February 26, 1999
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – University of Connecticut sophomore Svetlana Abrosimova has been named the 1998-99 BIG EAST Player of the Year by a vote of the league’s head coaches. UConn freshman Tamika Williams was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, while University of Notre Dame sophomore Ruth Riley earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. Junior Alissa Murphy of Boston College was honored as the Most Improved Player and her coach, Cathy Inglese, was selected as the BIG EAST Coach of the Year.
Abrosimova is a forward who became the first Husky player to reach the 1,000 career-point plateau as a sophomore. She joins former BIG EAST All-Americans Shelly Pennefather (Villanova, 1984-85) and Kerry Bascom (Connecticut, 1988-89) as the only sophomores to earn the conference award. Abrosimova, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, averaged 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.6 steals in BIG EAST play. She finished second in the conference in overall scoring (17.5) and was the league’s steals leader (2.7).
Williams became a fixture in the Connecticut starting lineup and earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Week honors five times. The forward averaged 14.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in conference play. Williams, a native of Dayton, Ohio, finished the regular season third among all league players and is fifth in the nation in field goal percentage (.665). She led all BIG EAST rookies in double-doubles (7). Williams is the only unanimous choice on the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
En route to the defensive award, Riley was the league’s leading shot blocker (3.4) and is third among all Division I players. The native of Macy, Ind. led all league players in overall rebounding (8.8) and won the league scoring title (17.8). Riley, the first Notre Dame player and only BIG EAST sophomore to win the award, is also second in the nation in field goal percentage (.671).
Murphy, a junior guard/forward, emerged as the Eagles’ leading scorer (15.8) and finished the regular season seventh among all league players. The native of San Diego, Calif. improved her scoring average by more than six points per game. Murphy led the conference and is sixth in the nation in free throw shooting (.884).
Inglese earns her first BIG EAST Conference coaching honor after leading Boston College to a school-record 20 wins and its first national ranking in the history of the program. She guided the squad to the No. 4 tournament seed with a 12-6 BIG EAST record, the best showing in her six years at BC.
Joining Abrosimova on the All-BIG EAST First Team are fellow sophomores Riley (unanimous selection) and Tasha Pointer of Rutgers. This marks the first time in league history that three sophomores earned first team honors. Senior Kym Hope of Miami earns her second consecutive first team accolade and Rutgers junior Shawnetta Stewart is a first-time selection.
BIG EAST PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Svetlana Abrosimova, Connecticut (So., F, St. Petersburg, Russia)
BIG EAST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Tamika Williams, Connecticut (Fr., F, Dayton, Ohio)
BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR
Cathy Inglese, Boston College (sixth season)
BIG EAST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ruth Riley, Notre Dame (So., C, Macy, Ind.)
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Alissa Murphy, Boston College (Jr., G/F, San Diego, Calif.)
TARGET/BIG EAST BASKETBALL SCHOLAR-ATHLETE
Rebecca Burbridge, West Virginia (Sr., G, Morgantown, W.Va.)
ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM
PLAYER SCHOOL CL. POS HOMETOWN HIGH SCHOOL Svetlana Abrosimova Connecticut So. F St. Petersburg, Russia Kym Hope Miami Sr. F Hollywood, Fla. McArthur Tasha Pointer Rutgers So. G Chicago, Ill. Whitney Young *Ruth Riley Notre Dame So. C Macy, Ind. North Miami Shawnetta Stewart Rutgers Jr. G Philadelphia, Pa. University City
ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM
Katie Smrcka-Duffy Georgetown So. G Sterling, Va. James Madison Sheila McMillen Notre Dame Sr. G Rochester, Ind. Rochester Alissa Murphy Boston College Jr. G/F San Diego, Calif. Scripps Ranch Shea Ralph Connecticut So. G/F Fayetteville, N.C. Terry Sanford Tomora Young Rutgers Sr. G Red Bank, N.J. Red Bank Regional
ALL-BIG EAST THIRD TEAM
Ebony Dickinson St. John's Sr. G/F Detroit, Mich. Lansing CC Niele Ivey Notre Dame Jr. G St. Louis, Mo. Cor Jesuit Jennifer Jordan Miami Sr. C/F Miami, Fla. Norland Paula Moore Syracuse Jr. F/C Bridgeport, Conn. Bridgeport Central Tammy Sutton-Brown Rutgers So. C Markham, Ontario Markham
Becky Gottstein Boston College Fr. F Albany, N.Y. Albany Jaime James Syracuse Fr. G Plymouth, Mass. Plymouth North Asjha Jones Connecticut Fr. F Piscataway, N.J. Piscataway Brianne Stepherson Boston College Fr. G Middleton, Mass. Masconoment *Tamika Williams Connecticut Fr. F Dayton, Ohio Chaminade-Julienne
* - unanimous selection