March 4, 2005
HARTFORD, Conn. – Notre Dame senior All-America forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind./Washington HS) has been chosen as the 2004-05 BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year, according to a vote of the league’s head coaches. Batteast joined junior guard Megan Duffy (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne HS) and freshman guard Charel Allen (Monessen, Pa./Monessen HS) as the three Irish players who were honored at the BIG EAST Championship Awards Banquet held Friday night at the Hartford (Conn.) Hilton.
Batteast is the second Notre Dame player ever to be named the BIG EAST Player of the Year, following the path blazed in 2001 by consensus National Player of the Year Ruth Riley. Batteast also garnered first-team all-BIG EAST laurels for the second consecutive year following consecutive second-team picks her first two seasons. Thus, she becomes the first player in school history to earn all-BIG EAST honors in four consecutive seasons (Riley, Niele Ivey and Alicia Ratay all were three-time all-league choices). Batteast also is only the second Irish player to be a four-time all-conference pick in ANY league, joining Sandy Botham, who was a four-time all-North Star Conference selection from 1985-88.
Batteast ranks second in the BIG EAST in scoring (17.4 ppg.) and 10th in rebounding (6.5 rpg.) and has six double-doubles to her credit. She stands among the top five in school history in most every major category, including points (1,820), rebounds (936), blocks (162) and double-doubles (38). She and Riley are two of the three players in school history with at least 1,800 points and 900 rebounds in their careers, not to mention the only players from a school other than Connecticut to be named BIG EAST Player of the Year in the past 12 years.
Not to be outdone, Duffy was a first-team all-BIG EAST selection this season, one year after earning the league’s Most Improved Player Award. The diminutive floor general ranks second in the BIG EAST in assists and leads the league in both steals and free throw percentage, placing second in the nation in the latter category with a .905 ratio. She also stands seventh in school history with 80 steals this season, along with a career-high 11.3 ppg. scoring average. She and Batteast give Notre Dame two first-team all-conference selections for the first time since 2001, when Riley and Ivey received top honors.
Allen was tapped for the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team after averaging 8.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game as Notre Dame’s top reserve this season. She also has stepped up on some of the biggest stages this season, carding 16 points in a Preseason WNIT semifinal victory over No. 6 Duke and 11 points in a road win at No. 9/10 Connecticut, snapping the Huskies’ 112-game BIG EAST regular-season winning streak. Allen is the fifth Irish player to be selected to the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team, and the first since Courtney LaVere earned a spot on the squad in 2002-03.
No. 10 Notre Dame (25-4) is seeded second for the 2005 BIG EAST Championship, which gets underway Saturday at the Hartford Civic Center. The Irish have a bye into the quarterfinal round, where they will play Sunday at 6 p.m. (ET) against the winner of the opening-round game between No. 7 seed West Virginia and 10th-seeded Pittsburgh. Notre Dame’s quarterfinal game will be televised live to a national cable audience by College Sports Television (CSTV), which also is available on DirecTV Channel 610.
— ND —