Jen Nuzzo, Tiffany Green, And Jessica Canady Earn Honors From The CAA

March 11, 2009
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

March 11, 2009

HARRISONBURG, Va. - Drexel junior forward Gabriela Marginean was selected as the 2009 Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball Player of the Year in voting by the league's head coaches, sports information directors and members of the media. The announcement was made Wednesday night at the CAA's pre-tournament awards banquet in Harrisonburg, Va.

Also receiving top honors were Drexel's Denise Dillon as CAA Coach of the Year, Hofstra's Joelle Connelly as CAA Rookie of the Year and William & Mary's Tiffany Benson as CAA Defensive Player of the Year. Old Dominion senior Jen Nuzzo and Drexel senior Andrea Peterson were chosen as co-recipients of the Dean Ehlers Leadership Award.

Marginean became the first Drexel player to earn CAA Player of the Year accolades after ranking second in the conference and fourth in the nation in scoring with 23.8 points per game. The junior forward has already scored a school-record 689 points this season and needs just five more to pass JMU's Tamera Young for the CAA single-season scoring mark. Marginean is also ninth in the conference with a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game. She leads the CAA and ranks sixth in Division I in free throw percentage (89.0%) and is sixth in the league in field goal percentage (48.4%).

Dillon guided Drexel to its first CAA regular-season title and only the fourth regular-season championship in school history with an impressive 16-2 mark. The Dragons reached the 20-win plateau (21-8) for the first time since 1989-90 and closed the season on a 13-game winning streak, which is the eighth-longest current streak in the nation. The CAA Coach of the Year honor is the second for Dillon in the past five seasons.

Connelly is the first Hofstra player to earn CAA Rookie of the Year honors. The 6-foot-3 center averaged 9.2 points per game and led all CAA freshmen in rebounding with 6.2 per contest. She connected on better than 52 percent of her shots from the floor to rank second in the league in field goal percentage, and her 59 blocked shots were the third-most in the CAA. She also posted four double-doubles.

Benson led the conference and ranked in the eighth in the nation with 11.4 rebounds per game. The junior forward grabbed 10 or more boards in 20 of her 29 contests and her 332 total rebounds are the sixth-most in a season in CAA history. Benson was also second in the CAA and 15th in Division I in blocked shots with 2.8 per game. Her 82 total rejections are the third-most in a season in conference history.

Nuzzo and Peterson are the first co-winners the Dean Ehlers Leadership award, which is presented annually to the women's basketball student-athlete who "embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity, and sportsmanship in conjunction with her academic athletic achievement." Nuzzo started all 28 games in the ODU backcourt and contributed 6.9 points per game, while Peterson also started all 29 games for Drexel at point guard and averaged 5.8 ppg with a team-high 92 assists.

Joining Marginean on the All-CAA first team were Towson junior guard Shanae Baker-Brice James Madison sophomore guard Dawn Evans, Old Dominion senior center Tiffany Green (Chesapeake, Va.) and VCU senior center Quanitra Hollingsworth.

Baker-Brice was third in the CAA in scoring (16.9 ppg), fourth in assists (4.1 apg) and first in steals (3.1 spg). Evans led the conference and ranked second in the nation in scoring with 23.9 ppg. She also topped the CAA in assists (5.2 apg) and 3-pointers made per game (2.9). Green ranked among the top five in the conference in scoring (14.3 ppg/5th), rebounding (9.1 rpg/4th), FG percentage (48.4%/5th) and blocked shots (1.9 bpg/4th). Hollingsworth ranked fourth in the league in scoring (14.5 ppg), third in rebounding (9.4 rpg) and third in FG percentage (52.1%) and posted a league-high 16 double-doubles.

Junior Jessica Canday (Williamsburg, Va.) was named to the Second Team All-CAA. Canady, who after last year as ODU's "sixth Lady", has tranisitioned into the starting line-up for 12.3 points per game and a team-leading and conference second-best 9.5 rebounds. Canady missed the early part of the CAA slate with a fractured thumb but has returned to the court to pour in eight double figure scoring contests and six double figure rebounding games since her comeback. She was joined on the team by Tiffany Benson of William & Mary, Brittany Blackwell of UNC Wilmington
Jasmine Crew of Northeastern, and Jess Fuller of Hofstra.

Nuzzo also picked up her fourth CAA All-Academic honor. The senior Lady Monarch graduated last spring with a degree in sports management and is currently working towards a masters in sports administration.

2009 CAA Women's Basketball Award Winners:

CAA Player of the Year: Gabriela Marginean, Drexel
CAA Coach of the Year: Denise Dillon, Drexel
CAA Defensive Player of the Year: Tiffany Benson, William & Mary
CAA Rookie of the Year: Joelle Connelly, Hofstra

All-CAA First Team
Shanae Baker-Brice, Towson
Dawn Evans, James Madison
Tiffany Green, Old Dominion
Quanitra Hollingsworth, VCU
Gabriela Marginean, Drexel

All-CAA Second Team
Tiffany Benson, William & Mary
Brittany Blackwell, UNC Wilmington
Jessica Canady, Old Dominion
Jasmine Crew, Northeastern
Jess Fuller, Hofstra

All-CAA Third Team
Radoslava Bachvarova, VCU
Tesia Harris, Delaware
Greta Luksyte, UNC Wilmington
Jasmina Rosseel, Drexel
Katrina Wheeler, Towson

All-Defensive Team
Shanae Baker-Brice, Towson
Tiffany Benson, William & Mary
Quanitra Hollingsworth, VCU
Brittany Hollins, Georgia State
Jess Fuller, Hofstra

All-Rookie Team
Nicole Capurso, Hofstra
Joelle Connelly, Hofstra
Crystal Johnson, Georgia State
Taysha Pye, William & Mary
Jylisa Williams, Georgia State
Brittany Wilson, Northeastern

All-Academic First Team
Radoslava Bachvarova, VCU
Danny Kell, William & Mary
Jen Nuzzo, Old Dominion
Andrea Peterson, Drexel
Niki Williams, Hofstra

All-Academic Second Team
Candice Bellocchio, Hofstra
Sam Brigham, Hofstra
Rashauna Hobbs, George Mason
Haliena Snowden, Towson
Jennifer Stjarnstrom, Drexel

Dean Ehlers Recipients
Jen Nuzzo, Old Dominion
Andrea Peterson, Drexel