After an outstanding 2008-09 season, I am excited to debut the first ever Courtside Awards for Big Sky Women's Basketball. There were some outstanding performances and stories this year. How about ISU and SAC's improbable runs to the tournament? How about the impressive seasons of UM and PSU? How about MSU turning around their season at the end of January?
The story lines and individuals we will continue to follow at the tournament kept us entertained and inspired all season long, and now it is time to hand out the hardware (there isn't really any hardware, but there is a ton of prestige tied to these awards!).
First of all, the fan votes. I tried the idea of letting Courtside followers select some of the individual awards and I was pleasantly surprised by the number of responses to the polls. Thank you for voting and here are the results:
TW Courtside BSC Player of the Year: Mandy Morales, Sr, Montana. Morales had an incredible senior season, through a good portion of the season, she led the league in scoring and proved to be one of the most difficult match-ups for opposing teams. Her strong and consistent play is the reason we are all headed to Missoula tomorrow. Runner-up: in a narrow vote, Morales edged out Kelsey Kahle, Sr, PSU.
TW Courtside BSC Outstanding Freshman: Katie Bussey, Fr, Montana State. In the fan voting, Bussey ran away in this category. It was clear early on that Katie Bussey would be a key contributor for MSU this season. The freshman led all other BSC freshman in scoring and was third on MSU's team in scoring. She has the tremendous potential to be the most deadly three point threat in the league in coming years. This season, she is 14th in the league in made three pointers with 35, a stat that leads MSU.
TW Courtside BSC Defender of the Year: Britney Lohman, Sr, Montana. Lohman was second in the conference in blocks this season, but her defensive contributions are hard to quantify with numbers. Lohman always draws the biggest defensive assignment for UM and rises to the challenge. Note: My vote went to MSU's Nubia Garcia. Garcia is the only BSC player in the top ten in blocks, steals, and defensive rebounds. She is a lock-down defender that made some of the BSC's best forwards look pretty average. However, here at Courtside we value democracy so fan vote wins!
TW Courtside BSC Coach of the Year: Dan Muscatell, Sac State. This was a hotly contested category because both Coach Muscatell and Coach Sobelewski at ISU did fantastic work to get their teams into postseason contention. The Hornets won 3 more conference games than they did last season. Sac State will be in the BSC tourney for the first time since 2005 and for just the 3rd time in school history. The Hornets were able to do this thanks to some huge wins in conference play. The Hornet's nest was not a fun place for opposing teams to visit this year, which is a testament to Coach Muscatell's hard work. Runner up: Seton Sobelewski, ISU.
Now, here are the 2009 All-Courtside Teams!
MVP: Mandy Morales, UM
First Team All-Courtside
Kelsey Kahle, PSU
Erica Perry, MSU
Charday Hunt, SAC
Claire Faucher, PSU
Sonya Rogers, UM
Second Team All-Courtside
Nubia Garcia, MSU
Michelle Grohs, ISU
Sade Cunningham, NAU
Caitlyn Anderson, WSU
Britney Lohman, UM
Honorable Mention All-Courtside
Julie Piper, EWU
Kelly Valentine, PSU
Courtney Stoermer, NC
Jenna Brown, ISU
Sarah Ena, UM
Defense - There are many ways to defend as the Big Sky Conference has shown this year. 1) Man Defense-Run & Jump, Face Guard Denial, Saggy, Switching, Over/Under, Tr...
4 days ago