M & W-Hoops Rack Up All-NESCAC Honors|
March 2, 2001
AMHERST, Mass. - Thanks to the best women's season in school history and one of the best men's campaigns on record, the Amherst College basketball teams cleaned up in the post-season honors handed out by the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) on Tuesday, including a sweep of the men's and women's basketball Coach of the Year awards.
|Just a sophomore, Steve |
Zieja earned Second-Team
All-NESCAC honors after
averageing nearly 18 ppg
The men's basketball team, which finished the regular season as part of a five-way tie atop the NESCAC before capturing the NESCAC tournament title-and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament that accompanies it-saw two starters earn All-NESCAC honors along with Head Coach Dave Hixon '75.
Senior tri-captain Brian Daoust (Dover, MA) was named to the league's First Team, after finishing the regular season as one of the league's most prolific scorers and a consistent threat from outside. Daoust, who enters Thursday night's NCAA Tournament game stuck on 999 points for his career, averaged over 16 points per contest during the Jeffs' first 26 games, including a career-high 39-point night in Amherst's triple-overtime loss to Clark University on November 30. On the year, the All-ECAC football defensive back has connected on 81.4 percent of his free throws, and has drained a team-high 72 three-pointers, including a school-record nine against Clark.
Joining Daoust as an all-league selection is sophomore forward Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA), who was named to the Second Team after becoming the Jeffs' most consistent offensive weapon during the 2000-01 season. The 6'4" forward is within striking distance of becoming only the fifth Amherst player ever to score 500 points in one season, after averaging just under 18 points per outing through the Jeffs' first 26 games. Zieja has also been a threat on the boards, pulling down 8.6 rebounds per game en route to eight double-doubles on the season, and the sophomore was fifth in the league in scoring and fourth in the conference in rebounding entering this week.
Senior Colby forward Sam Clark (Woolwich, ME) was named the league's Player of the Year, senior Williams guard Andrew Conley (Wakefield, MA) was named the Defensive Player of the Year, Eph rookie Michael Crotty (Belmont, MA) and Tufts first-year Phil Barlow (Arlington, MA) shared Rookie of the Year honors, and Amherst Head Coach Dave Hixon was named the Coach of the Year. Hixon, who is eight wins away from 400 for his career, has led his squad to one of its best seasons, with the Jeffs one win away from matching the single-season school record for wins (22). Amherst was the only one of the league's 10 teams to place more than one player on the First and Second Teams.
The women's basketball single-season record for wins has already fallen this year, thanks to one of the league's most balanced attacks. With only one player, first-year guard Shannon Russell (Shrewsbury, MA), averaging over double-figures, the women's basketball team rolled to a 21-3 regular-season finish, including an 8-1 league record, good enough for the top-seed in the first-ever conference championship. The Jeffs, who demolished Framingham State College, 84-48, in the first round of the ECAC Tournament on Wednesday night, placed three different players on the All-NESCAC Second Team, including Russell, sophomore point guard Sara Bozorg (Amherst, MA) and classmate Sarah Walker (W. Hartford, CT). Bozorg led the league in assists and steals per game during the 2000-01 season, averaging 6.3 assists and over four steals per outing, while Walker put up league-best numbers in rebounds per game (11.9) and blocked shots (2.5 per game). Russell finished the regular season as the league's best sharp-shooter, connecting on 67 of her 186 attempts (36.0 percent) from downtown.
|Sarah Walker '03 led the |
NESCAC in rebounds (11.9/gm)
and blocks (2.9/gm.) per game
Though the Jeffs did not place anyone on the league's first team, the squad still was the only team in the conference with three players recognized, and Head Coach Billy McBride, who picked up his 100th win earlier in the season, was recognized as the league's Coach of the Year, as the Jeffs shattered 11 different team records during the season. Bates College senior Kate McLaughlin (Laconia, NH) was named the league's Player of the Year, Bowdoin College guard Lora Trenkle (Surry, ME) was named the conference's Rookie of the Year after leading the Polar Bears to the NESCAC crown, and Middlebury College guard Megan McCosker (Lafayette, CA) was named the Defensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches.
Amherst, which improved to 23-4 with the win over Framingham, is next in action on Saturday, when they host the ECAC semifinals, beginning with their semifinal pairing against fifth-seeded Colby College.