In advance of Wednesday's first round games in the Women's Basketball Conference Tournament, the Big Ten announced it's post season honors. Earlier in the day, the conference announced Iowa's Samantha Logic had been selected as the first Hawkeye to win Player of the Week in the 2014-15 season and Kelsey Mitchell had been named Freshman of the Week for the seventh time.
That announcement capped a goose egg Player of the Week year for the Maryland Terrapins. Yes, the first B1G team to finish an undefeated conference season in 16 years -- and only the third team in conference history to achieve a spotless record -- finished the season without winning a single weekly award. However, the Terps were not entirely shut out of the post season honor roll.
All Big Ten - The Players
The Big Ten handles its post season awards in its own way. They have a coaches poll and a media poll. Each group selects an all-conference back court and an all-conference front court. Two Terrapins were selected to the All-Big Ten back court. Lexie Brown and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough were chosen by both the media and the coaches to as first team selections.
Walker-Kimbrough led Maryland in scoring and, along with Brown, was one of four Terps to finish in the top 30 in the B1G. Walker-Kimbrough was also the most efficient guard in efficiency per possession. In addition to being Maryland's second leading scorer, Brown finished tied for fifth in assists with 4.8 per game. Brown was also named to the coaches All Defensive team. The media does not name an all defensive team.
Joining them as a first team All-Big Ten performer, but only in the eyes of the coaches, was the third member of Maryland's powerful sophomore class, center Brionna Jones. Jones was the fourth highest scoring center in the league and second only to the media's choice for Player of the Year, Minnesota's Amanda Zahui B.
The coaches selection for Player of the Year was Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell. Both groups named Mitchell as their Freshman of the Year.
Maryland's lone senior, Laurin Mincy, was named second team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and the media. Mincy was the fourth Terrapin to finish in the top 30 in scoring. Jones joined Mincy as a second team media selection
The Big Ten also recognizes one player from each conference team for a Sportsmanship Award. Junior Malina Howard won the honor for Maryland.
Coach of the Year
Brenda Frese has coached two seasons in the Big Ten and apparently it suits her. Frese's first stint in the B1G came more than a decade ago in the 2001-02 season. That year, she led the Minnesota Golden Gophers to a 22-8 overall record and finished second in the conference with an 11-5 record. Frese was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Fast forward 13 years. It's now the 2014-15 season and Frese is at the helm of the Maryland Terrapins who are playing in their first year as a member of the Big Ten after migrating from the ACC. All the Terps did was become the third team in conference history to finish an undefeated conference season. Maryland finished 18-0 joining the 1998-99 Purdue Boilermakers (16-0) and the 1984-85 Ohio State Buckeyes (18-0) as the only teams with that distinction. "I've always believed that Coach of the Year is really about the team," Frese said, and with four all-conference players that may never be more true.
In her press conference Monday night, Frese twice mentioned a "consistency factor." The first came when she was talking about her first Big Ten Coach of the Year Award, "I think it's surrounding yourself with great people. I hope there's a consistency factor in terms of who I am and how our programs go about what we do every day."
And the second time in talking about her team. "The thing for us was the consistency factor. I think if you asked our team, they're okay with not having a Big Ten Player of the Week to accomplish what they did for the season."
Frese previously won coach of the year in the ACC in 2013 and also in the MAC at Ball State which was her first head coaching position. Frese also won a National Coach of the Year award in her lone season at Minnesota making her one of only two coaches in the NCAA to claim Coach of the Year in three different conferences and a National Coach of the Year award.
Two seasons as a head coach in the Big Ten and two Coach of the Year awards. Congratulations, Brenda.