Forsman, McBride and McCourt recognized with end-of-season awards
From far left: Forsman, McBride, McCourt
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Little East Conference office announced its annual women's basketball major award winners and all-conference teams this afternoon after a vote by the league's eight coaches. University of Southern Maine senior center Courtney Cochran was named as the Player of the Year, while University of Massachusetts Boston freshman Kirsten Morrison was chosen as the Rookie of the Year. Rhode Island College senior guard Cynthia Gaudet as selected as the Defensive Player of the Year, and Marcus Reilly was tabbed as the Coach of the Year by his colleagues. Eastern Connecticut State University and Western Connecticut State University shared the Team Sportsmanship Award to close out the major awards program.
In addition to the major awards program, the Little East women's basketball coaches honored 11 student-athletes on its all-conference teams. The All-Little East teams are comprised of six members on the top team, and five student-athletes represented on the second squad. The coaches also elected five-member All-Defensive and All-Rookie teams.
Cochran is the seventh Huskies women's basketball player to garner the conference's top award, and first since Ashley Marble was honored in three consecutive campaigns (2005-2007). The senior center from Waite, Maine is making her second straight appearance on the All-Little East first-team.
Gaudet is the first Anchorwoman to be selected as the top defensive player in the conference since the Little East began sponsoring the award in 2009. In addition to her major award, Gaudet is also making her debut on the All-Little East first team and All-Defensive team. Her intensity on the defensive end of the court enabled Rhode Island College to feature one of the most stifling defensive attacks in the country, ranking among the national leaders in field goal percentage defense (12th, 31.5), scoring margin ( 13th, +18.0 ppg), and scoring defense (23rd, 50.5).
Morrison is just the third Beacon to be chosen as the top rookie in the conference and first since Linda Caruso was honored in 1994. The North Reading, Mass. product is the lone first-year to earn a spot on the 11-member All-Little East teams, garnering second team accolades. A force in the low blocks, Morrison ranked among the conference leaders in scoring (2nd, 16.5 ppg), rebounding (3rd, 10.1 rpg), blocked shots (3rd, 1.6 bpg), and minutes played (7th, 32.0)
Three of Eastern's six freshmen were honored in the end-of-season awards program. Guard Taylor McBride (Willimantic) joined four others on the All-Defensive team, while guard Kristina Forsman (Newington) and froward Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) were named to the five-person All-Rookie team. Forsman was a starter since the season-opener this year while McBride and McCourt took over starting assignments in the ninth game of the year.
Eastern has now had eight All-Defensive selections in six years and seven All-Rookie picks in seven years. McBride is the program's first freshman named to the former team. The Team Sportsmanship Award represents a first for the program.
.Formed in 1986, the Little East serves as New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. Featuring 19 championship sports, the Little East sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes. Our eight state colleges and universities dedicate themselves to an ongoing fulfillment of the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship, and citizenship.