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North Dakota State center Janae Burich (45) was named to the All-Summit League second team and forward Abby Plucker was honorable mention, while Jamie Van Kirk was named to the All-Newcomer Team announced Thursday..
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Courtesy: Bob Nelson
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Three Bison Women Earn All-Summit League Honors, Burich Second Team Selection

Courtesy: NDSU Athletic Media Relations
Release: March 01, 2012

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.--Oral Roberts’ Kevi Luper captured her third-straight Summit League Player of the Year award in a vote of the league’s 10 head coaches, sports information directors and select media members as announced on Thursday.

Western Illinois’ Saule Kontautaite earned the league’s Newcomer of the Year award, while South Dakota’s Jodie Boss was named the Defensive Player of the Year. UMKC’s LeAndrea Thomas earned the Sixth Woman of the Year award and South Dakota State’s Aaron Johnston garnered Coach of the Year honors.

Luper becomes The Summit League’s first three-time Player of the Year award winner. Heading into the tournament, the junior guard is leading the league in both points (23.9) and steals (3.9) per game. Those numbers also rank her fourth and third, respectively, in the nation. She became the league’s all-time leading scorer in two-plus seasons during a win over North Dakota State on Feb. 4, surpassing former Golden Eagle Krista Ragan’s 2,105 point-mark.

Luper currently has 2,233 career points entering the tournament. The Adair, Okla., native is also second all-time in league history for career field goals (796) and steals (376) and set a new record for career Player of the Week awards with 14. Luper ranks second in the league in both free throw percentage (.871) and minutes played (33.6) and is third in three-point field goal percentage (.388).

Kontautaite becomes the second consecutive Western Illinois player to win the Newcomer of the Year award, joining teammate and second team all-league honoree Sadie Webb. Kontautaite is the top-scoring newcomer in league games with an 11.9 clip. In her last 10 games, she is averaging 13.4 points per contest.

Boss captures the Defensive Player of the Year award as she leads the league in blocked shots at 4.1 per game. The senior center also helped lead a Coyote defense that is tops in the league in scoring defense (52.0) and field goal percentage defense (.332).

Thomas wins the Sixth Woman of the Year award after helping guide UMKC to its highest tournament seed (No. 3) since 2003-04. The senior averages 9.3 points per game on the year and is second in the league with 2.6 steals per contest.

Johnston earns his third Coach of the Year award after guiding the Jackrabbits to their third regular season title in five seasons. Johnston is first in league history for both overall (.728) and league (.830) career winning percentage. The Jacks’ 21 wins this season gives Johnston four seasons of at least 20 wins since joining The Summit League in 2007-08.

Joining Luper as first team All-Summit selections are four of the top five Summit League scoring leaders in South Dakota’s Amber Hegge, second at 19.0 ppg, Oakland’s Bethany Watterworth, third at 18.9 ppg, UMKC’s Dayon Hall-Jones, fourth at 17.0 ppg, and IUPUI’s Kerah Nelson, fifth at 16.6 ppg. Hegge is also the league-leader in rebounds (8.5 rpg) and field goal percentage (.521). South Dakota State’s Jennie Sunnarborg also earned first team accolades as she averaged 14.4 ppg and 6.2 rpg.

Comprising the second team is WIU’s Webb (14.6 ppg, .795 FT percentage), North Dakota State’s Janae Burich (10.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.8 bpg), SDSU’s Ashley Eide (11.0 ppg, .498 FG percentage) and  (12Jill Young.0 ppg, 70 3FG) and IPFW’s Stephanie Rosado (13.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg).

Receiving honorable mention honors are Boss, IPFW’s Anne Boese (11.7 ppg), Southern Utah’s Carli Moreland (11.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg), UMKC’s Eilise O’Connor (10.5 ppg, 4.9 apg) and NDSU’s Abby Plucker (9.8 ppg).

In addition to Kontautaite, the all-newcomer team consists of ORU’s Bernadett Balla (6.6 ppg), IUPUI’s Katie Comello (10.2 ppg), SUU’s Hailey Mandelko (13.1 ppg) and NDSU’s Jamie Van Kirk (8.6 ppg).

The Summit League Tournament begins Saturday, March 3 at the Sioux Falls Arena in Sioux Falls, S.D., and will be televised on Midco Sports Network and Fox College Sports. Eight teams will vie for the NCAA automatic bid, which goes to the winner of the championship game on Tuesday, March 6 on ESPNU at 3 p.m. (CT).

2012 Summit League Women's Basketball Awards

FIRST TEAM
Name, School, Pos., Yr.

Dayon Hall-Jones, UMKC, G, Sr.
Amber Hegge, South Dakota, F, Sr.
Kevi Luper, Oral Roberts, G, Jr.
Kerah Nelson, IUPUI, F, Jr.
Jennie Sunnarborg, South Dakota State, F/C, Sr.
Bethany Watterworth, Oakland, F/C, Jr.

SECOND TEAM
Janae Burich, North Dakota State, C, Jr.
Ashley Eide, South Dakota State, G, Jr.
Stephanie Rosado, IPFW, F, Sr.
Jill Young, South Dakota State, G, Sr.
Sadie Webb, Western Illinois, G, Sr.

HONORABLE MENTION
Anne Boese, IPFW, G, Sr.
Jodie Boss, South Dakota, C, Sr.
Carli Moreland, Southern Utah, F, So.
Eilise O'Connor, UMKC, G, So.
Abby Plucker, North Dakota State, F, Sr.

ALL-NEWCOMER
Bernadett Balla, Oral Roberts, F, Fr.
Katie Comello, IUPUI, G, So.
Saule Kontautaite, Western Illinois, G, Jr.
Hailey Mandelko, Southern Utah, G, Fr.
Jamie Van Kirk, North Dakota State, G, Fr.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kevi Luper, Oral Roberts

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Saule Kontautaite, Western Illinois

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jodie Boss, South Dakota

SIXTH WOMAN OF THE YEAR
LeAndrea Thomas, UMKC

COACH OF THE YEAR
Aaron Johnston, South Dakota State

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