SFA’s Ross named Southland Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, All-Conference teams announced

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FRISCO, Texas – Senior guard Taylor Ross of Stephen F. Austin was named the 2016-17 Southland Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, the league announced Tuesday in conjunction with All-Conference selections.

Abilene Christian, Central Arkansas and Lamar each landed four All-Conference spots while UIW earned a pair in Celia Garcia Paunero, who earned Second Team All-Conference and All-Defensive honors. New Orleans, Nicholls, Northwestern State and Southeastern Louisiana rounded out the selections with one each.

Ross helped the Ladyjacks to a 14-game win streak between Nov. 23, 2016 and Jan. 14, 2017 – the 5th longest active streak in NCAA through the first 11 weeks of competition. The Pflugerville, Texas native hit the 1,500-point career mark this season after totaling over 500 point this year alone. Ross started in all games this season and scored in double figures in all but one game as a cornerstone of the Southland’s most prolific offense. She ended the regular season ranked third in scoring through conference play (20.9 points per game).

Ross ranks third nationally in free throws attempted (240) and free throws made (191). She broke two Ladyjack program records this season for free throws in a single game. The senior totaled three overall double-doubles this season, and was one rebound short of a triple-double on Jan. 2 against McNeese. When Ross scores over 20 points (14 times this season), SFA is 11-3.

On the defensive end, sophomore guard Chastadie Barrs was named Second Team All-Conference and Defensive Player of the Year for Lamar. She leads the nation in both total steals and steals per game (4.71, 132 total) and comfortably led the Southland in the same categories through league play (4.5 per game, 81 total). This is the second consecutive year that Barrs earned Defensive Player of the Year honors.

UIW’s Imani Robinson earned Freshman of the Year recognition. The guard out of Round Rock, Texas was a well-rounded force for the Cardinals, ranking 15th in scoring (14.6 ppg), 14th in rebounding (6.3 per game) while also landing on the leaderboards for blocked shots and defensive rebounds.

Lamar added another individual superlative in sophomore Moe Kinard. The New Iberia, La. native and University of Houston transfer is the league’s eighth-best scorer in Southland play (16.2 ppg) and ranks fifth in made three-pointers (48, 2.7 per game). Kinard helps spearhead a versatile Cardinal attack that ranks third in the conference with 74.1 points per game.

All First Team members but one are returning All-Conference picks, including three-time selections Ross, Maggie Proffitt (Central Arkansas) and Suzzy Dimba (Abilene Christian). Dimba is now a three-time member of both All-Conference and All-Defensive teams.

Randi Brown (New Orleans), the 2014-15 Freshman of the Year earned her second All-Conference honor. Second Team selection and 2015-16 Player of the Year Alexis Mason also was named to her second All-Conference team.

Senior guard Beatrice Attura of Northwestern State earned First Team All-Conference distinction after an impressive 2016-17. She ended the regular season tied for first place with 13 20-plus point games in conference play. The McKinney, Texas native was the Southland’s second-highest scorer, averaging 23.2 per game. She also ranked second in assists per game (5.8) as well as second in three-point percentage and three-pointers made (.429, 60-140).

Following a regular season championship for Central Arkansas, head coach Sandra Rushing was named Coach of the Year. The Sugar Bears (24-4, 16-2 SLC) enter as the No. 1 seed in the Southland tournament for the second-straight year and have their eyes on back-to-back tournament titles. Currently in her fifth year as head coach of Central Arkansas, Rushing has currently compiled a 102-49 overall record and 62-28 record in Southland play.

All-Conference teams are nominated and voted upon by the conference’s head coaches and SIDs. Voting for oneself or one’s own players/coaches is not permitted. To receive honorable mention, a player must appear on the ballots of at least 25 percent of league head coaches and SIDs.

Sights are now set on the 2017 Southland Conference Basketball Tournament, tipping off this week at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy, Texas. The women’s first round begins on Thursday, March 9.

Coach of the Year: Sandra Rushing, Central Arkansas
Player of the Year: Taylor Ross, Stephen F. Austin
Defensive Player of the Year: Chastadie Barrs, Lamar
Freshman of the Year: Imani Robinson, UIW
Newcomer of the Year: Moe Kinard, Lamar

2016-17 Southland Women’s Basketball All-Conference Teams

First Team

Name School Position Class Hometown
Taylor Ross^3 Stephen F. Austin G Sr. Pflugerville, Texas
Maggie Proffitt3 Central Arkansas G Sr. Columbus, Miss.
Randi Brown2 New Orleans G Jr. Houma, La.
Beatrice Attura Northwestern State G Sr. McKinney, Texas
Suzzy Dimba3 Abilene Christian F Sr. Lubbock, Texas

Second Team

Name School Position Class Hometown
Celia Garcia Paunero UIW F Sr. Valladolid, Spain
Kiandra Bowers Lamar P Sr. West Palm Beach, Fla.
Alexis Mason2 Abilene Christian G Sr. McKinney, Texas
Moe Kinard Lamar G Sr. New Iberia, La.
Chastadie Barrs Lamar G Sr. Desoto, Texas

Third Team

Name School Position Class Hometown
Taylin Underwood Southeastern Louisiana G Jr. Livingston, La.
Stevi Parker Stephen F. Austin F Jr. Bixby, Okla.
Cassidy Barrios Nicholls G So. Lockport, La.
Lizzy Dimba Abilene Christian F Sr. Lubbock, Texas
Kierra Jordan Central Arkansas C Jr. Jackson, Miss.

^ Player of the Year
2 Two-time All-Conference team selection
3 Three-time All-Conference team selection

All-Defensive

Name School Position Class Hometown
Chastadie Barrs&2 Lamar G So. Desoto, Texas
Raquel Logan Central Arkansas C Sr. West Memphis, Ark.
Suzzy Dimba3 Abilene Christian F Sr. Lubbock, Texas
Celia Garcia Paunero UIW F Sr. Valladolid, Spain
Brianna Mullins Central Arkansas G Sr. Rosston, Ark.

& Defensive Player of the Year
2 Two-time All-Defensive team selection
3 Three-time All-Defensive team selection

Honorable Mention: Brianna Mullins (Central Arkansas), Hope Pawlowski (Nicholls), Taylor Baudoin (Central
Arkansas), Frederica Haywood (McNeese), Victoria Rachal (McNeese), Stevi Parker* (Stephen F. Austin)

*Third Team All-Conference selection, Honorable Mention for All-Defensive

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