March 2, 2001
HARTFORD, CONN. – University of Notre Dame senior Ruth Riley has been unanimously selected as the 2000-01 BIG EAST Player of the Year by a vote of the league’s head coaches. The All-America center also was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year for the third consecutive season and also was honored as the BIG EAST/Aeropostale Female Basketball Scholar-Athlete and Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She becomes the first player in league history to sweep all three of the conference’s major awards in the same season. Riley’s coach, Muffet McGraw, has been honored by her peers as the Coach of the Year. Georgetown freshman Rebekkah Brunson was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, while senior Kelley Siemon of Notre Dame was honored as the Most Improved Player.
Riley, a native of Macy, Ind., is the league scoring champion with 18.5 points per conference game. The All-America center also led the BIG EAST in field goal shooting (.644) and blocks (3.6) and finished third in rebounding (8.2). Among all NCAA Division I players, Riley ranks second in blocks, fourth in shooting and 38th in scoring. She is the first Notre Dame player to win the award. Riley has won three of the five BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year honors which was first awarded in 1996-97. She will finish her career eighth in all-time conference scoring (1,135), 10th in rebounding (544) and second in blocks (193) in 68 BIG EAST games. Riley became the 19th player in NCAA history to record 300 career blocks.
Brunson started all 28 games for Georgetown and is the league’s first rookie rebounding champion (11.0). She broke the BIG EAST rookie season rebound record with 176 caroms in 16 games. The forward earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Week honors six times and led the conference in double-doubles (13). Brunson, a native of Oxon Hill, Md., finished third in BIG EAST scoring (17.7) and fourth in field goal percentage (.523). She is the second Hoya player to earn the award, Kimberly Smith was named Rookie of the Year in 1995-96.
Siemon, a senior forward from Edina, Minn., became a fixture in the Notre Dame starting lineup and is second on the team in rebounding (7.1) and fifth in scoring (10.7). As a junior, she averaged 6.5 points and 5.0 rebounds off the bench. Despite missing three league games this season in January with a hand injury, Siemon posted two double-doubles and is eighth in BIG EAST rebounding.
McGraw, in her 14th season at Notre Dame, earns her first BIG EAST Coach of the Year after leading the Irish to the program’s first No. 1 national ranking. ND, 26-1 overall and 15-1 in BIG EAST play, held the top spot in the polls for four straight weeks (Jan. 22, 29, Feb. 5, 12). McGraw and the No. 2 ranked Irish won a school-record 23 straight games and hold the nation’s second-longest home winning streak at 36 victories. On Feb. 20, McGraw earned her 400th career victory and won her 300th game as mentor at Notre Dame on Dec. 31. She is one of 20 finalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year to be announced on April 7.
Riley is joined on the All-BIG EAST First Team by fellow All-American Svetlana Abrosimova, a senior forward from Connecticut. Three point guards round out the first team: Riley’s senior teammate Niele Ivey, senior Tasha Pointer of Rutgers and junior Sue Bird of UConn. Riley and Abrosimova are three-time honorees on the all-conference first team and Pointer was named to the 1998-99 first team as a sophomore.
*BIG EAST PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Ruth Riley, Notre Dame (Sr., C, Macy, Ind.)
BIG EAST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR — Rebekkah Brunson, Georgetown (Fr., F, Oxon Hill, Md.)
BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR — Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame (14th season)
BIG EAST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Ruth Riley, Notre Dame (Sr., C, Macy, Ind.)
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER — Kelley Siemon, Notre Dame (Sr., F, Edina, Minn.)
BIG EAST BASKETBALL SCHOLAR-ATHLETE — Ruth Riley, Notre Dame (Sr., C, Macy, Ind.)
|ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM||?|
|Svetlana Abrosimova||Connecticut||Sr.||F||St. Petersburg, Russia||Petrogradskoi N86||?|
|Sue Bird||Connecticut||Jr.||G||Syosset, N.Y.||Christ the King||?|
|Niele Ivey||Notre Dame||Sr.||G||St. Louis, Mo.||Cor Jesu||?|
|*Ruth Riley||Notre Dame||Sr.||C||Macy, Ind.||North Miami||?|
|Tasha Pointer||Rutgers||Sr.||G||Chicago, Ill.||Whitney Young||?|
|ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM||?|
|Swin Cash||Connecticut||Jr.||F||McKeesport, Pa.||McKeesport||?|
|Becky Gottstein||Boston College||Jr.||F||Albany, N.Y.||Albany||?|
|Shea Ralph||Connecticut||Sr.||G||Fayetteville, N.C.||Terry Sanford||?|
|Katie Smrcka-Duffy||Georgetown||Sr.||G||Sterling, Va.||James Madison||?|
|Tere Williams||Virginia Tech||Sr.||F||Chapel Hill, N.C.||Orange||?|
|ALL-BIG EAST THIRD TEAM||?|
|Brandi Barnes||Villanova||Sr.||C||Joppatowne, Md.||Joppatowne||?|
|Arminda Moreno||Seton Hall||Sr.||G||Telde, Canary Islands||Instituto J. Blune (Spain)||?|
|Alicia Ratay||Notre Dame||So.||G||Lake Zurich, Ill.||Lake Zurich||?|
|Beth Record||Syracuse||Sr.||G/F||Shortsville, N.Y.||Red Jacket||?|
|Tammy Sutton-Brown||Rutgers||Sr.||C||Markham, Ontario||Markham||?|
|Davalyn Cunningham||Rutgers||Jr.||F||Clinton, Md.||St. John’s College||?|
|Trish Juhline||Villanova||So.||G||Havertown, Pa.||Cardinal O’Hara||?|
|Kelley Siemon||Notre Dame||Sr.||F||Edina, Minn.||Edina||?|
|Chanivia Broussard||Miami||Fr.||F||Miami, Fla.||Miami Northwestern||?|
|*Rebekkah Brunson||Georgetown||Fr.||F||Oxon Hill, Md.||Oxon Hill||?|
|Kate Bulger||West Virginia||Fr.||G||Pittsburgh, Pa.||Oakland Catholic||?|
|Amber Jacobs||Boston College||Fr.||G||Clark Summit, Pa.||Abbington Heights||?|
|*Diana Taurasi||Connecticut||Fr.||G||Chino, Calif.||Don Lugo||?|
|* – unanimous selection||?|