2019 ALL-NCAC BASKETBALL SQUAD ANNOUNCED
DePauw senior guard Maya Howard (St. Louis, Mo./MICDS) and Oberlin senior center Olivia Canning (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln Sudbury) have earned back-to-back honors as the Player of the Year and Top Defensive Player to highlight the 2019 All-North Coast Athletic Conference women's basketball team, following voting by the conference's head coaches.
Howard, who is only the fourth player in NCAC women's basketball history to claim back-to-back honors as the Player of the Year, was one of the key factors in leading the Tigers to a near-perfect 15-1 mark in league play and their sixth conference crown in the last eight years. In addition to being named Player of the Year, Howard claimed her third-consecutive selection to the All-NCAC first team, while also earning a second team selection during her rookie campaign along with being named the 2016 Newcomer of the Year. Howard led all NCAC players in scoring during conference play with 277 points (17.3 ppg), highlighted by a career-high mark of 29 points in the Tigers' 86-68 home win over Ohio Wesleyan on Jan. 12. While the majority of her production came in the scoring column, she also ranked second in the league in assists with 60 helpers in 16 conference games. Howard was also the top free throw shooter in the league at 85.7 percent (66-of-77) and the second-best shooter from the field at 44.3 percent (94-of-212).
Canning, who earned her third honor on the All-NCAC team after also claiming a first team selection a season ago and second team honors in 2017, was the leader in the middle for Oberlin. The Yeowomen's defensive unit limited conference opponents to shoot just 32.8 percent (311-of-949) from the field and score 52.4 points per game. She was the top shot blocker in the league throughout the NCAC regular season with 53, which included a 10-block performance in a 52-22 road win at Allegheny on Feb. 6. The senior also recorded her 1,000th point and tallied a triple-double in the 30-point victory as she also netted 12 points and gathered 15 rebounds. With her 77 total blocks on the season, Canning moves into second place in the NCAC with 346 all-time career blocked shots.
Howard was joined on the 2019 All-NCAC first team by two junior guards, teammate Sydney Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South), and Kenyon's Paige Matijasich (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North), who both earn back-to-back selections on the first-team. Hiram sophomore guard Tashauna Wright (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shakers Heights) and Wittenberg sophomore forward Kristie Kalis (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier Twp.) are being recognized on an all-conference team for the first time in their careers by claiming first team honors this season.
In addition, DePauw freshman guard Mya Shannon (Morris, Ill. /Morris) was named the 2019 NCAC Women's Basketball Newcomer of the Year as the top player in the league in her first season of collegiate competition. In 16 conference games, Shannon was the most efficient shooter from the floor as she led the league in field-goal percentage after shooting 54.9 percent (50-of-91). The rookie netted 126 points with seven double-digit performances against NCAC opponents, including a career-high 16 in a 72-50 win at Allegheny on Jan. 2. Shannon now joins current teammates, Howard and Keefe, as DePauw's only players to earn the NCAC's Newcomer of the Year honor.
Finally, Denison head coach Sara Lee was named the 2019 NCAC Women's Basketball Coach of the Year for the sixth time in her career after guiding the Big Red to second place in the regular season with a 12-4 mark against league foes. Lee, who was also named the Coach of the Year in 1991, 1998, 2007, 2011, and 2016, led Denison to the NCAC Tournament title game for the 12th time in program history. In 30 years with the program, Lee now owns an overall record of 472-318, which has included eight seasons with 20 or more wins.