the 10th time in its 12-year conference membership. The 5-11 wing earned a spot on the league’s top team for the first time in her career after ranking among the top 10 in the BIG EAST in scoring (7th – 17.0 ppg.), free throw percentage (3rd – .848) and steals (8th – 2.07 spg.) while scoring in double figures 26 times in 29 games to date. She also posted 10 games of 20-or-more points, including a career-high 31 points vs. St. John’s on Jan. 16. Most recently, Allen became the 23rd player in school history to score 1,000 career points, reaching the milestone in Monday’s game at DePaul.
Barlow ranks second on the team in scoring (10.8 ppg.) and third in rebounding (5.3 rpg.), while also placing among the top 10 in the BIG EAST in free throw percentage (4th – .829) and steals (9th – 1.97 spg.). Playing primarily as Notre Dame’s “sixth man,” Barlow has scored in double digits 15 times this season, including a career-high 21 points on two occasions (vs. Prairie View A&M on Dec. 28 and at DePaul on Monday night). In addition, she posted a double-double in her second career game, logging 19 points and 10 rebounds in an overtime win over nationally-ranked Bowling Green.
Lechlitner has proven to be a solid backup at point guard for Notre Dame this season, averaging 6.3 points and 2.9 assists in 24 minutes per night as a reserve. She has seven double-figure scoring games to her credit and has dished out five-or-more assists in five games. What’s more, she recorded a 1.42 assist/turnover ratio this season, including a 1.55 ratio in conference games that was good for seventh in the BIG EAST. Lechlitner had a season-high 18 points vs. Syracuse on Jan. 20 and her nine assists vs. St. John’s four nights earlier were the most by an Irish freshman since 1995.
Williamson has been a highly-productive reserve in the post for Notre Dame this season, with 6.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game (the latter figure standing second on the team). She also is eighth in the BIG EAST with 1.29 blocks per game, while her 1.13 bpg. in conference play put her 11th in the loop. The 6-4 center also found her way into the Irish record book, setting a new school standard for freshmen with 18 rebounds in an overtime loss at South Florida on Jan. 13.
Coming into this season, Notre Dame had five BIG EAST All-Freshman Team selections, with Allen the most recent honoree in 2005. The others were: Ruth Riley (1998), Alicia Ratay (2000), Jacqueline Batteast (2002) and Courtney LaVere (2003).
Seeded seventh for this weekend’s BIG EAST Championship, Notre Dame (19-10) will tip off play Saturday at 6 p.m. (ET) against DePaul (18-11) inside the Hartford Civic Center. The game will be broadcast live on the BIG EAST-Regional Sports Networks (RSN) television package, with WHME-TV (Channel 46) in South Bend and Comcast SportsNet Chicago among the outlets slated to carry the game. In addition, fans can watch the game live on the Internet via BIG EAST All-Access by clicking here.
— ND —