Coley Named FIU's First-Ever SBC Player of the Year
Courtesy: FIUSports.com
          Release: 02/29/2012
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NEW ORLEANS (Feb. 29, 2012) - Sophomore standout Jerica Coley has been named the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Year, as the league announced its postseason award recipients on Wednesday. Redshirt senior Fanni Hutlassa also received recognition as she was tabbed to the All-Sun Belt Conference Third Team.

Coley was also named to the All-SBC First Team, as she becomes the first player in FIU women's basketball history to be named SBC Player of the Year. The first-team honor marks the first of Coley's career, as she was named to the All-SBC Second Team a season ago. The All-America hopeful has reached double-digits in scoring in each of FIU's 29 games and owns 21, 20-plus point outings this season. Coley has reached the 30-point plateau on seven occasions over the campaign, tallying a pair of career-high, 36-point performances versus ULM (1/7/12) and WKU (1/28/12).

A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Coley leads FIU in four statistical categories - points (696, 24.0 ppg), rebounds (203, 7.0 rpg), assists (118, 4.1 apg) and blocks (58, 2.0 bpg) - and ends the  regular season ranked atop the conference in scoring, blocks and minutes played (39.6 mpg). In addition, Coley ranks second in free throw percentage (.847) and fourth in assists, and has also made her mark nationally, ranking third in the NCAA in scoring, 36th in free throw percentage and 41st in blocks.

Hutlassa's SBC postseason honor marks the first of her career, as she has registered double-figure scoring 19 times this season, including a career-high 26 points versus Troy (2/23/12). The guard has notched a team-best 63 steals, including a career-high six steals at WKU (12/11/11), for a steals-per-game mark of 2.2 to rank tied for third in the conference. In addition, Hutlassa is averaging 6.4 rebounds per game to rank second on the team, as she posted her third-career double-double at Middle Tennessee (12/21/11) with 13 points and 10 boards.

A native of Budapest, Hungary, Hutlassa set an FIU career record for games played following a starting assignment at Arkansas State (2/18/12). She has now appeared in 128 games over her career, besting the previous FIU record of 125 career games played, set by Panther great, Andrea Nagy (1991-95).

Coley and Hutlassa both joined the 1,000-Point Club this season, becoming the third duo in FIU women's basketball history to score their 1000th-career point in the same season. Furthermore, Coley became the sixth player in program history to achieve 1,000 career points in just two seasons.

FIU closed out the 2011-12 regular season with an overall record of 20-9 and a league ledger of 10-6, as the 20-win campaign marks the first in 10 seasons for the program, and the 10-win -conference season marks the second-straight for FIU.

The Panthers will begin action at the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Championship on Saturday, March 3, at Summit Arena in Hot Springs, Ark. As the No. 3 seed in the East Division, FIU (20-9, 10-6 SBC) will face Louisiana (7-22, 1-15 SBC), the No. 6 seed in the West Division, at 1 p.m. ET in first round action.


2012 All-Sun Belt Conference Women's Basketball

First Team All-Sun Belt Conference
Taylor Gault (UALR, Fr., G)
Kaetlyn Murdoch (Denver, Sr., F)
Jerica Coley (FIU, So., G)
Ebony Rowe (Middle Tennessee, So., F)
Kortni Jones (Middle Tennessee, Jr., G)
 
Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference
Jane Morrill (Arkansas State, So. F)
Marian Kursh (UALR, Sr., C)
Emiko Smith (Denver, Jr., G)
Chenise Miller (Florida Atlantic, So., F)
Icelyn Elie (Middle Tennessee, Jr., F)
 
Third Team All-Sun Belt Conference
Fanni Hutlassa (FIU, RS-Sr., G)
Larrie Williams (ULM, Sr., C)
Jasmine Godbolt (North Texas, Jr., F)
Mansa El (South Alabama, r-Jr., G)
LaTeira Owens (WKU, Sr., F)
 
Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year
Jerica Coley (FIU, So., G)

 
Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year
Teri Stamps (Florida Atlantic, Sr., G)
 
Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year
Taylor Gault (UALR, Fr., G)

Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year
Rick Insell, Middle Tennessee


About FIU Athletics: FIU Athletics is home to more than 400 student-athletes in 17 different sports, and is a proud member of the Sun Belt Conference and an affiliate member of Conference USA (men's soccer). Athletic events are played in seven different venues on FIU's campuses (Modesto A. Maidique and Biscayne Bay), including U.S. Century Bank Arena and Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium.

About FIU: Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelors, masters and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida's anchor institutions, FIU is worlds ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission and enrolls 46,000 students in two campus and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. More than 140,000 alumni live and work in South Florida. FIU is a member of the Sun Belt Conference and has 400 student-athletes participating in 17 sports. In 2010 the Panthers won their first bowl game. For more information about FIU, visit www.fiu.edu.


--- www.FIUSports.com ---

Sophomore Jerica Coley became FIU's first-ever SBC Player of the Year on Wednesday.
Sophomore Jerica Coley became FIU's first-ever SBC Player of the Year on Wednesday.

Courtesy: Alex J. Hernandez
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