Georgia Tech’s Balogun top freshman; Tigers’ Butler receives coaching honor
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com)
– For the second consecutive season, Louisville senior guard Asia Durr has been selected as the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Year by the league’s Blue Ribbon Panel and the ACC’s 15 head coaches.
Georgia Tech’s Elizabeth Balogun was tabbed as the ACC Rookie of the Year, while Clemson’s Amanda Butler was voted ACC Coach of the Year in her first season with the Tigers.
In addition, Notre Dame graduate student Brianna Turner has been voted the ACC Defensive Player of the Year by the league’s head coaches, while Louisville’s Dana Evans earned Sixth Player of the Year honors. Miami forward/center Emese Hof received the nod as the ACC’s Most Improved Player.
The ACC individual awards were announced in conjunction with the start of the 2019 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, which tips off later Wednesday at the Greensboro Coliseum.
A three-time first-team All-ACC selection, Durr is averaging 21.4 points per game for the Cardinals (27-2, 14-2), which ties for first in the ACC and 13th in the nation, while connecting on 2.9 three-point field goals per game, which ranks second in the league.
In Louisville’s win over No. 10 NC State on senior night, she tied her own program-record with 47 points, while breaking the ACC record with 11 made 3-pointers. The Douglas, Georgia, native has elevated her game against elite competition, averaging 25.8 points against AP Top 25 teams.
Balogun leads Georgia Tech in scoring and ranks 14th among all ACC players, averaging 14.8 points per game. She leads all freshmen in the league in scoring and is currently eighth among all freshmen scorers in the nation. The Chattanooga, Tennessee, native has scored in double figures 24 times this season, including a pair of 30-plus-point outings.
She has recorded two double-doubles, including an impressive performance in the ACC opener at Boston College with 18 points and 17 rebounds. In the Yellow Jackets’ first meeting against North Carolina this season, Balogun scored a career-high 35 points for her second 30-plus point performance.
Clemson’s turnaround in Butler’s first year at the helm has been nothing short of remarkable. The Tigers enter the ACC Tournament with an 18-11 overall record and posted nine conference wins – the Tigers’ most since 2002 and one more than the previous five years combined. Butler’s troops are eyeing their first postseason appearance since 2004 (WNIT) or 2002 (NCAA).
Playing an uptempo style of basketball, the Tigers are averaging almost 20 points more than they did a season ago (50.5 to 68.7). With an emphasis on aggressive defense, Clemson leads the ACC in steals and ranks among the nation’s leaders with 345. Butler is the first Clemson coach to be named ACC Coach of the Year since Jim Davis in 1994.
Notre Dame’s Turner is was voted the ACC Defensive Player of the Year for the third time after also being recognized in 2016 and 2017. The honor comes one day after the Pearland, Texas, native earned her school-record fourth selection to the All-ACC Defensive Team.
Turner leads the ACC in blocks in overall games (2.7) and in league play (3.1) to go with her 13.9 points and 7.5 rebounds. She has also come up with 37 steals to help key a Notre Dame squad that leads the ACC in scoring margin differential (+25.4) while limiting opponents to a collective .362 shooting percentage from the floor.
Louisville’s Evans has come off the bench in 25 of Louisville’s 29 games. She ranks second on the team in scoring with 10.5 points per game while leading the team and ranking seventh in the ACC with 4.1 assists per game. She has connected on nearly 42 percent of her shots from 3-point range, and is shooting 86.7 percent from the foul line.
Miami’s Hof is averaging 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. Those numbers place her No. 18, sixth, second and third in the ACC, respectively. In addition, the Netherlands native is tied for fifth in the conference with 10 20-point games and tied for sixth with nine double-doubles. She is one of two players to earn both first-team All-ACC and ACC All-Defensive Team honors.
2018-19 Blue Ribbon Panel/Head Coaches Awards
ACC Player of the Year: Asia Durr, Sr., G, Louisville
ACC Rookie of the Year: Elizabeth Balogun, Fr., G, Georgia Tech
ACC Coach of the Year: Amanda Butler, Clemson
2018-19 Head Coaches Awards
ACC Defensive Player of the Year: Brianna Turner, Gr., F, Notre Dame
ACC Sixth Player of the Year: Dana Evans, So., G, Louisville
ACC Most Improved Player: Emese Hof, Sr., F/C, Miami